Appy Hour: Baba Ghanoush & Ricotta Dip with Pesto & Sun Dried Tomatoes

Let the count down to Thanksgiving begin! I’ve been getting more and more in to the holiday spirit these last few weeks. The Christmas lights around Park City are starting to pop up everywhere, lighting up the hillsides and making the town look festive. photo-429The snow we got over the weekend has helped make town look like a winter snow globe. I was feeling so festive the other night I dressed Piper up like an elf. She was not impressed. photo-430When getting ready for the holidays its important to have a plan when it comes to cooking at parties. Planning ahead of time for things you can make the day before will save you time, oven space and your sanity Thanksgiving day. Don’t have a plan yet? Check out Food 52’s “How to Hike a Mountain and Serve Thanksgiving Dinner on the Same Day” or see Bon Appetit’s Thanksgiving Checklist. Most importantly when planning for your big feast, remember that your oven will be occupied most of the day with the Turkey – Making hot appetizers hard to serve. The greatest thing about these two appetizers? They can be made a day in advance and require little to no oven time! That means more football, friends and family and less time in the kitchen! photo-425Baba Ghanoush is a classic Middle Eastern dish made from roasted or grilled eggplant which is pureed to make a delicious hummus like dip that can be served with fresh veggies, crackers or pita chips.

I always think this dip is better the next day, which makes it the perfect make ahead appetizer! It’s time to mix up the classic appetizer table and give your guests a surprising treat- plus Baba Ghanoush is fun to say!

Baba Ghanoush (Makes 1 1/2 cups)

  • 1 large or 2 small eggplant(s)
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2+ tablespoons olive oil (plus more for drizzling)
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a baking sheet.
  2. Place eggplant on baking sheet, and make holes in the skin with a knife or fork. Roast it for 35 to 45 minutes, turning occasionally, or until soft. Remove from oven, and allow it to cool before peeling the skin off or scooping the flesh from the skin.
  3. Place eggplant, lemon juice, tahini, sesame seeds, and garlic in a food processor or electric blender, and puree. Slowly drizzle olive oil into mixture until smooth and creamy (you may need more than 2 tablespoons of oil for this). Season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer eggplant mixture to a medium size mixing bowl, and drizzle with more olive oil. Cover and refrigerate at least 3 hours before serving.

Pesto Ricotta Dip with Sun Dried Tomatoes

photo-424This ricotta dip is another super easy & quick app. Serve it with sugar snap peas, bagel chips or pita chips for a wildly delicious snack! For more than 6 people double the recipe- it goes quickly!

Pesto Ricotta Spread with Sun Dried Tomatoes (Makes 1 cup)

  • 1 cup whole milk or part skim ricotta
  • 2 tablespoons fresh pesto
  • 2 tablespoons chopped sun dried tomatoes
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Combine ricotta and pesto in a bowl until fully incorporated. Add chopped sun dried tomatoes and stir to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with bagel chips, pita chips or cut vegetables. If making the day before, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until you’re ready to serve.


Sweet & Savory Tomato Jam

photo-336It has been a very busy end of the summer with lots of travel to see friends and family for weddings and vacations! I just returned from 4 beautiful days on the Vineyard and I’m only home for a week before I’m off traveling again! I realized I haven’t been in my kitchen much at all this month. I tested out this recipe in Utah over Labor Day weekend and it was so fantastic when I arrived home last weekend I robbed my mother of all her tomatoes from her CSA to make a batch for her to keep!  photo-333 Fresh, plump tomatoes are one of the sweetest rewards of Fall. Heirlooms, beefsteak or cherry- you can’t go wrong – they are all so delicious and in season! With the Farmers market bursting at the seams with fresh tomatoes I’ve been looking for new and different recipes to enjoy them!  photo-335The classic Caprese salad is always a delicious treat however, I usually max out after eating it three nights in a row. This tomato jam is the perfect balance of sweet and savory- I love spreading it on a French baguette with some goat cheese or a delicious creamy cheese like St. Andrea or Brie.  photo-340It also pairs perfectly with pork tenderloin, beef and is great for jazzing up fish or chicken. There is nothing better than preserving fresh produce and pulling it out of the cupboard in the dead of winter when you’re craving a little taste of summer! photo-339It also makes a really great house warming or birthday gift… but this recipe only makes 1 1/2 pints of jam so it better be a very special (and lucky) someone because once you try it you’ll have a very hard time giving it away! Enjoy!

