Let’s Talk Food: Appetizers and beverages from Santa Fe

My dear friend Rosemary, who was at the Colleen Cloney Duncan Shop in the Museum of Indian Arts &Culture in Sante Fe, N.M., thought about me and bought “Appetizers &Beverages from Santa Fe” cookbook.

The Museum of Indian Arts &Culture is “one of the world’s premier institutions dedicated to the accurate and sensitive interpretation of the complex and diverse Native peoples of the Southwest.” This museum “grew out of the need for the Laboratory of Anthropology to provide a place where its collections could be viewed by the public. Together, the museum and the laboratory realize the dreams of early cultural leaders who encouraged the sensitive collection and preservation of Native American arts and material culture.”

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It is a beautiful book, filled with photos and artwork from the museum.

Thank you, Rosemary Linden, for a great cookbook!

Some of the interesting recipes in the cookbook include:

Eggplant Chevre Mousse

Makes: 4 cups

1 large eggplant (1 1/2-2 pounds)

Olive oil for coating

1 head garlic, roasted, pulp squeezed from the cloves

1 red bell pepper, roasted, peeled, seeded and finely diced

4 ounces unaged chevre cheese

1 scallion, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves and stems

Juice of 1/2 lemon

2 teaspoons red wine vinegar

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoons salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Halve the eggplant lengthwise and rub the flesh with a little of the olive oil. Place the halves, cut sides down, on a baking sheet. Roast until very soft, about 20 minutes. Remove and let cool to room temperature. Scrape the eggplant pulp out of the skin with a large spoon. Discard the skin; very finely chop the pulp. Combine remaining ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Mash together with a fork until well combined. Taste for seasoning; depending upon how tangy the cherve is, you might desire more salt or vinegar.

Serve at room temperature with pita chips or cover and refrigerate for up to four days. If refrigerated, bring to room temperature before serving.

• • •

Here’s another interesting pupu:

Roasted Garlic Brie and Grape Crostini

Makes: 24 crostini

30 cloves garlic, peeled

1/2 cup olive oil

3/4 teaspoon thyme

2 cups seedless grapes, halved (red and green)

1/3 cup ruby port

3/4 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary

Pinch sugar

1 baguette, cut diagonally into 24 slices and toasted

8 ounces Brie cheese, rind remove at room temperature

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Combine garlic and oil in a small baking dish. Bake until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain, reserving 1 tablespoon oil. Transfer garlic to food processor. Add thyme and reserved oil and puree. Mix grapes, port, rosemary and sugar in a bowl and let stand 10 minutes. Spread each baguette slice with 1 teaspoon garlic. Spread 2 teaspoons cheese over and top with grape mixture.

• • •

Chef’s Choice Vegetable Dip

Makes: 2 cups

1 cup mayonnaise

1/2 cup sour cream

1/2 teaspoon crushed oregano

1/2 teaspoon crushed dried basil

1/4 teaspoon crushed dried thyme

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon curry powder

2 teaspoons chopped and drained capers

1-1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

1-1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon grated onion

1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley

Blend all ingredients in a small bowl. Cover and refrigerate until serving time. Serve with fresh celery, grape tomatoes, strips of red pepper, green onions, cucumbers, zucchini slices, blanched cauliflower, broccoli and carrot sticks.

To blanch vegetables: Bring water to a boil in saucepan. Have a deep bowl ready with ice cubes and ice water. Drop prepared vegetables into boiling water for only 2-3 minutes. Time carefully. Dip out vegetables with a slotted spoon and plunge them into ice water. Remove with slotted spoon to drain on paper towels. Repeat with remaining vegetables (they will be easier to eat and retain their bright colors).

• • •

Layered Chickpea Curry Dip

Makes: 10 servings

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese

1 cup cottage cheese

1/4 cup sour cream

2 teaspoons curry powder

1/2 cup chutney

1/3 cup chopped green onions

1/3 cup chopped raisins

1/3 cup shredded coconut

1 cup chopped cooked chicken

1/2 cup chopped salted peanuts

In a food processor, combine cream cheese, cottage cheese, sour cream and curry powder. Process until smooth. Spread mixture on the bottom of a platter or quiche dish. Top with chutney, green onions, raisins, coconut, chicken and peanuts, in that order. Cover and refrigerate 3-4 hours or overnight. Serve with assorted crackers.

• • •

Salmon Tartare

Makes: 8-10 servings

2 pounds fresh salmon fillets, completely free of bones, skin and fat

1 finely minced red onion

1/2 cup drained capers

1/2 chopped fresh mint

2 tablespoons vodka

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Fresh lemon juice

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Cut the salmon into small pieces and put in a food processor until finely chopped. Do not puree. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl, cover and refrigerate until cold. Remove to serving dish and serve with rye bread or crackers.

Spicy Salmon variation: Combine 1/4 cup Dijon mustard, 1/3 cup pureed chipotle chile peppers canned in adobo sauce, 2/3 cup minced green onion, 1/2 cup drained capers, 1/4 cup olive oil and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Add 2 pounds salmon fillets completely free of bones, skin and fat. Finely dice salmon, add to mixture and serve immediately.

Foodie bites

It is sad to hear when a local restaurant shuts down. This is from Blane’s Drive Inn:

It is with a heavy heart that we announce that after over 23 years, our downtown Hilo location on Waianuenue Avenue will be closing permanently at the end of the month, on Thursday, June 27.

We wish we could thank every customer we’ve ever had at downtown! Your aloha and support over the past two decades is greatly appreciated. But due to the continuing increases in costs of doing business, anti-business legislation by the county and state and an inability to come to a mutually beneficial lease extension for this location, we must say goodbye.

Our three other locations (Industrial in Hilo, Orchidland and Honokaa) will all continue. WE ARE ONLY CLOSING OUR DOWNTOWN LOCATION. Mahalo for your kokua and understanding!

Thank you, Blane’s Drive Inn, for 23 years at the Waianuenue Avenue location.

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It is not easy to operate a food business, with the costs of food increasing, wage increases and constantly dealing with state and county rules and regulations, it is wonderful they had a 23-year run downtown.

Email Audrey Wilson at audreywilson808@gmail.com.

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