Tag Archive for 'appetizer'

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Ricotta Kale and Spinach Gnudi (pronounced “nu-dee”)

gnudi plated1.jpg

Summer in Florence, Italy conjures up memories of light meals involving quick summer preparations. And this past week with the heat temperatures hitting over 100 degrees Fahrenheit I was on the prowl to capture a taste of Italian summer.

Whenever I think of Italy, I flashback to my year spent in Florence Continue reading ‘Ricotta Kale and Spinach Gnudi (pronounced “nu-dee”)’

Buffalo Mozzarella & Eggplant Caprese Tower with Pea Mint Pesto

finalshot eggplant moz.jpg

I’ve always loved good foods- I can’t say that all of these fit into the ‘healthy’ category but for dietary reasons I have avoided packaged processed foods whenever possible. I determined early on that I don’t enjoy eating foods that are over salted, contain too much garlic, are made with high fructose corn syrup or preservatives. I cannot claim to be a health fanatic, nor a vegetarian, although I tend to dabble in both. I will shamelessly eat any homemade baked good that catches my eye. But if I had to put a label on myself, I would say that the word that describes me is “qualitarian”. Continue reading ‘Buffalo Mozzarella & Eggplant Caprese Tower with Pea Mint Pesto’

Valentine’s Day Dinner – Menu D’Amore


If you’ve got love and romance on your noggin and are looking for a quiet night in, a special dinner should be the prelude to the evening ahead. (What? No love in your life well then, love the one(s) you are with. Why not spoil a friend or family member?) Keeping things delicious and simple is the way to go. Besides so many restaurants are so terribly overbooked on February 14th that I’ve been a long time fan of staying home and enjoying the evening in.

Valentine’s Day Menu D’Amore

* CocktailMandarin Beastie

* AppetizersHot Mess Spiced Bar Nuts & Pesto Parmesan Chips

* Main CourseOrange Marinaded Pork Tenderloin, Carrot Dijon Salad & Potato and Onion Au Gratin

* DessertPassion Fruit Cake or Chunky Krispie Chocolate Cherry Treats

Aside from the adult beverage, a lot of this meal can be done ahead of time. Valentine’s Day falls on a Friday this year so if you are like me and running in a few too many directions it’s important to be prepared. Here’s my Valentine’s Day Meal Count Down to prepare this Menu D’Amore.

February 11 (Tuesday) organize the shopping list.

February 12 (Wednesday) prepare hot messed spiced nuts and store in an airtight container.

February 13 (Thursday) marinade the meat, prepare the carrot salad and dessert (if making the cake it can be frosted on Friday). Then set the table before heading off to bed.

February 14 (Friday) bring the meat to room temperature while preparing the au gratin potatoes and frosting the cake. Prepare the Pesto Parmesan Crackers and while they are in the oven start to mix up a batch of Mandarin Beasties.

Note: All of these recipes appear throughout the Bowl Licker blog but to help you get your grocery list organized I’ve also listed the ingredients on this page. For the full instructions click on the names of each recipe in the list above.

mandarin beastie

Mandarin Beastie

Cocktail Ingredients


3 oz Mandarin orange vodka

1 oz lemonade or fresh lime juice

1 oz club soda

hot mess nuts-in-the-mix

Hot Messed Spiced Nuts

Nut Ingredients

2 3/4 cups assorted nuts (whole almonds, Brazilian nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, pecans)

2 TBS rosemary, coarsely chopped

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

2 TBS dark brown sugar

2 tsps sea salt (if using salted nuts then reduce salt by 1 tsp)

1 TBS unsalted butter, melted

Parmesan crisps

Pesto Parmesan Chips

Chip Ingredients

12-16 wonton wrappers (3-inch squares)

