Appetizers II of III
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    Orange Hummus

    1 - 15 oz (420 g) can of garbanzo beans
    (chick peas, ceci), rinsed and drained
    3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
    1/4 cup (60 ml) orange juice
    2 tsp (10 ml) grated orange rind
    1 tsp (15 ml) Dijon-style mustard
    1/2 tsp (2 ml) curry powder
    1/2 tsp (2 ml) ground ginger
    Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
    Pita bread for dipping

    Combine all ingredients except for the pita bread in an electric food processor or blender and process until smooth. Serve with pita bread for dipping. Serves 6 to 8 as an appetizer.

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    Tomatoes Stuffed with Tuna

    6 ripe tomatoes
    2 - 7 oz (195 g) cans tuna packed in olive oil, drained
    1/2 cup (125 ml) plus 2 Tbs (30 ml) mayonnaise
    2 Tbs (30 ml) capers
    1 Tbs (15 ml) lemon juice
    2 tsp (10 ml) Dijon-style mustard
    Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
    Parsley leaves for garnish

    Slice the tops off the tomatoes and scoop out the seeds and most of the dividing walls inside. Sprinkle the insides of the tomatoes lightly with salt and invert on paper towels for 1/2 hour to drain the excess moisture. Mix together the tuna, 1/2 cup (125 ml) of the mayonnaise, capers, lemon juice, mustard, salt, and pepper, and fill the tomatoes with the tuna mixture. Spread the remaining mayonnaise on top, and garnish with parsley leaves. Serve chilled or at room temperature. Serves 6.

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    Tomato and Basil Crostini

    4 plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped
    12 to 16 slices French bread (baguette type)
    1 large clove of garlic, peeled
    2 Tbs (30 ml) olive oil
    1/4 cup (60 ml) chopped fresh basil
    Zest of 1 lemon
    Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

    Allow the tomatoes to drain in a colander for 30 minutes. Toast the slices of bread and rub each with garlic. Combine the tomatoes with the remaining ingredients in a small bowl and divide between the slices of toast. Serve immediately. Serves 4 to 6.

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    Pico de Gallo

    1 lb (500 g) jicama*, peeled and coarsely chopped
    4 navel oranges, peeled, sectioned, and coarsely chopped
    Salt and cayenne pepper to taste

    * Jicama is a root vegetable available in Hispanic specialty shops and finer supermarkets. Water chestnuts or tart green apples may be substituted.

    Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and refrigerate before serving. Serve with tortilla chips. Serves 6 to 8 as an appetizer.

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    Cranberry Meatballs

    1 pound of lean ground hamburger
    1/2 pound of ground beef
    2-3 cloves of garlic finely minced
    1/2 cup quick oatmeal or fine crumbs
    pepper to taste

    Mix all ingredients well, and shape into small meatballs. Brown the meatballs in a fry pan and drain off the fat as it accumulates. Place balls in a roast pan or a disposable container, set aside. You may use any combination of ground meat you choose. These have been made successfully with ground turkey and just ground beef.
    1 - 285 ml bottle of chili sauce 1 - 14 oz can of jellied cranberry sauce

    Mix chili sauce and cranberry sauce together in a pot, mix together over low heat until melted and pour over meatballs. Bake at 350°F for 1/2 hour. Serve alone as an appetizer at gatherings or with rice as a meal at home.

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    Quiche Lorraine

    1 9-inch (22 cm) pastry shell
    1/4 lb (124 g) sliced bacon, cut into 1 inch (2 cm) pieces
    2 cups (500 ml) cream or milk
    3 eggs, well beaten
    Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
    A grating of fresh nutmeg
    1/2 cup (125 ml) diced or shredded Gruyere or Swiss cheese

    Prick the bottom of the pie crust thoroughly with a fork to prevent it from bubbling up during cooking. Fry the bacon in a large skillet over high heat until much of the fat is rendered out, but do not fry it until it is crisp. Drain the bacon on paper towels. Combine the cream, eggs, salt, pepper, and nutmeg in a bowl and mix well. Place the bacon in the bottom of the pie shell, followed by the cheese. Pour the egg mixture into the shell and bake in a preheated 375°F (190°C) oven for 30 to 40 minutes, until the top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool and serve lukewarm. Add sauteed onions along with the bacon and you have quiche Alsacienne. This dish may be made in individual pastry shells rather than as a single tart, in which case you will have to adjust the cooking time. Serves 6 to 8.

