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Appetizers/ ColdApp/ Garnish

Pickled Mustard Seed

You say, what am I to do with these pickled mustard seeds?

Don’t you love mustard? I do. At this moment I have nine different kinds of mustard in my refrigerator.

I love it on burgers, on bologna sandwiches with pile of chips on top and then crushed by the top slice of bread. I love mustard on French Fries (I’ve never eaten catsup on a fry.) and get this, I like a little dab of yellow mustard beside my white beans. A little chow chow, a little mustard and the beans are fantastic. And, you can’t forget about hot dogs and pretzels when it comes to a good smear of mustard. How about on top of some fried green tomatoes or a good grilled cheese sandwich with some bacon and pickled mustard seed on the inside. Let me know if you make them and if you do something really different with them.

This post is making my cheeks pucker just thinking about all the things I like mustard on. When my sister and I were kids we loved making mustard sandwiches with white bread and mustard; no meat, just mustard and bread. These mustard seeds can be used in salads, dressings or dips. These little orbs explode in your mouth.

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Appetizers/ ColdApp

Pumpkin Bacon Spread

Ok, I know what you are thinking — PUMPKIN AGAIN.

I promise, I promise, this is the last pumpkin recipe this year. I told you I couldn’t get all the pumpkin recipes posted before December.

So, if you have a jar of pumpkin butter left over from Thanksgiving, you just have to give this a try. Years ago when I worked at Williams Sonoma I often was in charge of doing the “tastings” during my shift, which meant I was trying to talk people into buying the things I was cooking even if they didn’t know they really needed to buy those products.

I remember the first time I was told to make this pumpkin dip. I thought it sounded terrible. And, I have liked salty and sweet taste together since I was a kid and dipped potato chips into soft serve ice cream. After making this several times and people immediately snatching up a jar of the pumpkin butter I decided to give it a try and I absolutely loved the taste of the salty bacon with the sweet pumpkin butter and throw in some cream cheese and green onions and spread on a crunchy cracker and it was on my list of things to “sell” when I worked. I knew if I could get people to taste it, they would be buying the pumpkin butter.

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Appetizers/ ColdApp

Chicken Avocado Spread

Healthy chicken and avocado spread. Good with crackers or on a sandwich!

I’m not a fan of “diet” foods or even the words low-fat, low-calorie, gluten-free, vegan, dairy-free, free, free, free equals no taste at all in my opinion.

Remember the “fat-free” phase when it started? I think people gained more weight on “fat-free” product than eating normal products. Then you take gluten-free bread. I haven’t met one yet that I like; I’d rather do without. And, when it goes to vegan; who wants to give up soft creamy butter smeared on a piece of freshly baked bread right out of the oven — NOT ME. Life is too short to do without. Sure we could all cut back some place but where taste is concerned I want the real deal and maybe just not eat as much of the item. Continue Reading…

Appetizers/ ColdApp

Honey & Pistachio Goat Cheese Appetizer

Move over Rosemary and The Goat appetizer!

This blog is eight years old going into it’s ninth year. (Happy Birthday to RATG.) If you didn’t know it, I named the blog after an appetizer that a friend of mine (Peggy) made years ago and I’ve been making it ever since — rosemary, goat cheese and some olive oil.

Don’t you just love appetizer recipes that are easy to make at the spur of the moment? And, if they have some kind of jellies, preserves, honey or flavored oils poured over them, that makes them even easier. Smear some on your favorite cracker or some crispy bread and you will be dying for just one more bite.

I picked up some local honey at the farmers market the weekend I made this appetizer. Sure I could have bought honey at the store for about $4-5 cheaper but this was locally produced and I really liked the light color of this honey. I had left over fig preserves from some other yummy, savory appetizer I made several months ago.

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Appetizers/ ColdApp

Beefy Roasted Red Pepper Spread

Reincarnated recipe from the past.

Back in May I was at my sister’s house in Missouri and one night she made a cheese ball. Ohhh, cheese balls, I use to love them. A couple of months ago I bought a ready made one at the grocery and thought it was awful and maybe that’s why I quit making them.