1 TBS olive oil

1 TBS Parmesan cheese

Paprika, dash

2-3 TBS pesto

pork orange marinade

Orange Marinaded Pork Tenderloin

Tenderloin Ingredients

1 cup orange juice

1/3 cup soy sauce

2 TBS fresh rosemary, chopped

3 tsps, garlic, minced

2 (3/4 pound) whole pork tenderloins

salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

carrot slaw

Carrot Salad Dressing with Dijon Dressing

Salad & Dressing Ingredients

1 TBS lemon juice

2 tsps Dijon mustard

3 TBS olive oil

1 lb carrots, peeled and shredded

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

1 TBS fresh parsley, chopped

1 tsp fresh chives, chopped

2 TBS pine nuts, toasted

au gratin

Potato and Onion Au Gratin

Potato Ingredients

2 tsps garlic, minced

2 lbs russet potatoes (approximately 4), peeled

dash Nutmeg, ground

salt and pepper, to taste

1/4 cup Emmentaler, grated

1 white onion, sliced

1 cup milk

1 cup heavy (double) cream

passion fruit cake

Passion Fruit Chiffon Cake

Passion Fruit Filling Ingredients

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup cornstarch

1 cup passion fruit nectar or puree

4 egg yolks

1 vanilla bean—split, seeds scraped

1 stick unsalted butter, cut into TBS

Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients

1/2 cup of butter (1 stick), room temperature

8 oz cream cheese (I like whipped), room temperature

2 – 3 cups powdered sugar

2 tsps passion fruit nectar or puree (often found in frozen fruit section of Latin markets)

food coloring (optional)

chocolate cherry krispie treats

Chunky Krispie Chocolate Cherry Treats

Krispie Ingredients

3 TBS salted butter

1 (10 oz) bag of large marshmallows

1/2 cup white chocolate chips

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

5 cups Rice Krispies cereal

1 cup dried cherries, chopped

1/2 cup semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips

Focaccia di Recco


This focaccia is typically found in a little town in Liguria called Recco, not far from Genoa. It is a far cry from your typical focaccia and it has a special twist – it is stuffed with the most amazing cheese. Since the dough does not contain yeast, it is not thick and fluffy like its well known focaccia cousin. The cheese encased in this lovely crisp dough is Continue reading ‘Focaccia di Recco’

Chilled Cantaloupe Soup with Crisped Prosciutto

One of my favorite summertime meal combinations is prosciutto and melon. This recipe takes that concept and blends it with the ‘gazpacho concept’. While I’ve always admired those who enjoy a good tomato gazpacho, it is one of the few foodie things that has never appealed to me. I have to say that this simple recipe packs a flavorful punch and can easily be adapted for vegetarians.

Chilled Cantaloupe Soup with Crisped Prosciutto


4 slices prosciutto (vegetarian substitution:1/2 cup pistachios, shelled, toasted and chopped

6 cups ripe cantaloup cubes, chilled

1/4 cup honey

1/4 cup lemon juice

3 TBS fresh mint leaves, chopped

1/4 cup chardonnay or Muscato

1 TBS fresh basil, thinly sliced

paprika, dash

creme fraiche (optional)


Make sure that all ingredients are well chilled before pureeing.

Place prosciutto on a microwave safe dish and cook on high for 2-3 minutes or until desired crispness. When cool, crumble and set aside. (Note: when cooking prosciutto in a skillet, the color and consistency of the meat changes; microwave is recommended.)

Puree cantaloupe, honey, lemon juice, mint and wine in a blender or food processor.

Ladle into cups or wine glasses, top with basil, paprika and prosciutto.

Taste This! The Delicious Sequel Released- Tortellini Skewers Teaser

To say that these last few months have been a whirlwind of activity is a far cry from true. Life has not been uneventful or dull between all of the hats I juggle but that is the emblem of this decade, we multitask and walk a fine line to balance all that life throws our way. The exciting news is that amidst all of this activity a sequel to my first cookbook was released- Taste This! The Delicious Sequel.

Book signing and all, things are off to a very exciting start as we look down the barrel at 2012. In honor of this personal milestone (which was only possible due to the love and support of my family and friends) I wanted to share a wonderful holiday vegetarian appetizer recipe from the cookbook. And if you are tempted to try more of the recipes, your fingers are a few key strokes away from the online purchase button (look to your right hand side of this page) ;).

Tortellini Skewers


1 (16 oz) jar roasted red peppers

20 oz package tortellini, cooked and tossed with olive oil

1 bunch fresh basil, leaves washed/dried and removed from stem

4 (14.75 oz) marinated artichoke hearts, 1/8-1/4 inch slices

1 box large cocktail tooth picks

Cook tortellini according to package directions. On a large cocktail toothpick, layer according to above order.

Makes 4 dozen

A few out takes from the first cookbook signing held at the Golden Gate Yacht Club (Thank you Norbert and Madeleine)!

