Pu Pu Platters for Everyone!

So…..We have been using the term “pu pu platter” for quite some time around our household.  Not sure where it started, but I CAN tell you that when Matt and I were on a road trip, (I THINK it was Dodge City!?) we saw a restaurant entitled, “Pupusería“.  “Do you think they sell pu pu platters?” we wondered.  Not really, but…

What is a pu pu platter, you ask?  Well, according to Wikipedia, it is:

A tray of American Chinese cuisine consisting of an assortment of small meat and seafood appetizers. A typical pupu platter, as found in American Chinese cuisine, might include an egg roll, spare ribs, chicken wings, chicken fingers, beef teriyaki, skewered beef, fried wontons, crab rangoon, fried shrimp, among other items, accompanied by a small hibachi grill.

What is a  pupusería ? It is a restaurant or cafe in El Salvador where pupusas (The pupusa is a popular El Salvadoran dish made of a thick, corn tortilla filled with anything from meats to cheeses to refried beans to pork rinds) are sold.

Those of my friends who have asked me to share recipes never thought I would make my first food post about this!  But here’s the deal:  I am a total sucker for appetizers as a meal.  It’s my FAVORITE!  Pu pu platters are a fun way to mix up the typical hum-drum dinners we so often find ourselves eating.  That being said, I would like to share some of my favorite pu pu platter options since I just made one a few nights ago.  It really isn’t Chinese/American food like the traditional word implies.  And generally it’s not tortillas but it does usually consist of beans, sooo.. It’s more of a melange of vegetables and dips and cheeses.  Like El Salvador meets France, perhaps?

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My pu pu platters always consist of veggies for dipping.  A couple of nights ago we had celery and carrots.  That dark green stuff in the corner is KALE CHIPS.  Then stuffed mushrooms, hummus and roasted garlic rounds it off in the middle of the platter.

(I would like to interject here that I am by no means a food photographer.  I take photos of dinner late at night in my ill-lit kitchen.  Please be nice. )

Totally yummy right?

So let’s get to it.

Stuffed mushrooms: (what was that?  You don’t like mushrooms?  How DARE you!?  Seriously, get those little red and yellow sweet peppers and stuff those instead!)

  1. 1 package white button or baby bella shrooms
  2. 1 package cream cheese
  3. garlic
  4. salt and pepper and any fresh or dried herbs (approx 1 tsp ea. or to your liking) Herbs de Provence work great

I threw the garlic and herbs in the food processor along with a half block of the cream cheese.   If you don’t have a food processor, then just chop the garlic and herbs and warm the cheese a little by leaving it on top of your warm stove (while the kale chips cook) for a few minutes (or I suppose if you have a microwave you could use that too!) and mix it all in a bowl.  I used a little squeeze of lemon too.  My herbs of choice were fresh oregano and parsley, and dried chives.

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Herbs growing in my window

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shroom

Place a spoonful of the cheese mix in each shroom after you wash it.  Preheat your oven to 400, then pop these in for about 10-ish minutes.  Our toaster oven works great for small things like this!

Hummus: (a Middle Eastern and Arabic food dip or spread made from cooked, mashed chickpeas blended with tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and garlic.)

  1.  1  14 oz can  of chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans)
  2. 1 lemon
  3. 1/2 tsp? salt
  4. Approx. 1 heaping tablespoon of tahini (sesame seed paste usually found near the peanut butter or ethnic foods in the store)
  5. 2-5 TBSP olive oil
  6. water
  7. 2 cloves of garlic
  8. other optional flavor additions such as cumin, red pepper, jalepenos, fresh herbs, kalamata olives, roasted red peppers…

Again, in a food processor or blender, chop the garlic first.  Then add the beans.  Note: you can sub other beans.  (I used white beans the other night). Add tahini, a little olive oil, lemon juice and salt.  Pulse and add water until it becomes smooth.  I like to add more olive oil and less water because I like the rich taste.  Add other herbs and spices now if you want to.  It’s lovely just plain though!

Another note:  I have also stuffed mushrooms with hummus in the past and they are super yummy as well.  So if you are vegan, this is an awesome alternative.

Kale Chips

These things are like crack.  You can make them a million different ways, but they are super easy!  I have made it with Lacinato kale, purple and green curly kale.  All of these work well.  I tried collard greens one time and they weren’t bad either.  But curly is my favorite 🙂

  1. At least 1 bunch of kale.  I like to say 1 bunch per person.  Seriously.  No joke.
  2. Olive oil- 2 Tbs
  3. Salt–a few shakes
  4. Red pepper flakes-to your liking
  5. Agave nectar- 1 Tbs
  6. Cider vinegar-1 Tbs

Wash the kale and shake dry.  Tear it into healthy bite-sized pieces, removing the stems as you go.

Mix the remaining ingredients in a bowl and then pour over and “dress” the leaves. (Taste it before dressing and see what you think.  The measurements above are EXTREMELY LOOSE, since I very rarely measure anything.)

Bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes.  Depending on your oven and crispiness liking, bake a few minutes more or less.  You want them to be crunchy but not burned!

My friend Rebekah makes amazing ones, but her dressing is kind of a secret and there are a lot of ingredients.  My friend Andrea just drizzles her bare leaves with lemon juice and celtic sea salt and those are totally yummy too.  These are completely versatile!

Roasted Garlic

  1. 1-2 heads of garlic
  2. Olive oil

You can do this one of 2 ways:

  1. Take the full head of garlic and chop the top 1 or 2 ” off so that you can see the tops of the bare heads, but the head is still intact. Place it in a rectangle of foil, drizzle with olive oil and seal it. (this usually takes a bit longer than the other way)
  2. OR…remove individual cloves from the head and their skin, and place in a piece  of foil, drizzle with oil and wrap securely.

Place the foil package in the oven at a pre-heated 400 degrees for approx. 20-45 minutes.  Check it at 20 minutes.  You want it to be soft enough to spread with a knife, but not burned.

You can eat it as is, or I sometimes like to mash them up to make a spreadable paste.

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I once had it with lemon zest mixed in and it was super tasty, so you could always try that.

I completed this meal with fresh bread from a local bakery, and of course some red wine.

This is the  first food post on my blog, so hopefully it was helpful and/or inspiring.  I hope to post more as I have time to do it.  Good luck with creating your very own pu pu platter!

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One thought on “Pu Pu Platters for Everyone!

  1. sissy, i really appreciate that you include some things here that can be made in the toaster over…this is my only oven option at home right now, so thanks for the ideas!

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