It’s finally here, the finale of American Idol. This week we said goodbye to our last Idol hopeful before the big finale week. Unfortunately, that person was Haley Reinhart. I’m a huge Haley fan and was totally bummed she didn’t make it to the big show. So, for the first time in Idol history, we will be seeing an all country finale. Lauren and Scotty are very talented and will have huge careers, but a Scotty and Haley finale would have totally been it for me. We will see.
Every week this Idol season I’ve had the pleasure of posting my culinary creations on Lyndsey Parker’s Yahoo! blog, Reality Rocks. Last week I was serving up Cajun Shrimp Cakes and Crawfish Spinach Dip for Leiber and Stoller week.
This week didn’t have a specific theme so I decided to play around with some of my favorite ingredients. So give these recipes a try and let me know what you think.
For next week’s finale I’ll be serving up some food near and dear to my heart, Southwest and Mexican cuisine. I’ll be going out with a bang on Reality Rocks with three recipes so check it out for your Idol party snacks.
What are your predictions for next week’s finale? I’m going to cast my early vote for Scotty…I can’t wait to see what he’s singing next week!
Roasted Tomato & Mozzarella Melts
Yields 8 melts (double the recipe for a bigger gathering)
▪ 2 roma tomatoes, sliced
▪ 1/8 tsp garlic powder
▪ 1/8 tsp kosher salt and pepper
▪ 1/8 tsp sugar
▪ 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
▪ 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
▪ 8 baguette slices, 1/2″ slice
▪ 1/4 tsp garlic powder
▪ 4oz fresh mozzarella, sliced
▪ 8 small basil leaves
Preheat oven to 450 degrees
Slice the tomatoes.
Place the tomato slices on a large baking sheet and dust with the garlic powder, salt, pepper, and sugar.
Using a basting brush, baste the tomatoes with a teaspoon of olive oil and the balsamic vinegar.
Roast in the oven until slightly caramelized, around 15-20 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.
Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees.
Slice the baguette into 1/2″ slices.
Place the baguette slices on a baking sheet and baste with the remaining teaspoon of olive oil. Sprinkle with the remaining garlic powder.
Top each slice with one roasted tomato and a slice of the mozzarella.
Bake in the oven until the cheese is slightly melted and shiny and the bread is crisp. Remove from the oven and top with one basil leaf apiece.
Mediterranean Chicken Bites
Yields 10 bites
**To make this a really quick recipe, substitute with store-bought hummus and olive tapenade. If you make the entire recipe below, you will have extra hummus and tapenade for dipping (and it’s pretty tasty, too).
▪ 1 15oz can garbanzo beans (chick peas)
▪ 2 large garlic cloves
▪ 1/3 cup tahini paste
▪ 1/2 cup roasted red peppers, canned
▪ 1/4 cup parsley
▪ 1/2 lemon, juiced
▪ 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
▪ 1/2 lb Greek olive mix, pitted and drained
▪ 1 garlic clove
▪ 1 tbsp anchovy paste
▪ 1 tbsp lemon juice
▪ 3 basil leaves
▪ 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
▪ 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast
▪ kosher salt and pepper
▪ 1 tbsp olive oil
▪ 2 sheets puff pastry, thawed
▪ egg wash
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
To make the hummus, place all of the ingredients in a food processor or blender.
Process until smooth.
Spoon the mixture into a bowl and set aside. Wipe clean.
For the tapenade, place all of the ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until chunky and well-combined. Do not puree. (Yes, epic fail…I forgot to take pictures of the entire tapenade process)
Heat an outdoor grill or indoor griddle over medium-high heat and brush with olive oil or Pam cooking spray. Season the chicken breast with the salt and pepper and brush with the olive oil.
Grill until completely cooked through, around 5-6 minutes per side.
Cut into bite-size pieces.
Place the puff pastry on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Using a cookie-cutter, cut five 3-inch circles into the pastry.
Discard the excess pastry and brush the tops of the circles with the egg wash.
Bake until golden-brown and puffed. Remove from the oven and slice in half to make mini-sandwiches. Spread the hummus on the bottom of the puff pastry.
Top with the chicken then top with the olive tapenade.
Top with the remaining puff pastry shell and voila!!
Jessie J is one of my favorite pop artists right now. Her vocal range and tone is unmatched in my opinion. Her new album, “Who We Are” is just a fun pop record. So check out my favorite song off the record, and yes, yours truly giving props to Miss J with my cover of “Price Tag”.