Appetizers Recipes

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Stuffed Dates with Pistachios Recipe

Stuffed Dates with Pistachios

10.15.10 by Jackie

Mascarpone stuffed dates with pistachios is a versatile and easy no-bake dish. It makes a great dessert, appetizer or snack. On top of that, the dessert is so easy to assemble my 6-year-old little sis-in-law can do it!

I used Deglet Noor dates because the texture is firm and thick without tasting overly sweet. This makes them perfect for appetizers. For a sweeter version, you could use Medjool dates.

To make the dish, I pitted the dates and filled them cannoli-style with mascarpone cream. Crushed pistachios add texture, flavor and color. I placed the stuffed dates on a bed of thin butter almond cookies to enhance the presentation and make them easier to handle.


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Gougere Recipe (Savory Cream Puff Appetizers) Recipe

Gougères are savory choux pastry (pâte à choux salé in French) appetizers made with cheese. For this version, I made a light pastry dough with Parmesan and Triple Cream cheeses, baked them to form hollow puffed balls and filled them with pistachio pesto flavored cream cheese, mushrooms and red bell peppers.

We hosted a dinner party this evening and these cute little bites were perfect finger foods. Next time you host a cocktail party or buffet, you might want to prepare savory cream puffs. They can be prepared in advance and assembled at the last minute. Enjoy!

Savory Cream Puffs Recipe with Picture


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Grilled Portobello Mushrooms in Phyllo Cups Recipe

The basics of these appetizers are grilled Portobello mushrooms mixed with caramelized shallots. I added the mixture to layers of phyllo dough squares molded in a muffin pan and sealed with a piece of Reblochon cheese. I then topped the appetizers with a mound of herbed cream cheese and a little  sprinkle of Gruyère cheese. A quick turn in the oven and the phyllo cups came out crisp, golden and absolutely gorgeous.

Even though we have all sorts of gadgets in our kitchen, I'm not a fan of "uni-taskers" because they generally become a waste of space. I spent Labor Day de-cluttering our cupboards, pantry and garage, removing any unnecessary items. I found many different-sized muffin pans, but contrary to what you might think, they are excellent "multi-taskers". For this recipe, I used a 12-cup tinplate. The cavities of the pan form cups, which are ideal for individual servings. I’ve also used muffin pans to make parmesan cups, popovers and many other appetizers, as well as muffins, of course!

Mushroom Appetizers Recipe with Picture


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French Savory Cake Recipe (Smoked Salmon Cake) Recipe

Savory cakes ("le cake salé" in French) are the perfect dish if you want to serve a light, enjoyable lunch. Cake salé, as the name implies, is just a savory adaptation of a sweet cake. Sugar, chocolate and fruits are replaced with cold meats/ or fish (I used smoked salmon), olives and strong cheeses. For a nice contrast in texture, I added walnuts. Instead of baking the cake in a standard loaf pan, I used individual mini molds. So cute!

This cake is also ideal for picnics and potlucks, as it meets all the requirements for safe transport. No need to re-heat! I recently served cake salé with a candied walnut salad and finished the meal with a fruit medley. It was a flavorful meal that no one felt guilty about afterwards!

Savory Cake Recipe with Picture


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Octopus Sushi (Cooked Sushi Recipe) Recipe

We've been setting up my little sis-in-law’s school lunch menu as she's about to enter 1st grade tomorrow. She participated in the entire process. The little munchkin mentioned that she loves sushi and wanted to have some for lunch this school year. It's a fast and easy way for her to have a quick lunch, so I was happy to oblige. She also mentioned she loves baby octopus but she doesn't want to scare her friends away with weird food so I coarsely chopped them and used them as the filling along with other vegetables. I cooked each ingredient separately, let them cool completely and then combined then into sushi rolls. The sushi got an “A” from my sis-in-law, so I'll definitely be packing them for her this school year.

Involving children in preparing their own food encourages them to eat with more enthusiasm. Cooking in a fun environment is also a way to learn. If your kids aren’t adventurous enough for octopus, you can try some of my other school lunch recipe ideas.


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