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    1 lb cooked salmon, fresh or canned
    2 lb cooked, diced potatoes
    1 lb cooked, diced beets, fresh or canned *
    1/2 cup dill pickles, diced
    1/2 cup sweet gherkins, diced
    6 hard boiled eggs, 4 chopped, 2 sliced
    1/2 cup mayonnaise
    salt and pepper
    melba toast, crackers, flat bread
    Gherkins, capers, green onion leaves, lettuce leaves, olives, pickled pearl onions, and the sliced eggs for decoration.

    *Use a bit of the juice from the canned beets, or cooking water for fresh, to color the mayonnaise a light pink.

    Gently combine the picked over salmon, potatoes, beets, pickles and chopped eggs. Mix in about half of the mayonnaise. Salt and pepper to taste. Mold into your desired shape on a serving plate. Cover thinly with the remaining mayonnaise and then decorate as you wish. Surround with lettuce leaves. Chill. Serve with an assortment of crackers, its very good with melba toast. If kept chilled, it will be good for three to four days. Serves 6-8

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    1 pkg. of Kielbasa (you can use the "lite" version if desired)
    2 jars apricot preserves
    1 jar currant preserves
    2 Tbs lemon juice (you may wish to adjust this to you own preferences)
    2 Tbs dry mustard
    2 Tbs cooking sherry

    Boil the Kielbasa for 15 minutes. Slice the Kielbasa into bite size pieces. In a large pot combine the jams and cook over a low heat until they have achieved a more liquid form. Add the remaining ingredients and adjust the seasoning to taste. Add the sausage and serve in a chaffing dish over a low heat. This dish can be made up to a month in advance and frozen. Serves 10 - 12 as an appetizer.

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    5 T butter
    1 tsp salt
    1/4 tsp pepper
    1/4 tsp nutmeg
    1 C flour
    1 C gruyere or Swiss cheese, diced or grated
    5 large eggs

    Preheat oven to 425°F.

    Add butter, salt, pepper and nutmeg to 1 cup water in medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. When butter melts, reduce heat to low.

    Add flour to butter mixture all at once and cook over low heat, beating with wooden spoon, for 1 minute, until mixture pulls away from sides of pan. Remove from heat.

    Add cheese to pan and beat in with a wooden spoon until well incorporated. Add 4 of the eggs, 1 at a time, beating each egg into the batter until thoroughly absorbed. Continue beating until batter is smooth, shiny, and firm.

    Drop batter in small spoonfuls onto a lightly greased cookie sheet to form Gougeres. Beat remaining egg with 1/2 tablespoon of water, then brush tops of uncooked Gougeres with egg wash.

    Bake in upper third of oven for 15-20 minutes or until Gougeres are golden and double in size. Remove from oven and serve hot, or allow to cool to room temperature. Makes about 3 dozen.

    Serving suggestion: Serve these as is from the oven or cooled. Also can be served cooled and filled with tuna or crab salad. The ingredients in the salad should be finely diced. To fill, gently pry away natural break that forms in these little bit-sized morsels and fill with a small amount of salad. Replace cutaway cap. If filled, these should be served quickly before filling makes the puff pastry soggy.

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    Greek Garlic Dip (Skordalia)

    6 slices whole wheat or white bread, crusts removed
    1/2 cup (125 ml) mashed potatoes
    7 cloves garlic, peeled
    1/2 cup (125 ml) chopped walnuts or almonds
    1 cup (250 ml) extra virgin olive oil
    1/2 cup (125 ml) lemon juice (or to taste)
    Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

    Soak the bread in water, then squeeze it to remove as much water as possible. Combine it with the potatoes, garlic, and nuts in an electric food processor and process until it becomes a smooth paste. With the processor running, add the olive oil in a thin stream. Add the lemon juice, salt, and pepper to taste. Serve with pita bread and/or raw vegetables for dipping. Makes about 3 cups (750 ml).

    Appetizer Index

    Escargots au Roquefort

    3 to 4 dozen snails* with shells
    1/3 cup (80 ml) butter
    1/3 cup (80 ml) crumbled Roquefort or other good quality bleu cheese
    2 egg yolks
    A grating of fresh nutmeg
    Chopped parsley for garnish

    * Canned snails are available in finer supermarkets

    Cream the butter and the cheese together. Add the egg yolks and nutmeg and mix well. Using a small spoon, place a little of the mixture in the empty snail shells. Add a snail, and press on more of the cheese mixture. Bake in a preheated 400°F (200°C) oven for 5 to 8 minutes, until the butter is melted and bubbling. Sprinkle with the chopped parsley and serve immediately. Serves 6 to 8.

