Category Archives: appetizers

Baked Salami (Oldie but Goodie)

This is an oldie but goodie recipe and everyone loves it always. I posted this back in 2011 and it always lands in one of the top 10 recipes on my blog every year. This is a most awesome appetizer for New Years , Superbowl or any time you are needing a great appetizer .  Rarely is there a piece left over. Good Old Fashioned Kosher Salami. (the kind in the package from Hebrew National is what I’m talking about)  A-Mazing! Totally Delicious and Addicting so watch out!

*you will want to double recipe for the larger salami shown. Recipe below is for the smaller one.

Ingredients:

1 Kosher Salami (this is a larger one for a larger crowd)

1/2 cup Marmalade ( I like orange) but can be Lemon or Ginger

2 tablespoons Brown Sugar

1 tablespoon Dijon Mustard- I used Maille Dijon Mustard

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Score into Salami, cut into Salami in narrow slices but not completely through to bottom. Just make slices almost to the bottom. Mix all ingredients together and spread on Salami, place on a lightly sprayed baking sheet and cook for about 1 – 1 1/2 hours. Serve on a plate with sliced pumpernickle or rye bread or crackers. I buy that party pumpernickle bread which is already cut into small pieces and available almost everywhere.

Tuna Ceviche

I struggled with the title for this recipe and finally decided to name it Ceviche because it is the interpretation of what this tuna really is. When a fish is denatured by a citrus juice, in this case lime juice it really is considered to be a ceviche which is very popular in Latin America. However the recipe that I got this from was titled Tuna Tartare. My resident “fish expert” wants it to be called Ceviche and he enjoyed it very much. This is the second time I made this recipe. The first was on New Years Eve and I made it with my friend, Susan. We made the amounts listed here, last night I made 1 box and cut the recipe by 2/3. You can play somewhat with ingredients, you might not want to use hot sauce or jalapeno and you can omit. I have to say I used both last night and would have liked it spicier. Next time I will add more hot sauce.

Also a little note after researching the topic of Tuna. The original recipe says to mix well so I did, but if you mix well with the fish in it you cause a lot of air to get into the fish and the fish will turn a browner color. It is just oxygenation of the fish and it is not harmful. So I recommend mixing the sauce well first and then add to the fish and stir gently and cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour to allow flavors to marinate. The change in color is not harmful as long as you are starting out with very fresh tuna . I used a box of sushi grade frozen tuna available in my Whole Foods Market. You can purchase from your local fish store as well. The frozen one was very easy to work with but comes in very small blocks. (see picture) and is rather pricey.

It takes about 1/2 hour to prep. and is worth the effort. This recipe will probably serve 6-8 and maybe a little more as an appetizer. I served alongside some delicious tortilla chips but any chips will do. The layering of all these flavors is spectacular. If you don’t want to use toasted sesame seeds you can omit.

*I would eat any left-overs within 24 hours.

Ingredients:

1 1/4 lb. sushi grade tuna (see photo of the tuna I used or ask your local fish merchant)

3/4 cup good olive oil

3 limes, zest grated

1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice ( use the limes you just zested) you may need more so have a few extra on hand. I used a juicer because it’s impossible to hand squeeze limes.

1 teaspoon wasabi powder

1 1/4 Tbsp. Soy Sauce

1 Tbsp. Hot Red Pepper Sauce–I used Cholula Hot Sauce

1 Tbsp. Kosher Salt

1/2 Tbsp. Freshly Ground Pepper

app. 6 minced scallions, white and green parts

1/2 -1 Minced Fresh Jalapeno Pepper, seeds removed–wear plastic gloves and leave a few seeds if you like spicier.

3 ripe Haas Avocados or any ones you can get

1 Tbsp. Toasted Sesame Seeds, optional if you don’t want the seeds.

Directions:

Follow directions on the box of sushi grade tuna for defrosting

if you’re not using fresh. Make sure fish is dry and cut the tuna into small dice pieces about 1/4″and place in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the olive oil, lime zest, lime juice, wasabi, soy sauce, hot red pepper sauce, salt and pepper, use a whisk and whisk well then pour over the tuna , add the scallions and jalapeno and mix gently and quickly so as not to oxygenate tuna too much. Cut the avocados in half, remove the pit and peel. Cut the avocado into small chunks to your liking. Carefully mix the avocado into the tuna mixture. Add the toasted sesame seeds, if you are using and season to taste. Allow the mixture to sit in the refrigerator for at least an hour for the flavors to meld together.

