I’m fortunate to live in Lafayette Square, an urban neighborhood with a small town feel. We have a terrific neighborhood association that deals with the challenges of living in a city (such as crime), but also promotes lots of community activities. Every other Saturday in the summer, there is a concert in the park, and on the alternating Fridays, we have a neighborhood social. One neighbor opens their home/yard to everyone. It is a pot luck with everything from Crab Rangoon from the local Chinese restaurant, to salads to home-made sweet corn gelato with berry compote and ginger cookies (amazing!).
I hosted the social this weekend and realized I have not discussed any of the ceilithes I’ve hosted this year. It was lots of fun with the last people leaving around midnight, after a heated debate about crime in the neighborhood with one of the city police officers who patrols our neighborhood and was nice enough to come by and meet more residents. But, this blog is not about community issues, it’s about food. So, I made a handful of appetizers because as hostess I wanted to make sure there was enough food and thought I would feature two of them.
Greek Layer Dip
This is a twist on the classic 7 layer dip and is super easy to put together. I think it feels a little healthier and is a nice alternative when you want a cold dip.
- Tzatziki sauce (a yogurt cucumber sauce)
- Feta cheese
- Red, Yellow, Orange Pepper
Start with a good quality hummus, I usually stay away from the flavored ones for this recipe because there are so many other flavors. Spread the hummus in the middle of a large platter (of course you could also use a smaller dish if you want). Then add the Tzatziki sauce, either store bought or from scratch, on top of the hummus. Sprinkle with Feta, then, add diced cucumbers, peppers. You can also add olives, I do not like them much so often forget it. Another great add-on is tomatoes, but make sure you seed them and drain them well.
Serve with crackers and the extra cucumbers and peppers.
Corn Custard Squares
Have you ever seen a recipe that just calls your name? I found this a few years ago in Bon Appetit and have used the recipe for inspiration. Please note, the recipe below makes about 48 squares.
- Olive oil
- Large onion
- Cream corn (1 can)
- 2 Cups of cheese, or more to taste (usually a blend of cheddar, pepper jack, colby, but use whatever you like)
- Can of jalapeno (add to taste, I usually use about 2 -3 tblsp.)
- 1/2 Cup of flour and cornmeal
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup of sour cream
- 1/2 cup of cooked, chopped bacon
- 1 tsp of baking powder
- 3-4 green onions
Preheat the oven to 350. Saute the onion until lightly brown.
Mix the cream corn, sour cream, 1 1/2 cups of cheese, eggs, jalapeno, bacon, onions until blended. Add the corn meal, flour, baking powder. Mix until well combined.
Spray mini-muffin tins with cooking spray, or bake in a large pan (like 13 by 9). Sprinke the top with cheese. It takes about 45 minutes if in one pan, about 25-30 if in mini muffin tin.
Serve warm or at room temperature. I usually serve with sour cream, guac, and salsa.