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    Boiled Potatoes with Caviar

    Small red or new potatoes, 2 to 4 per person
    Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
    Sour cream
    Chopped fresh chives

    Choose the smallest, most blemish-free potatoes you can. Boil until tender in enough salted water to cover. Drain and allow to cool. Cut each potato in half and place the cut side down on a tray or serving platter. Using the point of a paring knife or a melon baller, scoop out a small depression in the tops of the potato halves. Season with salt and pepper, being careful not to over salt because the caviar is salty. Spoon a small amount of sour cream into the depression and top with a small amount of caviar. Finish with the chopped chives.

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    Devils on Horseback

    1 lb. chicken livers
    24 walnut or pecan halves
    24 prunes, seeded
    24 slices of bacon
    Salt & pepper to taste

    Saute the chicken livers in butter, then cut into 3/4" cubes. Salt and pepper to taste. Stuff each prune with a slice of chicken liver and a walnut half. Wrap each prune with a bacon slice and secure with a toothpick. Grill 5 minutes or until bacon is crisp. Serve hot. Makes 24.

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    Mariachi Chicken Wings

    1¼ cup crushed plain tortilla chips
    1 package (1.25 oz) taco seasoning mix
    10-12 chicken wings

    Cut tips of the wings and separate them at the joint. Preheat oven to 350°F. In a large plastic bag, combine tortilla chips with taco seasoning mix. Dampen chicken wings with water and shake off excess. Place a few pieces at a time in the plastic bag; shake thoroughly to coat with chips. Arrange chicken in a greased shallow baking pan; bake uncovered 30 minutes or until chicken is crispy. Serve with salsa for dipping. Make about 20. Can easily be doubled or more.

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    Mozzarella Rolls

    1 lb FRESH mozzarella (the packaged commercial kind will NOT work)
    6-8 thin slices of a good prosciutto (Prosciutto de Parma is the best)
    1 bunch fresh basil
    freshly ground black pepper
    Mesclun salad or field greens, or crostini (optional)

    Place the fresh mozzarella in a bowl of very hot water for a minute or so and then start to kneed it like you would bread dough (you may want to wear gloves to avoid burning your hands). When it softens sufficiently, use a rolling pin or even your hands to roll or stretch it into a rectangle about 1/8" in thickness the way you would do with a pizza dough. Don't worry about small holes, just patch them up with a bit of cheese from the ends . When finished it should be about 8 x 12" Work quickly, as the cheese cools quickly and won't cooperate when it gets too cool.

    On top of the cheese, put a good grind of fresh black pepper, a layer of prosciutto, and a layer of fresh basil leaves (no stems). Roll this up like a jelly roll, starting from the long side, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and chill for an hour or two or better yet, overnight.

    When completely chilled, slice with a sharp or serrated knife into ½" rounds and serve atop a salad of field greens dressed with a nice vinaigrette or into ¼" slices and place on top of crostini to serve as an appetizer.

    Appetizer Index

    Greek Fried Cheese (Saganaki)

    4 Tbs (60 ml) butter
    1 egg, well beaten
    1 tsp (5 ml) flour
    1/2 lb (250 g) kasseri cheese*, sliced 1/2 inch (1 cm) thick
    2 Tbs (30 ml) brandy
    Juice of 1/2 lemon

    *Available in finer supermarkets and Middle Eastern specialty shops. Parmesan or Romano cheese may be substituted.

    Heat the butter in a large heavy skillet over moderate heat. Beat the egg and flour together, and dip the slices of cheese slices in the mixture. Fry until well browned on both sides. Remove from the heat and add the brandy. Carefully ignite the brandy with a match, and shake the skillet until the flame is extinguished. Squeeze the lemon juice over the cheese and serve from the skillet along with crusty bread. Serves 6 to 8.

