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Takes Two to Tango… Maybe Three

26 Oct

Finger foods are the backbone of any house party. While we sip those martinis and fancy wines, our appropriate level of class is maintained by nibbling to help slow down the sometimes rapid absorption of alcohol. In my grown years, I’ve tried to graduate beyond slapping some velveeta cheese into a bowl and calling it a day. Although this simplicity would appeal to any host, most dips and appetizers require much more attention. I rarely take the easy way out when it comes to food; chopping and dicing are my therapy. I have no fear being honest however about my velveeta approach to throwing a party. I love having people over and after one too many midnight cleanup disasters, I have learned to ease up on the preparation. My good friend Liz over at  Cave Girl Eats enlightened me on the perfect appetizer a little while ago. Being the carnivore that I am, I couldn’t help but add a third ingredient. This recipe truly is only two or three ingredients and will blow all of your guests away!

  • Goat cheese
  • Roasted sweet red picadillo peppers
  • Chorizo sausage
Stuff the peppers with goat cheese and skewer on a toothpick. Add a slice of chorizo sausage if you’d like. Serve with a medium bodied, spicy red wine like Pinot Noir or Grenache.

Superbowl Sliders

2 Feb

Let’s get ready to ruuuuumble!! An easy appetizer calling out to those that love American tradition.

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Asian Mini Mushroom Sliders

2 Nov

 Looks like a duck, walks like a duck, but does that mean its a duck??? Sliders that look like hamburgers but are in fact asian infused, mushroom bunned, savory sensations. Impress friends and family with this creative appetizer.

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Easy Entertaining – No Fuss Appetizers with Sparkling Wine

2 Sep

In the past, champagne or any sparkling wine signified a special occasion. Sales at New Years soared and then sat on shelves for the rest of the year. Nowadays, sometimes a celebration can mean getting off of work and feeling like some bubbly. Great values have penetrated the market from Spanish Cava to Italian Prosecco and the consumer no longer has to choose between expensive Champagne from France or cheap headaches in a bottle like Andre for $4.99. The Prosecco shown on the left retails between $10-$15!Ca’Furlan Prosecco for those interested.

In addition, these dry and sparkling tasty treats go great with appetizers! Often times it can be hard to pair wine with dishes that have raw or uncooked ingredients. Appetizers can easily fall into this category. Think Antipasto, bruschetta, vegetable sticks, etc. For instance, raw garlic can be extremely potent and overpower a wine; however, when cooked or roasted the caramel notes can pair beautifully with oaky wines. The acidity in tomatoes can also be too much for a wine. The Prosecco shown in the picture is a perfect way to connect the bridge between different flavors of various appetizers. The bubbly can help neutralize sharp tastes with out sacrificing overall flavor. Sparkling wine also acts as a cleanser in between various dishes. If your done with the salty bruschetta and ready to move on to the sweet apricot, walnut, and Brie appetizer, then the garlic won’t hang out on your taste buds as long.

Generally, when I am putting out a spread of appetizers one of two events is happening. Either I am making a big dinner and want to keep the guests happy when they initially arrive or I am having a group meet at my house before going somewhere. Either way, I do not want a big fuss and a messy kitchen as a result. I would rather be putting my energy elsewhere whether it be cooking the large meal or getting ready to go out. Above are some simple ideas to satisfy any party. Bruschetta is one of the easiest appetizers to make. Simply chop some tomato, garlic, and basil.. throw some olive oil and salt into the bowl and serve on a toasted baguette. Done! Brie cheese is an all time favorite. This cheese can go with salty or sweet counterparts. Above I served with sliced peaches and walnuts. I have also put sundried tomatoes and pesto with it. In the upper right corner are some shortcake cookies. Grocery stores these days have a large variety of specialty cookies and many that are baked that day. In the bottom corner, I put blue cheese stuffed olives in a bowl. Any form of olive works. Not everyone likes olives but they sure do add a touch of class! I’ve been known to sip on a dirty martini with stuffed olives every now and then… I have to say, I feel classier than I do when I’m sipping on wine! Another appetizer idea not shown above, toothpicks with fresh mozzarella, salami, grape tomato, or olives. Cheers!

Grapefruit and Avocado Bruschetta

12 Jul

In one of my recent posts I commented on how much I love Italian appetizers like caprese. I have also always been a huge fan of bruschetta. Honestly one of the most impressive flavor combinations that can easily be whipped up in a matter of minutes. It’s as easy as chopping tomatoes, basil, garlic, and combining with some olive oil and salt. Typically this Italian style salsa is served over toasted Panne Italian.
With the summer heat in full swing, I have been craving fruitier items. Apricot and mango chutneys, grilled pineapple, watermelon margaritas, peach pie, you name it. As I prepare the grocery list every Sunday, my husband Scott usually chimes in with some inspiration on different themes to cook through out the week. Tonight he wanted to go back to our California roots and have a Pacific theme. Cedar planked salmon naturally came to mind. I wanted everything tonight to be fresh. Fresh salmon, fresh produce, fresh bread. Maybe the “Jersey Fresh” logo that local markets have been promoting has been working on me. Considering we live in the garden state, the summer and fall months are always over abundant in produce and I love it! After picking up my fresh Italian bread at the entrance of the store, I immediately started thinking of a salsa like concoction to put on top. Avocado clearly had to be a part since that is a California staple. I have seen plenty of peach, mango, and tomato based salsas so I figured I would venture down a different path. Grapefruit is the star of the dressing below. Instead of using chips with this salsa, I toasted the bread and glazed with olive oil. See below for this tasty California style bruschetta. Approved by Scott and my neighbor Shibahn.
California Bruschetta
1 grapefruit peeled and chopped into bite size pieces
1 avocado peeled and chopped into bite size pieces
1/2 small red onion diced
1-2 jalapenos diced
1-2 tbsp chopped cilantro
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
2 tbsp lime juice
1/2 tbsp honey
1/2 tbsp sugar
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