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Appetizers

Appetizers/ HotApp

Thai Chili Calamari with Orange Gremolata

Crispy Thai Calamari, hot, sweet, and delicious!

Over the years I have seen my husband order and enjoy calamari. I’ve never been a fan; didn’t like the chewy rings that seemed rubbery to me and even though its was fried I would take my “one good bite” and be done with it.

On our Michigan trip this past summer we stopped for lunch at Firefly Grill in Traverse City. This is the same restaurant that I had the Blackberry Bramble cocktail that I posted a couple of weeks ago. We ordered a few appetizers for lunch and Thai Calamari was one of them along with some dumplings and something else that didn’t stick in my mind like the calamari did.

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Appetizers/ HotApp

Smokey Hot Redfish Dip (or Whitefish)

Loved the fish spread we had in Leland, Michigan.

On our trip around Lake Michigan a few weeks ago we saw “smoked whitefish dip” on (no kidding) every menu. By the time we reached Lealand, MI (Fish Town) and we were sitting in a little restaurant overlooking a small waterfall (dam) with all the little weathered fish shanties, old smokehouses and drying racks for the fish and wondering what this life would have been like in the early 1900’s, we decided it was time to try their version of smoked fish dip.

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Appetizers/ ColdApp

Redfish Spread with Toasted Crostini

A great fish spread you thought you would never like!

On a trip to New Orleans we had lunch one day at Cafe Amelia. A little restaurant in the historic 150 year old Princess of Monaco Courtyard in the French Quarter. This little cafe is a favorite of locals and tourist and has a beautiful little courtyard studded with little tables; but it was too hot when we were there so we chose to eat inside.

I knew after reading about this cafe I wanted to eat there. We split a catfish poboy and ordered this Redfish dip (I think they called it that). Normally I stay clear of fish dips. Shrimp and crab dips I like but the thought of fish in a dip/spread makes me remember my dad “canning” fish to use to make fish cake. I can’t say I ever tried those fish cakes because I didn’t like the idea of that “canned” fish being used in a wanna be salmon/crab cake recipe.

So, below is a picture of the appetizer we had at Cafe Amelia. I have to say I really like mine better; looks a little more appetizing I think. I asked the waitress what was in it and she proceeded to give me a list of ingredients and then she went and asked the chef which told her he could not give the recipe. I think she gave me everything I needed to recreate the dish; next time I may add a few drops of Tabasco sauce.

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Appetizers/ ColdApp

Egg Salad Baguette

Not your ordinary egg salad sandwich!

Doesn’t everyone love egg salad sandwiches? I do. Take the egg salad that you normally make for lunch and serve it for any party you may have this summer.

Usually I make a chunky version for sandwiches and sometimes even add avocado like I did in this Egg/Avocado on Baguette appetizer. But last February when I was making a little sandwich for our craft circle tea that was auctioned off I decided I didn’t want any ordinary egg salad sandwich. Even though I love any kind of egg salad on a good white bread or pumpernickel, I wanted a little something different for the tea.

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Appetizers/ ColdApp/ Fish/Seafood

Mignonette Sauce for the Oysters

Weekend with the Michies..

Oysters have never been high on my list for seafood and “raw” seafood for sure. But, this past weekend our son Paul with Brooke, Milo, Donovan and little Ellie (dog) came to visit Gran and Papa G for the weekend and their friends the Hatleys came also with their daughters.

So, what was the plan for food? Well the guys went to the seafood market and came back with blue crab, shrimp, corn, potatoes, mushrooms (all for crab/shrimp boil) and Paul had some fresh oysters. Since I was out of horseradish (I had a tiny bit) Paul suggested a mignonette sauce and I had all the ingredients for making up some pretty quickly.

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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/ Dessert/ Food Stories/ Morning Foods/ Sauces/ Scones

Devonshire Cream and the Proper Way to Eat a Scone

Too good to be a “Mock” anything.

I use to call my recipe for Devonshire Cream “Mock Devonshire Cream”, but this is too good to be a “mock” anything and I’m sure is better than anything you buy ready made in a jar.

Unless you have a cow out in your back yard where you can go milk her and take the unpasteurized milk and allow it to sit for 12-24 hours and then slowly heat it and then leave it to cool for another 12-24 hours you may want to make your own before going out and buying that cow just to get an authentic bowl of clotted cream to put on top of your scone to follow with jam. Devonshire cream is produced in Devon England.

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Appetizers/ HotApp

Cheesy Bacon Caraway Toast

An old favorite!

Talk about quick, that’s this recipe. Talk about old, this was one of the first appetizers I made as a newlywed. Growing up I don’t ever remember having “appetizers” before a meal. I remember dips we had but they weren’t really appetizers before a meal.

For our December bunco get-together, our hostess, Gail, decided it would be a fun theme to bring some appetizers we remember making or having in our early years of being married. (I’ve been married going into 49 years now and still searching for new and interesting appetizers to make.)

So, we had a spinach madeline with crawfish and FRITOS (I still buy those things), a Yule Tide Log, rum balls, and a cheese ball I remember making with pineapple, green peppers etc. Didn’t we all love cheese balls back then. What happened to that trend I wonder. Someone brought deviled eggs too. I remember early on in catering a lady wanted me to make deviled eggs for a cocktail party and I thought that was not very trendy at the time. Guess what, they were the first things to be eaten. We also had a peach half salad and Cheesy olive balls (cheese pastry with an olive hiding inside) then baked. Yum. Mincemeat pie was brought by one friend. I remember my grandmother making mincemeat pie and I would not ever try it.

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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/ HotApp

Fontina and Mushroom Tarts

Little bites of puffed pastry and mushrooms.

With the holidays right around the corner this little appetizer will be a favorite of your guest.

Appetizers have always been one of my favorite things to make and when I catered most of the parties I did over the holidays were all appetizers. I would always have extras and they would be in my freezer at Christmas time and I could pull out so many different favorites for my family and it saved me a lot of time in the kitchen.

These days, since I’m not catering anymore, I have decide on some of my favorites to make or come up with something new to surprise my kids. I have a few special ones picked out already for Thanksgiving.

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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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