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Appetizers

Appetizers/ ColdApp

Giardiniera Bruschetta

As easy as it gets.

(Note: Hope you like my new layout for the blog. There is a “search” box over on the right hand side which allows you to search for an ingredient or category or recipe. What I’m excited about the most is the index of recipes now show pictures so you do not have to click on every link to see what something looks like. Thanks to my son, Scott, for all his help.)

Giardiniera is an Italian relish of vegetables that is pickled in vinegar or oil that you can either make or it is sold in jars. For this recipe I used the latter.

This simple appetizer I tasted about ten years ago and thought how simple it would be to make for a last minute bite when company comes over.

Some other uses for this pickled vegetable mix would be on hot dogs, brats, other sandwiches just about anything that would taste good with a good pickle.

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Appetizers/ Entree/ HotApp/ Poultry

Asian Chicken Skewers

Great for a bunco snack or even dinner.

I love food on a stick. Who doesn’t love a good corndog, ice cream on a stick or even a salad on a stick. 

Looking around online I actually found some other “stick” foods I would like to try. Cheesecake pops, caramel apple slices, tater tot skewers and even a pesto shrimp skewer with cauliflower mash (now that sounds good and I better save that before I lose it.) I got distracted on that last recipe and decided to take a look at it; low carb if you use the cauliflower mash but I was thinking how delicious it would be with some good stone ground grits. I will try both ways soon for sure.

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Appetizers

The Perfect Antipasto Platter

The perfect antipasto platter.

Antipasto — served before the pasta course in Italy and always works great for a party when you don’t know what anyone else is bringing.

This type of platter always seems to go over well. What’s not to like about some cheeses, olives, meats etc. I threw in some tortellini just because I’ve never put it on a platter before and it added a different taste and texture to the other marinated veggies.

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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

Vivian Howard’s Party Cheese Ball

Who doesn’t like cheese balls?

I’ve been thinking about cheese balls lately and how they have evolved from the 60’s when we use to make them. Seems like most recipes had grated cheddar cheese, green cheese and maybe some garlic. Remember that commercial for Ritz Crackers “everything sits better on a Ritz”.  Well certain spreads, for me, still sit better on a Ritz.

Almost all cheese balls then and now were/are rolled in some chopped nuts or herbs and most recipes probably had some Worcestershire sauce in the recipe some could have even had (hold your breath) Cheese Whiz.

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Appetizers/ Entree/ HotApp/ Pizza

Mushroom Fontina Kale Flatbread

Great little flatbread from not so good restaurant.

Normally I don’t complain about food I get in a restaurant. Well, maybe I do if it isn’t good; but I haven’t emailed this hotel yet and probably won’t because even though the service was kind of good and chef couldn’t really manage to get more than one order out at a time out, I came away this this idea for a flatbread pizza.

The night before we left for our Turks and Caicos vacation we decided to spend the night down in Houston since our flight was at 6:30 am. If we didn’t go down early that would have meant getting up like at 3:00 a.m. to get down there for our flight. We stayed at a hotel that didn’t have a restaurant and since we had Ubered down there we didn’t have a car and we ended up walking down the street to the Hilton Garden Inn for dinner. GA’s tuna bowl was well done instead of medium rare and arrived about 10 minutes before my Asian salad that tasted nothing like an Asian salad BUT we ordered a flatbread to share for an appetizer and it was the best thing I have tasted in a long time.

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Appetizers/ ColdApp

Crawfish Spread

Another use for those leftover crawfish tails.

Back in January I joined a book club which was good for me because I usually choose watching a movie over picking up a book. 

I gave up on the book Goldfinch after three years. I just could not make myself finish it. Then when I tried to read the DiVinci Code after seeing the movie first, the book was almost word for word from the movie (or the movie from the brook), so I gave up on that book. So since January I have read four books but, the fifth one started – Oil and Marble I quit. My record is improving though.

Our May bookclub was at my house and the book was “Where The Crawdads Sing” which was a very good book from the first page right up until the very end. For a snack for the ladies I couldn’t resist making something with crawfish to go along with the theme of the book. I’m wondering what I would have made for the Oil and Marble book if that meeting had been at my house; maybe marinated olives.

