Posts Tagged ‘Appetizer’

Excellent Crab Cakes!

August 6, 2017

Last winter I had the pleasure of attending the Culinaria Cooking School for a one-evening team-building event for the Board of Directors of the Special Libraries Association.   I have never been a huge fan of crab meat, but these crab cakes were “to die for.”  And, we actually got to make them ourselves.  Bon appetit!

“Excellent” Crab Cakes

1 pound of fresh jumbo lump crabmeat
1 cup of fresh white bread crumbs
4-5 Tablespoons of mayonnaise
4 Tablespoons of Italian parsley, chopped
1 Tablespoons of black sesame seeds, toasted (optional)
2 Tablespooons of coarse-grained Dijon mustard (rounded Tablespoons)
2 Tablespoons of green onion (or shallots), chopped
4-5 Tablespoons of fresh lime juice
2 jalapeño (or scotch bonnet or Serrano pepper), seeded and minced
2 extra large eggs, beaten to blend
2 Tablespoons of oil
2 Tablespoons of butter
Mixed greens, dressed with light vinaigrette (for serving)

1. Combine the first 8 ingredients in a large bowl and gently toss or mix together (try to not over work the crab so it doesn’t break into tiny pieces). Season the mixture with salt and pepper. Beat the eggs with a fork to blend. Add in the egg and gently blend in with all the ingredients. Form the mixture into equal sized patties.

2. Heat a heavy skillet to medium-high heat. Add 2 TBSP. of oil and then melt 2 TBSP. butter in the center of the oil.   Sauté the crab cakes in batches until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes on each side. Arrange 2 or 3 crab cakes (depending on the size) on each plate. Add some mixed greens dressed with light vinaigrette and top each crab cake
with avocado “butter,” chipotle crème fraîche or your favorite sauce and serve.

Chipotle Crème Fraîche (makes about ¾ cup): Optional
¼ cup of mayonnaise
¼ cup of crème fraîche
4 chilies (canned chipotle chilies in adobo)
1 medium clove of garlic, minced
2 teaspoons of fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons of chopped fresh parsley
2 teaspoons of capers

1. In a blender (or food processor), combine all the ingredients and puree until smooth. Cover and refrigerate for 1-2 hours to chill.



Cheesecake of the Month – April 2017!

March 15, 2017

This month’s delectable recipe is for a savory cheesecake (meant to be served as an hors d’oeuvres).  Three types of cheese and bacon . . . of course I’ll like it!

Gorgonzola Cheesecake

1-1/2 tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 cup lightly toasted bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 pound bacon, chopped
1 cup finely chopped onions
1-3/4 pounds cream cheese, softened
1/2 pound gorgonzola cheese
4 eggs
1/3 cup whipping cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
Hot sauce to taste

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Butter a 9-inch springform pan. Mix the bread crumbs with the Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle the crumb mixture in the pan, turning the pan to coat evenly.

Fry the bacon in a heavy skillet until crisp. Remove from the pan and drain on paper towels. Dispose of all but about one tablespoon of bacon fat from the skillet. Add the onions, and cover and cook over low heat about 10 minutes until soft, stirring occasionally.

Crumble the bacon. Combine the cream cheese and the Gorgonzola in a blender or food processor and process until smooth. Add the eggs, cream, salt and hot sauce and process until smooth. Blend in the bacon and onions, but don’t over mix.

Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Set the pan in a roasting pan and add enough hot water to come halfway up the sides of the springform. Bake until the cheesecake sets, about an hour and 20 minutes. Turn the oven off and cool the cheesecake about an hour with the oven door ajar. Transfer to a rack and cool to room temperature before removing the pan and serving.

Source: Judy Walker, a writer for The Times-Picayune, Greater New Orleans (newspaper).

Shrimp and Bacon!

August 20, 2016

Happy Saturday!  I just ran across a recipe involving two of my favorite foods (shrimp and bacon) that I can’t wait to try (courtesy of and Elise Bauer).

Bacon-Wrapped Shrimp

1 pound of shrimp (raw, peeled and deveined – tail on)
2 Tablespoons of olive oil
Zest from 1 lime
2 Tablespoons lime juice
1/2 teaspon of chipotle/chili powder (adjust to your liking)
6-10 strips of thin bacon, cut in half (have as many pieces of bacon as you have pieces of shrimp)
Skewers (for grilling) or toothpicks (for oven)
Optional brine
4 cups of water
1/4 cup of kosher salt
1/4 cup of sugar
1 cup of ice

Directions (abbreviated, here’s the full descriptive recipe)
1. Toss shrimp with lime zest, lime juice, olive oil, chipotle/chili powder.
2. Partially cook the bacon.
3. Prepare the grill or preheat the oven.
4. Wrap the shrimp with the bacon.
5. Secure the bacon to the shrimp with skewers if grilling, toothpicks if cooking in the oven.
6. Grill or bake the shrimp.