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    Stuffed Mushroom Caps

    8 oz (225 g) good quality bleu cheese such as Roquefort, Gorgonzola, or Stilton
    12 Tbs (180 ml) butter, softened
    1 tsp (5 ml) Dijon-style mustard
    1/2 tsp (2 ml) Worcestershire sauce
    18 to 24 mushrooms, stems removed
    Chopped parsley

    Combine the cheese, butter, mustard, and the Worcestershire sauce in a small bowl, stirring with a wooden spoon until thoroughly combined. Spoon the cheese mixture into the mushroom caps and sprinkle with chopped parsley. Serves 6 to 8 as an hors d'oeuvre.

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    Black Bean Dip

    1 can (15 oz/420 g) black beans, rinsed and drained
    ¼ cup (60 ml) water
    2 to 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
    2 Tbs (30 ml) lime or lemon juice
    1 Tbs (15 ml) Worcestershire sauce
    ½ tsp (2 ml) ground cumin
    Salt and cayenne pepper to taste

    Combine all ingredients in an electric blender or food processor and process until almost smooth but still slightly chunky. Spoon into a serving bowl and serve with pita bread or crackers. Serves 4 to 6.

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    Chopped Egg Pate

    8 hard-boiled eggs, peeled
    4 scallions (spring onions, green onions), finely chopped
    2 Tbs (30 ml) melted butter
    1 Tbs (15 ml) fresh dill, finely chopped
    Salt and white pepper to taste
    Cucumber slices, cherry tomatoes, and oil-cured black olives for garnish

    Chop the hard-boiled eggs finely but do process in a food processor. The mixture should be grainy. Add the scallions, butter, dill, salt, and white pepper and mix gently with a fork. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour. Mound the pate in a serving bowl and decorate with the cucumber slices, tomatoes, and olives. Serve with toast points or crackers. Serves 6 to 8.

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    Zucchini Mini-Pizzas

    Large zucchini (courgettes), cut diagonally into ¼ inch (5 mm) slices
    Pizza sauce or tomato sauce
    Sliced or chopped black or green olives
    Finely chopped scallion (spring onion)
    Chopped bell pepper
    Mozzarella or other white cheese

    Place the zucchini slices on a greased baking sheet and top first with the sauce, then the olives, scallion, and pepper, and finally with the cheese. Cook under the broiler for 3 to 5 minutes, until the cheese is bubbly. Serve hot.

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    Soused Grouper

    3 lbs (700 g) red grouper, sea bass, haddock, or snapper fillets
    Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
    2 cups (500 ml) olive oil
    3 medium onions, thinly sliced
    3 whole cloves garlic
    3 bay leaves
    12 whole peppercorns
    1 cup (250 ml) vinegar
    1 cup (250 ml) small pitted green olives
    1/4 cup (60 ml) capers (optional)

    Cut the fish into 1 inch (3 cm) pieces and season with salt and pepper. Heat 3 tablespoons (45 ml) of the olive oil in a heavy skillet and fry the pieces of fish. Remove with a slotted spoon and place in a deep non-metallic bowl. Combine the onions, garlic, bay leaves, peppercorns, and vinegar in the skillet and simmer over low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until the onions are tender. Add the remaining olive oil, olives, and optional capers and pour this over the fish. Cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours. Serve cold on a bed of lettuce leaves. Serves 6 to 8.

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    Cheese Croquettes

    3 Tbs (45 ml) butter
    4 Tbs (60 ml) flour
    2/3 cup (180 ml) milk
    2 egg yolks
    1 cup (250 ml) grated cheddar cheese
    1/2 cup (125 ml) grated Gruyere cheese
    Salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper to taste
    Bread crumbs for coating
    1 egg, well beaten
    Oil or butter for frying

    Melt the butter in a small saucepan over moderate heat. Stir in the flour and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until the flour aroma is gone. Add the milk and stir with a wire whisk until the mixture is thick and boils. Remove from the heat and stir in the two egg yolks until well mixed. Add the cheese and stir until the cheese melts, returning it to a low flame if necessary. Season with salt, pepper, and cayenne. Spread the mixture in a shallow pan and allow to cool. Cut into small squares or rectangles, dip in the bread crumbs, in the beaten egg, and then in bread crumbs again. Fry in a large skillet in which the butter or oil has been heated, turning once, until golden brown on both sides. Drain on paper. Serves 4 to 6 as an appetizer.