Sweet & Savory Tomato Jam (Original recipe from Food52)                                                  Makes 1 1/2 pints

  • 3 1/2 pounds tomatoes, coarsely chopped (red or yellow or mixture of both)
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • juice of 1 lemon


  1. Put all ingredients in a 2-quart pot. Bring to a gentle boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook until thickened to a jam-like consistency, about 3 hours.
  2. Transfer to 3 sterilized 1/2 pint glass jars and store in refrigerator or use a hot-water canning bath for 15 minutes for long-term storage. (See here for canning 101 basics).

Here are a few other delicious and inspiring tomato recipes I am dying to try!

Beet Dip with Goat Cheese (plus vote for my next recipe!)

photo-300I might have a slight obsession with beets. They are just so delicious! I’ve been making beet chips (with classic hummus – pictured below), beet salads (with arugula, goat cheese and balsamic glaze- below) and now one of my new favorites… Beet hummus dip. I’ve brought my daily beet intake to a new level with this Its super simple, very flavorful and a refreshing change to the usual hummus or spinach dip. Sprinkle a little goat cheese on top for a creamy texture and awesome flavor – its a winner! Serve it up with pita chips, veggie sticks, rice crackers or spread it on your sandwich, the options are endless! (Warning- you will enjoy this beet hummus so much you’ll most likely eat the whole bowl of dip, which will cause you to pee pink- don’t worry its a totally natural sign of a beet lover.)

Check out my poll below- I’d love to hear from you! what do you want to see more of from Ski Boots in the Kitchen?

Beet Dip with Goat Cheese (Click for printer friendly version)


  • 4-5 medium size beets, peeled and roasted
  • 2 Tablespoons Tahini
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 large garlic clove, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste (about 1 teaspoon of salt and 10 turns of fresh pepper- add more or less to your liking)
  • 1 small log of goat cheese (or large depending on your love of goat cheese!)


  1. To roast beets, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Wash beets to remove any dirt, remove greens and stems from the beets so all the remains is the blub. To peel the beets prior to roasting use a vegetable peeler (or you can do this afterwards with your hands or paring knife- either way your hands will get pink unless you wear rubber gloves). Place beets on a large piece of foil and drizzle with olive oil and a pinch of salt. Make a little foil packet by sealing the top and sides by rolling the foil over itself. Roast for 25-30min or until you can easily pierce the beets with a fork.
  2. Combine beets, Tahini, chopped garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a food processor or blender. Puree until smooth, scraping down the sides of your food processor (the Tahini gets stuck on the sides and bottom very easily). Add more lemon juice or a drizzle of olive oil until the dip reaches a desirable consistency (this is totally personal- add less liquid if you like your hummus thick and chunky or more liquid for it to be a bit thinner).
  3. Scoop dip into a bowl, crumble desired amount of goat cheese on top and serve with favorite chips! Enjoy!

Jalapeno Corn Fritters

photo-288Ahh its Wednesday! Happy Hump Day! If you haven’t seen this commercial it will put a smile on your face! Every stand at the farmers market has huge bushel of corn right now and while they are not the big ears of sweet corn you get towards the end of August, nothing is better than fresh corn. Jake and I are having a corn stand off- He likes to roll his corn in the butter plate- I prefer not to. How do you butter your corn? Until we come to an agreement I will not serve corn on the cob in my house…Just Kidding! But I have been looking for a new and different way to eat corn because I hate when it gets stuck in my teeth! photo-287Sweet summer corn and spicy jalapeno come together for a South of the Boarder party on your plate with this dish. Its a perfect side to fish, chicken or steak- or for a vegetarian option serve over a chopped salad. These fritters would also make the perfect eggs Benedict, put a poached egg over the corn fitter, drizzle with hollandaise, now that’s how you spice up your morning! Enjoy! photo-286Jalapeno Corn Fritters with Avocado Salsa

Ingredients (Makes 8-10 fritters)
  • 2 cups cooked corn, frozen or fresh
  • 1 jalapeño, chopped
  • ½ onion, chopped
  • ¼ cup packed cilantro leaves
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp salt, plus extra to taste
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp oregano
  • ¾ cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • ½ cup cornmeal
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • Olive oil, for frying
  • For garnish: Greek Yogurt or sour cream, lime, avocado, and tomato
  1. In a food processor, combine 1¼ cups corn, the jalapeño, onion, cilantro, and garlic. Pulse until very finely diced, but not completely smooth.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the processed mixture with the remaining corn, all spices, cheese, cornmeal, baking powder, and eggs. Mix until fully incorporated. Add more cornmeal as needed.
  3. In a heavy skillet over medium heat, heat 2-3 Tbsp olive oil. When the oil is hot, form the batter into patties (it should be slightly sticky, but not enough to make this step impossible), and cook in batches.
  4. Cook each patty until golden brown on each side, 2-3 minutes per side.
  5. Cut 1 avocado and 1 tomato into small cubes. Squeeze half a lime over avocado/tomato mixture season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with Greek Yogurt or sour cream and a lime wedge.