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Appetizers/ HotApp

Jalapeno Cocktail Pie Squares

How could I have forgotten this favorite recipe?

I use to make this recipe all the time for parties I catered because it could be made in advance and frozen and then taken out and rewarmed in the oven before serving.

If you like spicy and you like cheese and you want to get your veggie in for the day, give these a try. It’s also a great little appetizer you could freeze in small portions to go with your summer cocktails.

Recently we had a bar-b-q for our Israel travel group from last year. It was so nice getting together with the ones close enough to come and sharing a meal together that wasn’t Mediterranean food. I have to say that was the only part of the trip I didn’t care for — the food.

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Appetizers/ ColdApp/ Sandwiches

Deviled Egg Salad and Asparagus Tartines

A favorite food into a sandwich.

Don’t you just love finger foods? And, especially those little finger sandwiches. Whether it’s the softness of the bread that holds your toppings or the crunch of toasted, crustless bread slices topped with some savory concoction, you want to try them on first sight and you will probably go back for another one.

Little sandwiches/savories/sweets makes me want to make a pot of tea. I’ve been buying tea from The Tea Embassy in Austin for about 10 years and it’s the only place I’m going to place an online order. I will pick up specialty teas when I travel because I like to try different teas but I always go back to my Almond Cookie Green Tea from the Tea Embassy as one of my favorites or the Green Walnut tea is also a favorite of mine. And a pot of tea is just what I wanted when I made these little sandwiches. Or, if not in the mood for a cup of tea how about a bottle of champagne.

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Appetizers/ Beverages/ Cocktails/ Drinks

Blackberry Thyme Champagne Cocktail

What would afternoon tea be without a cocktail.

Our afternoon tea a couple week ago started with this blackberry thyme champagne cocktail and of course our committee had to sample it before the tea to make sure it was just right. Some of the ladies helping decided they liked it a little sweeter so we added more than the one teaspoon of blackberry syrup the recipe. One teaspoon of the syrup will give you a nice glass of pinkish champagne or prosecco. 

Don’t you just love the bubbles of champagne and when you add this blackberry syrup to the glass it makes for a perfect cocktail and the sprig of fresh thyme and a blackberry for garnish.

At the tea we served this cocktail with some blue cheese stuffed dates wrapped with prosciutto before the ladies sat down to an afternoon of tea with sandwiches, sweets and scones.

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Appetizers/ ColdApp/ Sandwiches

Goldenrod Finger Sandwiches

Apricot and Pimento Cheese, Yum!

My craft circle auctioned off another tea this past November and it was so much fun putting together the menu for 20 ladies to enjoy.

I love tea foods; savories, sweets, the scones, the jam and clotted cream and of course the different kinds of teas I like to try. For this tea we served Georgian Village and Versailles Blend. One of my favorites is a Green Walnut tea and an Almond Cookie tea both of which I buy from the Tea Embassy in Austin (online). We gave those teas as part of their favors they picked up on their way home. I like to add in a little Amuse Bouche for an opener. In case you didn’t know an Amuse Bouche is a little bite that is meant to show the chef’s style. A little mouth amuser. I first had one in NYC and before that I had never heard the term. This made the perfect little bite to go with the Blackberry Thyme Champagne Cocktail we served.

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Appetizers/ Entree/ Game/ HotApp

Jalapeno Quail Legs

Tiny little quail legs made fantastic appetizer.

Sometime last year I was visiting my daughter, Alexis, in Austin and one day her mother-in-law, Kittie took us to Jack Allen’s Kitchen for lunch. We ordered some quail legs for an appetizer and they were so delicious I knew I had to try and recreate the recipe. (Thanks for lunch Kittie.)

At Christmas we rented a house on Lake Travis and it was a nice big house where we enjoyed five nights of being together, playing our favorite game, Catan, and of course cooking. The kitchen wasn’t as well stocked with equipment as I would have liked but we made do with what we had. My son, Paul, and I are pretty hard to please when it comes to the way a kitchen is equipped; but we managed to do some Escargot and these quail legs for appetizers while there.

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