APPETIZERS

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APPETIZERS (7)

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Serves 6

Ingredients:
6 small apricots, washed, halved and pitted
1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1 Tbsp honey
4 sprigs lemon thyme or regular thyme
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat grill. In a small bowl mix the honey, thyme sprigs, melted butter, salt and pepper. Set aside. Brush the apricot halves with the olive oil and grill, cut side down, until they are just softened and have caramelized grill marks, about 3 minutes. Immediately toss into the bowl with the honey, thyme and butter and let marinate at room temperature until ready to serve. Use as a garnish for grilled pork chops.

Serves 6; Recipe by Courtney McDonald

Ingredients:
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
3 firm-ripe freestone peaches, pitted and cut into quarters
6 sprigs fresh thyme
1 tsp. olive oil
6 slices bacon, cut into 1” strips
1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
2 cups baby spinach, washed and dried (optional)
salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Arrange the peach quarters in a glass baking dish. Place ½ sprig of thyme onto each peach quarter and set aside.

In a small skillet over medium heat, heat the olive oil with the bacon strips. Cook, stirring occasionally, until bacon is cooked to your liking. Drain the fat from the bacon and set bacon pieces aside – keep the bacon fat!

Pour bacon fat over the peaches in the baking dish. Sprinkle 1 Tbsp. of the brown sugar over the peaches, season to taste with salt and pepper and roast in the oven until peaches are just softened – about 15 minutes. Allow to cool slightly.

While peaches are cooling: reduce the remaining 1 Tbsp. brown sugar with the balsamic vinegar over medium heat in a small pot until the vinegar is syrupy. Be careful not to over reduce or the vinegar will taste burnt. Set aside.

If using the baby spinach, arrange it on a medium sized platter. Place the warm peaches on top of the spinach topped with the bacon pieces. Crumble the blue cheese over the top and drizzle with the reduced balsamic vinegar.

Serve as a side dish for grilled pork or chicken. Enjoy!

Recipe by Courtney McDonald; Serves 6

Ingredients:
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 large yellow onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
1 ½ tsp. ground cumin
1 ½ tsp. ground coriander
1 Tbsp. smoked Spanish paprika
1 ¼ lbs. black beauty or other eggplant
1/2 tsp. crushed smoked dried chilies
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup sesame tahini
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. toasted sesame seeds, for garnish
salt, to taste
1 recipe Zephyr squash chips (recipe follows) peeled and diced into 1/2 inch cubes

In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and sweat until onions are soft and fragrant, about 6 minutes. Add the cumin, coriander, paprika and crushed chilies. Cook until spices are fragrant, about 2 more minutes. Add the eggplant and reduce heat to low. Stir to coat evenly with the onion/spice mixture and cook until eggplant begins to soften. If eggplant begins to stick to the bottom of the pot, add a little water. Cook, stirring occasionally, until eggplant is completely soft, about 20-30 minutes. Add salt to taste and remove from heat.

Puree the eggplant mixture in the bowl of a food processor to the desired consistency, or mash finely with a potato masher. Transfer to a medium mixing bowl and add the parsley, tahini, and lemon juice. Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary, and serve hot or cold with the squash chips.

Zephyr Squash Chips

Ingredients:
2 medium-sized Zephyr squash, rinsed
1/4 cup olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 225. Line 2 baking sheets with non-stick silicon baking mats. Brush the mats with olive oil. Using a mandolin slicer, slice the Zephyr squash as thinly as possible and line the slices in a single layer (not overlapping) on the baking sheets. Brush the top side of the squash with olive oil, lightly season with salt and pepper and bake in the preheated oven until chips are completely dry and crisp – 1 ½ to 2 hours. Let cool completely before removing from the baking mat. Store in an airtight container until ready to eat.

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