Posts Tagged ‘appetizers’


Eggplant Tapenade a la Izzy

November 2, 2014

Hands down this is my favorite way to make eggplant. It came from a very dear friend,that I don’t keep in touch with as often as I should. We  chatted via text last week, and it reminded me that I finally need to share and  blog this recipe. The olives are my addition.. You can eat this on crackers, scoop it up with pita, or serve it under or over a beautifully grilled chicken breast and top it with some fresh feta.. Addicting…simple but  elegant enough to be an appetizer  for your fanciest guests.. or for a lazy  football Sunday with friends… It is highly recommended that you at least double this recipe. I love you Izzy.. I hope you are more honored at my blogging your recipe than you were when I named the bearded dragon after you ❤

1 large eggplant

3 cloves garlic, minced

3 T. good red tomato sauce, or seasoned diced tomatoes, or one whole tomato diced

10-15 chopped black olives

1 T. Italian seasoning

1 t. black pepper

2t. Kosher salt

1/4 t. red pepper flakes (optional)

2 T. good olive oil


Peel eggplant. Slice in 1/2 inch circles and then cut into cubes. Put about half of the eggplant in a sieve and sprinkle with one teaspoon of Kosher salt.Toss a bit to distribute. Top with remaining eggplant and sprinkle with another teaspoon of salt. Allow to drain for a minimum of one hour and preferably more.



That is all the bitterness coming out of the eggplant.

I do not rinse the salt off the eggplant, which is why there is not additional salt in the recipe. Heat a large saucepan and add the oil and crushed garlic. Saute the garlic on low heat til fragrant. Do not try to rush this as the garlic will burn. There is no saving oil that garlic has burned in.

Pre heat oven to 350*

Taking handfuls squeeze as much liquid from the eggplant as you can. Add to the flavored oil.  Stir in Italian seasoning and pepper. Saute  the eggplant for about 5 minutes, and then put the pan in a pre heated oven for 20  minutes. Remember the handle is HOT! Use a pot holder to remove it!


Add the olives and tomatoes or tomato sauce to the roasted eggplant cubes. Stir. Refrigerate.


     Serve with crackers, as an appetizer, or light lunch on top  of Red leaf or Romaine lettuce.


 Additionally,   you can reheat and serve on top of a grilled chicken breast. Crumble a bit of feta on top.


I hope you enjoy this versatile recipe from my long time friend.


Baked Brie with Cranberry Salsa

December 31, 2013

We often have a variation of baked Brie and a sweet jam or preserve on our holiday appetizer tray. This year I saw several recipes with cranberry toppings. One with a kick appealed to me as a nice change, but I wasn’t fond of it’s uncooked  texture. So, revamped  and cooked a bit, slathered on cold, atop bubbling brie that has been blanketed in, (of course) light and crisp puff pastry.. You will want to make room for this.

1 C. fresh cranberries
1 medium size  jalapeno pepper
2 clementine tangerines, or 1 orange peeled
1/4 C.  sugar
1/2 C. orange juice, or water
2  scallions
grated zest and juice of 2  limes
1 1/2 t.  grated fresh ginger

In  processor pulse  cranberries, jalapeno and oranges .
Do NOT over process. your cranberries should be grainy, not mush. You can also slice the oranges by hand, and add the small pieces to give more texture.

In a saucepan, add the pulsed fruit mixture, the juice and zest of  limes, sugar, scallions, ginger, and a few turns of Himalayan Sea Salt. Stir and add liquid. Bring to a boil. Simmer for 15 minutes. Refrigerate.  Best made the day before so flavors can intensify, and less work for you on  the day of serving!

For the brie you will need:

1 sheet of puff pastry

1 16 0z. wheel of Brie

Roll your sheet of pastry  just enough to removed the crease marks. Place on a cookie sheet lined with  PARCHMENT paper (don’t use foil!) or in an oven proof casserole (make sure it is  large enough to allow for puffing, and then cutting on serving table). As you can see I used foil, and then was unable to transfer the Brie. The parchment will allow it to just slide onto your serving platter. Place your Brie in the center of the rectangle.


Swaddle the Brie by bringing the ends of the pastry towards the edge of the wheel and giving it a little turn. Continue around the circle, leaving the center open.


Bake  approximately 30-35 minutes, until pastry is browned and your Brie is bubbling around the edges … refrain from loading some onto a slice of French bread!

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Generously top with your cold salsa. Serve immediately,with very fresh French bread slices.





Bacon Cheddar Spirals

December 31, 2013

I love anything and everything wrapped in puff pastry. The simplest of ingredients become a delicate amuse bouche, delicate enough to ring in the New Year, and rugged enough to please your hungriest football fan.

1 sheet puff pastry , thawed and rolled to remove creases
1/2 C. very sharp cheddar, shredded
2 green onions, minced (about 1/4 cup)
5 strips bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled (I have used 6 strips of vegetarian bacon here)

Unfold the pastry sheet on a lightly floured surface.  Roll the pastry sheet lightly to remove the fold marks.

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Cover in cheese. add top with bacon and onion. Go all the way to the ends of the pastry, or your first and last cut will be empty!

Starting at a short side, roll up like a jelly roll.  Place the pastry, seam-side down, onto a baking sheet.  Refrigerate for 15 minutes or until the pastry is firm.


Cut the pastry crosswise into 1/2-inch slices.  Place the slices onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. (I used foil- don’t you do that!)

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Bake for 20 minutes or until the pastries are golden brown.  Let the pastries cool for 10 minutes.

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July 20, 2012

Poppers are the perfect name for these little guys,because you will pop one after another in your mouth.A creamy, slightly  crunchy appetizer or snack, with just the right amount of kick. No need for heavy breading and frying, and so easy to pop on the grill or under the broiler. Perfect with a nice margarita on a hot summer night, on a tray with some stuffed mushrooms,during halftime, or anytime you are looking for a spicey treat.

  • 8 jalapeno peppers
  • 1/4 C. cream cheese
  • 1/2 C. shredded Monteray Jack cheese
  • 1/2 C. shredded sharp cheddar
  • 2 scallions,very finely diced,reserve some of green tips for garnish
  • 5-10 seeds from the jalapenos depending on hot much heat you want
  • 1/4 t. each: cumin,coriander,smoked paprika,bl.pepper

Cut the jalapenos in half.Scoop out the seeds,reserving some to put in the filling.Remove the white membrane as well,again leaving some depending on how much heat you can handle.The jalapeno itself is relatively mild,the seeds and the membrane will set your mouth on fire!

Very finely dice one half of a pepper,and one scallion.Save some seeds for extra kick.

Combine all cheeses,diced pepper and scallion,seasonings and the seeds you set aside.

This cheese mix alone would make a great dip,heated until bubbly and served with some tortilla chips!!Pack your peppers with about a teaspoon of cheese each.Amounts will vary a bit depending on the size of each pepper.Place on a hot grill and cover.Grill for about 7 minutes, or more if you like less snap in your pepper.

I put mine under the broiler to brown the tops a bit.Watch them as they brown quickly.Serve with some snipped scallion tip as garnish.


Artichoke Stuffed Mushrooms

December 2, 2010

Very simple appetizer with a gourmet taste. I have doubled the amounts that I used for our Thanksgiving appetizer tray,so this would serve 6- 8 with other munchies offered .Spur of the moment became an appetizer keeper.

  • 32 baby mushroom,brushed clean and stems carefully removed(or 16 large- I wanted this tray very bite sized)
  • 2 small jars marinated artichokes, drained (I used one jar hearts and one regular)
  • 1/2 C.  grated cheese – parm, romano, or asiago
  • Olive Oil or butter cooking spray
  • 1 t. butter for saute of mushrooms
  • 1/2 t. pepper, or to taste
  • 2 T. panko
  • 1 T. lemon juice
  • 1 t.lemon pepper

Dice stems of mushrooms finely.Saute in butter just until soft. Let cool.

Puree artichokes, and stir in grated cheese.Stir in cooled sauted mushrooms.

Fill center of mushrooms with a mound of artichoke and cheese mixture.

Top with a pinch of panko,press lightly so they stay on.

Spray lightly with cooking spray.

Bake in 350 oven for 15 minutes for small mushrooms, or until tops are brown.

Serve immediately!