Source: (Elise Bauer)

Cheesy and Bacony!

July 8, 2016

Next time you are looking for an amazing appetizer (or potluck offering), here is a wonderful recipe to try.

Cheesy Turkey-Bacon Cups

Cooking spray
1-1/2 cups (5 ounces) finely chopped Parmesan cheese
1/2/3 cups of milk
1/4 cup of butter
3 Tablespoons of all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (2 ounces) of shredded Cheddar cheese
1/8 teaspoon of salt
1/8 teaspoon of pepper
4 ounces of thinly sliced deli turkey cut into 2″ squares
4 cooked bacon slices, crumbled (really, only 4?)
1/2 cup of diced fresh tomato
Garnish: fresh flat leaf parsley

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line two baking sheets with aluminum foil and lightly coat with cooking spray.  Spoon the Parmesan cheese onto baking sheets (1/2″ apart) forming 12 (2-1/2 inch) rounds on each sheet.

2. Bake the first sheet for 7-9 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned and beginning to set.  Working quickly, transfer the cheese rounds to a lightly greased 24-cup mini-muffin pan pressing gently into each cup to form shells.  Repeat the procedure with the second baking tray.

3. Microwave the milk for 30 seconds on high or until warm.  Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium-high heat.  Whisk in the flour; cook while whisking constantly for 1-2 minutes or until thickened.  Whisk in the shredded Cheddar cheese, salt and pepper.

4. Increase oven temperature to 425 degrees.  Line each Parmesan shell with two (2) turkey pieces and fill each cup with 1 teaspoon of the cheese sauce.   Bake for five (5) minutes.
Remove from the pan and transfer to a wire rack.  Top each cup with crumbled bacon and diced tomato.

Show Me The Bacon!

June 10, 2016

Here is a tasty and easy recipe that’s a bit of a twist on the stuffed potato peel appetizers that are popular in many restaurants.   And even though it takes you an hour to prepare, it is well worth the investment of time.

Cheese and Bacon Potato Rounds

4 baking potatoes, cut into 1/2″ slices
1/4 cup of melted butter
8 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled
8 ounces of shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup of chopped green onion
Sour cream (if desired)

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Brush both sides of the potato rounds with butter and place them on an ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake for 30-40 minutes (turning once) or until they are lightly browned on both sides.

3. When the potatoes are ready, top them with the bacon, cheese and green onion and continue baking until the cheese has melted.

4. Top with sour cream (if you so desire).

Bacon, It’s Not Just For Breakfast!

July 8, 2015

We are well into the summer season which means it is time for picnics and potlucks.  So, here is a recipe to make you the hero of the day at the next event you attend and are required to bring something.  And, it is super easy to throw together.


2 cups (16 ounces) of sour cream
2 cups of mayonnaise
2 pounds of bacon, cooked and crumbled
6 plum tomatoes, chopped
3 green onions, chopped
Additional crumbled cooked bacon and chopped green onions (optional)
Assorted crackers and/or chips

In a large bowl, combine the sour cream, mayonnaise, bacon, tomatoes, and onions.  Refrigerate until time to serve.  Garnish with bacon and onions (if desired) and serve with crackers and/or chips.

Voila!  Enjoy!

Do You Like Shrimp?!

April 9, 2015

Then here is a recipe for a baked (not fried) shrimp appetizer that you are sure to enjoy.  Personally, I think it is the dipping sauce that really makes this appetizer special.

Coconut Shrimp with Curry Dipping Sauce

20-24 jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails intact
3-4 Tablespoons canola oil
1 cup rice flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher-style flake salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
3 egg whites
1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 Tablespoon sugar

Dipping sauce:
1 cup mayonnaise
3/4 teaspoon hot curry powder
3 Tablespoons raspberry enlightenment (available from Penzey’s)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Rinse the shrimp and pat dry with paper toweling.  Pour the oil onto a rimmed baking sheet.  Mae sure there is a nice layer of oil coating the whole bottom.  Use 3 wide, shallow bowls to bread the shrimp.  In the first bowl, combine the rice flour, salt, and pepper.  In the second bowl, beat the egg whites.  In the third bowl, combine the coconut, cornstarch, and sugar.  Dip each shrimp in the flour and then the egg white and then the coconut.  Press the coconut firmly onto the shrimp.  Place on the baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes, turning the shrimp carefully after 10 minutes (using a spatula works great).  Remove from the oven when the shrimp are lightly golden brown.  Let cool slightly.  While the shrimp is baking, combine the mayonnaise, curry powder, and raspberry enlightenment in a small bowl.  Serve the shrimp with the dipping sauce.  Enjoy!

