Starters

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2 cups frozen peas
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3 cooked bacon strips, chopped
1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. lime juice
2 garlic cloves
1 to 2 tsp. minced chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
1/4 tsp. black pepper
In a small saucepan, bring 4 cups of water to a boil. Add peas; cover and cook for 1 minute. Drain and rinse the peas with cold water. Pat dry.
Place peas in a food processor; add the cheese, bacon, sour cream, oil, lime juice, sour cream, chipotle pepper and black pepper. Process until smooth.
Let stand for at least 1/2 hour to blend flavors. Can be made up to one day in advance – let come to room temperature before serving.
From Healthy Cooking magazine, April/May 2011

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3 cloves garlic
1 square-inch cube of fresh ginger root, peeled
1 cup loosely packed, coarsely chopped cilantro
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tbsp. soy sauce
1/4 tsp. olive oil
20-25 large shrimp, peeled and deveined
In a food processor, puree garlic, ginger and cilantro. Add lemon juice, soy sauce and olive oil and blend until combined. In a small bowl, toss marinade with the shrimp and refrigerate for for at least 30 minutes or up to 24 hours.
Heat a grill pan or non-stick saute pan over high heat. Cook shrimp for 2 minutes on each side. Serve warm or at room temperature.
From New York magazine, October 1994

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SPAM Musubi

Sato-Shoyu SPAM Musubi
Makes 8 pieces

Slice SPAM into 8 pieces, lengthwise.

Cook rice. The cookbook says that an average musubi will take about 1 cup of cooked rice, but this seemed like a lot to us. I would make about 2 cups of cooked rice for the whole can of SPAM. Sprinkle the hot rice with a little rice wine vinegar and toss to combine. Let cool to room temperature.

Mix ¼ cup each soy sauce and sugar; add a little water and whisk until sugar is dissolved.

Place the SPAM slices in a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the sauce and cook until SPAM is heated through and caramelized with the sauce. Remove the slices to a plate.

Shape the rice using a sushi press or by hand into rectangles about 1 inch high and the width and length of the SPAM slices. Place a slice of SPAM on top of each rice rectangle and wrap with a strip of nori. Some recipes call for a larger piece of nori, but we like the way it looks with just a strip.

From Hawaii’s 2nd SPAM Cookbook by Ann Kondo Corum.

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SPAM-Spinach Balls

SPAM-Spinach Balls (aka Power Balls)
Serves 6 as an appetizer

1 small onion, finely chopped
½ can SPAM, finely chopped
6 tablespoons butter
1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 cup cornbread stuffing mix
½ cup grated Swiss cheese
2 eggs
¼ teaspoon nutmeg

Saute onion and SPAM in butter until onion is soft and SPAM is just beginning to brown. Add spinach. Combine SPAM-spinach mixture with remaining ingredients in food processor or large bowl.

Shape into 1-inch balls and bake on an ungreased sheet pan in a 350-degree oven until slightly crispy outside and heated through (15-20 minutes).

Serve with sauce made of ½ cup mayonnaise and 1 tablespoon horseradish.

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Cyril Renaud’s Citrus Gravlax

2 cups salt (I used kosher salt)
2 cups sugar
Grated zest of 2 lemons, 2 limes, 2 oranges and 2 grapefruits
2 tablespoons juniper berries
1 tablespoon cracked coriander seeds (I cracked them with a mortar and pestle)
1 bunch dill, stems and all, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons gin
1 2-to-3 lb. fillet of salmon, skin on, pin bones removed

Mix together all ingredients (except for the salmon!) being sure to combine them well.

Place salmon, skin-side down, on a large sheet of plastic wrap (I lay sheets of plastic wrap in a glass baking dish, letting a generous amount of the wrap hang over the sides.) Cover the flesh side of the salmon with the salt and sugar mixture, making sure to coat it completely and evenly. Wrap the fish well and refrigerate for 12-24 hours.

Unwrap the salmon and rinse off the cure. Dry, then slice on the bias. Serve plain or with lemon wedges, creme fraiche or sour cream. It will keep in the fridge for 3-4 days after you are finished curing it.

Recipe from The New York Times

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Cheese Puffs with Ham
Makes 24

1 1/2 cups water
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups flour
6 eggs
1 1/2 cups grated Swiss cheese
1/3 lb. ham, finely diced
2 tbsp. mustard (I used Dijon)

Boil water and butter together. Add flour, stirring constantly until mixture forms a ball. Put this in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat in eggs one at a time, then beat on high speed another 5 minutes. Fold in 1 cup of the cheese. Transfer mixture to a pastry bag and pipe 24 mounds of the dough – 12 on each of two cookie sheets. (Our relatively well-equipped cottage kitchen does not have a pastry bag, so I just used a spoon and while I did not grease the cookie sheets, I would next time.) Combine ham and mustard. Make an impression in each mound, fill with ham and sprinkle remaining cheese on top. Bake at 375 for 30 mins. (These are great reheated!)

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Shrimp and Bay Scallop Ceviche

(a little different from other ceviche recipes in that you slightly cook the seafood.)

4 cups fish stock or clam juice
1 lb. small shrimp, shell on
1/2 lb. bay scallops
1 small red onion, finely diced
1-2 serrano chiles, stemmed, seeded and finely chopped
2 bunches cilantro, stems trimmed and roughly chopped
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tsp. salt

Bring the stock or clam juice to a boil in a large pot. Add shrimp and scallops, cook 1 minute. Strain, reserving the liquid, and spread seafood on a baking sheet to cool. When cool enough to handle, peel the shrimp. Combine all of the remaining ingredients with the seafood and 1 cup of the cooking liquid in a bowl and mix well. Cover with plastic and chill thoroughly before serving.

Recipe adapted from Mesa Mexicano, by Mary Sue Millken and Susan Feniger.

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Edemame and avocado guacamole

Edamame Guacamole

1 cup frozen shelled edamame, thawed (note to self – be sure to buy the shelled edamame, shelling them is a pain in the %&$!)
1 small ripe avocado, peeled and pitted
1 chipotle pepper in adobo, finely chopped (you can leave this out if you wish, but it adds some nice smoky heat)
1/3 bunch cilantro
3 scallions, white and tender green parts, coarsely chopped
juice of 2 limes
2-3 tbsp. water
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Put all ingredients except for salt and pepper in a food processor and pulse until almost smooth. Add enough water to make a creamy consistency and pulse again. Add salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to bowl and serve. Note – if not serving right away, stick the pit of the avocado into the middle of the guacamole to prevent browning.

Recipe adapted from Whole Foods