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March 2, 2016
Appetizers, Side Dishes and Salads for Mardi Gras!

Mardi Gras is French for “Fat Tuesday”. It is a celebration! You can eat anything you want before you enter the season of Lent.

 

No matter what traditions you follow or what religion you are, it is a wonderful time to gather with family and friends… sing, dance, have fun and of course… eat!

 

Meat is usually a protagonist in most gatherings. Steaks, ribs or any other great cuts you like! But in this diary, I would like to share some really great recipes for appetizers, salads and side dishes that can be served with your choice of meats… to make an amazingly delicious Fat Tuesday spread!! No great spread is complete without all the little sides!

 

If you are a vegetarian, I’ve got you covered! Most of these recipes are vegetarian and so filling and tasty that you can make a full meal out of them!

 

Let’s start off with some SIDE DISHES!

 

Fries! What better way to start? They are everyone’s favorite! Crunchy, perfectly seasoned fries. Watch the video and follow my instructions which will show you how to make the best fries ever! Make a whole bunch because they are sure to go fast!!!

 

Fries

 

Another great potato..ey side dish is Sweet Potato Wedges or chips. The sweet potato is extremely beneficial and rich in vitamins, with a sweet taste. It goes perfectly with a yogurt and paprika dip!

 

Sweet Potato Wedges

 

Vegetables make wonderful side dishes, especially when they are not bland and boring.

Roast broccoli is broccoli at its best! You can also try Roasted Cauliflower with Hazelnuts, served with parmesan shavings.  Both these recipes are very flavorful and it will change the way you see these vegetables. The kids will love them and ask for seconds! That’s how good they are!

 

Roast Broccoli

 

Cauliflower with hazelnuts and almonds

 

Another favored side dish that is served with all sorts of food is bacon. Follow my video where I tell you the best kept secrets on How to make the crispiest bacon ever!

You can crumble it over the fries and roast vegetables or just on its own. It will quickly disappear!

 

The last side dish is really wonderful.  An Asparagus Gratin with mushrooms, yogurt and topped with grated parmesan. Serve it warm and enjoy!

 

Asparagus Gratin

 

Next up…. APPETIZERS!

 

I’d like to start off with two much loved appetizers from two different ethnic cuisines…. the Arabic hummus and the Greek tzatziki.

 

Hummus, made with chickpeas, tahini and aromatics, is a warm and very appetizing… appetizer! The word hummus actually means chickpeas in Arabic.

 

Hummus

 

Tzatziki, made with yogurt, garlic and white wine vinegar, is refreshing and also very appetizing. It’s a perfect accompaniment to any meats but can also be served as a dip.

 

Tzatziki

 

The following appetizers are a very special treat. A delicious variety of fritters! Tomato Fritters…. Zucchini Fritters… and Eggplant Fritters. Many of you have tried them in different little Greek taverns but I suggest you try making them at home, on your own. If you follow my recipes, I bet you they will turn out better than any you have ever tried! Your guests will love them.

 

Tomato fritters

 

Zucchini Fritters

 

Eggplant Fritters

 

If you like eggplants, I have the tastiest eggplant appetizer with paprika… also known as… Baba Ghanoush! A rich, aromatic dip with a special surprise ingredient I added that really makes this a special version! Serve it with grilled bread or Greek Pita Bread.

 

Babaghanoush

 

I think it’s time to move on to SALADS!

 

An unusual salad, for those who are not familiar with it, is the Cretan Dako. If you have not yet become acquainted with this wonderful recipe… please do, because you are really missing out!! Tomatoes and soft cheese piled over barley rusks that are softened with extra virgin olive oil and aromatic juices. If you’re really in the mood to please your guests, you can also make your own Homemade Soft Cheese!

 

Cretan Dako

 

Another salad that is always preferred at bbq’s is of course… Coleslaw!  Creamy sauce mixed with shredded cabbage, carrots and celery. You can give it a little extra flavor and aroma by adding some parsley and fresh thyme. You may love it even more!

 

Coleslaw

 

I’ve left a different kind of salad for last… a cooked salad! Roasted Radicchio. You can even throw it on the grill. It is delicious although it has a slightly bitter taste. Serve it with extra virgin olive oil and good quality balsamic vinegar and you will be pleasantly surprised!

 

Roasted Radicchio

 

Each recipe I have shared with you has its own unique flavor and style. Combined they are a true feast for the senses!  Share them all with your family, friends and guests to make this Fat Tuesday a very special occasion for everyone, bringing all of you closer. These days carry a warm feeling on their own and these gatherings, however big or small, make them even more complete.

 

So, eat to your heart’s content! Enjoy this magnificent spread and watch your guests reeling with pleasure from your culinary skills!

And for those of you who do follow fasting, happily welcome lent!

 

Don’t forget to send in pictures of all of your delicious goodies!!

 

Happy Fat Tuesday and Mardi Gras!

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