Peach & Goat Cheese Flatbread

photo-283It was another beautiful weekend in the Mountains of Utah. It has been very warm but the wild flowers are bursting in the back country. On Saturday I went on a beautiful hike at Alta through the most amazing meadows of wild flowers- pictures do not do justice to the beauty of the scenery.  photo-282I also made a trip to the farmers market down in Salt Lake where I got some beautiful peaches, fresh basil and other delicious goodies for the weekend. photo-285I used Naan as the dough which was a super easy, no bake option to pizza dough, which makes these peach & goat cheese flatbreads the perfect summer appetizer. The sweetness from the peaches and the saltiness from the goat cheese is the perfect refreshing combo that’s ready in no time! Enjoy!

Peach & Goat Cheese Flatbread (Click for printer friendly version)

Ingredients: Makes 2 flatbreads

  • 1 package Tandoor Baked Naan, Original
  • 2 fresh ripe peaches, sliced thinly
  • 4 oz goat cheese, crumbed
  • 2-3 Tablespoons Fresh basil
  • Balsamic reduction for drizzling (can be purchased from the grocery store already reduced and bottled or click here for directions to make your own.)
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste.


  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Place the two pieces of Naan on a baking sheet and brush them with olive oil, coating the entire top.
  3. Place half the peach slices evenly on the olive oiled side of the Naan, sprinkle half goat cheese crumbs over the peaches, repeat on other flatbread.
  4. Bake for 10 minutes or until goat cheese begins to bubble (don’t let it get too brown or burn)
  5. Drizzle balsamic reduction over the flatbreads, garnish with chopped basil ribbons, finish with a few turns of freshly cracked pepper and salt to taste.
  6. Slice them up into little bite size pieces and enjoy!

Watermelon, Feta and Mint Skewers

IMG_8156Happy June! Now that Memorial Day has past we have officially entered BBQ season and I am legally allowed to wear white pants again! It also means… wedding season! If you’re looking for something on the lighter side to enjoy at your next barbecue or dinner – this recipe is for you! The salty/sweet combination with refreshing mint and lime makes for the perfect side dish and the presentation on the skewers makes it look like you spent a lot of time preparing it… so don’t be surprised when people start calling you “Martha.” IMG_8152You could toss these ingredients together in a bowl if you don’t have wooden skewers but its nice being able to pick one up without needing a plate! These are so light and refreshing on a hot day- they’ll be the first to go at your next beach picnic or party!

What you’ll need:

  • Half a watermelon, rind removed and cut into 1″ cubes
  • 1 block of Feta cheese cut into 1/4″ slices/cubes large enough that they won’t crumble when skewering them
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Fresh mint, cut into chiffonade (thin strips- I use a pair of scissors to do this or follow this “how to” guide)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil

What to do:

  1. Place one cube of watermelon and one slice of feta on the skewer. You can get about 4 of each on depending on the size of your skewers.
  2. Drizzle the lime juice over all the skewers.
  3. Season lightly with salt and fresh cracked pepper (about 1- 1 1/2 teaspoons of each)
  4. Drizzle Olive Oil (2-3 tablespoons) over the skewers and finish by sprinkling fresh mint pieces over the top.
  5. Serve and Enjoy! IMG_8154If you’d prefer to serve this salad in a bowl you can used crumbed feta instead of block feta. Toss watermelon, lime, olive oil, mint, salt and pepper together in a bowl, sprinkle with feta cheese and serve. If making ahead of time leave feta off until you are ready to serve or it will get soggy sitting in the bowl.

