Appetizers

Party planning a la Tucker Cravings!

Pickled Ramps by Mikie Dumire

Ramps
1 cup water
1 cup vinegar
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon alum

Clean ramps, keeping bulbs only.  Pack tightly in jars.  Add 1/4 teaspoon alum to each pint.

Bring liquid mixture to boil, pour over ramps.  Continue making liquid, enough to cover all ramps to be pickled.

Process sealed jars in boiling water bath for 5 minutes to seal lids.

*Sometimes, just depending on the mood, I throw in other ingredients for example, crushed red peppers, celery seed, dill weed or seed etc.

Ramp Dill Pickles by Mikie Dumire

1 qt. vinegar
2 qt. water
2 sprigs fresh dill weed to jar
1 gal. small cucumbers
1 c. salt
1 tsp. alum
2 medium-sized ramps to a jar

Put dill and ramps in jars, pack cucumbers on top.  Pour boiling water over cucumbers.  Let set until mixture is ready.

Mix vinegar, water and salt together; bring to a boil.  Drain water off cucumbers; pour boiling mixture over cucumbers and seal jar.  Fresh ramps are best to use although if you have some in the freezer you may use them.

Ramp Dip by Mikie Dumire

8 oz. package cream cheese
2 cups sour cream
20 ramps
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. salt

Blanch 15 ramps including tops, cool, then chop finely. Mix sour cream and softened cream cheese together.
 Add cayenne pepper, salt and chopped ramps.  Chop the raw ramps, finely, and add to mixture.

Serve with crackers or bite size pieces of French bread or the favorite at our house is Beer Bread.

Scalloped Potatoes and Ramps by Lori Mullenax

6 cups sliced potatoes
3 cups ramps, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup chicken broth
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Place a layer of sliced potatoes in a buttered 1 1/2-quart casserole, follow with a layer of ramps and a sprinkling of salt and pepper.

Repeat layers, ending with potatoes.  Combine chicken broth and heavy cream; pour over potatoes and ramps.  Bake at 375° for 45 minutes, then top with grated cheese.  Return to the oven for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender.
 Serves 6 to 8.

Asparagus Bundles by Lori Mullenax

2 pounds of fresh asparagus, trimmed
12 slices of bacon, slightly precooked
1/2 cup (1 stick) of unsalted butter
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 cup of light brown sugar, packed
1/2 teaspoon of Cajun seasoning
10 turns of the pepper grinder
1/2 teaspoon of garlic salt
2 teaspoons chili powder

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Trim the asparagus by bending the bottom half of one asparagus spear until it pops apart at the natural break.  Then line up the other spears and use a knife to cut them all at the same length.

Spray an oblong, glass baking pan with non stick spray.  If you use a metal pan instead, you’ll probably want to line it with a couple of layers of aluminum foil for easier clean up!

Divide the asparagus into 12 equal bundles.  Starting about a half inch from the bottom of each bundle, wrap the bundles with the bacon, securing with toothpicks, if needed, and place the bundles into the baking pan.

In a heavy skillet, melt the butter over medium heat.  Add the soy sauce, brown sugar, Cajun seasoning, chili powder, garlic salt, and pepper; bring to a boil, stirring constantly.

Pour sauce all over the asparagus bundles. 
Roast at 400 degrees, about 25 minutes, or just until asparagus begins to wilt, basting with the brown sugar sauce several times.
 Serves 6.

Bacon-wrapped Cajun Jalapenos by Lori Mullenax

8 large jalapeno peppers
1 (3 oz.) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup finely shredded cheddar cheese
1 tsp. Cajun seasoning
8 thick-sliced peppered bacon strips

Cut jalapenos in half lengthwise; remove seeds and center membranes.  In a small mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese, cheddar cheese and seasoning.  Stuff about 1-1/2 teaspoonfuls into each pepper half.  Cut bacon strips in half widthwise.

In a large skillet, cook bacon until partially cooked.  Wrap a bacon piece around each pepper; secure with a toothpick.  Place on a wire rack in a shallow baking pan.  Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until bacon is crisp.  Discard toothpicks.  Serve immediately.

Italian Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms by Laurie Little (A favorite appetizer for weddings and parties.)

12 oz package mushrooms, cleaned and stems removed and saved
4 Tbs. butter

Cook the mushroom caps until tender. Cool and fill with the following stuffing.

Stuffing:

Saved mushroom stems
2 Tbs. olive oil
2 cloves minced garlic
1 small minced onion
½ pound Italian sausage
½ tsp basil
1 egg
1 cup seasoned bread crumbs
¼ cup marinara sauce
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Dice remaining mushroom stems in a food processor or chop by hand.
 Sauté the stems in olive oil with: minced garlic, minced onion, Italian sausage. 
Mix in: basil, egg, seasoned bread crumbs, marinara sauce, shredded mozzarella cheese.

Stuff the caps on a baking sheet and sprinkle with parmesan cheese if desired.
 Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes or until the tops crisp.  Serve warm.

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