37 posts tagged Appetizers

Fresh Pappardelle with PEI Mussels, Smoked Chorizo, Mushrooms & Tomato in a Saffron Broth

Preparing mussels at home has always intimidated me. I'm not exactly sure why; I've done pretty well at my first attempts at Beef Wellington and Risotto Tortes, so why would the thought of preparing mussels at home frighten me? Well, foodborn illness, for one. Overcooking them, for another. A laundry list of potential failures threatened my never-attempted mussels for years and years. Until I swallowed my fears and went for it anyway. On New Year's Eve 2011. And then again on New Years Day 2012. Dare I say that now I'm slightly addicted? To help clear the air about how to handle mussels and remove the fear, there are really only a few things you need to know before you start: *Scrub the mussels well under running cold water to remove any barnacles, etc. A very stiff cleaning brush comes in handy for this. *Tap on any mussels that are open (they responded quicker/more fervently using the back of the cleaning brush), and if they don't close, discard them. *Any mussel with a broken shell should be tossed out. *Each mussel has a beard which you can find sticking out of the side. Pull this out in a back and forth wiggling motion to ensure you get it all off. *Once the mussels are cooked, the shells should be open. Any mussels that are close at this point should not be eaten. I think the most important step to note is to not soak the mussels in water, and to not *accidentally* turn the tap water to warm and leave them for any amount of time in slightly tepid water. Because that might cause you to freak out and think you ruined your *entire* New Years Eve dinner when they all open and you think they've all gone belly up. Fear not, though! One rather strong rap on the shell with the back of the cleaning brush will quickly have those mussels closing up shop and you can then proceed to make this meal. Which is delicious, by the way. And quick! Continue Reading

Baked Brie with Chopped Dates

I started looking through the Starters/Appetizers recipe of my blog and realized "Sheeesh, for as much entertaining as I do, I sure don't have a lot of quick and easy appetizers on the site . . ." Sweet and salty inspiration then struck us; W and I decided to wrap some brie and some sort of fruit in some puff pastry, bake it, and call it a day. But then the question came to us; Which fruit should we use? There's the ever popular preserves option, but we don't keep a lot of preserves handy in the fridge, so that was out. I thought, for a moment, about going savory with some sun-dried tomatoes as an excuse to use the last of our soon-to-be-dying basil due to the impending winter. But, ultimately, we went with chopped dates since they were in our pantry and I had no impending plans for them. The possibilities are endless here, so go nuts! Continue Reading

Sweet Buttery Cornbread

Now that it's in the high 70s in Dallas, I had originally intended this post to focus on reveling in the cold and icy weather we had been dealing with and suggesting cornbread and chili as the perfect comfort food; well, it just seems poorly timed now that we're entering summer-time temperatures. But, it is still February, the weather in other parts of the country could still be worthy of a nice hot bowl of chili, so I'm just going to roll with this post today. Those of you that are still wearing your snow boots and shoveling driveways; you'll be pointing your fingers and laughing when I'm complaining about the immense heat come August. So, my big weakness is bread. Living in the South, I have had so many versions of cornbread with additions like bacon and jalapenos and cheese. While they are always delicious in their own right, nothing really tastes better to me than a nice buttery piece of sweet cornbread; plain. I emphasize the plain-ness of the cornbread because it's so much more versatile; as a base for a good chili, crumbled the next day in a stuffing, and drizzled with honey as dessert. I found a version of this recipe online at AllRecipes.com, and made a couple of tweaks with ingredient levels. The recipe I found had 1/4 cup more sugar, but I worried it would be overly sweet, and found this to be a great happy medium. It makes quite a bit, so leftovers can be easily used for a couple of days. Hope you enjoy this recipe! Continue Reading

Chicken Peanut Stew

Looking back through my past (most recent) posts, it's clear I need to make some apologies to you, dear Reader. Or excuses. Whatever you really want to call them, I haven't been adding content at a pace I'm happy with, so I wanted to make sure I submitted something before we made it through October with nary a new recipe. It seems like this year is just flying by, and with the cooler weather approaching, I'll be much more likely to spend a Sunday cooking and photographing dinner. Continue Reading

Salmon Tartare

If you happen to have a nice, sushi-grade wild caught sockeye salmon, try this dish as a delicious and refreshing amuse bouche. Continue Reading