The Case of the Disappearing Tequila-Habanero Spiced Pineapple Wontons

In case you are wondering why I have no picture for you, it’s because twice I made these, twice I served them to guests to give me feedback on my new recipe with the warning not to eat them all because I still needed a picture, and twice I turned around about 3 minutes later to see an empty plate where my wontons should be.

“Hey!,” I exclaim, “You were not supposed to eat them all before I took a picture!” The individual who swiped the last one chews more quietly, looking anywhere but at me. I sigh, “Never mind, I’ll make another batch later….” Except the spousal unit drank the last of the tequila and the rest of my pineapple went into a pineapple-blueberry wonton so it’s going to be awhile before I make these again. Given how delectable they are, I figured I had better share the recipe before your next party.

Missing

Tequila-Habanero Spiced Pineapple Wontons

Ingredients

  • 1 cup pineapple chunks
  • 1 habanero pepper, finely diced
  • 1 cup tequila (The best you can afford)
  • 4 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 small, red onion, diced
  • 2 tbsp cilantro, diced
  • 1/2 pkg wonton wrappers
  • 1 egg, beaten

Prep

  • Finely dice the habanero pepper. Add your pineapple chunks to a small tupperware container and add the tequila and diced pepper. Cover and give the mixture a shake to make sure its distributed. Let the pineapple soak for a few hours. You can even leave these soaking for a few days if you want a stronger flavor.
  • Once your pineapple is ready, extract the chunks and finely dice them. Set aside.
  • Place your softened cream cheese in a medium bowl, and using a hand mixer, whip until soft and fluffy.
    If you are unfamiliar with whipping cream cheese, start the blades on slow and circle around a few times. The cheese will start to cling to the blades. Put the speed to high and beat against the side of the bowl in a circular motion and the cheese will come loose as it becomes soft and whipped.
  • Finely dice your onion and cilantro.
  • Add the diced pineapple, cilantro, and onion to the cream cheese. You should also add in the diced habanero from the marinade. Combine and stir with a rubber spatula until you have a well blended mixture.
  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and lay out your wonton wrappers. Start with 12 wrappers.
  • Beat your egg in a small bowl and set aside.
  • Place approx 1 tbsp of the mixture into the dead center of the wrapper.
    Use any manner of deep breathing techniques and chanting of ‘a little dab will do ya’ to resist the urge to add larger and larger globs of filling to the wontons. It will look like you didn’t put enough, but I promise it’s correct. The filling expands in the heat and will burst your wonton open.
  • Dip your finger in the egg and trace around the edge of each wonton. Fold the sides into an X and pinch together to seal.
  • Spray a little non-stick on a cookie sheet and transfer the wontons. Make sure they are evenly spaced apart.
  • Bake the wontons for 10-12 minutes until lightly golden and crisp.
  • Serve immediately.

What do you recommend as a dipping sauce? 

I can’t figure this part out. The flavors are so fusion. Do you want spicy? Do you want sweet? Do you want an asian sauce or a salsa? I offered 2 options and what I noticed is that my taste testers had very different preferences when they tried each sauce and then just started popping them in their mouth, sans sauce, at an increasingly rapid pace. Here’s what I made for your experimenting pleasure.

If you want to offer something with sweet notes, maybe you can rock a ponzu? If you try that, let me know how it goes!

Warning: Make sure you hold back one or two wontons before you serve these or you may find yourself lost in a godzilla-like rage similar to what we all feel when someone eats the last spring roll without asking if anyone else wanted it.

~Nom On

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Bruschetta Salsa

A staple starter in pretty much every Italian eatery, and most bar and grilles, I think bruschetta get’s over looked. It’s also really easy to make an utterly underwhelming batch; just use off-season tomatoes and dried basil instead of fresh and you will be one sad mac. Here’s how to make it right, and then you can put it on everything!

Bruschetta Mozzarella

Bruschetta Salsa

Ingredients

As a general note, you should shop for all your fresh ingredients at the farmers market for this dish. Good bruschetta hinges entirely on how vibrant the produce and herbs are. Get your toms, garlic, basil, and parsley from the market the day you plan on making the salsa and choose with care.

  • 4 plum, ripe, in-season tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup fresh minced basil
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp fresh, minced parsley
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • 1/8 crushed red pepper flakes

Prep

  • Combine all your ingredients and let soak and chill in the fridge for about an hour before you serve.

If you want an elegant, low-carb snack or starter …

pick up a log of fresh mozzarella and slice into small medallions. Arrange a few large basil leaves on a plate, then 3-4 medallions. Spoon the salsa over the medallions. If you have time, make a simple balsamic reduction and drizzle a little over the dish. Magnifique!

