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Category Archives: Appetizers

Christmas Cranberry Chutney

From the folks at Food Network…a little something different for Christmas dinner or use it as a topping for cream cheese appetizer.

Cranberry Chutney

Ingredients

2 tablespoons butter
1 small shallot, finely chopped
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and diced
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
1/2 cup golden raisins
3 cups frozen cranberries
1/2 lemon, zested and juiced
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
2 tablespoons sugar

Directions

Heat the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the shallot, apples, and thyme; sauté until tender, about 3 minutes. Add the raisins, cranberries, lemon zest and juice, orange juice, and sugar. Reduce the heat to a low simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture has thickened, about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve.

Recipe courtesy of The Neelys
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Sauteed Peppers with Wine Vinegar

Too many peppers…no time to roast them. Pinterest to the rescue!

Sautéed Peppers with Wine Vinegar
Ingredients
• 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 medium red onion, halved and thinly sliced
• Coarse salt and ground pepper
• 3 sweet bell peppers (any color), cut into thin slices (actually I used whole baby peppers with the tops cut off- didn’t worry about the seeds)
• 1 hot red chili (optional), sliced
• 3 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
• 2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves
Directions
1. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high. Add onion; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until onion softens, 3 minutes. Add bell peppers and chili, if using, and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper; add vinegar. Stir to combine, cover, and cook until peppers soften slightly, 3 minutes. Toss with oregano.

Jalapeno Pepper Jelly

Tis the season for great fall produce, including the last of those colorful peppers. Here, in Yucatan, there is always an abundance of jalapenos available so I always keep a few jars of this jelly on hand. This recipe comes from www.allrecipes.com.

We serve this over a softened block of Philadelphia cream cheese and top it with a few canned anchovies for a sweet, spicy and salty taste all at once over our favorite crackers.

Jalapeno Pepper Jelly

Ingredients

2 1/2 green bell peppers minced

1 3/4 cans diced jalapeno peppers (4 ounces of minced fresh)

1 1/4 cups distilled white vinegar

5 1/3 cups white sugar

1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper

6 oz. liquid Pectin

Food coloring (optional 4 drops)

Directions

In a large stainless steel saucepan, combine peppers, vinegar, sugar and cayenne pepper. Cook over medium heat. Stir frequently until mixture begins to boil. Stir in Pectin, boil 5 minutes longer, stirring CONSTANTLY and mix in optional food coloring. Skim off any foam and remove from heat.

Ladle into sterilized jars of your choice. I usually use the small Ball ones with metal lids. Seal and process in a boiling water container for 5 minutes. Let cool. I usually keep the cooled jars in the refrigerator.

Great gift idea…

Great for US Thanksgiving or Christmas/New Years!

Mushroom Ceviche

Here in the Yucatan one of the favourite appetizers/botanas is ceviche.

Ceviche is a seafood dish popular in the coastal regions of Latin America. The dish is typically made from fresh raw fish cured in citrus juices, such as lemon or lime, and spiced with ají or chili peppers. Additional seasonings, such as chopped onions, salt, and cilantro, may also be added.

Recently we were at  a favourite restaurant, Quereke, where they served a mushroom ceviche…no fish or seafood! Where there is a will, there is a way. Pinterest to the rescue! The following recipe is adapted from the one I found there, as we do not get a great variety of mushrooms (hongos) in Yucatan. Just pick  four different types of mushrooms that you can find.Try it at your next little party!

Mushroom Ceviche

  • 3 white button mushrooms chopped into small pieces
  • 3 cremini mushrooms chopped into small pieces
  • 1 Medium oyster mushroom chopped into small pieces
  • 3 pieces of chanterelle mushrooms chopped into small pieces
  • 6 T. diced red onion
  • 2 T. chopped cilantro

Spicy Garlic Ceviche Sauce

  • 3/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 T soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 T. Sriracha or Thai Sweet Chili Sauce

Saute white and cremini mushrooms in olive oil with some garlic. Toss in remainder of mushrooms and heat through. Add red onion and cilantro. Toss with spicy garlic ceviche sauce. Chill.

Serve with some type of dipping chips.

Slow Cooker Roasted Peppers and Platano

What to take to a potluck that is different and easy to carry…et voila! I love the flavours and colours of this dish. Easily made by a young chef with Mom or Dad’s supervision….

Slow Cooker Roasted Peppers with Platano & Zucchini
4 to 6 peppers – red, orange, green, or yellow or combination – Julienned
½ bottle Lawry’s Lemon Pepper Marinade
1 white onion Quartered
2 small zucchini chopped
1 Mexican Platano (this is not a banana, but a Platano macho which is bigger and firmer) chopped into 1 inch segments
Slice the peppers into julienne strips. Quarter the onion. Chop the zucchini. Place all of the vegetables into a Ziploc bag and pour ½ bottle of marinade over the veggies. Let sit a half hour.
Place all of the vegetables and the marinade into a slow cooker.
Cook on HIGH for about two hours. Stir every half hour. They will be a little crunchy. In the last half hour, add the chopped Platano. If you want them softer cook longer. You may need to reduce the heat to LOW if they are cooking too fast. You want the Platano to remain a little firm…do not overcook it…
I serve them as a side dish.
These are great as leftovers the next day on any meat sandwich!!