Savory Mushroom Sausage Strudel

In light of life’s adversity, I’ve been on a constant quest to be comforted. Like many in my family, any attempt to comfort oneself tends to manifest in preparing food and then consuming it. The greater the stress, the more delectables on hand. This was an easy recipe to pull together and I can envision it served as an appetizer, lunch or dinner dish. Better yet, this hearty strudel can be made ahead and frozen to quickly prepare for that on the spot company that ‘just dropped by’ for a quick visit.

Savory Sausage Mushroom Strudel


1 lb mild Italian sausage, casings removed

1 1/2 lbs mushrooms, chopped

1 tsps dried thyme

3 TBS Dijon mustard

1/2 cup sour cream

8 sheets Phyllo Dough, thawed

1/2 cup olive oil


In a medium-size skillet, sauté sausage over medium-high heat. Break up sausage with a fork until cooked and crumbled.

Add mushrooms and thyme and sauté over high heat until all of the liquid has evaporated and mushrooms begin to brown. Set aside and cool.

Remove 4 sheets of phyllo and place on a wax paper or other clean flat surface. Using a pastry brush, coat each individual sheet of dough with olive oil. Once all 4 sheets are oiled and layered upon one another, mix sour cream and Dijon into the sausage and meat mixture. Leaving a 2-inch boarder, spoon half of he filling in a log shape along one long end of the phyllo dough. Fold phyllo over the filling, tuck in the ends and roll up. Brush the top of the log with olive oil. Repeat with 4 more sheets of phyllo dough and remaining filling. Again, brush top of log with olive oil.

If not baking immediately, wrap in foil, strudles may be refrigerated overnight or frozen up to two weeks. Thaw in refrigerator or at room temperature.

Oven rack should be positioned in the upper third of the oven. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. On greased baking sheet, place strudles seam side down approximately 2-inches apart. Slice into 1 1/2-inch pieces cutting only halfway to the bottom, if serving as appetizers, otherwise cut into 2 1/2 inch pieces once fully baked. Bake 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. To serve, cut through slices.

Makes 2 strudels, 12 slices per each

Deliciously Organic Post-Super Bowl Recipe

While attending BlogHer Food ’10, I was invited to a party named La Petite Soirée. Much to my surprise, at the end of the night, there was a gift certificate to receive a copy of ‘Deliciously Organic’ by Carrie Vitt. The cover alone was a draw, well selected words ….simple dishes, vibrant flavors everyone will love. Upon receiving the book I couldn’t wait to take out a pad of Post-It notes to mark the recipes that I “must try”. The list was long, and I am still working through it, but a few nights ago, when I was trying to think of a great new recipe to bring to a Super Bowl party, this recipe caught my eye.

My finished photo of the crisps is tucked away at the very end of this post as it looks nothing like the photograph in Carrie’s book, but I don’t care one bit, because this recipe is full of delicious flavors. Enjoy it!

Brie and Walnut Crisps


4 oz double or triple cream Brie, room temperature, rind removed
1/2 cup (1 cube) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/3 cup walnuts, chopped
1/4 tsp salt
4 dashes cayenne pepper
1 tsp ground rosemary
2 dashes paprika


In a food processor, pulse together Brie and butter until smooth. Add flour, walnuts, salt, cayenne, and rosemary and process until dough is smooth and just starts to form a ball. Dough will be very soft.

Place a sheet of parchment paper on the counter. Place dough onto the parchment paper and form into a log. Wrap the remaining parchment paper around the dough and then roll dough on the counter until it stretches into a log about 2-inches thick. Refrigerate a minimum of 3 hours.

Adjust the rack in the oven to the middle position and then preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Unwrap dough and slice into 1/4 inch thick slices. Place each round on a baking sheet lined with unbleached parchment paper, making sure to leave about 1/2 an inch in between each because they will expand slightly when baking. Bake your crackers at 350 degrees for 22 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Remove from oven and sprinkle lightly with paprika. Allow your crackers to cool on the cookie sheet and serve at room temperature.

Note: These crackers are delicious on their own or would be paired nicely with some fresh fruit such as a thin slice of pear with a touch of honey drizzled on top. Once cooked, the crisps are very delicate, take care when moving off of the cookie sheet.

Makes 25 crisps.

As a compensated Foodily Brand Ambassador, you can also find this recipe at www.foodily.com.

