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Category Archives: Appetizers

A Perfect Party Bite for your New Year’s Celebration

Smoke Salmon BitesWith the New Year upon us, I thought sharing an easy appetizer was in order.  A killer cheese plate and spinach artichoke dip are my go to starters for parties, but I also love to serve something just a little bit lighter on its feet.

This bite is especially great because it involves no cooking, doesn’t require a recipe, and delivers when it comes to flavor.

At the forefront of this appetizer is smoked salmon.  I like to use pepper crusted salmon by Rushing Waters, a local company.  They are a great source for fresh trout, but also make smoked fish and spreads.

Ingredients

To make this, you will need the following:

  • Handful of fresh herbs (I like to use dill, cilantro, and parsley)
  • Softened cream cheese
  • Dash of Milk
  • Crackers
  • Cucumber Slices
  • Smoked Salmon
  • Sriracha or other hot sauce

I start this by adding the cream cheese, herbs, and a little milk to a food processor.  Process this until the herbs are chopped.  The mixture should thin enough to easily dollop, but thick enough to hold itself on the cracker.  This can be done in advance and the easy assembly can be done before serving.  Perhaps the perfect task for the early party guest that is eager to help in the kitchen.

To put these together, I top the crackers with the cream cheese mixture and place a cucumber slice on each cracker.  After that, add some smoked salmon to each piece and finish with a little squirt of Sriracha.  I think these would be great garnished with sesame seeds as well.  If you want to lighten this up, you can even omit the cracker and use the cucumber as base.

I hope this party bite tip finds you well and that everyone has a very Happy New Year!

As always, cheers!

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I’ve Gone Crackers!

It’s crazy to think I haven’t blogged for months, but I’m breaking the hiatus with these healthy, homemade crackers.  I enjoy the brand Mary’s Gone Crackers and came across a few different copycat recipes online and decided to create my own version, heavy on the sesame.  Making homemade crackers is also very satisfying, especially if you already happen to have all the ingredients required as I did! From my research, soy sauce is not technically gluten free unless labeled as such, but if you do use a gluten-free soy sauce, the crackers will also be gluten free if that is a concern.

Sesame Power Crisps (Makes 60 small crackers)

  • 1/2 cup whole grain parboiled brown rice (like Uncle Ben’s)
  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried herb de provence (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons flax seed
  • 2 tablespoons raw sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoons black sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 t. water
  • 1/4 t. table salt and pepper
  • sesame oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Bring 2 cups of water to a boil.  Stir in kosher salt, herbs, rice, and quinoa.  Reduce heat to low and cover.  Cook for 30 minutes, then remove from heat for 5 minutes before proceeding.

In the meantime, let seeds toast in oven for 6-8 minutes.

Place 2 t. water in food processor fitted with metal blade.  Add rice/quinoa picture and process until a paste forms.  Add soy sauce and continue to process until combined.  Transfer mixture to a bowl and stir in seeds, salt, and a few turns of pepper from a mill.  Stir mixture until seeds are fully integrated.  The mixture will be very sticky and thick.

Coat a dark, non-stick sheet pan with sesame oil.  Make teaspoon sized balls of the dough mixture and place on pan. You will need to then flatten the balls as much as possible.  I used a metal measuring cup lightly coated with cooking spray (you will need to add more spray regularly).  The flatter the dough, the more crispy the end product will be.  (I think I could probably come up with a better technique for the flattening in the future, but this worked out ok as you will see.)

Bake crackers until golden brown throughout and dark golden brown at edges. This took 18-22 minutes depending on the batch.  Enjoy!  Impress your friends by sharing your homemade crackers if you don’t eat them all yourself!

For the love of crostini

Who doesn’t love a good spread of crostini?  From the classic bruschetta to the more unexpected, I thought I would share some of my latest creations in the kitchen.

Starting with a canvas of toasted bread brushed with olive oil, these simple party bites can be created from a variety of ingredients you may have on hand anyway.  If you have a baguette on and need to entertain in a pinch, you can surely throw together a some crostino!

Basic Bruschetta
Rub bread with garlic clove.
Top with chopped tomatoes,
sea salt, a drizzle of olive oil,
and of course basil!

 


Steak with Blue Cheese Butter
Warm steak (great for leftovers)
topped with a little blue cheese
butter combo.

 

Truffled Brussels Sprouts
Thinly sliced brussels sprouts
quickly sauteed with crushed garlic,
dash of salt, and a generous grind of pepper.
Drizzle with truffle oil and top with shaved parmesan.

 


Roasted Grapes & Feta
Toss grapes with olive oil, salt, pepper,
and fresh thyme.  Roast for 40 minutes
at 400 degrees.  Press feta onto bread and
top with hot sliced grapes. Garnish with toasted walnuts.

 

I hope these ideas inspire you!
For my subscribers…I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted and I’ve decided to do more postings like this with ideas rather than specific recipes.  What can I say?  I’m more of an idea person in the kitchen than one who likes to strictly follow a recipe, so that format will work out better for  me.

Citrus Pea Crostini

Any host with the most knows that having an arsenal of reliable and easy appetizers is a must.  Here’s one that is simple and possibly unexpected.  Combine peas with pecorino and citrus and you’ve got a tasty spread worthy of topping your favorite baguette.  In the proportions listed, the spread will be rich and can be lightly spread to thin slices for your standard french baguette. If you’re looking for more of a topping to really dollop onto the bread, I would add additional peas.  The nice thing about this is that you can really garnish this with a variety of options, so it is quite flexible.  I had to laugh though because this is a bit of pesto “stand in” for times when you don’t have fresh basil on hand…but I had fresh basil and couldn’t help myself from using this for a little garnish.  I also still had an Ancient Sweet fresh sweet red pepper, which adds a perfect contrast of color.  Roasted red peppers, tomatoes, fresh mint, and lemon zest are just a few other garnish ideas that come to mind.

Citrus Pea Crostini

  • 1/3 cup coarsely chopped Pecorino (can also sub your favorite firm & salty Italian cheese)
  • 1 small garlic clove chopped (feel free to adjust the garlic depending on preference)
  • Juice from one lemon
  • 3/4 cup defrosted frozen peas
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • pepper to taste
  • baguette sliced, brushed with olive oil, and toasted
  • garnish of your choice

 

 

In a food processor, combine cheese and garlic until very well combined.  Add lemon juice, 1/2 cup of peas, and olive oil. Pulse until mixture is pureed.  Add in the last 1/4 cup of peas and lightly pulse until they’ve broken up, but traces of the skin are seen.  (You can just puree all together, but I like the resulted texture from following this technique.)  Spread onto your baguette and top as desired.

This also tastes great stirred into pasta. Enjoy!