Serve with tortilla chips of your liking and Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

Cream Cheese and Lox/Salmon Appetizer

Winter '13 colorado 023Winter '13 colorado 020Winter '13 colorado 021Winter '13 colorado 022This is an appetizer that I used to make all the time and then for some reason stopped making and am now starting to make again! It’s funny how that happens.  It couldn’t be easier and it looks so good. It’s good if you’re looking for something new to make, very few ingredients and all you’ll really need is a good sharp knife for cutting rolls. Out here in Colorado I was able to get very soft extra large tortillas, they work really well. If you can’t find very soft ones, just use regular tortillas or wraps. If you can’t get large just use small ones.  Look at photos, just lay salmon on top of cream cheese in a row starting at the top and go to just before the bottom of tortilla. One 4 oz. package will probably go for 3 large tortillas and 4 small. Good for 4 – 6 people.

Ingredients:

1 4 oz. package of salmon ( or 4 ounces lox)

whipped cream cheese (just easier to spread than bar cream cheese)

1 package of large soft tortillas, or just any size tortilla will do just fine (or you can just use any kind of wrap bread) these are usually available in the deli department of your supermarket.

Directions:

* see photos (for best description)

Take out tortilla , spread whipped cream cheese all over the tortilla, place  slices of salmon starting at the top and go to almost bottom, and then roll up tortilla ( like a wrap) I cut off the ends, and then slice tortilla into app. 1 to 1 1/2″ pieces. App . 5  pieces per tortilla.  Refrigerate till ready to eat and you’re good to go. Put on a pretty plate with some lemon wedges and you’re good to go.

*you can add diced up red onions, or capers. Your call. I just did cream cheese and lox and they were perfect.

Seven Layer Dip

Winter cont'd 021Seven Layer Dip 005This is a super easy and beautiful dish to entertain with. It’s great in a glass bowl where you can see all of the layers. I prefer to make this without meat but if you would like make one of the layers ground beef or ground turkey. Just drain the meat before adding and make sure that the meat has cooled before adding all the other ingredients. Feel free to play around with ingredients, whatever works for you. This recipe is best served at room temperature, I’ll usually make it earlier in the day and take it out of refrigerator an hour or so before serving. Another thing I would suggest is to go to a local Mexican restaurant that you like and buy your refried beans, guacamole and salsa there. It’s usually the best. Sometimes I will make my own guacamole etc. If you’d like to you can double down on all the ingredients. This will probably serve 12 as an appetizer.

Ingredients:

16 oz. refried beans

1 package taco seasoning

1 cup sour cream, I used light not fat-free

1 cup guacamole

1 cup salsa

1 cup Mexican blend shredded cheese

4 ounces black sliced or chopped olives

1 cup chopped tomatoes

*if adding meat use app. 1 – 1 1/2 lbs. ground beef or turkey and make sure it is drained and cooled down before adding it to dip.

Directions:

Layer in this order

1. refried beans mixed with 1 package of taco seasoning – I remove 2 tablespoons of the taco seasoning for the sour cream, if you don’t it’s no biggie I just do it to give the sour cream a little punch

2. 1 cup sour cream mixed with 2 tablespoons of taco seasoning

3. 1 cup guacamole

4. 1 cup salsa

5. 1 cup Mexican cheese

7. 1 cup chopped tomatoes

*if using meat just heat up a little bit of olive oil in pan and cook meat and drain meat after cooking. You’ll want to cool meat down completely before adding to dip.

* if you like cilantro you can sprinkle on top or sliced green onions are a nice touch

*lime wedges are a nice touch as well

Cover with plastic wrap, refrigerate and remove about an hour before serving. Serve with chips for dipping and have a spoon handy to help serve it.

