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CULINARY SOS

Dip into vibrant flavors

March 28, 2007|Betty Hallock | Times Staff Writer

A bright, pungent tapenade spiked with anchovies and lemon juice and long wedges of tortilla crackers studded with sesame seeds make a winning combination of appetizers.

Ciudad's house olive tapenade recently caught the attention of the Food section website producer, Tenny Tatusian.

"It was a lovely balance of flavors -- the olives were somewhat tamed, but still bracing," Tatusian says. "It's a dish I'd love to serve at my next dinner party -- especially alongside untamed martinis."

*

Black and green olive tapenade

Total time: 10 minutes

Servings: 8 to 10

Note: From Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken of Ciudad.

1 1/2 cups kalamata olives, pitted

1 cup California black olives, pitted

1/4 cup unstuffed green olives, pitted

1/4 cup capers

1 tablespoon minced garlic

4 anchovy fillets, unrinsed

(optional)

1/2 cup high-quality olive oil

1/3 cup plus 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

Freshly ground black pepper

Combine the olives, capers, garlic, anchovies (if using), olive oil, lemon juice and pepper, to taste, in a food processor and pulse to finely chop and combine (this will not be pureed; there should be some texture to the ingredients). Taste; adjust seasonings as needed. Makes slightly more than 2 cups. Serve with crackers.

Each tablespoon: 48 calories; 0 protein; 1 gram carbohydrate; 0 fiber; 5 grams fat; 1 gram saturated fat; 0 cholesterol; 179 mg. sodium.

*

Chile lime crackers

Total time: 30 minutes

Servings: Makes 60 crackers

Note: From Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken.

1/4 cup sweet paprika

2 tablespoons achiote paste

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 1/2 teaspoons ancho powder

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 cup olive oil

1/2 cup fresh lime juice

12 (8-inch) white or whole-wheat flour tortillas

1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, whisk together the sweet paprika, achiote paste, cayenne pepper, ancho powder, salt, olive oil and lime juice (the ingredients will tend to separate a little bit). This makes about 1 1/2 cups chile lime mix, slightly more than needed for 12 tortillas. This will keep, refrigerated, overnight.

2. Brush about 2 teaspoons of the mixture on one side of each tortilla; the entire side should be covered up to the edge.

3. Place the chile-lime coated tortillas side by side on the baking sheets and with a pizza cutter, using an "M"-shaped motion, cut each tortilla into long triangular wedges. Bake until crispy and just starting to darken in color, about 15 minutes.

Each cracker: 48 calories; 1 gram protein; 5 grams carbohydrates; 0 fiber; 3 grams fat; 0 saturated fat; 0 cholesterol; 92 mg. sodium.

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Seeded crackers

Total time: 20 minutes

Servings: Makes 60 crackers

Note: From Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken.

1/2 cup flax seeds

1/2 cup sesame seeds

1/2 cup poppy seeds

1 egg

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

12 (8-inch) white or whole wheat flour tortillas

1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease two baking sheets. Combine the seeds in a shallow bowl or on a plate.

2. Whisk together the egg, 2 tablespoons of water, salt and pepper to make an egg wash. Brush the egg wash onto the tortillas, then dredge each tortilla in the seed mixture to coat.

3. Place the seed-coated tortillas onto the baking sheets and with a pizza cutter, using an "M"-shaped motion, cut each tortilla into long triangular wedges. Bake for 10 minutes, until crispy and lightly golden.

Each cracker: 51 calories; 2 grams protein; 6 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram fiber; 2 grams fat; 0 saturated fat; 4 mg. cholesterol; 64 mg. sodium.

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