All posts filed under: Appetizers

Chicken Celery Scallion and Cilantro Dumplings

Yummmmm… dumplings.  So comforting, so many flavors and textures.  Most Asian restaurants offer some sort of dumplings, some better than others, but I always feel that New York City has the best offerings.  From Dumpling Man in the East Village to Dim Sum A-Go Go in Chinatown, my mouth just dances from the salty, meaty, crispy goodness.  After reading issues of Lucky Peach and past issues of Bon Appetit, I finally got the bug to make my own.  The process was actually much easier than I thought (once I figured out how to get my dumping ‘crimps’ just right,) it just took some time and patience.  The essential way to get the crimp right is to make sure you don’t use too much filling.  In my case, I had to use pre-made wonton wrappers (trimmed to a circle shape with a biscuit cutter,) I used 1 tsp of filling for each. I started with the filling–made it up mostly with what I had on hand.  I’d encourage you to experiment.  The key is that your …

Vegetarian Summer Rolls with Brown Sugar Tofu

Summer rolls are one of my favorite, healthy Asian restaurant options.  I usually see them prepared with shrimp, thin rice noodles, cilantro, cucumber, carrot, and lettuce.  I had a package of extra firm tofu in the fridge for a while and decided to experiment with it–thus vegetarian summer rolls were born.  These are incredibly healthy, low in fat, low in carbs, easy to make, and the best part… you can eat a lot of them.  While I really enjoyed my invention (recipe below,) I would encourage you to try any combination you like. Vegetarian Summer Rolls with Brown Sugar Tofu Servings vary based on spring roll wrapper size and how stuffed you like them. Ingredients 1 package extra firm tofu 1 package of spring roll skins or wrappers 1 tbsp. granulated brown sugar 2 cloves garlic, minced and smashed 1 inch of peeled fresh ginger, grated on a microplane grater 1 tbsp. soy sauce 1 tbsp. vegetable oil 1 large carrot, peeled and sliced into matchsticks 1 large red bell pepper, sliced into matchsticks 4 …

White Bean Dip with Three Lemons

On a recent trip the farmers market, I started exploring a stall filled with potted plants: mostly flowers and herbs.  I found myself sooooo wishing I had a home garden.  How many times have I had to pay $2.99 for a bunch of fresh rosemary or thyme for a recipe, only to use a few pieces and have to discard the rest, only to have to buy it again a month later for another recipe.  If only I had a garden!  Then I could plant all of the herbs I wanted and enjoy them whenever I needed them with a quick snip outside.  Nothing would be wasted.  Meanwhile, I have wanted to buy lemon thyme for a long time.  It always smells so bright and sweet and filled with citrus joy.  I knew I wanted to find a good recipe that would let it shine.  So when I spotted the lemon thyme plant, I thought: I can do this.  I will try to keep this pot, this living thing, in my one-bedroom Manhattan apartment.  The …

White Peaches + Prosciutto

The smell of bursting ripe peaches in late August at the farmer’s market is incredible.  Their juiciness and sweetness almost explode in your nose.  That’s when you know that if you bit into one, like you would an apple, your shirt would already be drenched. That’s why I didn’t hesitate when I saw the whopping $5.00/pound sign at the peach stand last weekend.  That’s why I spent 10 minutes picking out the perfect 4 peaches.  That’s why when I carried them home, I made sure that the paper bag containing them was surrounded by nice pillow-y veggies like butter lettuce to get them safely home.  After such TLC, it seemed only fitting to eat them simply.  Either straight on or sliced with some other wonderfulness.  The idea of white peaches + prosciutto was born from that.  Hardly a recipe, this is the perfect late Summer, Labor Day, easy-peasy, sweet/salty/rich/refreshing, everyone-will-love appetizer to serve.   Whether you prefer easy or more difficult, white peaches need to be consumed now.  Just enjoy them and have a safe …

Broccoli Rabe, Walnut, and Pecorino Bruschetta

  I recently dined at one my fave restaurants in NYC, Dell’ Anima, with my friend Marcy.  There is so much to love about this place.  If you’re lucky (or get in early enough in the day,) you can get a seat at the bar overlooking the small kitchen OR at the little nook looking out the window in the front of the restaurant.  There’s always lots to see in the West Village of Manhattan.  There’s a new menu at Dell’ Anima everyday–though many things stay on during a given season on a more consistent basis.  Their daily ‘Bruschette’ selections are always a must.  Marcy and I ordered two to share: the Rapini Pesto and the Cannellini Lemon.  Wow.  Both were packed with flavor.  Served pureed and smooth in little bowls with olive oily grilled bread slices to spread them on, we swooned over the two.  We especially couldn’t get enough of the Rapini.  As we practically licked the bowl, I knew I had to recreate it.  While I’m sure my copy cat version posted …