But the cheese ball my sister made was so tasty, creamy and one of those food things you can’t just take one bite. Even my grandson, Thomas, ate it and wanted more. This cheese ball (spread) is a recipe I’m sure we all made back in the 70’s maybe even before than that with the dried beef that comes in the little jar and the ACCENT that we were all told was not good for us. I’ve read that there is no proof not that MSG does any harm to humans. Read this article for more information on MSG. I don’t think this cheese spread would taste nearly as good without the Accent and it’s not like you are going to use the whole container anyway.

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Appetizers/ ColdApp/ Entree

Tuna Tartare Nachos

Delicious, down to the last bite!

On our way to our grand-nephews wedding in Alabama back in June we decided to break up the almost 800 mile drive by spending the night in Meridian, Mississippi. As usually, I’m online searching for a restaurant that we want to try and this little gem of a restaurant caught my attention — Harvest Grill. It has a relaxed, casual feel and an inventive menu, just our type of place.

The restaurant was having some sort of brew event on the patio when we got there but we decided to get out of the heat and sit inside. We sometimes like to order from the appetizer menu so we can try several things and save room for dessert; which we did this night and tried their creole bread pudding with caramel and white chocolate shavings with scoops of ice cream between the four small squares of bread pudding — fantastic.

Now back to some of their appetizers. My husband ordered oysters on the half shell then another order of Black and Blue Oysters (steak and blue cheese). I knew when we were still 100 miles away I would be trying their Tartare Nachos — Ahi tuna over Asian slaw with avocado edamame and a habanero peach glaze and wasabi aioli; I loved the crunch of the wonton crisp, the heat from the wasabi and the peach glaze and the sesame flavor of the slaw. All my favorite ingredients and now I was going to have to come up with a recipe to make this exciting, tasteful dish.

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Appetizers/ ColdApp

Avocado Salmon Stacks

Some recipes are just so easy!

Over Easter we were at our son’s house. My daughter-in-law, Brooke, and I worked on sides (to go with my son’ pulled pork and tri-tip) the day before so we would not have to be cooking the day of the party. As everyone started to arrive we saw some beautiful dishes brought to the table; bowls of big plump berries, heirloom tomato tart, pineapple upside down cake, colorful salads and many more that had us wanting to dick in right away; but we had to wait for the pork to smoke.

One of their friends (who’s a chef) brought a spread on a platter with some hard cheese and brie and it was so interesting. I asked her multiple times “now how did you make this”. She had made some almond milk (which most of us, I’m sure, have never tried) and after having the sludge (or whatever the leftover pressed almond mixture is called) left over after squeezing out the milk and she mixed it in the food processor with some dates and a little coconut oil. It was delicious spread on some crackers and topped with some salty cheese — an almond, date flavor I have never tasted before. If I ever make almond milk then maybe I will try this.

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Appetizers/ ColdApp/ Sandwiches

Pimento Cheese

Pimento Cheese, the most beloved sandwich spread.

What was your sandwich of choice when you were a kid? I could never turn down a bologna sandwich on WHITE bread with mayonnaise or mustard and a handful of potato chips added before putting on the top slice of bread and then it gets a good press down to crunch the chips up. Or, one of my top picks would have to be a pimento cheese sandwich on toast with a side of Fritos and dill pickle slices. I was never a peanut butter and jelly kid. I don’t think I ever ate peanut butter and jelly when I think back on it. A peanut butter sandwich for me is just PB no jelly and that’s it.

Everyone has their cherished recipe for pimento cheese; that is if you like the creamy cheesy spread. How many recipes for pimento cheese have you tried to come up with the best ever spread. And how many more recipes are there out there anyway? Are you always making PC the way your mother did? I guess I have for years and I’ve always started with Velveta cheese, adding some pimento and mayonnaise and that’s about it. I’m sure you are shuttering with the Velveeta cheese ingredient and the fact that it’s not a real cheese but that is what we grew up on. Over the last few years I’ve tried using some grated cheese and didn’t care for it then I started paying attention to chef’s saying not to use the pre-grated cheeses because it has a coating on it and does not work well in recipes.