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    Fresh Vegetables with Green Mayonnaise

    1/2 tsp (2 ml) dry mustard
    1 tsp (5 ml) salt
    1 large egg yolk
    2 Tbs (30 ml) lemon juice
    3/4 cup (180 ml) vegetable oil
    1/4 cup (60 ml) extra virgin olive oil
    2 Tbs (30 ml) finely chopped parsley
    1 tsp (5 ml) finely chopped fresh chives
    1 tsp (5 ml) finely chopped fresh tarragon
    Fresh vegetables for dipping, such as mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, summer squash, cauliflower and broccoli florets, green pepper slices, etc.

    [Note: This recipe calls for uncooked egg yolk. If salmonella contamination is a concern in your area then it is best to skip this recipe. You may make an approximation of it by adding lemon juice and fresh herbs to a commercially prepared mayonnaise.]

    Combine the mustard, salt, egg yolk, and lemon juice in a 1 quart (1 L) mixing bowl. Add the oil a few drops at a time and beat with a wire whisk until the mixture forms a thick emulsion. The remaining oil can be added a teaspoon (5 ml) at a time while whisking constantly. Mix in the chopped herbs and chill for at least one hour. If the emulsion separates it may be reincorporated by whisking. Serve with fresh raw vegetables. Serves approximately 8.

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    Parslied Tomatoes

    1 to 1½ lbs (500 - 750g) ripe cherry tomatoes
    1 Tbs (15 ml) extra virgin olive oil
    1 Tbs (15 ml) red wine or balsamic vinegar
    1 clove garlic, finely chopped
    3 Tbs (45 ml) finely chopped fresh parsley
    Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

    Remove the stems from the tomatoes and cut each in half. Combine with the remaining ingredients in a mixing bowl and toss gently to coat the tomatoes. Arrange on a serving platter with toothpicks for guests to serve themselves. Serve with toast or crackers. Serves 6 to 8 as an appetizer.

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    Avocado and Pinon Nut Appetizer

    2 ripe avocados
    Juice of 1 lemon
    Juice of 1 lime
    ½ cup (125 ml) chopped pinon nuts, or pine nuts (pignoli)
    1 ripe tomato, cured, cubed, and drained on paper towels
    2 scallions, thinly sliced (including tops)
    ½ clove garlic, peeled and crushed
    ¼ tsp (1 ml) crushed coriander seed
    ¼ tsp (1 ml) Tabasco sauce, or to taste
    Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

    Cut the avocados in half and remove the seeds. Carefully scoop out the flesh, being careful not to damage the skins. Combine the avocado flesh and the remaining ingredients in an electric food processor or blender, and process until smooth. Alternately, all the ingredients may be combined in a bowl and mashed with a fork until the desired degree of smoothness. Spoon the avocado mixture into the empty avocado skins. Garnish with lime wedges. Serves 4.

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    Poppin' Fresh Barbecups

    1 lb. ground beef
    ½ cup barbecue sauce
    ¼ cup chopped onion
    1 tbs. brown sugar
    1 12-oz can refrigerated flaky biscuits
    2 oz. shredded cheddar cheese

    Heat oven to 400°F, grease 10 muffin cups. In large skillet, brown ground beef until cooked. Drain. Stir in barbecue sauce,onion and brown sugar. Cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Separate dough into 10 biscuits. Place 1 biscuit in each cup; firmly press in bottom and up sides, forming ¼ inch rim. Spoon about ¼ cup beef mixture into each cup Sprinkle each with cheese. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until biscuit edges are golden brown. Cool 1 minute; remove from pan. Makes 10 servings.

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    Dal (East Indian Dip)

    1 cup (250 ml) dried split peas
    1 cup (250 ml) dried lentils
    4 cups (1 L) water
    1 cup (250 ml) chopped red onions
    2 Tbs (30 ml) chopped garlic
    ¼ cup (60 ml) olive oil
    2 tsp (10 ml) ground cumin
    2 tsp (10 ml) ground coriander
    1 cup (250 ml) tightly packed cilantro
    Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
    Cayenne pepper to taste

    Rinse and pick over the peas and lentils. Add to a large pot containing the water and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered 30 minutes. Drain and reserve the peas and lentils. In a saute pan cook the onion and garlic in the olive oil until translucent. Add the cumin and coriander and heat until aromatic. In the bowl of a food processor or electric blender combine the peas and lentils, the onion mixture, the cilantro, and the remaining seasonings and process until it forms a smooth paste, adding more olive oil if necessary. Serves 6 to 8.

