Starting with Starters

Recipe blog picture

Back in September at the start of the (Jewish) new year, I started a new project – compiling my recipes into a book for my daughter and daughter-in-law. The project posed several challenges – many of my “recipes” were just scribbled suggestions of ingredients while some were not written down at all. Still others were actual recipes that I had found over the years – except that I didn’t follow any of them as written and had not noted down my modifications.

So …. I have embarked on a year-long (or possibly longer) journey which involves making each recipe and writing down the ingredients and directions for all the items I cook. In addition, at the request of my daughter-in-law, I am taking pictures so that she knows what the finished recipe looks like.

I thought it would be fun to share my journey with my Shomrei family as well. This, then, is the first in a series of posts about my recipes. I welcome comments about the recipes and hope that some of you will share your recipes too.

I’ll begin at the beginning …. with a few starters.

Starters - HummusHummus

This is a very creamy version of hummus. Using some of the reserved liquid from the chickpeas and less olive oil gives a lighter hummus. And I use lots of tahini. You can make the hummus plain (pictured) or add some parsley. Another alternative is to add a small cooked beet.

1 can (15-16 oz) chickpeas, drained with liquid reserved
½ cup tahini
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
Dash of ground cumin
Sesame seeds 

Put the chickpeas, tahini, garlic, lemon juice, 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, & cumin in food processor.  Blend together until smooth. Add some of the reserved liquid, a little at a time, and continue blending to get the desired consistency.

TO SERVE: Spread the hummus in a shallow plate. Spread 1 tablespoon of olive oil on top and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

SERVE WITH pita cut into wedges or pita chips.

Starters - guacamoleGuacamole

The recipe is from a friend of mine from my doctoral program days at City University of NY. It has become a standard at our home for Superbowl Sunday. A few days beforehand, the avocados magically show up on our counter to ripen. (Did I mention that Lou is the one who does the food shopping?)

2 avocados, peeled and coarsely mashed
1 medium tomato, seeded and chopped
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
3 tablespoons chopped red onion
2 tablespoons lime juice (1 lime)
OPTIONAL – ¼ cup chopped cilantro

Combine the other ingredients in a bowl with the mashed avocado and mix together.

SERVE WITH taco chips.

Some years ago we joined Costco. Since then, we have not been without a large jar of marinated artichokes in the pantry or fridge. It’s a frequent addition to our salads but here is a non-salad use.

Starter - artichoke squaresArtichoke Squares

2 tablespoons marinade from the artichokes
1 small onion, chopped (4-5 ounces; ½ cup)
1 clove garlic, minced
2 cups marinated artichoke hearts, chopped
4 eggs, beaten
¼ cup bread crumbs
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parley (or 2 teaspoons parsley flakes)
8 ounces Swiss cheese, grated (2 cups)


  • PREHEAT oven to 350°.
  • GREASE a small rectangular baking dish (8 inch x 10 inch).
  • Heat the marinade in a pan. Add the onion & garlic; sauté until onion is transparent, about 5 minutes. Mix together the cooked onions with the artichoke hearts, eggs, bread crumbs & parsley. Add the cheese and mix to combine. Spread the artichoke mixture in the baking dish. Bake for 25 minutes, until set.

NOTE: This recipe can also be made as a crustless quiche. Spread the artichoke mixture into an 8-inch or 9-inch pie pan. Bake for 30 minutes.

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2 thoughts on “Starting with Starters

  1. I love this idea, especially the photo part and the personal stories that go with the recipes.
    I did something similar for my kids when they turned 21. Instead of photos of finished dishes, I included photos of family members and the kids growing up enjoying these treasured dishes. Many years later they tell me they still refer to the cookbook and appreciate the memories.

  2. Great idea! I have my recipes in notebooks by category and enclosed in photo album inserts. That way I can wipe off the schmears after I cook.

What do you think?