“Appy Hour” Cheese & Charcuterie Boards and Smoked Salmon Cucumber Rounds

photo-85I’m a huge fan of appetizers, tapas, small plates… basically anything you can share. There is something satisfying and social about ordering ‘family style’ and taking little tastes of each cheese or meat plate. Talking about the food in front of you actually requires you to stop and TASTE it, rather than shoveling it in to your mouth as quickly as possible because you’re distracted by the TV, or the dog, or the other chaos going on in your house during dinner I love cheese boards. Growing up when we would visit my grandmother in France, they would bring out a cheese cart full of the most divine stinky blue cheeses, creamy goat cheese, mild brie, you’d have 25 different options- the smell was overwhelming. Then you add the meats, Prosciutto, Soppressata, Salami and my favorite… Tartufo Truffle Salami! Served with a crispy baguette, some French stone ground mustard and Blood Orange Pepper jelly…I’m drooling on my keyboard. Check out the jelly aisle in your grocery store or Whole Foods, they usually have some interesting compotes and jellies that go nicely with cheese- fig preserves, jalapeno jellies or even honey work well! photo-85From left to right here are the cheeses we sampled with our meat board. Far left is the Cypress Grove Humboldt Fog Chevre which is a mild goats milk cheese. The thin layer of edible vegetable ash give this cheese a subtle tangy flavor which goes nicely with pepper jelly. The Second cheese from the left is a Valdeon Blue Cheese which is strong flavored cow and goats milk blue cheese that is a bit stronger than Stilton. Valdeon is wrapped Sycamore leaves which gives it a rich and complex flavor. If you’re not a huge fan of stinky blue cheese this might not be the best blue to start with. The third cheese is the Fromager d’Affinois which is a rich and creamy cows milk cheese. d’Affinois is a double-cream cheese and positions its self between a traditional brie and a triple-cream like Saint Andre (not picture here but another amazing cheese… I can already see another cheese board post in the works..) d’Affinois goes great with honey or any fruit/pepper jelly. The last cheese farthest to the right is creamy Gorgonzola which is a blue cheese made from cows milk. This cheese is more mild than the Valdeon and is good ‘gateway’ blue cheese. Try both the Valdeon and Gorgonzola with out any jellies or honey to start, their rich flavor can be overwhelming at first with too many additions. You should be able to find most of these cheese in your local grocery store and will have not problem find them at Whole Foods or specialty food shops. photo-86

Next in the Appy Hour… Smoked salmon and Boursin cheese on cucumber rounds. This is a really easy, light summer appetizer (Gluten Free too!) and its a huge crowd pleaser. All you need is-

  • One English cucumber
  • One 5.2oz box of Boursin Garlic & Herb cheese
  • Small package of smoked salmon or lox
  • Lemon

Slice the cucumber into bite-size rounds, between 1/8″-1/4″. Spread Boursin cheese onto cucumber rounds and top with a few small pieces of smoked salmon. Squeeze a few lemon wedges over the salmon and serve! Don’t forget to make extras, they’ll be gone in a flash. Enjoy!

Vietnamese Fresh Spring Rolls

photo-74I have always loved fresh spring rolls. There is a vendor at the West Tisbury farmers market that sells amazing fresh and fried spring rolls- they are always sold out. Why I have never tried to make these delicious little rolls my self is beyond me, now that I know how EASY they are to make. photo-75I looked up a few recipes on how to do it but none of them had all the ingredients I love- so I made up my own. The best part though is you can put anything you like in these and make them your own! Enjoy!

Vietnamese Fresh Spring Rolls (Click for printer friendly version)


  • 2 ounces Thai rice noodles
  • 8 rice wrappers (8.5 inch diameter)
  • 8 large cooked shrimp – peeled, deveined and cut in half (tofu would also work)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh Thai basil (or regular if you can’t find Thai)
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 leaves lettuce, chopped
  • 1/2 an avocado
  • shredded carrot (optional)
  • 3 tablespoons Hoisin sauce
  • 1 tablespoon chopped raw peanuts
  • Thai peanut dipping sauce or Sweet Chili Sauce


  1. Bring a medium saucepan of water to boil. Boil rice noodles 3 to 5 minutes, or until al dente, and drain.
  2. Fill a large bowl with warm water. Dip one wrapper into the hot water for 1 second to soften. Lay wrapper flat.
  3. In a row across the center, place 2 shrimp halves, a handful of vermicelli
  4. Add chopped basil, mint, cilantro and lettuce to your taste, leaving about 2 inches uncovered on each side.
  5. Fold uncovered sides inward, then tightly roll the wrapper, beginning at the end with the lettuce. Repeat with remaining ingredients.
  6. Wet a paper towel and cover spring rolls with damp towel until ready to serve.
  7. For sauces- Any and all are great with the rolls- pick which flavor combo you prefer or use all three.
  8. Combine Hoisin sauce and chopped peanuts serve with rolls
  9. Thai Peanut Sauce and Sweet Chili Sauce can be purchased pre-made in the International foods aisle