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    Salmon Rillettes

    4 oz (100 g) cooked salmon
    4 oz (100 g) smoked salmon
    4 oz (100 g) unsalted butter at room temperature
    Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
    Cayenne pepper to taste (optional)
    1 Tbs (15 ml) cognac (optional)
    2 oz (50 g) salmon roe

    Combine all ingredients except the salmon roe in a food processor and process until smooth. Gently fold in the salmon roe and divide the mixture between 4 to 6 small bowls or ramekins. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour. Serve with crackers or toast points. Serves 4 to 6.

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    Aceitunas Mixtas (Mixed Olives, Spanish Style)

    1 cup (250 ml) Spanish olive oil
    2 sprigs fresh rosemary
    3 cloves garlic, very finely minced
    3 bay (laurel) leaves
    ½ tsp (2 ml) freshly ground black pepper
    Pinch of red pepper flakes
    2 cups (500 ml) brine-cured green olives
    1 cup (250 ml) brine-cured black olives
    1 cup (250 ml) oil-cured black olives

    Combine all ingredients except the olives in a saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Remove from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature. Meanwhile, rinse the olives in warm water and dry thoroughly with paper towels. Place the olives in a glass jar and pour the oil over them. Keep covered in the refrigerator for up to one week. Serve at room temperature. Makes about 4 cups (1 L).

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    Gambas al Ajillo (Garlic Shrimp)

    ½ cup (125 ml) Spanish olive oil
    8 cloves of garlic, peeled
    16 to 20 large shrimp, peeled and deveined
    4 Tbs (60 ml) chopped fresh parsley
    4 Tbs (60 ml) lemon juice
    Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

    Heat the oil in a saute pan over moderate heat. Add the whole cloves of garlic and cook until golden. Add the shrimp and cook, turning frequently, until firm and opaque. Add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Bring to the table while still bubbling. Serves 4 to 6.

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    Fruit and Curry Dunk

    3 cups (750 ml) fresh or canned chicken broth
    2 Tbs (30 ml) curry powder
    2 Tbs (30 ml) arrowroot
    2/3 cups (150 ml) raisins, plumped in warm water, drained
    2 cups toasted almonds, finely chopped
    2 cups grated coconut, fresh or dried
    Fresh fruits, such as apples, peaches, pears, pineapple, melons, banana, papaya, mango, apricots, figs, cut into bite-sized pieces and brushed with lemon juice

    Heat the broth in a saucepan and stir in the curry powder. Mix the arrowroot with a little cold water and stir it into the broth. Add the raisins and heat the broth, stirring frequently, until thickened. Place the chopped almonds and the coconut in two bowls and arrange the fruits on a platter. Serve the curry sauce while still hot and invite your guests to dip the fruit into the curry sauce and then into the almonds and coconut.

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    Rempeyek Udang (Prawn Fritters)

    8 oz (250 g) shelled raw shrimp (prawns)
    2 eggs, beaten
    1 Tbs (15 ml) water
    1 Tbs (15 ml) flour
    1 small onion, sliced
    1 small clove garlic, crushed
    1/2 tsp (2 ml) finely chopped fresh ginger root
    Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
    1 fresh hot chilli pepper, seeded and diced
    Peanut oil for deep frying

    Remove and discard the veins from the shrimp and chop into small pieces. Combine all ingredients except the peanut oil in a small bowl and stir to combine thoroughly. Heat the peanut oil until very hot and drop the shrimp mixture by tablespoons into the oil, 3 or 4 at a time. Fry over medium heat until golden on both sides, and drain on paper towels. Makes 10 to 12.

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    Marinated Lentils

    1 cup (250 ml) dried lentils, rinsed
    2 cups (500 ml) canned or fresh chicken stock
    1 carrot, finely chopped
    1 small onion, finely chopped
    1 medium shallot, finely chopped
    ½ tsp (2 ml) dried thyme
    1 bay (laurel) leaf
    Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
    2 Tbs (30 ml) chopped fresh parsley
    Light Vinaigrette Dressing (recipe below)
    Lettuce leaves
    2 Tbs (30 ml) chopped fresh chives

    Combine the lentils, chicken broth, carrot, onion, thyme, bay leaf, salt, and pepper in a saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer until the lentils are tender, 30 to 45 minutes. Drain the lentils and transfer to a mixing bowl. Add the parsley, shallot, and vinaigrette dressing and toss to combine thoroughly. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or overnight. Serve on a bed of lettuce leaves, and sprinkle with fresh chives just prior to serving. Serves 4 to 6.
    Light Vinaigrette Dressing
    2 tsp (10 ml) Dijon style mustard
    2 Tbs (30 ml) red wine vinegar
    2 Tbs (30 ml) olive oil
    ¼ cup (60 ml) water
    Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

    Using a whisk or an electric food processor or blender, combine all ingredients until smooth.

