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Appetizers/ Entree/ Pork

Butternut Squash Risotto with Crispy Pork Belly

Appetizer or main dish? Your choice.

Another tasty appetizer (or entree) I recreated after having it on vacation. And, will Fall just ahead of us this risotto and pork belly dish would make a great appetizer, small plate, or meal.

When were were on our first anniversary trip of the summer at Beaches in Turks and Caicos I had this dish at Sky Restaurant (rooftop) which had such a breathtaking view I could have eaten a bologna sandwich and thought it was the best thing in the world at the moment.

We had dinner there twice; once just the two of us when we first arrived and then after the kids arrived we ate there another night (minus the grand boys). The first night I had to try the crab and avocado appetizer which was delicious and then appetizer for pork belly and butternut squash caught my eye. I could have ordered a second appetizer but I knew the salmon dish was coming and I didn’t want to be so stuffed that I wouldn’t enjoy it.

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Appetizers/ ColdApp

Pepperoni Olive Kebab

Move over stuffed olives!

I have made stuffed black olives for years and have catered parties where I have had to hand pipe 200+ black olives with a cheese filling. Recently, I saw this cheese and pepperoni stuffed olive at and decided to give it a try at our block party back in October. I used wooden paddle picks on mine and also tried a couple of these little tidbits with rosemary skewers.  I like them both ways but most of my Rosemary had new stems and they were a little limp.

While in Madrid we visited Mercado San Miguel they had everything you could possibly imagine (see some of the photos at the bottom — one item looked like turtle LEGS but I found out they are barnacles). This store had every kind of olive you could possibly imagine, olives as big as golf balls, olives stuffed with sardines, ham, cheese, stuffed with roasted red peppers and mussels and artichokes. You name it, they had it. We bought several and I proceeded to pick them apart to see what was on the inside. What a nice little snack and wee had a lot of snacks all day long and like I said before I was lucky I did not gain more than 2 pounds on this trip.

So, I think the point is if you like olives, find something to stuff them with and serve them as a tapas for your next party.

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Appetizers/ HotApp

Fried Eggplant Chips with Honey Drizzle


Another tapas recipe from Spain.

I’ve talked on and on about all the wonderful tapas we had on our trip to Spain and here is yet another recipe that I have tried.

I love tapas and you can turn just about any appetizer into a tapas. Make small portions and serve on small plates and you have a tapas. This tapas just happens to be made from eggplant and is drizzled with honey and will definitely be a favorite of your guests.

I’m not sure when I actually first had eggplant but I know it wasn’t anytime before I was about 40 years old. It’s hard to believe I had never eaten eggplant and it wasn’t a vegetable my dad ever grew in his garden (and he grew just about everything). Probably the first recipe I tasted using this dark purple, night shade vegetable was Eggplant Parmesan at some Italian restaurant and I now make Eggplant Caponata, PF Chang’s recipe for spicy eggplant and several other recipes.

One night at a tapas bar in Seville (our favorite bar) we kept ordering tapas that we saw other people ordering. Since we couldn’t read or speak any Spanish we just went by how something looked and said “we’ll have that”. I really thought this dish was zucchini chips but when I looked up the word later that night, I found out that it was eggplant and that the drizzle was honey.

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Appetizers/ Entree/ HotApp/ Pork

Pork in Whiskey Sauce Tapas

Who ever thought little plates of food could be soooo good!

We returned from our cruise and time in Spain a few weeks ago. A couple of days in Amsterdam, cruising for 8 days and 9 days in Spain and I only gained 2 pounds.  Didn’t think I would ever be glad to say I gained weight, but after the way we ate and drank for 19 days, I’m surprised my husband could fit me through the door.

My last entry had pictures of many of the tapas we had while in Spain. We had a Pork in Whiskey Sauce at this one tapas bar in Seville and I have tried to recreate that recipe and I must say, it was almost exactly like the one we had there.

A little more about our trip. We had some great Indonesian food in Amsterdam and were able to visit Van Gogh and Reich museum. Ann Frank’s house was a very interesting tour and we toured Heinken Brewery — who doesn’t like beer (me). In Brugge we tried steamed mussels and frites, Belgium chocolates (DELICIOUS), Belgium waffles with chocolate and a cup of coffee that was half chocolate, 2 shots of espresso  and topped with a creamy hot chocolate.

Our food on the ship was wonderful and I got a lot of great ideas for tapas and things I might want to try for dinner parties.  Our port calls were Brugge, Cherborg (did Normandy tour there), Lisbon, Gibratar, Vigo and the cruise ended in Barcelona. Then it was time to hit all those tapas bars I had been reading about. We spent two days in Barcelona making the Mori and Picasso museums and Gaudi cathedral and lots of shopping and walking, walking, walking (guess that is why I only gained 2 pounds).  We flew from Barcelona to Sevilla (my favorite of all our Spain cities). Very cool city with streets just wide enough for a taxi to race down causing people to jump up on the curb (no sidewalk to escape to, so watch out).

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Appetizers/ ColdApp/ Food Stories

Tapas, Tapas, Everywhere!

We had wonderful, delicious, unusual, yummy tapas everywhere in Spain.

Tapas are small plates of food served along with drinks. I have read that originally in Spain, tapas were served as a cover for a glass of wine so flies and other objects did not get into the glass. That may be a myth, but it makes perfect sense. In the beginning the tapas plate probably contained olives and cheese and peppers but tapas have evolved into something you could enjoy for breakfast, lunch or a whole dinner. In a tapas bar you just keep ordering small plates until you are full which is so much better than to order some huge dinner and then try to consume the whole thing since you paid for it and all of us, of a certain age, remember the “clean your plate” comments from our mothers because of all the starving kids in the world.

This was one of my first tapas to try after getting back. We tried so many different kinds of olives stuffed with all kinds of different things. These are just extra large pitted green olives that I stuffed with strips of Serrano ham. And, I absolutely love my mini paella pans I found. I have 5″ and 3″ pans.

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