Easy Appetizers Recipes

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Easy Cheese Appetizer Recipe Recipe

Easy Cheese Appetizer Recipe

01.06.11 by Jackie

We're still in Paris and I've been feeling a little lazy as our vacation winds down. Maybe it’s a subconscious awareness that we’re about to go back to the daily grind. Still, we need to eat, and these cheese appetizers literally take about 10 minutes to assemble. This gives me plenty of time to do, well, other things.

I stacked cheese and sesame crackers, Rocamadour (goat) cheese, store-bought cherry preserves and sun-dried tomatoes into these little bites. They are so delicious, my husband Lulu could eat them by the dozen while waiting for dinner to be served.

The sweetness from the preserves and creaminess from the cheese pair wonderfully. You could make small variations using other chutneys or relishes as well.


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Easy Party Appetizers: Foie Gras Stuffed Prunes with Almond Tuiles Recipe

Foie gras stuffed dried plums are my guilty pleasure. The dried plums (prunes) are baked with maple syrup, and to enhance the texture and flavor, I add a pinch of fleur de sel and a sprinkle of crumbled almond tuile cookies. These little appetizers will definitely be served by the dozens during our New Year Eve's dinner.

I know this recipe might raise some eyebrows on several levels. I've always loved,  perhaps worshipped, the French culinary delicacy called foie gras. If you've never tasted foie gras before, it's like eating a piece of intensely flavored, semi-softened butter. Some people think it's an abomination and constitutes cruelty to animals. I believe that in Chicago for a time there was even a ban on foie gras and that the sale and production of foie gras is still illegal in California.

The other thing you might find odd is that I chose to use prunes in an elegant appetizer. I was surprised to learn from Lulu that in America, prunes are marketed as digestive aids and have a rather negative stigma. That is not the case in France. Prunes are often served as a snack for children, and just yesterday I saw them on a fruit and cheese platter at the end of a lovely meal we had at my friend's home. They’re now marketed in the U.S. as dried plums, not prunes, because there was so much negativity associated with prunes as a laxative.

I hope this recipe will inspire you to try new ingredients, or perhaps old ingredients in new ways.


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Stuffed Mushroom Recipe Recipe

Stuffed Mushroom Recipe

11.03.10 by Jackie

Making stuffed mushrooms is a great way to put stale bread to use. I served soup the other night and we had 2 leftover rolls, so I decided to make a plate of these savory treats. To start, I sautéed a few vegetables, including zucchini, bell peppers, celery and carrots. You can use whatever you want, but it's a good idea to choose colorful ingredients. Once the vegetables were cooked, I added the bread, a little vegetable broth and fromage blanc. In case you were wondering, the fromage blanc helps keep the top moist even after the stuffed mushrooms are baked. To complete the dish, I topped the mushrooms with sharp Cheddar cheese. 

I didn't add any additional spices, because the bread was already studded with chiles. Otherwise, a little heat is a nice touch to balance the flavor. One final bit of advice: make a bunch of these. They go fast!


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Vegetarian Quinoa Appetizers Recipe

Vegetarian Quinoa Appetizers

05.19.10 by Jackie

Quinoa is a grain that is perfect for a gluten free diet; however it's very bland by itself. We had a very dear friend over for lunch this weekend and she is allergic to gluten, so I was determined to figure out a satisfying way to prepare quinoa. I ended up flavoring it with parsley and a medley of vegetables and seasonings such as corn, artichokes, eggplant, button mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, French green beans, capers, bell peppers and gorgonzola. This allows the quinoa to act as a palette for the other flavors.

I served it in a large bowl for brunch, but I also set some aside for something a little more special. I placed mounds of the quinoa on gluten free crackers. The result is a fancy, tasty and unique vegetarian, gluten free appetizer that everyone can enjoy.


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Stuffed Mushrooms Recipe

Stuffed Mushrooms

11.29.09 by Jackie

The possibilities for stuffed mushrooms are almost limitless. They are perfect as passed hors d'oeuvres and they're incredibly versatile and easy to make when you're pressed for time. We have a dinner party tonight, and I wanted to use the leftover stuffing from Thanksgiving. "Stuffing-stuffed Mushrooms" has a nice ring to it, no?

I boosted the flavor of the stuffing with parmesan cheese, sliced almonds and crème fraîche. To smooth out the texture, I incorporated some crème fraîche to the stuffing and brushed the mushrooms with tomato sauce and tomato paste as well. Once each button mushroom is filled with stuffing, sprinkle on some more parmesan, bake, and they're ready to serve!


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