Chips and Dip!

January 23, 2015

Have you been looking for something a little different in the line of dips for your chips?  Are you tired of that same old onion dip?  Here is a refreshing dip recipe that will have you screaming for more!   And, depending on the ingredients you use, you can create a satisfying snack for under 150 calories.  I will put the “light” recipe here, but you can always substitute the “full-strength” ingredients for more flavor and calories.

Cheddar-Bacon-Chive Dip

Combine 5 tablespoons of fat-free sour cream, 1 tablespoon of canola mayonnaise, 3/4 ounce of finely shredded cheddar cheese, 2 tablespoons finely chopped chives, 2 slices of cooked and crumbled bacon, and a dash of pepper.  Serve with 2 ounces of reduced-fat kettle-cooked potato chips.

This recipe purports to serve 4 persons (the serving size is about 1/2 an ounce of potato chips [about 10 chips] and about 2 tablespoons of dip).

Calories: 124
Fat: 6.7 grams (saturated: 1.9 grams)
Protein: 4 grams
Sodium: 236 milligrams

Obviously, if you use the regular sour cream, the regular mayonnaise, and regular potato chips, then the calories, fat, protein, and sodium will be higher (I’m not sure exactly how much higher).

Cheesecake of the Month – January 2015!

January 16, 2015

Hmm, here is a quiche-esque cheesecake recipe (courtesy of Taste of Homethank you Joni Hilton) that could serve equally well as either an appetizer or an entree.  Don’t expect sweetness on this one through, it is actually a savory cheesecake instead of a sweet one.  And, it involves bacon, of course, so it is bound to be a hit with everyone!

BLT Savory Cheesecake

3/4 cup of dried bread crumbs
1/2 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
3 Tablespoons of butter, melted
4 packages cream cheese (8 ounces each), softened
1/2 cup of heavy whipping cream
1-1/2 cups of cooked  bacon, crumbled
1 cup of oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, patted dry and chopped
1 cup (4 ounces) of shredded Gruyere or Swiss cheese
2 green onions, sliced
1 teaspoon of freshly ground pepper
4 eggs, lightly beaten
Toppings (optional): shredded iceberg lettuce, chopped cherry tomatoes, more crumbled bacon, etc.)
Assorted crackers (optional)

1.  Preheat oven to 325°. Wrap the exterior of a greased 9-in. springform pan with heavy-duty foil (about 18 in. square).

2.  In a small bowl, combine the bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, and butter and press onto the bottom of the springform pan.  Place the pan on a baking sheet and bake for 12 minutes.  Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.

3.  In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and cream until smooth.  Add the bacon, tomatoes, Gruyere, onion, and pepper, and beat until well mixed.  Add the eggs and beat on low speed until just blended and pour into your crust.  Place your pan in a larger baking pan and add 1-inch of boiling water to the larger pan (creating a water bath) before placing in your oven.

4.  Bake for 45-55 minutes, or until the center is just set (and the top appears dull).  Remove from the oven; remove the springform pan from the water; remove the foil from the springform pan.  Cool on a wire rack  about ten minutes before running a knife around the edges (to loosed the pan).  Cool an additional hour before refrigerating overnight.

5.  Serve with the toppings and crackers.



Homemade Cheese Puffs!

August 8, 2014

Hey all you Cheetohs fans, here’s a recipe for you to try . . . I just found this recipe and can’t wait to try them.

1 loaf white bread, unsliced
1/2 cup butter, softened
3 ounces cream cheese softened
1/2 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 egg whites, stiffly beaten

Trim crust from bread, and cut loaf into 1-inch cubes. In heavy saucepan combine butter, cheeses, and seasonings. Heat mixture over low heat, stirring until cheese is just melted and ingredients are well blended. Transfer mixture to bowl, and fold in egg whites. Dip bread cubes into mixture, coating well. Place on buttered baking sheet. Chill overnight covered loosely with foil. Freeze at this point in sealed plastic bags, if desired. Bake in preheated oven (400 degrees) for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown.