Appetizers Recipes

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Wild Rice and Orzo Salad with Maple Vinaigrette Recipe

This dish is really three recipes in one. I combined my wild rice, kidney bean salad and orzo pasta salad recipes together to make a light and healthy meal. The maple vinaigrette helps tie everything together.

I usually make orzo pasta salad for parties and picnics, but we've been having a heat wave here and we all felt like eating something cool. The addition of kidney beans for protein and wild rice for fiber makes the dish more of a complete meal. If you have some leftover roast chicken, you can dice or shred it and add it to the salad as well.


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Camembert Stuffed Fig Puffs Recipe

Camembert Stuffed Fig Puffs

09.05.09 by Jackie

I went into the garden today and I noticed we had a huge crop of Black Mission figs. I think I gathered probably two full baskets. We had some last minute guests come over this afternoon, and I decided to put the figs I just picked to good use. Since they were coming over for tea, I thought that bite size appetizers would be in order. I stuffed the figs with camembert and some thyme from the garden. I then rested each fig on a bed of puff pastry and baked them in the oven. 

A lot of my cooking is my own improvisation. If you know what flavors combinations work well together, it's easy to come up with new recipes when you're in a pinch. Figs stuffed with camembert is a classic combination, and really, what doesn't puff pastry go with?

Unfortunately, I didn't have any ready-made puff pastry, so I had to make some myself. The result isn't as beautiful as Julia's from Mélanger, but it also didn't take six hours to make! I have to give a special shout out to Julia for taking the effort to make pâte feuilletée at home. 

I think our guests enjoyed the little bite-sized fig appetizers. You could make a similar dish with many other fruits, so experiment and have fun!

Fresh fig recipe with pictures


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Mediterranean Mini Pizza with Cannellini Beans and Roasted Red Bell Pepper Hummus Recipe

I made a hummus pizza a few days ago and I felt like recreating a sandwich version of the dish with a bunch of Mediterranean ingredients. The problem was that I only had pita bread at home. I could have created a pocket in the bread and stuffed it, but I decided to place the ingredients on top of the pita bread to create a meal that resembled a pizza.

Following the Mediterranean theme, I made a cannellini bean and roasted red bell pepper hummus-like spread and topped it with Greek feta cheese, capers, sun-dried tomatoes, arugula, pickled shallot, black olives and marinated artichoke hearts. For the meat lovers out there, I would add some cubes of lamb kebabs.

I'm sure you've heard of 30-minute meals, but this took me 10 minutes, tops. Try this recipe the next time you're in a hurry. Beat that, Rachael Ray!


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Salad Nicoise  Recipe

Salad Nicoise

09.02.09 by Jackie

If you're ever fortunate enough to go to Paris, you are bound to walk by many sidewalk cafés, brasseries, bistros and the like. As ubiquitous are the chalkboards that guard the entrances to these eateries, calling out the specials of the day. On almost all of them, you will find salade niçoise.

This is not the tuna salad that one traditionally finds in America, slathered in mayonnaise and sweet pickles. Salade niçoise hails from the Côte d'Azur; region of France, and is named after the city of Nice. It is a combination of tomatoes, potatoes, green beans, eggs and canned tuna packed in oil. It is typically topped with anchovies and Dijon vinaigrette.   Like many French dishes, the name may evoke visions of elegance and glamour, but in reality the dish is the result of the vegetables and proteins available in that region of France. Put another way, it's really just a fancy way of describing a tossed salad from Nice.

I personally love this dish, because it is easy to make and perfectly captures the flavors of  the Mediterranean. It won't replace the traditional American-style tuna salad, but instead provide you with a healthier alternative.


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Vietnamese Chili Salt: An Exotic Flavor Enhancer for Fruit Recipe

Muối ớt is a popular seasoning in Vietnam. If you've been to Asia, you've probably noticed street vendors at every corner, selling fruits accompanied by chili salt packets.

Salt brings out the flavor of the fruit and enhances its sweetness. Vietnamese foods call for chile in almost everything and eating fruits with chile is no exception. It's currently green mango season, and green mangoes with chili salt is a refreshing starter for a hot summer meal. You can also serve it as a salad; check the tips section for the recipe. It's called gỏi xoài in Vietnamese.

We've been gorging ourselves on mounds of this delicious fruit. It's very good by itself, but I always add a pinch of chili salt to liven up the flavor. Try chili salt with fruits such as Granny Smith apples, plums or oranges. I guarantee you'll never go back!


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