Appetizers for Low Carbers or Gluten Free-ers or just hungry people
I think I may have mentioned that Yes!Chef! and I have changed our diet to a Low Carb and mostly sugar-free way of eating. It’s not a difficult diet and I mostly do not miss bread, pasta, rice, etc. I do miss sugar, so I try to save it for a special occasion or use an alternative sweetener. We feel healthier, have lost some weight and have more energy. However, we do have to be a little more creative to fill in the gaps.
For example, most appetizer dips include chips or crackers as a method to consume the dip. You do see veggie dippers, but they are mostly strips of vegetables such as carrots, celery, broccoli and cauliflower. Yes!Chef! and I enjoy cucumbers as dippers. Here, I wanted to elevate the appetizer a bit, so I cut the cucumbers into 1-1.5″ rounds, scooped out a little of the inside to make a little cup and filled it with one of my favorite blue cheese dips, topped it with sun dried tomatoes and a little finishing salt.
You can put any type of dip inside the cucumber cups such as hummus, onion dip, etc., but I have a family recipe that we have been making for years (my mom found the recipe somewhere, or she made it up.) It’s a blue cheese dip that I make every year for special occasions such as Christmas, birthdays or whenever someone in the family requests it.
I like this recipe because it’s easy, it’s tasty and it looks pretty. Yes!Chef! likes it, too, but he doesn’t usually mess around with appetizers or desserts. He thinks that’s my job.
Our best friends from Southern California made a spur-of-the-moment trip to visit us a couple of weeks ago, speaking of appetizers. Although we didn’t stick exactly to our diet (probably drank a little more wine than we should have), we gave ourselves a break because we hadn’t seen our friends since May. Neither Yes!Chef! nor I gained any weight, and I even lost a pound. Go figure.
Obie was able to meet my friends’ Great Dane, Nitro.
At first Obie was not very pleased to meet Mr. Nitro, but he gradually got used to him, especially when Nitro paid homage.
They eventually decided to live in peace.
My girlfriend found a really interesting cheese called Bread Cheese (you can find it here). We put it in the microwave for a short time (until it began to get soft) and then topped the cheese squares with either some caramelized onions or a jalapeño mango jam that another friend of mine made. Quick and easy. Both toppings contain sugar, just so you know. And this is not a bread. It is pure cheese.
This little appetizer pairs nicely with the cucumbers with blue cheese.
Now for the recipe:
Cucumber Cups with Blue Cheese Dip Filling
- 1 English Cucumber, peeled in stripes and cut into 1.5 inch rounds
- 8 oz. package Cream Cheese (room temperature)
- 4-6 oz. crumbly blue cheese (depending on how strong you want the blue cheese flavor) and at room temperature
- 1 Tablespoon mayonnaise
- 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 Tbsp. Worcestershire Sauce
- 1 small jar sun dried tomatoes
- Finishing Sea Salt
- Pat dry cucumber rounds and place on serving platter and refrigerate until ready to use
- Place cream cheese and blue cheese (crumbled) into the bowl of a mixer or food processor. Mix until thoroughly combined.
- Add mayonnaise, garlic salt and Worcestershire Sauce and mix until combined. Do not over-mix.
- Refrigerate this dip for 1/2-1 hour to enable the flavors to get acquainted.
- Remove cucumber rounds and dip from refrigerator.
- Dollop approximately 1-2 Tbsp. of dip into each cucumber cup.
- Remove as many sun dried tomatoes as you have cucumber cups from the oil in the jar and gently pat dry with a paper towel.
- Place one tomato on each cucumber cup
- Sprinkle with finishing salt, if desired.
This dip is also tasty with chips, crackers or other vegetable dippers.
I had a couple of these cucumber cups, along with some fresh cherry tomatoes, for a light lunch. And it has been quite warm here, so this cool lunch was quite welcome.
And, because I can’t let a post go by without a landscape shot, here’s one I took the other day after a wedding I shot (in the rain). The sunset was so gorgeous that I wish I had been able to drag the bride and groom out to get them in the picture. But, alas, they were busy being married.
And here’s one that I took the other night when the large plume of smoke from the Sand fire here in Northern California went over my house. The fire was within 10-15 miles from where we live, which made the area quite smoky.
***Note: As of the writing of this post, the fire is about 65% under control and they are releasing some of the 500 evacuees back to their homes. Many people have lost their homes and there are many, many wineries and vineyards in the area. I’m not sure how many wineries and vineyards were burned, but there were several. Most of these wineries are small, family-owned wineries. This is devastating to the wine industry in this area. Fire is one of the things California deals with in the summer. It would be great if we could have a ton of rain this year.
At any rate, enjoy the cool cucumber cups with blue cheese dip!