Archive for the ‘Appetizers’ Category

Black Bean Fritters

August 11, 2012 6 comments
Black Bean Fritters

Black Bean Fritters

Do you get stuck in a rut making the same things over and over and over and over and….

That was me last year.  As much as I love to cook, I still felt like I was making the same 10-12 dishes.  Sure I’d throw in something new every now and then to break it up, but for the most part it was getting pretty monotonous.

I think the reason for this is comfort.  For me, it really is much easier to go with what I know. With familiar ingredients, it was easier to plan, easier to shop, and took less time to cook.  Makes sense when life is busy.

Despite often being busy, I was determined to break through my cooking barriers.  So at the onset of 2012 I made a commitment to try at least one new dish every week.  I’m very much on target, and running the blog helps me stay on track.  I think at one point earlier in the year I made 7 straight meals that I’ve never made before.

With 2012 half gone, I continue trying more and more new things.  And even when I go to the well for an old stand-by recipe, I’ll try to tweak it to make it new and fresh. Thus, dinners have been far from boring.

The most recent new meal I made is this black bean fritter.  It contains simple, easy to find, mostly fresh ingredients.  It doesn’t take long to make. They’re filling.  Most of all, they taste good.  They would be great as an appetizer, or as the main dish paired with a side of rice.

Serve the fritters with a dipping sauce for added flavor and freshness.  I think it they would be excellent dipped in a chipotle dip but I went with a cilantro dip that was included in the original recipe that I found.  Even though I made the cilantro dip, I’ll include a quick easy chipotle dip recipe as well.  Enjoy!

For the Fritters


Fritter Ingredients

Cilantro was shy and didn’t want its picture taken

  • 2 cans of black beans, rinsed
  • 1 red or yellow pepper (either – for color)
  • 1/2 white onion, diced (more or less based on your taste)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tomato, chopped fine
  • 1 handful of fresh cilantro, chopped fine
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • Salt and pepper to taste

You’ve been chopped

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well to incorporate.  Mixture will look wet but shouldn’t be too wet or loose. Add a tablespoon or more of flour as needed, but you should be ok with 1/2 cup.  Season with salt and pepper.

Fritter Looks Wet

Looks a little wet, but don’t worry

In a medium sized pan, heat olive oil.

Using an ice cream scoop, add a scoopful of mixture to the hot pan (I can get 3 or 4 in a pan).

Fritter Frying

3 or 4 will fit

Cook each fritter 3 minutes on one side.  Gently flip and cook another 3 minutes or until golden brown.

Fritter flipped

Cook until golden and crisp

Serve immediately with dipping sauce (Or store on a metal try in the oven preheated to 225 degrees until all fritters are done).

For the Cilantro Dipping Sauce:

Combine 1/2 cup of plain greek yogurt (or sour cream), 1 minced garlic clove, 2 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro, 1 teaspoon of sugar, and salt and pepper in a bowl.  Whisk to incorporate.

For the Chipotle Dipping Sauce:

Combine 1/2 cup mayonnaise, 1 chipotle pepper (in adobo sauce – diced fine), juice of 1/2 lime, pinch of cumin, and pinch of salt in a bowl.  Whisk to incorporate.


Fritters with Cilantro Dip


Bacon Blue Cheese Deviled Eggs

July 7, 2012 4 comments
Bacon and Blue Cheese Deviled Egg

Bacon and Blue Cheese Deviled Egg

I met Josh several years ago at work and pretty much immediately knew we’d become friends.  Partly because he was a smart-ass like me and partly because he knew his stuff and was always a big help on projects I managed.  So when our team was looking to fill an open position, myself, along with some co-workers lobbied for him to fill it.  After working together for a few months I introduced him to my wife and he introduced me to his partner Chuck.  The 4 of us got along pretty well and we’ve been close ever since.

There are so many good things I can say about these two guys.  They’re kind and extremely helpful.  Also, they’re extremely passionate  with everything they’re involved in.  Pretty much nothing these guys won’t do to help out.  They’re currently in an adoption pool and if anyone deserves to be parents its these two.  I plugged their site in my last entry, but its worth posting again. Check out their amazing story here.

Like me, Josh and Chuck are enthusiastic about good food.  In addition, they are known for always throwing a good party.

So with the Independence Day Holiday smack-dab in the middle of the week and them living nearby, it was a no-brainer to accept an invite to their 4th of July party. Plus they were making Sangria (always a good reason to attend a party in my opinion).


Just the right amount of fruitiness 😉

Our hosts informed us that they would be making the “main” dish (stuffed burgers) and everyone else was to bring whatever they wanted.

The guests brought a wide-range of delectable dishes including watermelon and tomato salad, potato salad with blue cheese, a quinoa salad, pasta salad, “fat-boy” baked beans, “boozy” watermelon, and so much more.


I must not forget about  desserts.  Banana cream poke cake, fresh blueberry and raspberry pie, mint-chocolate chip cupcakes, and homemade spicy vanilla ice cream (which I made and will most likely blog sometime this summer).


I did the ever-popular picnic staple deviled eggs.  While simple, this version, which I found courtesy of my new favorite blog – Framed Cooks, is certainly blog worthy.  The picture on her sight grabbed me right away but I chose it because it combined one of my favorite combinations: bacon and blue cheese.

The burgers and all of the sides were fantastic and my deviled eggs were a hit (even the non-deviled egg fans became fans).

My Plate

My Plate

The  desserts were decadent.

Pie and Ice Cream

A slice of heaven with a side of spicy vanilla ice cream

It was a great night that ended with patriotic music and fireworks among laughs with friends old and new.  My only regret was not taking the next day off of work.


We had a blast (pun intended)

Bacon and Blue Cheese Deviled Eggs

Ingredients (makes 24 deviled eggs):



  • 1 dozen eggs
  • 8 strips of bacon
  • 3/4 cup of mayonaise
  • 5 ounces blue cheese, crumbled
  • 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard

Cook bacon to desired crispness, drain fat.

Crumble all of the bacon except one piece (to use as garnish), set aside.

Meanwhile, place the eggs in a large pot and cover with cold water.  Bring the water to a boil and boil 2 minutes.  Place lid on pot and remove from heat.  Cook, with heat off, approximately  10-12 minutes until eggs are done.

When cooked, place eggs in an ice bath to stop the cooking process.

Peel each egg, cut in half lengthwise, and gently remove the yolk from the white.  Place the yolk in a bowl.  Place white of egg on serving platter.

In the bowl with the yolks, add mayonaise and mustard.  Smash with a fork to incorporate the ingredients.

Fold in crumbled bacon and blue cheese.

Mixed and ready to pipe

Mixed and ready to pipe

Using a piping bag (or 2 spoons) divide mixture evenly among the egg whites.

Pipe in the mixture

Piping bag makes it look pretty

Add a piece of bacon to garnish.  Keep chilled until ready to serve.  Enjoy!

Ready to serve

Ready to serve