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Appetizers/ HotApp

Bacon Jalapeno Cheddar Frico

Who doesn’t like a good Frico! (Cheese crisp)

Cheese, bacon, jalapeño — who could not like any appetizer with those ingredients and how could you make an easier appetizer than this recipe for a very thin and crisp bite to go with your favorite cocktail or glass of wine.

I don’t want to talk about the pandemic ( or the fact I have had my first shot) or the freezing temperatures or anything else that I don’t have any control. When things don’t go the way I would like them to  I cook and I cook and I cook then I may make a cocktail or two.

Ya say “what’s a frico” ? Well it is a dish from Italy the consist mainly of heated cheese that melts and turns into a lacy crisp. There is a version that is thicker made with potatoes, onions and other vegetables but the one I’m making is another version that I think most Americans probably make and it is simply a thin layer of shredded cheese added on a hot frying pan and cooked until the cheese becomes slightly crispy. While warm, the frico can be molded into a bowl or little cup where you could add toppings etc. I’m going to have to try the other version sometimes because it looks like a thick potatoey pizza.

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Appetizers/ Entree/ Game/ HotApp

Buttermilk Fried Quail Legs

Talk about pretty legs!

Pretty bird legs! No not those thin, little legs you might see on someone so skinny that if you were to put them on a flagpole they would wave in the wind. That certainly doesn’t describe me and probably never will. Although my sister (twin) and I did have little bird legs when we were young. I don’t think we ate much other than Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup. That changed, hence the current results.

So these pretty little legs were from a few quail that gave their lives for us to enjoy them as an appetizer on New Year’s Eve. (That sounds pretty sad – but they were delicious.) They were so good I have to say thank you little quails. Normally I’m not that great frying things and my husband does all that outside on the grill with his huge 13″ cast iron skillet. This particular New Year’s Eve it was rainy and cold, just us, and me not wanting to go all out making fancy appetizers for just two people, I decided to boil some shrimp and make a good cocktail sauce and then decided I’d better fry these little legs inside.

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Appetizers/ HotApp/ Side dish

Baby Eggplant with Pine Nut Salsa

Who would have thought coming into this new year that we would be going through anything like the pandemic we are now living through. The government all seems to be working together, finally, to do what our country needs. People and business have sacrificed so much to try and stop this virus. Closing restaurants, bars, now even parks are closed in our area quickly makes you realize how serious this is.

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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/ 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/ 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/ 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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Appetizers/ HotApp

Escargot in Parsley-Garlic Butter

Escargot for Christmas. 

Oh, no! not snails. Not those little slimy things that wiggle on the sidewalk that we use to pour salt on when we were kids. Ahh, yes.

Well, they are similar. The ones we prepared for Christmas dinner were Helix snails from France and were nice fat/plump ones.  The ones that use to get salted are common brown garden snails and probably not enough meat to even get stuck between your teeth but still edible. Snails are low in fat except, of course, for all the butter you put on them before baking in the oven. This is only my third time making escargot and I think they get better each time I make them. (Don’t use jumbo ones though, that wasn’t my favorite.) I like them garlicky, buttery (of course) and the best crunchy bread I can find.

I first had escargot on a cruise years ago and I remember after eating them one night we ordered 2 orders each every meal for the rest of the cruise. I found my escargot on Amazon because they were much cheaper than the $7.50/can/dozen at my HEB market (and those were the jumbo ones). And I have already reordered them so I would have on hand for a last minute appetizer. They were $16 for 48 snails.

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Appetizers/ HotApp

Baked Goat Cheese with Tomatoes and Pesto

Sailing, Sailing Over the Bounding Main!

Sailing, sailing we did back in August on a visit to our son’s house. We loaded the kids up and lots of yummy food and headed for the marina in Chicago. A long ride and it proved to be a good ride for grandson Oliver since he usually gets sick.  His mom did give him something so he wouldn’t get sick on the boat. See pictures below and what happened.

My daughter-in-law, Missy and I decided to try a cold version of a goat cheese appetizer we had at dinner one night at The Greenwood American Kitchen in Highwood –goat cheese mixed with pesto and baked until hot and bubbly and then topped with some heirloom tomatoes chopped and mixed with some more pesto and then sprinkled with some pine nuts. I like the hot version better because there is nothing better than hot goat cheese or any kind of bubbly hot cheese smeared on a piece of fresh bread or toasted baguette.

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Appetizers/ HotApp

Classic Falafel with Tzatziki Sauce

Falafel is not a hushpuppy!

After 12 hours on a plane and a 3 hour layover and then another flight to Tel Aviv we made it to your hotel in Israel. What a trip that was and were we ever exhausted.

For months now I have been watching different YouTube videos on the places we would be touring in Israel and have been really excited about the places we are going to be visiting.

I was pretty anxious about the kinds of food we would be eating. Was it all going to be the same — hummus, falafel, tahini, kanafeh, baba ganoush and kebabs (of course) just to name a few. We like everything so I didn’t think I would not be turning my nose up at anything except maybe the falafel. Ya know I do have this thing about chickpeas! 

The food ended up not being my favorite part of the trip. But that was ok because I knew this trip was not “all about the food”.

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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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