Blend & Extend Appetizer Contest: Beef Mushroom Endive Taco Boats by The Primal Desire

Have you heard about our contest leading into this year's Food Blogger of Canada Conference? We're encouraging all FBC Members to create an original appetizer recipe using the Blend & Extend concept. You can read more about the contest details HERE.

Bloggers are getting competitive and more and more submissions are filling my inbox. We've got another great entry to share with you! Raj of The Primal Desire used the Blend & Extend idea to make these impressive little taco boats! They're perfect for entertaining.



Beef Mushroom Endive Taco Boats by The Primal Desire

This is a recipe for the Blend and Extend strategy – adding finely chopped mushrooms to ground beef to add more vegetables to your plate, extending portions and adding volume to meals. That works for me because I normally dice up a whack of veg and mix it into my GB.

Ingredients
2 lbs ground beef
6 large white or brown mushrooms (finely chopped)
1 red onion (finely chopped - ¼ cup put aside for salsa)
1 red chilli pepper (finely diced)
2 cloves garlic
3 heaping Tbsp taco seasoning (homemade or Paleo variety)
4-6 endives (leaves separated from base - see video above)
1 cup cherry tomatoes (finely chopped)
2-3 Tbsp ghee or grass-fed butter
optional:
½ - 1 can black olives (chopped)
shredded aged cheddar or crumbled blue cheese (if lacto-paleo)

Pineapple Salsa
1½ cups pineapple (about ½ a pineapple - finely chopped - choosing & cutting pineapples)
¼ cup red onion (finely diced - from above)
1-2 Tbsp cilantro (diced)
1 avocado (cubed, salted and coated in lime juice)

Method
Pineapple Avocado Salsa (make this in advance so that flavors can blend):
1. Mix ¼ cup finely chopped red onion with pineapple, cilantro, and avocado.
2. Place in fridge until needed.
Endive Boats:
1. In a large frying pan or pot, melt ghee or butter over medium heat.
2. Add remaining onions and mushrooms, cooking until soft.
3. Add chilli, garlic and beef, stirring well to break up ground beef.
4. Once browned, mix in taco seasoning and olives.
5. Fill each endive leaf with ground beef/mushroom mixture.
6. If using cheese, sprinkle each endive.
7. Serve with pineapple salsa and cherry tomatoes to be spooned on top.

Notes
This is great with aged cheddar or even blue cheese if you eat lacto-paleo. If not, it's still a really nice balance of flavors to share with everyone!


I’m Raj.  To say that I love food would be a severe understatement.  Food is everything!  It is nourishment.  It’s fun.  It’s creative.  It’s health.   It’s social.  It’s spiritual.  It’s a reason to get out of bed in the morning (or afternoon.  …or in the middle of the night).  It’s enjoyment.  It’s comfort. Food is love!

Being a pharmacist, healthy lifestyle habits are incredibly important to me -because I sure don’t want to be taking medications if I can prevent it!!!  My time in healthcare has emphasized how crucial it is for us human beings to make smart healthy decisions, and food- well like I said: food is everything.

Follow along with Raj at The Primal Desire, as well as on FacebookTwitter and Pinterest.  

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Join the competition for your chance to win an “Appetizer Spotlight” at the Blend & Extend table at the FBC conference in October. 

Blend & Extend Appetizer Contest: Beef and Mushroom Lettuce Wraps with Cucumber/Lime Yogurt and Sriracha Peanuts by Food Inspires

Have you heard about our contest leading into this year's Food Blogger of Canada Conference? We're encouraging all FBC Members to create an original appetizer recipe using the Blend & Extend concept. You can read more about the contest details HERE.

Entries are starting to come in and we've got another tasty submission to share with you! Chef Christopher Pires of Food Inspires used the Blend & Extend concept to make his own version of a lettuce wrap that is simple, flavourful, delicious and low in carbs!



Beef and Mushroom Lettuce Wraps with Cucumber/Lime Yogurt and Sriracha Peanuts by Food Inspires

This is one of my favorite dishes to make when I entertain.  It’s easy, fun to make, can be used in a formal or informal setting, can be an appetizer or a main, and did I mention uses beef and mushrooms – my two favorite ingredients to cook with!  Oh yes, and it is delicious.  I like spice in my food, the sriracha peanuts, sambal and chili flakes provide a gentle blow.

The Filling:
1 lb beef, cut philly cheesesteak style – thin and in pieces
1 medium onion, diced
1 cup Cremini mushrooms blended with 1 medium onion in a processor – rough chop
2 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce, Sambal Oelek
2 tbsp chili flakes
Olive oil, salt and pepper – to sauté, and to taste

Brown the beef breaking up the bits that clump together
Drain any fat that comes into the pan, add about 2 tbsp olive oil to the beef and add the diced onion – you only want to soften the onions 
Add the Worcestershire sauce, sambal, salt and pepper – taste, season and taste again
In a separate pan (or empty the beef/onion mixture to a bowl), add 1 tbsp olive oil and the mushrooms and onions – you want to remove the extra water from the mushrooms and onions so sauté until they are almost dry – flavor with some salt, pepper  and chili flakes – remember, taste, season and taste
Once the liquid from the mushroom and onions has almost dried up, add the beef/onion mixture – stir to combine - That’s it for the filling!