Bruschetta Toast

If you want classic bruschetta toast ….

cut a fresh baguette into thick slices. Spread a little butter on each slice and toast to a medium-well. Getting the slices the right thickness and level of crispy is crucial because the salsa has oil and vinegar and it really soaks through the bread. I can’t tell you how many restaurants have blown this aspect and I am left with a soggy mess and a serious case of situational depression.

I like to add a little leaf of basil to eat slice of bread before I spoon the mixture on. It adds color and a pop of freshness, plus it helps slow the pace of the bread soaking and breaking down. If you think the toast will sit awhile because you are setting it out for a gathering, I recommend this.

Again, if you have time to make a quick balsamic reduction, drizzle this on as a finishing touch. Don’t get carried away though. It’s a strong flavor.

What else can I do with this lovely salsa?

Man, it’s almost endless. The salsa is the flavor so if you want a quick, light vegetarian entree, top off some angel hair pasta and drizzle with balsamic reduction. You can make the dish heartier with slices of grilled chicken.

If you want low-carb, grill chicken breasts or flank steak in a garlic butter and sauté some squash. Top the meat with the salsa and serve with a dollop of balsamic reduction on the side for dipping.

Want a fabulous vegetarian burger? Grill up a portabella mushroom, top with a fat slice of mozzarella cheese and the salsa. Serve on toasted wheat buns with garlic butter. Or, if you want to try something fun, make garlic bread and use two thick slices of that for your bun. Dude.

If you aren’t ready to nom on at this point, you may be hopeless!

BLT Deviled Eggs

What is it about the summer that just makes one jones for bacon, lettuce, and tomato? It’s never not awesome, right? Well, today I decided to stuff it in my deviled eggs and declare it breakfast! Low-carb, of course, if you are looking for an excuse to skip the bread and always appreciated as an appetizer.

BLT Deviled Eggs

BLT Deviled Eggs

Ingredients

  • 6 eggs
  • 1/4 cup mayo or miracle whip
  • 3 slices bacon, pan friend and crumbled
  • 1 large roma tomato, finely diced
  • 1 tbsp dried parsley
  • salt, pepper, and cayenne to taste
  • 12 small shreds of green, leafy lettuce

Prep

  • Pan fry your bacon strips and drain on a paper towel. Set aside.
  • Next, bring a pot of water, about 4 cups, to a rolling boil. Set your timer for 9 minutes and place your six eggs into the water and boil. This is the perfect time for creamy yolks and firm whites that you need for a deviled egg. As soon as the timer goes off, remove from heat and transfer the eggs into a bowl of cold water.
  • Allow the eggs to cool and set in the cold water while you crumble your bacon and finely dice your tomato.
  • Remove the shells of each egg and slice in half.
  • With a small spoon, gently remove the yolks from each egg and place into small bowl.
  • Combine the egg yolks with the mayo and stir until soft and creamy.
  • Fold in the bacon crumbles and diced tomato. Taste. If bland, add in a pinch of salt and pepper. Stir and taste again.
  • Once your mixture is complete, take a piece of lettuce and push into the center of the egg white and then add a spoonful of the yolk mixture. It will heap over because of the bacon. Repeat for all the egg halves.
  • Sprinkle each egg with a little parsley and cayenne pepper for garnish.
  • Chill for at least 10 minutes before serving.

A few notes…

Personally, I think real mayo is nasty. It tastes like fish to me. If your first batch tastes a little ‘fishy’ or off to you, try it with miracle whip next time.

If you like spicy food, you can stir in a 1/4 tsp of horseradish for a kick. If you are unfamiliar with this condiment, there are many layers of heat and style you can buy. They can be creamy or grainy, mild or very hot. You’ll need to experiment, but I think they are all really tasty.

~Nom On

BL Cherry T Bites

Got the taste of bacon, lettuce, and tomato on your mind? I usually do, too. Here’s another way to get the flavor, but without the carbs. Makes a great appetize, side dish, or snack on a hot day.

BL Cherry Tomatos Bites

BL Cherry T Bites

Ingredients

  • 16 large cherry tomatoes
  • 1 Lb bacon, baked and crumbled
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp of creamy horseradish (optional, just if you want these to be a little spicy)
  • 1/3 cup green onions, chopped
  • 3 tbs freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 tbs fresh parsley, snipped

Prep

  • Using a serrated knife, cut off the tops of each tomato.
  • Using a melon baller, scoop out the innards of each tomato and discard. Flip the tomatoes upside down and place on a paper towel to dry.
  • Mix the rest of the ingredients.
  • Spoon the mixture equally into the 16 tomatoes and place in a baking dish and cover with lid. Tupperware is another option, just so long as the lid isn’t squishing the toppings.
  • Refrigerate for 2-3 hours before serving.

~Nom On