White Pumpkin Seeds

White pumpkins are fun to carve for Halloween, and if you’re carving pumpkins of course you have to roast the seeds! Simply separate the seeds from the inner pulp (the “goo” if you’re a kid), rinse well, and spread in on a well greased pan. I prefer to use real butter for this, coating a baking pan with approximately 1 tablespoon of melted butter for each cup of seeds. Then, sprinkle generously with your favorite seasoning. Half-Pint is on a ranch kick, so we used the ranch seasoning mix shown above. Roast in a 300 degree oven for 30 minutes, flipping seeds with a spatula halfway through. Allow to cool slightly before enjoying.

Happy Halloween!

Italian Marinated Eggplant

It should come as no surprise that Crowded Earth Kitchen features at least one or two new eggplant recipes every summer. When you emphasize “fresh” and “frugal” in your kitchen, eggplant has a way of emerging as a frequent star. This summer, as these lovely purple beauties make their way from our garden to our table, we’re trying something new. Italian Marinated Eggplant is best served cold as part of an antipasto platter, with a side of crusty bread, or as a salad ingredient with fresh mozzarella (shown above). Enjoy!

eggplant1Ingredients (Makes 1 quart)

1 large or 3 small eggplant Continue reading

Bacon Jam

Bacon Jam

IMG-1793Since we’re spending, ah, a lot of time at home these days, we may as well make the best of things. Here’s a warm and savory treat to enjoy with crackers or crostini while watching a movie in your living room, pretending you’re at the theater. Stay safe, friends.

Ingredients (Makes 1 cup; recipe doubles easily)

1/2 pound bacon, diced Continue reading

Sweet ‘n Spicy Pumpkin Seeds

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If you’ve been a Crowded Earth Kitchen friend for a while, you already know of our love for pumpkin seeds. These tiny little powerhouses of nutrition are a free “bonus” snack after turning pumpkins into all sorts of delightful goodies. What’s not to love about that?  Continue reading

Chicken Dip with Crostini

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Start a conversation at your next summer party with Chicken Dip and Crostini straight out of the 1950s! Go ahead – channel your inner Betty Draper and let’s get started. Martinis optional. Continue reading

Snacking Tokyo-Style: Plum Onigiri

riceAre you looking for an easy way to jazz up your weekday lunch?

All over Tokyo, food courts and convenience stores sell triangles of sticky rice filled with all sorts of wonderful goodies. Called onigiri, these snacks fit easily in the palm of your hand, are quite filling, and are very affordable – many cost the equivalent of $1 or less. Our whole family enjoyed sampling onigiri filled with pickles, plums, smoked salmon, and even hard boiled eggs. Our favorite were the plum-filled snacks, which we are creating today.

rice mold

Onigiri mold

You can Continue reading

Cheesy Hot Crab Dip

WIN_20160530_172010Seriously friends, Cheesy Hot Crab Dip is awesome. Set a dish of this on the deck with a bowl of tortilla chips at your next cookout, and it will surely disappear before the grill is ready. Summer is short. Have some delicious fun!

WIN_20160530_164641Ingredients (Fills one pie plate)

8 ounces light cream cheese, softened

8 ounces light sour cream

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce (optional)

12 ounces imitation crab meat, diced

1/4 cup finely diced red bell pepper

1 tablespoon finely diced onion

1/2 teaspoon ground paprika

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup finely shredded cheddar cheese

WIN_20160530_165427Directions

Step 1) Use an electric mixer to beat the cream cheese in a medium size mixing bowl for about 30 seconds. Add all remaining ingredients except for the shredded cheddar cheese, and blend well.

Step 2) Transfer the cheesy crab dip mixture to a pie dish (9 inch diameter). Spread so that the top is even, and sprinkle with shredded cheddar cheese.

Step 3) Bake your Cheesy Hot Crab Dip in a preheated 400 degree oven for 15 minutes, or until the dip is bubbly and the top begins to turn golden brown.

Step 4) Allow to cool slightly (5 minutes or less) before serving.