The Sauce:
½ cup yogurt
1 lime, zested and juiced
½ cucumber, deseeded and chopped fine
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients and let rest for 30 minutes before serving (or use right away)

The Topping:
½ cup peanuts
2 tbsp Sriracha

Coat the peanuts in the sriracha, let dry on their own on the counter for about 30 minutes or in a 325F oven for 10 minutes (make more than you need, they won’t last and you will regret it!)

The Base:
1 pkg Romaine lettuce leaves, washed and dried thoroughly

Arrange lettuce on a plate, top with the beef and mushroom mixture, dollop with yogurt, top with peanuts – enjoy! Note if lettuce doesn't lie flat, trim the bottom (middle stem) so there is a flat edge, stand it up in this edge


Banker turns Chef!  In December 2011, after 25 years in corporate life as a successful banker and then a consultant to the banks, Chris Pires packs it all in to become a Chef.  He’s been creating great meals for family and friends for over 30 years and finally decided to pursue his lifelong passion for food by becoming a Chef.  He attended two chef schools – 6 days and 4 nights a week for over a year, to hone his skills and obtain certification.   At Liaison College, he studied classical French and Italian cooking under a skilled Master Chef.  At George Brown, he expanded his passion for food by gaining further knowledge in baking through their Baking and Pastry Arts Program.  He also continued studies in Italian, French and Indian cooking at George Brown past graduation.    

You can find other great recipes at www.foodinspires.com.  Don’t forget to “like” me on Facebook and follow me on Twitter and Pinterest.  As always, enjoy!

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Join the competition for your chance to win an “Appetizer Spotlight” at the Blend & Extend table at the FBC conference in October. 

Blend & Extend Appetizer Contest: Mini Meatball Stuffed Mushrooms by Kravings Blog

If you were on Wednesday's Twitter Party, you will have heard about our contest leading into this year's Food Blogger of Canada Conference! We're encouraging all FBC Members to create an original appetizer recipe using the Blend & Extend concept. Read more about the contest details HERE.

We've received our first entry and it's a mouthwatering inaugural submission. Karen of Kravings Blog used the Blend & Extend concept to make mini meatballs and stuffed them inside of mushroom caps, topped with cheese. Creative and delicious!!

Photo by Adam Ahmed

Mini Meatball Stuffed Mushrooms by Kravings Blog

Mushrooms and Beef are the perfect pairing and great to blend and extend your budget. This delicious appetizer is tasty and has an extreme wow factor. When I shop for mushrooms for this recipe, I never buy them pre-packaged, instead I pick them by hand to ensure that they are the same size. A tiny block of cheese on top of each is optional and helps keep this together. Since mushrooms are super delicious and juicy, either provide your guests with tiny appetizer plates or stand them on some kitchen towel to absorb the juices before serving. This filling is enough to stuff a minimum of 48 mushrooms.

Ingredients
48 white button mushrooms
1 lb medium ground beef
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp pepper
1/2 finely chopped red onion
1 tsp ground garlic paste
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley 
Coarse salt to taste
2 tbsps olive oil
48 small nuggets of cheese of your choice 

Method
1. Heat your oven to 350 degrees.
2. Prepare a baking dish with 2 tbsps of olive oil brushed at the bottom and sprinkle with some salt 
3. Remove the mushroom stalks and shave the bottoms so they are stand.
4. Chop all the removed bits of mushroom really fine and add to the beef.
5. Add the cumin, pepper, onion, garlic paste, parsley and salt to taste and mix vigorously.
6. For ease of preparation, take 3 - 4 golf size balls of the mixture and blend it in your food processor.
7. Add this to the rest of the meat.
8. Using a small melon baller with a release lever as a guide fill the meat mixture to the level.
9. Continue doing this till you have 48 mini meatballs.
10. Place the mushrooms on the baking tray.
11. Leaving the meatballs aside, stuff the cavity of the mushroom with the remaining meat mixture.
12. Roll the measured meatball into a perfect ball shape and top each mushroom.
13. Cook for 15 - 20 mins.
14. Remove from the oven and top with a nugget of cheese of your choice.
15. Return to the oven for another minute or so.
16. Garnish with more chopped parsley.

Follow Karen over at Kravings Blog, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest!

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Join the competition for your chance to win an “Appetizer Spotlight” at the Blend & Extend table at the FBC conference in October.