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    Empanadas de Camarao (Shrimp-filled Pastries)

    For the dough:
    3 cups (750 ml) all-purpose flour
    1 tsp (5 ml) salt
    ¼ tsp (1 ml) white pepper
    ½ tsp (2 ml) turmeric
    10 Tbs (150 ml) unsalted butter
    6 Tbs (90 ml) lard
    1 Egg
    ½ cup (125 ml) water
    For the filling:
    2 tbs (30 ml) butter
    1 large onion, peeled and chopped
    2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
    3 tomatoes, chopped
    3 Tbs (45 ml) chopped parsley
    ½ tsp (2 ml) ground cardamom
    1/8 tsp (0.5 ml) ground cloves
    Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
    Cayenne pepper to taste (optional)
    1½ cups (375 ml) hearts of palm, drained and chopped
    1 lb (500 g) shrimp, peeled, deveined, and chopped
    For the glaze:
    1 egg yolk
    2 Tbs (30 ml) cold water, milk or cream

    Sift flour, salt, pepper, and turmeric into a bowl, add lard and butter and mix until the mixture makes a coarse meal. Add egg and half the water. Continue mixing and adding water until a firm dough is formed. Knead until the dough is smooth, then wrap and chill for 15-30 minutes. In a small skillet, heat butter; add onion and garlic, cook over medium heat until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, cardamom, cloves, salt, pepper, and optional cayenne. Cook about 8 minutes. Add hearts of palm and cook 5 minutes more, or until liquid has evaporated. Set filling aside and let cool, or refrigerate overnight, well covered. Make glaze by mixing egg yolk and cold water together. Set aside. On a floured board, roll out dough 1/8 inch (3 mm) thick and cut 3 to 4 inch (8 to 10 cm) squares. Knead scraps and re roll, repeat making squares until all the dough is used. Put one tablespoon (15 ml) of the filling into the center of each square, put shrimp on top, moisten edges of dough with the glaze and form a triangle. Press edges together with a fork to seal. Place empanadas on a greased baking sheet. Brush with remaining glaze and bake in a preheated 400°F (180°C) oven for 25 minutes, or until golden. Transfer to a rack to cool slightly, serve warm. Serves 8 to 12 as an appetizer.

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    Zydeco Beans

    Please note: this recipe is fiery hot. Reduce the amount of cayenne if you are not fond of spicy foods.
    2 cups (500 ml) water
    ¾ cup (180 ml) white vinegar
    2 Tbs (30 ml) sugar
    1 Tbs (15 ml) mustard seeds, crushed
    4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
    4 bay (laurel) leaves
    2 tsp (10 ml) salt
    1 tsp (5 ml) cayenne pepper (or to taste)
    1 lb (500 g) green beans (haricots), trimmed

    Combine all ingredients except the beans in a large sauce pan and bring to a boil over high heat. Cover, reduce the heat, and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the beans and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes, until the beans are cooked but still crisp. Transfer the beans and liquid to a shallow serving dish and refrigerate covered for at least 4 hours, or overnight. Serve cold or at room temperature. Serves 8 to 12 as an appetizer, 4 to 6 as a side dish.

    Appetizer Index

    Torta di Polenta

    2 Tbs (30 ml) olive oil
    1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
    ½ cup (125 ml) chopped leeks
    ½ cup (125 ml) chopped red onion
    4 cups (1 L) vegetable broth
    1 tsp (5 ml) butter
    1 cup (250 ml) yellow cornmeal
    2 oz (50 g) goat cheese
    1 oz (25 g) smoked gouda, cut into small dice
    1 oz (25 g) grated Parmesan cheese
    Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
    2 to 3 cups of your favorite tomato sauce

    Heat the olive oil in a skillet over moderate heat. Add the garlic, leeks, and onion, and cook until golden, 7 to 10 minutes. Bring the broth to a boil in a large saucepan and add the butter. Slowly whisk in the cornmeal and cook over moderate heat, stirring frequently, for 15 to 20 minutes, or until very thick. Remove from the heat and stir in the onion mixture, then the cheeses. Season with salt and pepper, if needed. Pour the hot polenta into a greased deep dish pie pan or round casserole and smooth the top. Cover and chill for at least one hour. Slide a knife around the edge of the container to loosen the polenta, and then invert it onto a buttered baking dish. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes in a preheated 400°F (200°C) oven, until it is hot through and barely crisp around the edges. Cut into wedges and serve with your favorite tomato sauce if desired. Serves 4 to 6.