Game Day Buffalo Chicken Dip

chickenIts NFL playoff season… which means food, beer and watching Tom Brady look amazing in his football pants. Yup I said it, and you were thinking it- girls want him and boys want to be him. But seriously, nothing says a good football party like apps, dips and pizza. Well I’ve got you covered- this awesomely delicious Buffalo chicken dip can also double as the perfect pizza topping. Serve it anyway you like it, this stuff is ADDICTING. Like seriously addicting… photo-198Like lick the platter clean- people all over town will be fighting for you to come to their football party… because they want the dip not because they like you (just kidding). photo-199Its the magically vanishing appetizer… and its stupidly easy to make! I’m a huge fan of 5 ingredients or less and quick- no one wants to be stuck in the kitchen while Gronkowski is spiking the ball!

Here’s what you’ll need:

Preheat the oven to 350degrees

  • 16oz Cream Cheese (2 blocks at room temperature)
  • 8oz Franks Red Hot
  • ¾ cup Celery
  • 2 cups Chicken (rotisserie chicken is best, I pull the meat off one of the small chickens from the market- no need to measure, just chop it up and throw it all in)
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese

Here’s what you do:

  1. Combine cream cheese, franks red-hot and celery and heat in microwave until gooey and easy to mix.
  2. Add chicken and cheddar cheese  (you can reserve a little to sprinkle over the top).
  3. Put in a casserole dish or square baking dish and bake for 30 min until top is bubbly and delicious.
  4. Serve warm with toasted bread, tortilla chips or just about anything else!

Now for the amazing part- double this recipe and reserve some chicken dip for a pizza. You can buy pre-made dough from Wholefoods or the grocery store. Flatten the pizza dough onto a pizza stone. Spread a thin layer of spaghetti sauce over the dough and sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.chickenpizzaTake as much cooked buffalo chicken dip as you desire and sprinkle over pizza dough. Top with some more mozzarella cheese and bake at 425degrees for 15-20 minutes or until crust becomes golden brown and crispy (cooking time will depend on how thick your crust is so make sure to keep checking the pizza so it doesn’t burn!) As the cook, I always like to test a slice first to make sure its “cooked properly” which is code for “I’m getting my slice before its all gone it two seconds flat” ENJOY!

Baked Brie with Wild Blueberry Preserves and Candied Pecans

Holiday party season is upon us and if you weren’t at some kind of holiday gathering last weekend, I bet your calender is already chock-a-block full of ugly sweater and end of the world parties in the coming weeks. Holiday parties can be stressful and if the World really is going to end on the 21st you don’t want to spend your last precious moments on Earth stressing about what you’re going to serve to your guests. This baked brie is super easy, really tasty, only requires 5 ingredients and looks pretty on your table (seriously what could be better than that? baked creamy cheese wrapped in a delicious layer of flaky dough?) I’ve tried using other preserves like apricot or marmalade with this recipe- but I always come back to the whole blueberry preserves, the flavor combination can’t be beat! Don’t skimp on the cheap-o jam for this- the real chunks of blueberry make all the difference! Enjoy!

Blueberry Baked Brie with Candied Pecans


  • 1 8oz wheel of brie (for larger or smaller wheels add more or less preserves)
  • 1 8oz can Pilsbury crescent dough sheet (the crescent rolls will work too but the seamless sheet of dough is better!)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup blueberry preserves
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 2-3 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray and unroll crescent dough on to cookie sheet. Place unwrapped wheel of brie on dough and spread evenly with preserves. Depending on your taste you can add more or less preserves. Being careful not to rip a hole in the dough, pull dough around the cheese tucking the corners into each other. Some people try and make this look fancy- I just fold the dough so there are no gaps or exposed cheese- the candied pecans will distract anyone from noticing you attempted to etched Rudolph on to the top of your brie wheel. If the end of the world really is less than two weeks away, do you really want to spend your last moments on Rudolph? I didn’t think so. 

Looks perfect, right? Place in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until the top is golden brown. When the brie has about 5 minutes remaining in the oven, melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add brown sugar to melted butter and stir until fully incorporated and it begins to thicken slightly. Remove from heat, add chopped pecans and stir. Remove brie from oven and transfer to serving platter. Pour sugar mixture immediately over brie and serve with crackers, pita chips or french bread. Enjoy! This is my favorite preserves to use for this recipe but any whole berry preserves will work!