3 Simple summer appetizers

Green shrimp skewers, one of Three Simple summer

Green shrimp skewers, one of Three Simple summer appetizers, is made with herbs, jalapeno, shrimp and cherry tomatoes. (Aug. 25, 2011) (Credit: Marge Perry)

Tip: No-stress appetizers can be made ahead and served cold or at room temperature.


GREEN SHRIMP

1/2 cup cilantro

1/2 cup basil

1/2 cup parsley

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 small jalapeño pepper (or to taste)

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

24 peeled shrimp (about 1 pound)

24 cherry tomatoes

1. Combine cilantro, basil, parsley, vinegar, salt, black pepper, jalapeño and 2 tablespoons of oil in blender and puree.

2. In a bowl, toss 1 tablespoon of herb mixture with shrimp. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil in a large, nonstick skillet over high heat. Add the shrimp in a single layer and cook about 2 minutes on each side, or until shrimp just loses its translucency. Remove from the pan.

3. Thread one tomato and one shrimp on each skewer. Pass the remaining sauce for dipping. Makes 8 servings.

Nutritional analysis for each serving 99 calories, 8 g protein, 3 g carbohydrates, 1 g fiber, 6 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 506 mg sodium


ROASTED EGGPLANT-BEAN DIP

Serve with toasted pita bread or pita chips.

1 large eggplant, about 1 1 / 2 pounds

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon ground coriander

3 tablespoons tahini

1 clove garlic, very finely minced

1 (15-ounce) can low-sodium white beans, drained and rinsed

1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)

1/2 teaspoon lemon zest

1. Heat the grill for direct-heat cooking (or the oven to 400 degrees).

2. Pierce the surface of the eggplant in many places with a fork. Place in a covered grill or, if using the oven, on a baking sheet pan coated with cooking spray. Roast the eggplant until the skin just begins to split and the flesh is very tender, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand until cool enough to handle.

3. Meanwhile, combine the cumin, coriander, tahini, garlic, beans and salt in a food processor. When the eggplant is cool enough to handle, remove the peel and stem and place the flesh in the food processor; puree with the other ingredients. Stir in the lemon zest, adjust the salt to taste and refrigerate until serving. Makes about 2 cups; 8 servings.

Nutritional analysis for each serving 76 calories, 4 g protein, 9 g carbohydrates, 4 g fiber, 4 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 174 mg sodium


GRILLED PEACH-AND-GORGONZOLA CROSTINI

3 large peaches (or nectarines), halved and pits removed

1 teaspoon olive oil

4 ounces Neufchâtel cheese (low-fat cream cheese) at room temperature

4 ounces Gorgonzola, crumbled

1 tablespoon milk (or as needed)

24 thin slices French bread, toasted

1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped

1. Spray the grill rack and heat the grill.

2. Lightly coat the surfaces of the peaches with the oil. Place on the grill and cook until lightly marked on the undersides, 3 to 4 minutes. Turn and repeat until peaches are crisp-tender. Remove from heat and chop.

3. Combine the Neufchâtel, Gorgonzola and milk, beating lightly with a fork until spreadable. Add milk as needed to thin the mixture. Spread on the toasts slices; top with the peaches and sprinkle with the rosemary. Makes 8 servings.

Nutritional analysis for each serving 225 calories, 9 g protein, 30 g carbohydrates, 2 g fiber, 8 g fat, 5 g saturated fat, 495 mg sodium

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