Shrimp Spring Rolls

WIN_20160502_173224Here’s to second chances! The first time I tried making spring rolls, they were a disaster. I swore I’d never attempt them again. Well, I’ve learned a few things since then and as it turns out, spring rolls really aren’t difficult to make at all! My loss is your gain – thanks to my mistakes, I’ll be able to help you avoid a few pitfalls and make delicious spring rolls on your very first attempt.

Fun fact: spring roll wrappers and vermicelli noodles are made of exactly the same thing… rice flour. Many spring roll recipes Continue reading

Sweet Pickled Watermelon Rind

WIN_20160420_175431Sweet Pickled Watermelon Rind is an old school recipe which hails back to the Great Depression, when nothing was wasted. Depression era cooks were creative, not because it was chic but because it was necessary. Children love the sweet, tangy taste of these pickles right from the jar. Grown-ups love them as bacon wrapped party snacks, broiled and enjoyed while hot. However you enjoy them, I can guarantee that once you’ve sampled Sweet Pickled Watermelon Rind, you’ll never look at a whole watermelon quite the same way again!

WIN_20160418_191438Ingredients (Makes about 4 pint jars)

Rind from one large watermelon

1/2 cup salt

6 cups cold water Continue reading

Good For You Garlic Dip

WIN_20160201_190240Garlicky, tangy, creamy, delicious – what are you waiting for? Good For You Garlic Dip is fabulous with carrot sticks or tortilla chips. A generous 1/2 cup serving contains over 10 grams of protein, 5 grams of dietary fiber, and a big punch of calcium, iron, and potassium – all for around 100 calories!

WIN_20160201_131225Ingredients (Makes 2 cups) Continue reading

Cranberry Cheese Ball

1231151714aIt’s football season, and this Cranberry Cheese Ball would make a perfect halftime snack! This recipe is easy to make, easy to transport to your next party, and a guaranteed crowd pleaser. You can even make a Cranberry Cheese Ball ahead of time. This will keep in your refrigerator for several days. Alternatively, you can freeze it for several weeks. It will thaw nicely if left in the fridge for 24 hours.

Ingredients (Makes 1 large Cranberry Cheese Ball)

8 ounces cream cheese, softened

2 tablespoons sour cream

1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese

1/3 cup dried cranberries

1/3 cup finely chopped scallions

1/3 cup finely chopped fennel (or substitute celery)

1/3 cup chopped nuts (hazelnuts and walnuts work well)

Directions

Combine all ingredients except chopped nuts; mix well. Shape into a ball (or a log shape, if you prefer). Roll in chopped nuts. Wrap Cranberry Cheese Ball in plastic wrap and refrigerate until serving. To serve, allow Cranberry Cheese Ball to come to room temperature. Serve on a platter surrounded by crackers.

 

Inside Out Bloody Marys

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This just might be the easiest item to prepare on your entire party buffet… and the most popular! Who doesn’t love a good Bloody Mary? Sure, the spicy, tomato based vodka beverage is tasty, but everyone knows the best part of a well made Bloody Mary is the garnish. Here at Crowded Earth Kitchen, we ran with that idea and created Inside Out Bloody Marys. The beverage itself is shot sized and potent, accompanied by an assortment of excellent pickled vegetables. Rock On!

Ingredients (Serves 12)

12 ounces (1 1/2 cups) spicy Bloody Mary mix, chilled (Preservation and Co. Bloody Mary Mix 32 Oz. Jar)

12 ounces (1 1/2 cups) good quality vodka, chilled

1 cup of pickled mushrooms

1 cup of pickled beans (Tabasco Beans, Spicy, 16 Ounce)

1 cup of pickled okra (TABASCO Spicy Pickled Okra 12 oz. jar)

Double (3 ounce) shot glasses

Toothpicks

Directions

OK, friends – this is easy enough to prepare even if you’ve already enjoyed a full size Bloody Mary or three.  😉  Begin by arranging your relishes in the center of a party platter. If you want more than three options, go for it. Try thick slices of dill pickles, ginger pickled carrots, garlic stuffed green olives, rosemary pickled cherry tomatoes, etc.

Next, arrange your shot glasses on the outer edge of the party platter. Fill your shot glasses half full with chilled vodka, and top with chilled Bloody Mary mix. Serve immediately!