Whet Your Appetite…it’s about to get GOOD

This weekend started out a bit differently then the last five weeks – it was work free and friend and family-focused. The pace finally drew to a screeching halt after a seemingly endless series of projects and life came back into focus. On the menu: breathing, laughter, food and fun (plus a few great new recipes – I couldn’t tease you further, as you have so patiently awaited this next post amidst my hefty work load. TY).

This post in itself was fun-filled. Conceptualized with my dear friend Sue Zumout @justforlicks, the concept was to create a shared post with a common element and put our own touches on it….enter stage right, Petite Parmesan Baskets, the adorable appetizer with numerous possibilities. We’ve developed six ideas, three you can find in this post and the remaining three can be easily found on her blog site (details to follow). Trust me, it will be well worth the click over as her creations were wonderful too!
Please note that to help keep the various recipes organized each filing as well as the basket recipe has its own ingredients and direction list.

Petite Parmesan Baskets

Petite Parmesan Basket Ingredients

6 oz Parmigiano-Reggiano, shredded
1/2 tsp of either paprika, or cayenne (optional)

Note: to make the necessary basket form you will need mini-cup cake pans or another small item on which to form the basket.

Petite Parmesan Basket Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheet with either a silpat or parchment paper.

Pour 1 TBS increments of Parmesan cheese onto lined cookie sheet and flatten into a circular shape. If desired add optional seasoning.

Bake on middle rack of oven until golden brown, approximately 7 – 10 minutes. Immediately after removing from the oven, carefully transfer cheese discs with a spatula and place onto an upside down mini-cup cake pan. It is important to work quickly to form the basket shape around the outside of the mini-cup cake pan before the cheese begins to harden.

Baskets may be made two days in advance and placed on parchment paper in an airtight container at room temperature.

Pear, Manchego & Bacon Filling Ingredients

1 Red D’Anjou pear, cubed with skin on
3/4 portion 1 medium size red apple (like Lady Alice), grated with skin on
2 TBS lemon juice
1/4 cup celery, finely chopped
1/4 cup yellow bell pepper, finely chopped
3 slices bacon, cooked until firm and chopped
1/2 cup Manchego cheese, finely cubed (can substitute Asiago cheese)
1 TBS orange juice
1 TBS champagne vinegar
pepper, to taste

Pear, Manchego & Bacon Filling Directions

In medium-size bowl, add pear and apple and mix well with lemon juice. Add in celery, bell pepper, bacon, cheese, orange juice, vinegar and pepper. Mix well and chill until time to assemble in baskets.

Panzanella Filling Ingredients

1/2 cup Kalamata Olives, pitted and finely chopped
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, chopped
1 tsp capers
1/8 cup Panko bread crumbs
1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
pepper, to taste

Panzanella Filling Directions

In small size bowl, mix together olives, tomatoes, capers and bread crumbs. Add olive oil, vinegar and pepper. Mix well and chill until time to assemble in baskets.

Prosciutto and Orange Marmalade Filling

6 slices Prosciutto, fat removed
1/2 cup orange marmalade

Prosciutto and Orange Marmalade Directions

Take a nice piece of Prosciutto that fits well into the basket and top with a dollop of orange marmalade.

For three other great basket appetizer fillings – Caprese (tomato, basil, mozzarella cheese), Crab Ceviche, Steak & Potato visit my friend Sue Zumout at Just For Licks.

Hot Mess Spiced Bar Nuts

A bit of history- when your best friend from third grade calls you up to say “It’s okay to be a good hot mess.” It is safe to say that she isn’t talking about the latest inspiration (AKA craving) – Spiced Bar Nuts or for SABS shall we call them ‘Hot Mess Spiced Bar Nuts’? Done!

If you had thought I would share more of this story….well, let’s just leave it at a cliff hanger. Rumors are always more interesting than reality and the name just works despite the origins of the inspiration.

Hot Mess Spiced Bar Nuts

NOTE: Please do not hold me accountable if you can not stop eating these nuts.


2 3/4 cups assorted nuts (whole almonds, Brazilian nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, pecans)
2 TBS rosemary, coarsely chopped
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 TBS dark brown sugar
2 tsps sea salt (if using salted nuts then reduce salt by 1 tsp)
1 TBS unsalted butter, melted


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix nuts together on a baking sheet and toast for a approximately 10 minutes, or until golden brown.

In large bowl, combine melted butter, cayenne, rosemary, salt and sugar and stir well. Add in mixed nuts and serve warm.