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Appetizers/ ColdApp/ Garnish

Smoked Cured Egg Yolk

A new culinary adventure!

Ok, so this isn’t much of an adventure but more of a “what else do I have to do with my time anyway” now that Thanksgiving is over and you are sick of looking at food.

My son, Scott, is always sending me some interesting food recipes to try; like his 24 hour No Knead Breadb or gravlax and now these cured egg yolks.

Like Scott, I didn’t want to waste a bunch of eggs the first time I tried making this yellow ball that looks like a dried apricot when you are done with it at the end of a long week. So at the end of this week, I had only one yolk to show for my 168 hours of watching and waiting and I grated it carefully not wanting to waste one speck of this yolk over some smoked salmon and sour cream that I put on top of my Herbed pizzelle. I can’t say that I thought it tasted any different than an egg but it was so pretty grated; like a big puffy pile of yellow.

Salt curing is the oldest method of food preservation that simply involves covering food with mixture of sugar and salt to draw out the moisture of the food. This method changes the egg yolk to a firm little flatten yolk that has the consistency of parmesan cheese; put it on your veggies (I tried some roasted asparagus), salads or spaghetti carbonara. Maybe put the grated yolk in your compound butter or wouldn’t it be wonderful on top of some avocado toast.

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Appetizers/ ColdApp

Calico Shrimp Dip

Add this to Bubba’a list of shrimp things.

Bubba from Forrest Gump has nothing on me; how he can rattle off his list of ways to cook shrimp and eat it. Well, I can bake it, broil it, stir-fry it, sauté it, sushi it and fry it. I can serve you shrimp gumbo, a shrimp and corn chowder, a shrimp taco wrap a shrimp pintxos (tapas), stuffed into a pasta shell or an avocado cup. How about a Red Chard and Shrimp Artichoke Stir-fry or maybe coconut shrimp wontons or even some Crispy Salt and Pepper shrimp where you can eat the shells. Ya can get by without looking at my Honey Walnut Shrimp or my Shrimp Mussels Clams and Linguini; those are some of my best.

I had bought these beautiful jumbo (really huge jumbos) shrimp on sale one week and was waiting to use them for a simple shrimp cocktail and the more I looked at these I was trying to talk myself out of chopping them up for this dip just because they were at least a 3 bite shrimp and it seemed a shame to turn them into a dip. But company was coming and I wanted to make a few appetizers for the evening.

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Appetizers/ ColdApp

Shrimp and Mango Pintxos

So what’s a pintxo anyway.

I don’t know if I have every told you this story, so if I have just skip over this part. Years ago (1997) when my oldest graduated from University of Texas he moved to Spain for 5 months to learn to speak Spanish a little better. Well while there, one night he called and said he was on his way to a tapas bar. I knew what a tapas was because I had read about them even though I had not gone to a tapas bar yet. Anyway, long story short, I thought he said “topless bar” but then once he started talking about it I knew what he meant.

Many years later when we went to Spain, we ate at nothing but tapas bars in Seville because small plate appetizers are one of our favorite ways to eat –I just want several. So recently my son and his wife Missy returned from San Sebastian, Spain (trip for her 40th birthday) and they ate at some wonderful places. I received pictures almost daily of some of the pintxos they were feasting on.

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Appetizers/ ColdApp

Smoked Salmon with Boursin

 What a delicious appetizer and they are so cute.

Either you are one of those people who like smoked salmon or you say no thank you.

I think smoked salmon is something you acquire a taste for; after you have prepared salmon just about every other way possible and are ready to venture out and try something new. I’m not sure when I had my first smoked salmon but I probably didn’t like it immediately and then I tried it again in a Smoked Salmon Martin Spread and loved it.

There’s a lot you can do with that little package of smoked salmon that is pre-sliced and ready to use. You could crumble it and put it in an omelette, top deviled eggs with a sliver, put it in some sushi, try it in a quiche, throw it into a hot bowl of pasta along with some lemon and capers and a little butter and of course put it on top of a bagel with cream cheese and capers and some finely chopped red onion.

If you don’t want to make the boursin from scratch, you can buy it in a container in the dairy section of your grocery.

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