Angela’s Artichoke Dip

Angela’s Artichoke Dip

Scouring through my previously published recipes I noticed that I had never posted this recipe! Angela was a great friend of our family and especially my oldest daughter. She was a lot of fun to be around and certainly enjoyed her wine. Unfortunately she passed away a few years back way too soon! Her memory lives on in this recipe.

Combine the following –

8 oz. cream cheese softened

1 cup of mayonnaise

1 package of Knorr vegetable soup mix

Blend in the following –

1 package fresh spinach chopped

1 – 19 oz. jar drained marinated artichoke hearts chopped

1/2 cup chopped red onion

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Spread mixture into a 2 quart baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes. Serve with your favorite crackers.

Grilled Portobellos with Goat Cheese and Fresh Figs

Most of you know that Larry loves to experiment in the kitchen, while I am strictly a cookbook cook! A friend shared her portobellos with us the other night.

“What’s for dinner?”, he asked.

“How about basil and prosciutto pizza with goat cheese?” I replied.

“Uhm” he replied. “What about using the mushrooms?”

“Go for it!” I replied. Et voila, here is the result complete with a pic so you can see how great it looked. BTW…it was fantastic!!!

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The recipe…two per person!

Grilled Portobellos with Goat Cheese and Figs
Ingredients
4 large Portobello mushrooms
200 g package of (herbed) goat cheese
1 tsp chopped garlic
3 strips of precooked bacon or use slightly cooked prosciutto
3 Tbs of fresh basil , small pieces
Balsamic glaze
Olive oil
10 fresh figs, thinly sliced

Chinese 5 spice powder* available in most supermarkets…

Preparation
Soften the goat cheese so it is spreadable.
Prepare a ribbed grill pan, brush it with olive oil and place over medium heat. Remove stem from mushrooms, chop it finely and set aside.
Brush both sides of the mushrooms liberally with olive oil.
Cut bacon into one inch pieces onto a doubled sheet of paper towel and microwave one minute. Set aside.
Into a small fry pan, put a Tbsp. of olive oil and put over medium heat. Add the chopped mushroom stems and the garlic and fry for about 3 minutes. Turn off heat.
Place the sliced figs in a single layer in a pan large enough to accommodate them. Sprinkle water, one tablespoon at a time, enough so that the slices won’t stick to the pan and simmer them just long enough to soften the slices. Turn off heat and let sit until needed.
Place the mushrooms topside up on the grill and grill for about 5 minutes. Transfer mushrooms to a microwavable plate and microwave on high for one minute. Transfer back to the grill, topside down this time. Cover the surface of each mushroom with a generous coating of cheese, place the chopped mushroom mixture, then the slices of fig over the cheese.
Then add the bacon bits, and finally the basil pieces. Sprinkle sparingly with Chinese 5 Spice powder. Drizzle with balsamic glaze. By this time the mushrooms should be cooked through….soft but not mushy. Plate and serve.

Caramel Apple /Cream Cheese Dip

We had this one at a recent party and really enjoyed it…perhaps it should be called Dentist’s Delight, since if the nuts don’t get your teeth, the caramel sure will…LOL.

CARAMEL APPLE DIP
Printed from COOKS.COM
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2 (8 oz.) pkgs. cream cheese
1 (19.5 oz.) jar butterscotch caramel fudge topping
1 (7 oz.) can Fisher Nut topping or fresh chopped pecans
8 to 10 sliced apples
Mix softened cream cheese with about 1/2 the jar of topping. Spread on large plate. Spread more of the caramel topping over the cream cheese layer. Sprinkle with nut topping, as much as you like. Serve with sliced apples.

You can use a variety of hard fruits..i.e. pears, firm peaches, etc. It all depends on how soft the cream cheese is…

BTW…Have a glorious Easter!!!

Easter Bunnies2

Appetizer Party!

In response to popular demand, this post will not only give you some great appetizer recipes, but also an idea for having an appetizer party! For several summers, my wife and I hosted an annual Appie party WITH A DIFFERENCE! Rather than having every couple bring an appetizer, they had to bring only a bottle of wine! The purpose of the party was to prepare and serve appetizers from recipes which I had collected over a period of time which were simple to prepare with a minimum of time (no more than 30 minutes). We usually had no more than 8 couples.

I printed out the recipes (none of which I had previously tried), purchased all of the required groceries and set up our kitchen for the ‘appie cooks’ with all of the required utensils, etc. When the guests arrived, they divided into pairs (spouses were not allowed). Every thirty minutes a new couple was sent into the kitchen to prepare an appetizer. Each couple was given a recipe to prepare and serve to the waiting other couples. While waiting, the non-cooks enjoyed wine on the patio. Each round of cooks had to wash their dishes before the next cooks took over.

