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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/ 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/ 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/ 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/ 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/ ColdApp/ Sandwiches

Roast Beef Rose Tea Sandwich

Sweet little rose sandwiches for Christmas!

I love having tea at different places and after visiting tea at the Fairmont Hotel in Victoria, Canada and then again at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island and many other places I still prefer my tea sandwiches and savories. I usually want things a little less traditional than a pimento or chicken salad sandwich or smoked salmon on pumpernickel bread and it is so much fun coming up with beautiful food for a tea party.

If you need a little appetizer over the holidays, here’s one that was a tea favorite at a friends tea we did this fall.

I love little bites of food and I think it is more fun to graze on a lot of little finger foods than to sit down with a big plate full of food. And this was the perfect little tea sandwich — a lightly toasted baguette topped with some horseradish sauce, arugula leaves and a roast beef rose. How much easier can it get.

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Appetizers/ ColdApp

Potato Cakes & Smoked Salmon

You either like it or you don’t. 

You either love it or hate it. I’m talking about smoked salmon and I’m thinking if you reading this post then you are a fan of the smokey flavored fish.

Smoked salmon in those little 5 oz. packages next to where the fresh fish are sold is one of the easiest, quickest things you can pick up for an appetizer.

There have been quite a few salmon recipes here for you to try. Remember the smoked salmon on a potato chip? Well this is a little more refined than that recipe. Or, how about the smoked salmon stack appetizer; now that one is pretty easy too. And this smoked salmon with boursin cheese recipe is as quick as cutting a cucumber, rolling up the salmon and putting it on top of some cheese.

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Appetizers/ Bread/ ColdApp

Rosemary Lafa Bread and Hummus

Homemade Lafa to go with my homemade hummus!

So, one day while touring Tiberius, Israel we stopped at Pagoda restaurant for lunch; and it turned out to be our St. Peter’s fish meal. The lunch that I had been warned about by several people to “not eat the St. Peter’s fish”. However, we found it delicious. The waiters first brought out (family style) platters of hummus (with the hummus swoosh), fresh warm bread, big blocks of onion rings, bowls of slaw and after that came the platters of the St. Peter’s fish (heads and fins on) and chicken schnitzel for those who did not want fish.

While we were eating the owner came out to talk to us. She told us how much the Israeli people love America and what we do to support them and then she sang us a song which definitely brought tears to my eyes. It was the most memorable lunch; one I will long remember.

One of the first things I wanted to make when I returned home was hummus and bread. I chose to make lafa bread to go with my homemade hummus. Lafa bread is a Middle Eastern flatbread; and known in other countries as pita/Greece/Middle East; Roti/India; Tortilla/Mexico; Pizza/Italy; Naan/Iran, India; Lefse/Norway, and Goraasa/Sudan just to name a few.

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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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