Category Archives: Appetizers

Jalapeño Poppers With Smoked Pimento Cheese and Country Ham (Gluten-Free Friendly)

Jalapeño Poppers With Smoked Pimento Cheese and Country Ham

A staple of many a tailgating gathering, jalapeño poppers are pretty much as ubiquitous as queso this time of year. A bad thing? Not in the least. These bites are sure to shake up the usual equation, injecting some irresistible Southern flair into your festivities in practically no time at all.

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Chili’s Classic Nachos, at home

chili's classic nachos, at home

While your D.I.Y pickled jalapeño add a nice amount of pizzaz to a quick plate of melted cheese-topped tortilla chips, when the mood for loaded nachos strikes, there’s pretty much nothing better than a homemade, gluten-free take on Chili’s Classic Nachos.

Thicker cut tortilla chips are topped with beans, then queso con chorizo followed by more cheese and finally — after they’re popped in the oven to get all piping hot and melty — a pickled jalapeño slice is arranged atop each chip. Served with pico de gallo, guacamole and sour cream for dipping, this recipe is the epitome of hearty, football season fare.

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Wontons (Gluten-free)

Fried wonton strips were a mainstay at the Chinese restaurants I frequented growing up in Connecticut. When I moved to California, I was saddened to find that the complementary little wax paper bags filled with these crisp, greasy snacks — and the accompanying packets of duck sauce — were absent from my takeout orders. And when fried wontons were listed on the menu, they were the filled kind, so not the same!

Thankfully, after making the five spice chicken-lemongrass dumplings, I was armed with a stack of leftover wrappers, but not quite enough to make another batch of dumplings (possibly because I got tired of rolling out wrappers toward the end…). Cue: gluten-free wonton strips. It takes hardly any time to fry up a bowlful of these crisp, puffy snacks, and while quite plain-tasting on their own, they are simply meant for plum (aka duck) sauce, and are the perfect treat to whet your appetite for some homemade Chinese takeout classics!

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Five Spice Chicken-Lemongrass Dumplings (Gluten-free)

five spice chicken-lemongrass dumplings (gluten-free)

While pork-scallion pot stickers are always going to be my favorite type of dumpling, from time to time, I like to change up the filling. These chicken-lemongrass dumplings are perfect for this time of year, the Chinese five spice powder — a combination of star anise, fennel, black pepper, cinnamon and cloves — laces the dumplings with a delicate warm flavor, a subtle twist on the usual fall spice palate.

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The Brixton’s Demon Eggs, at home

The Brixton's Demon Eggs, at home (Gluten-free)

If you find yourself wandering along Union Street in San Francisco in search of a bite to eat in an elegant-yet-casual setting with a touch of rock-n-roll flair (no, not this kind of flair), check out The Brixton. My parents and I ended up there after perusing The Renegade Craft Fair (so much fun, I highly recommend attending!), and I was all ready to go with my typical brunch order of potatoes and eggs when I spotted the Demon Eggs on the menu:

Cage-free eggs plumped with yolk, aioli, Dijon, shallots, celery, chives, and topped with fresh Dungeness crab, and bacon bits. Finished with chives.

How could I resist? The combination of flavors and textures is divine . . . or should I say devilish? Lemon, celery and shallot lend that classic seafood seasoning flavor, enhancing the crab, and the crisp bacon adds just a touch of smokey punch and crunch. So good.

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