After each appetizer was served and discussed, another couple was sent into the kitchen to prepare a different appetizer from my selected recipes. This continued until all of the invitees had completed their “assignments”.

At the end of the evening we rated the recipes and the winning ‘couple’ received a special prize. ALL of the couples received a copy of the recipes which had been tasted during the course of the evening.

HONESTLY…some of the recipes we tried were Baaaaad..… but that was not the fault of the preparers… All in all, it made for a fun party.

Below are four of my favourite appetizers from those parties –

Crab OR Chicken Puffs

Ingredients –

  • 250 g. Mexican cheese whiz
  • 2 chopped green onions
  • 1 clove garlic chopped
  • 2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 T mayonnaise
  • 1/4 softened butter
  • 1 can flaked crab meat or shredded cooked chicken
Prep-
Mix ingredients in food processor. Spread on English muffin halves. Cut into quarters. Bake at 450F for 10 – 15 minutes.

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Sun-Dried Tomato & Garlic Dip

Ingredients

1 tub  (8 oz.) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese Spread
1/2 cup  MIRACLE WHIP Dressing
1/2 cup  oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained, chopped
2 Tbsp.  finely chopped fresh chives
1 clove  garlic, minced
1 tsp.  freshly ground black pepper

Make It

 MIX ingredients until well blended.

SERVE with NABISCO Crackers and cut-up fresh vegetables.

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 WARM BRIE WITH FRUIT PUREE

Ingredients –
  • 4 portions of Brie
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup fine bread crumbs
  • 4 oz. mixed herbs – basil, mint and thyme
  • 12 oz. black currant jam
  • 1 oz. Sambucca liqueur
Preparation –
Make an egg wash. Place bread crumbs in large bowl and add herbs. Bread one portion of Brie by placing in (i) flour (ii) egg wash (iii) bread crumbs. Place on tray in fridge.
Mix jam and Sambucca in a saucepan and heat until slightly thick.
Place Brie in oven on a non-stick pan for 3-5 minutes @ 350 degrees.
Pour the sauce over the Brie on a large dinner plate. Serve with melba toast and mint garnish.
Notes Increase the sambucca as desired.
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The last one here was one we sampled in Niagara-on-the Lake in 2012. We all decided that this was a keeper too! Try it, Mikey…you’ll like it!

Sweet Potato Goat Cheese Tart (or Quiche)

1. THE POTATOES:

Roll pastry and line 9 inch French tart shell or 24 mini tarts. Pre-bake at 450 degrees using weights to prevent the pastry from bubbling up.

Peel and dice 3 – 4 large sweet potatoes. Place on a sheet pan and sprinkle generously with olive oil, tossing to coat.

Sprinkle with 1 Tablespoon Herbs de Provence, season with salt and pepper. Toss again.

Roast in 400 degree oven for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally so potatoes cook evenly.

The potatoes should be soft when pierced with a fork and the edges should be caramelized. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly.

2. GOAT CHEESE FILLING:

130 gram package of goat cheese

1 Tablespoon olive oil

2 teaspoons Herbs de Provence

Combine these ingredients until smooth.

3. EGG FILLING:

5 large eggs

1/2 cup 10% cream

Beat together.

4. THE ASSEMBLY:

Crumble prepared goat cheese mixture evenly on bottom of tart shells.

Fill tart with prepared sweet potatoes chunks.

Pour egg mixture into tart slowly till it comes close to the top edge of the pastry.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 25-30 minutes or until tart souffles in the center (about 10 minutes for tarts).

I had previously posted this in 2012…in case you missed it!

Crispy Baked Asparagus Fries

How to get friends and family to eat asparagus….. we served these last night and they were INCREDIBLE! Our friend who never touches the stuff had seconds. I would serve this again as a side dish, as well as a great appetizer for a buffet…..

Check out the source of this recipe http://www.closetcooking.com/2013/05/crispy-baked-asparagus-fries.html

If you subscribe to the site you will receive an eBook of other recipes he has come across…

Crispy Baked Asparagus Fries

Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 10 minutes Total Time: 20 minutes Servings: 2+

Asparagus coated in panko bread crumbs and Parmesan and baked until golden brown and crispy.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound asparagus, trimmed
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup parmigiano reggiano (Parmesan), grated
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

1.     Dredge the asparagus in the flour, dip in the egg and then into a mixture of the panko, parmesan, salt and pepper.

2.     Place the asparagus in a single layer on a wire rack on a baking sheet and bake in a preheated 425F oven until golden brown, about 7-13 minutes. If you don’t have a baking rack, use parchment paper.

Nutrition Facts: Calories 312, Fat 8g (Saturated 4g, Trans 0), Cholesterol 172mg, Sodium 174mg, Carbs 44g (Fiber 6g, Sugars 5g), Protein 19g