Spinach and Artichoke Dip – Game Day Dip

Game Day is finally here, it’s two days away. If you’re looking for a delicious dip , this is it. This recipe belongs to my daughter Jenn, she always makes it and it is always delicious. It goes perfectly with any kind of chip , or you can toast pita bread and cut into triangles. I know it’s fattening, but what the hell ? Superbowl comes but once a year right? This is a Super Snack, and if you like you can use Lite Mayo and Lite Sour Cream, just not fat free, it won’t work out well at all. This is just a great dip to make anytime of the year, and ingredients are super easy to obtain. Just make sure you squeeze out the excess water from the spinach.

Ingredients:

1 box or bag of frozen chopped spinach * (defrosted)  drained and squeezed out of all liquid, this is the most important thing here is to get the spinach as dry as possible.

1 Can Artichokes drained and coarsley chopped ( if you can buy them quartered already do so)

1 1/2 cups Mayonnaise ( Lite is fine)

3/4 cup Sour Cream ( Lite is fine)

3/4 cup Shredded Parmesan Cheese (not grated)

* In order to get spinach as dry as possible, I put it in colander to defrost, or leave it out for a few hours. I then literally squeeze it out to get all the liquid out of it, you don’t want it wet, the liquid will ruin the dip. So first defrost, then drain it, then wring it out with your clean hands.

Directions:

Mix together all ingredients and put in a nice oven proof dish that you’ll want to serve it in and bake at 350 degrees till brown and bubbly , about 30 – 35 minutes.

Triple Berry Crisp–Gluten Free

IMG_7716 IMG_7709 (2) IMG_7702 IMG_7698 I love sugar as much if not more than the next guy but this was an opportunity to make a berry crisp without any white sugar or flour.  I stumbled upon this recipe on one of the million blogs, sites and posts I see spouting Paleo and Gluten Free recipes. I am not a paleo eater nor am I gluten free but it can’t hurt to have a recipe that is light on the sugar and fairly healthy to boot. If you would like it a little bit sweeter you can add a tablespoon of coconut sugar or a packet of stevia, I didn’t and I liked it just the way it was.  It intrigued me since I love a crisp but hate the amounts of sugar that go into it, even though I do love eating it.

I had some fresh blueberries, some fresh blackberries and a few random raspberries that were going to go uneaten . What better time to try this? You can make this with just blueberries, or any berry or fruit you like. Berries are in abundance now and super delicious. This recipe took me all of 1/2 hour to put together. Use cooking spray on ramekins and baking sheet or use parchment paper for easier clean-up.  I used 4 ramekins but you can stretch this to 6 for sure.

I just sampled and can say that while they are not cloyingly sweet they have a bit of sweetness and crunch and you can really taste the tartness of the berries. I wouldn’t mind topping with some  ice cream or yogurt but I guess that would be defeating the purpose. There are some wonderful dairy-free ice creams out there and I suppose they would work just fine.

Just an addition– I ate it for breakfast this morning!!! with a little greek yogurt!

Ingredients:

app. 2 pints of berries — as I said you can mix them or use any one you like best. I used black, blue and raspberries. This can be made with apples, peaches, strawberries , nectarines and any combination of the above. I like making them in individual ramekins as a way of having portions already prepared which I think is very nice for dessert but equally nice made in a larger baking dish and you may need to double up on ingredients.

Ingredients:

Juice of 1 lemon

1 cup almond flour–available in most supermarkets today ( Whole Foods)

*1/2 cup slivered almonds–obviously can be made without nuts but I love the crunch

1/4 cup coconut oil, melted

2 tbsp. maple syrup ( use pure maple not the artificial one)

1 tsp. cinnamon

pinch of nutmeg

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees

In a bowl, mix together the berries with the lemon juice. Divide between the ramekins ( spray ramekins first) you can also bake this in one large baking dish of course.

You can use the same bowl or a new one, and mix together remaining ingredients until combined. Spoon the almond mixture over the berries. Bake for app. 30 minutes , until bubbly and golden brown. Mine were done in 25 minutes so check your oven after 20 minutes to see where they’re at.

Let it cool slightly before serving.

