Appetizer Recipes

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Braided Tapenade Bread Recipe Recipe

Braided Tapenade Bread Recipe

05.13.13 by Jackie

Braiding is a fancy way to present stuffed bread. To get this recipe started, I prepared the dough and let it rest for a few hours. Once it's ready to roll, the sides of the resulting long rectangle are cut into long strands, filled with tapenade (or your favorite filling) then the bread is tied into a two-strand braid. 

I used homemade tapenade made with kalamata olives, mustard and capers. I love the way the deep-purple color contrasts with the bread. The bread would also work well with hummus, guacamole, salsa or roasted bell pepper spread.


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Tomatillo Risotto Appetizer Recipe Recipe

This is my take on a Mexican-inspired risotto flavored with tomatillo. I prepared salsa verde and added it to creamy risotto. I spooned the risotto onto blue tortilla chips and topped them with salsa verde and crumbled queso fresco as a reminder of the flavor.

I recently received a goodie box of a selection of Queso Del Valle and Karoun cheeses. I’m a huge fan of their products and with Cinco De Mayo just around the corner, I’ll be sharing recipes all week using the cheeses. I’m not a master of authentic Mexican cuisine, but I love Mexican ingredients and flavors and use them often in fusion dishes like this one. 

Mexican Risotto Recipe with Picture


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Pepper Poppers Recipe

Pepper Poppers

04.17.13 by Jackie

If you've been following my culinary adventures for a while, you probably know that Daddy's (my father-in-law) diet revolves around anything spicy. So he rarely eats the French dishes (except for the desserts) or Vietnamese meals I prepare for the rest of our family. So today, I prepared pepper popper appetizers. Who doesn't like fried food? Not even Daddy could say no. I prepared mild ones using mini tri-colored peppers and jalapeno peppers, and a couple of really spicy ones just for him.

Mini peppers are hollowed out, stuffed with a cheese mixture, breaded and deep-fried. You can't go wrong!


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Crab Appetizers (Savory Cheese Cookies)  Recipe

If you've been following my culinary adventures for a while, you probably know how much I love seafood. There's a French word "gourmande" that merely translates to "greedy" and I think it accurately sums up my personality when it comes to les fruits de mer (seafood). Thus it was fitting that at the Asian market this week I bought way too many crabs (again)! 

Lulu's grand-uncle, who also enjoys crab, came to visit us, so I made a few crab appetizers for him. At first, I didn't know how I was going to present the crab, but I finally settled on savory "cookies" flavored with Dubliner cheese. A bit of cottage cheese serves as the "glue" for the whole appetizer, and the depression in each cookie is perfect for a spoonful of crab meat. 


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Grilled Eggplant Tartlet Recipe Recipe

Grilled Eggplant Tartlet Recipe

04.08.13 by Jackie

I love grilling vegetables. They can be served as is as a side dish or coarsely chopped in a salad. They also can act as the basis of flavorful spreads. Recently, I opted for the latter and created a smoky eggplant spread flavored with onion, garlic, grape molasses, tahini, a few herbs and sea salt; to ensure the eggplant would blend smoothly in the food processor, I added delicious Chardonnay cider I discovered at Trader Joe's. The result is out of-this-world delicious. You could stop the work right there and serve the spread in a bowl with lavash bread or pita bread, but I fancied it up by using it as a filling in mini-tartlets

This appetizer is not only cute, it's very easy to prepare. I let the girls prepare the eggplant spread and assemble the one bite-sized appetizers while I was preparing dinner.  I had two goals in mind. First, it kept them occupied and they had fun at the same time, instead of asking "is dinner ready yet?" The second main reason is that now since they now know how to make this, they can help out with very little supervision whenever we have guests over. I find it very valuable to get the girls involved in the kitchen. They appreciate food more when they know where it came from, and as I keep reminding them, they'll be thankful to know basics when they're on their own at college. 


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