    Appetizer Index

    Stuffed Belgian Endive

    6 oz (150 g) goat cheese
    3 Tbs (45 ml) milk
    1 scallion (green and white part), finely chopped
    1 clove garlic, finely chopped
    2 Tbs (30 ml) finely chopped parsley
    ¼ cup (60 ml) chopped walnuts
    Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
    2 large heads Belgian endive (French endive, witloof) leaves separated

    Combine the goat cheese, milk, scallion, parsley, garlic, and walnuts in a bowl and beat with a spoon until smooth and creamy. Spoon or pipe the cheese mixture onto the individual endive leaves. Serves 4 to 6 as a first course, 8 to 12 as an hors d'oeuvre.

    Appetizer Index

    Smoked Salmon Canapés with Cucumber Dill Sauce

    1 medium cucumber, seeded and diced
    ½ small red onion, diced
    1 3 oz. jar small capers, drained
    1 16 oz container sour cream
    1 cup fresh dill, chopped finely
    1 side of smoked salmon, sliced
    thinly sliced dark pumpernickel bread, cut in triangular quarters
    1 seedless cucumber, sliced in rounds

    To prepare the sauce, in a mixing bowl, combine diced cucumber, red onion, capers and dill with sour cream. Stir well and season with pepper. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve over the smoked salmon canapés. On a large platter, surround the sliced salmon with the bread quarters and seedless cucumber rounds. Place the cucumber sauce in a small bowl and serve.

    Appetizer Index

    Hot Chopped Clams on Toast

    36 medium-sized clams OR 1 - 6 oz (170 g) can chopped clams
    2 large cloves garlic, crushed
    14 fresh parsley sprigs, leaves only
    4 fresh sage leaves or 1 tsp (5 ml) dried sage
    2 Tbs (30 ml) olive oil
    4 Tbs (60 ml) unsalted butter
    1 medium-sized green or red bell pepper, sliced very thin
    Pinch of flour
    Pinch of crushed hot red pepper
    Pinch of black pepper
    1 medium-sized ripe tomato, chopped
    1 loaf Italian bread

    Open the clams and chop the meat coarsely, reserving all the liquid. Chop the garlic and parsley together. Combine the oil and the butter in a skillet over moderate heat. Add the sliced pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Add the drained chopped clams and cook for 4 more minutes, then stir in the flour. Add the garlic, parsley, red and black pepper, and the sage. Cook for 3 minutes, then add the tomato and 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of the reserved clam juice. Bring to a boil and simmer gently for 10 minutes. Serve on toasted slices of Italian bread. Serves 4 to 6.

    Appetizer Index

    Deviled Eggs with Caviar

    12 eggs, hard cooked and peeled
    ¼ cup (or more) (60 ml) mayonnaise
    2 Tbs (30 ml) Dijon style mustard
    1 Tbs (15 ml) fresh lemon juice
    Salt and white pepper to taste
    Caviar for garnish*

    * I use the inexpensive lumpfish caviar available in most supermarkets.**

    Slice the eggs in half lengthwise and carefully scoop out the yolks, being careful not to damage the whites. In a small bowl combine the yolks with the mayonnaise, mustard, lemon juice, salt, and pepper, mashing with a fork to thoroughly combine the ingredients. The mixture should be thick and creamy; adjust the consistency if needed by adding more mayonnaise. Using a piping bag or a spoon, fill the egg whites with the yolk mixture. Add a little caviar to the top of the yolk mixture immediately prior to serving. Makes 24. ** This dish may be made a day or two in advance and kept refrigerated.
    Feel free to "fancy it up" with your own additions. Instead of caviar you might try adding a little smoked salmon, mango chutney, chopped chicken liver, ham, smoked sausage, fresh herbs, or whatever strikes your fancy.

    To Recipe Index, Appetizers I or Appetizers III


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