Seven Layer Dip

Winter cont'd 021Seven Layer Dip 005This is a super easy and beautiful dish to entertain with. It’s great in a glass bowl where you can see all of the layers. I prefer to make this without meat but if you would like make one of the layers ground beef or ground turkey. Just drain the meat before adding and make sure that the meat has cooled before adding all the other ingredients. Feel free to play around with ingredients, whatever works for you. This recipe is best served at room temperature, I’ll usually make it earlier in the day and take it out of refrigerator an hour or so before serving. Another thing I would suggest is to go to a local Mexican restaurant that you like and buy your refried beans, guacamole and salsa there. It’s usually the best. Sometimes I will make my own guacamole etc. If you’d like to you can double down on all the ingredients. This will probably serve 12 as an appetizer..

Ingredients:

16 oz. refried beans

1 package taco seasoning

1 cup sour cream, I used light not fat-free

1 cup guacamole

1 cup salsa

1 cup Mexican blend shredded cheese

4 ounces black sliced or chopped olives

1 cup chopped tomatoes

*if adding meat use app. 1 – 1 1/2 lbs. ground beef or turkey and make sure it is drained and cooled down before adding it to dip.

Directions:

Layer in this order

1. refried beans mixed with 1 package of taco seasoning – I remove 2 tablespoons of the taco seasoning for the sour cream, if you don’t it’s no biggie I just do it to give the sour cream a little punch

2. 1 cup sour cream mixed with 2 tablespoons of taco seasoning

3. 1 cup guacamole

4. 1 cup salsa

5. 1 cup Mexican cheese

7. 1 cup chopped tomatoes

*if using meat just heat up a little bit of olive oil in pan and cook meat and drain meat after cooking. You’ll want to cool meat down completely before adding to dip.

* if you like cilantro you can sprinkle on top or sliced green onions are a nice touch

*lime wedges are a nice touch as well

Cover with plastic wrap, refrigerate and remove about an hour before serving. Serve with chips for dipping and have a spoon handy to help serve it.

Spinach and Artichoke Dip – Game Day Dip

Game Day is finally here, it’s two days away. If you’re looking for a delicious dip , this is it. This recipe belongs to my daughter Jenn, she always makes it and it is always delicious. It goes perfectly with any kind of chip , or you can toast pita bread and cut into triangles. I know it’s fattening, but what the hell ? Superbowl comes but once a year right? This is a Super Snack, and if you like you can use Lite Mayo and Lite Sour Cream, just not fat free, it won’t work out well at all. This is just a great dip to make anytime of the year, and ingredients are super easy to obtain. Just make sure you squeeze out the excess water from the spinach.

Ingredients:

1 box or bag of frozen chopped spinach * (defrosted)  drained and squeezed out of all liquid, this is the most important thing here is to get the spinach as dry as possible.

1 Can Artichokes drained and coarsley chopped ( if you can buy them quartered already do so)

1 1/2 cups Mayonnaise ( Lite is fine)

3/4 cup Sour Cream ( Lite is fine)

3/4 cup Shredded Parmesan Cheese (not grated)

* In order to get spinach as dry as possible, I put it in colander to defrost, or leave it out for a few hours. I then literally squeeze it out to get all the liquid out of it, you don’t want it wet, the liquid will ruin the dip. So first defrost, then drain it, then wring it out with your clean hands.

Directions:

Mix together all ingredients and put in a nice oven proof dish that you’ll want to serve it in and bake at 350 degrees till brown and bubbly , about 30 – 35 minutes.

Sweet and Spicy Nuts – Perfect for Thanksgiving

photo 4 (3)photo 1 (4)

My inspiration for this recipe came from Barefoot Contessa. I make these and keep them in a baggie or a container. Awesome, thanks Ina. These nuts make the perfect appetizers, no one who eats nuts can resist. I also like mine with a little “kick”, you can manage the heat on these.

ingredients:

2 Tbsp. Vegetable Oil plus more for sheet pan

7 cups of nuts (you can break it up any way you want. You can do 7 cups of roasted mixed unsalted nuts or any other combination as long as they equal 7 cups. if you can’t find unsalted nuts, adjust the salt on this recipe as per direction below) 

1/3 cup pure maple syrup

1/4 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed

3 tablespoons orange juice (fresh or container. fresh is always best (and one orange will do the trick,) but honestly no biggie.)

2 teaspoons ground chipotle powder–I use 2 teaspoons but if you really like them mild use a little less.

4 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary leaves (divide 2 tablespoons for now and 2 tablespoons for later)

4 teaspoons Kosher salt (also divided 2 for now and 2 for later. don’t add second 2 teaspoons of salt if you bought salted nuts)

Preheat oven to 350

Brush a sheet pan (prefer one with sides) generously with vegetable oil (use a brush, love the silicone brushes)

First, combine nuts, 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil, maple syrup, brown sugar, orange juice, and chipotle powder in a large bowl (I prefer a large metal bowl). Toss to coat the nuts evenly.

Add 2 tablespoons of the minced rosemary and 2 teaspoons of the kosher salt and give it a good toss (a large metal spoon works the best b/c it can get a little sticky with a wooden spoon.)

Spread nuts in a single layer on sheet pan.

Roast nuts for 25 minutes, stirring twice. You will want to take them out of the oven to stir them b/c they may slide off the tray. Use a metal spatula. Roast for the rest of the 25 minutes until nuts are glazed .

Remove from the oven, and sprinkle with remaining 2 teaspoons of kosher salt (only if they were unsalted) and add the remaining 2 tablespoons of rosemary.

Toss well and set aside at room temp.

While they are cooling, stir them up a few times b/c they may stick together.

Taste for seasoning. They really don’t achieve full flavor until they fully cool. So you won’t know how spicy they are until they sit for a while. I’ve made these a million times and can tell you that this amount of chipotle has kick, but not psycho hot.

Serve warm, or let them cool. Put them in a container and serve whenever you like. They stay good for a long time.

*just a note: you can adjust salt, rosemary, and chipotle to your liking. I have recipe for Union Square Nuts and they don’t have chipotle and are also delish but I prefer these b/c I love the heat of the chipotle!

Enjoy!

Triple Berry Crisp–Gluten Free

IMG_7716 IMG_7709 (2) IMG_7702 IMG_7698 I love sugar as much if not more than the next guy but this was an opportunity to make a berry crisp without any white sugar or flour.  I stumbled upon this recipe on one of the million blogs, sites and posts I see spouting Paleo and Gluten Free recipes. I am not a paleo eater nor am I gluten free but it can’t hurt to have a recipe that is light on the sugar and fairly healthy to boot. If you would like it a little bit sweeter you can add a tablespoon of coconut sugar or a packet of stevia, I didn’t and I liked it just the way it was.  It intrigued me since I love a crisp but hate the amounts of sugar that go into it, even though I do love eating it.

I had some fresh blueberries, some fresh blackberries and a few random raspberries that were going to go uneaten . What better time to try this? You can make this with just blueberries, or any berry or fruit you like. Berries are in abundance now and super delicious. This recipe took me all of 1/2 hour to put together. Use cooking spray on ramekins and baking sheet or use parchment paper for easier clean-up.  I used 4 ramekins but you can stretch this to 6 for sure.

I just sampled and can say that while they are not cloyingly sweet they have a bit of sweetness and crunch and you can really taste the tartness of the berries. I wouldn’t mind topping with some  ice cream or yogurt but I guess that would be defeating the purpose. There are some wonderful dairy-free ice creams out there and I suppose they would work just fine.

Just an addition– I ate it for breakfast this morning!!! with a little greek yogurt!

Ingredients:

app. 2 pints of berries — as I said you can mix them or use any one you like best. I used black, blue and raspberries. This can be made with apples, peaches, strawberries , nectarines and any combination of the above. I like making them in individual ramekins as a way of having portions already prepared which I think is very nice for dessert but equally nice made in a larger baking dish and you may need to double up on ingredients.

Ingredients:

Juice of 1 lemon

1 cup almond flour–available in most supermarkets today ( Whole Foods)

*1/2 cup slivered almonds–obviously can be made without nuts but I love the crunch

1/4 cup coconut oil, melted

2 tbsp. maple syrup ( use pure maple not the artificial one)

1 tsp. cinnamon

pinch of nutmeg

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees

In a bowl, mix together the berries with the lemon juice. Divide between the ramekins ( spray ramekins first) you can also bake this in one large baking dish of course.

You can use the same bowl or a new one, and mix together remaining ingredients until combined. Spoon the almond mixture over the berries. Bake for app. 30 minutes , until bubbly and golden brown. Mine were done in 25 minutes so check your oven after 20 minutes to see where they’re at.

Let it cool slightly before serving.