Roasted Tomato Toasts with Ricotta, Chestnut Honey, and Basil

We all have our go-to’s.  The recipes we make over and over again.  The ones that your friends or family specially request.  The ones that you have made so many times, you don’t need to look at the recipe anymore.  That’s what this dish is all about.  Universally loved, this dish will not fail you.  I promise.  The honey slow-roasted tomatoes burst with sweetness against the creamy ricotta and the crunchy toasts.  The topping of shredded fresh basil and drizzled chestnut honey take the flavor profile to the next level.  What’s even better is that all of these ingredients are freely available all year round–so whether you need to bring a dish to a baby shower in the Spring or a festive platter to your Christmas table in the Winter, these yummy toasts will deliver. Roasted Tomato Toasts with Ricotta, Chestnut Honey, and Basil Recipe courtesy of Food & Wine Ingredients 2 pints cherry or grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise 1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 2 tablespoons clover honey 2 teaspoons thyme leaves 1 teaspoon …

Sausage Mascarpone Crostini

Why is it that the best foods are usually the simplest, having the least amount of ingredients.  A sharp hunk of cheedar cheese with a slice of apple… toast with butter… bacon and eggs.  All bring such satisfaction to the palette and belly.  This is one of those foods.  It only has 3 main ingredients: sausage, mascarpone cheese, and bread.  A little spray of Pam if you like on the bread and some chopped parsley for garnish are lovely too, but not necessary.  This combination is so wonderful–I serve it all the time as an appetizer at parties or even just with a salad for a light supper.  Everyone always loves it.  I never have leftovers.  And amazingly, with such a short list of ingredients, most people can’t quite identify them. The origin of this dish is in Italy.  My mom was taking a cooking class there, and during one of the days, the chef took her to a local market for sausage.  Once back in the kitchen, the chef simply crumbled the meat, cooked …

Taiwanese Sesame Cucumbers

I just returned from a trip to Europe–and came home to a stack of all of my new November cooking magazines.  Packed with images of pumpkins and turkeys and stuffing and pies, I was giddily jumping up and down, dog-earring the pages of all of the recipes I couldn’t wait to try.  So many options, so little Fall days to cook!  Many of the recipes I selected were heavy, soulful items.  But these Taiwanese cucumbers were a bright contrast.  One, they require no cooking.  Two, they were a welcome shock of bright green color.  Three, they were Taiwanese!  I decided to take these as a nibble, as a palate cleanser before a heavier, more traditional Sunday supper.  What a hit.  These were so crisp with this amazing smoky sesame flavor.  Even better, they were healthy.  I didn’t fill one shred of guilt gobbling them up.  The main course on the other hand, was another story (and another post to this blog.) I started by grinding up the sesame seeds, salt, and red chili flakes.  The …

Ranch Oyster Crackers

Sure, I could buy a bag of Cool Ranch Doritos and love every chip (and crumb.)  But instead, sometimes I like to make these.  There’s no one I’ve served them to that hasn’t loved them.  With football season about to kick off and Summer starting to wind down, it’s time to start on the snack foods: the dips, the wings, the munchies–the stuff of food and TV and entertaining indoors. Feel free to mix up the seasonings here… but make sure you include the Hidden Valley ranch seasoning mix–I can’t be held accountable for the result if you don’t.  😉 Preheat oven to 200 degrees.  Start with 2 boxes of oyster crackers, vegetable oil, spices, and 1 1/2 packets of Hidden Valley ranch seasoning mix.  Here, I’ve used one packet of original and 1/2 of a packet of spicy ranch.  Mix the oil, spices, and ranch packets first.  Once well blended, add the oyster crackers. Spread the oyster crackers on a cookie sheet–you’ll probably need 2.  Bake until slightly browned and the spices and oil …

Tomato Bruschetta

With all of the gorgeous tomatoes in season right now, my head has been overflowing with recipe ideas.  I could make a tomato/watermelon/feta/mint salad… I could make fresh tomato sauce… I could make juicy smoky BLTs.  The options are endless.  This time around, I chose to go quick and fast with Tomato Bruschetta.  With the ripest tomatoes, I find that this recipe requires no oil–just go by taste.  You want the seasonal tomatoes to shine–and this dish gives them center stage. Start with 2 really ripe but still firm tomatoes.  Any red kind will do: beefsteaks, heirlooms, even cherry tomatoes.  I like to buy tomatoes a little under-ripe, so that they have time to ripen on a windowsill, bruise-free.  Chop the tomatoes in 1/4-inch size cubes, but don’t worry about being exact.  Discard any mushy parts. Next, dice 1/4 of a large red onion (or half of a small-medium red onion).  You can also substitute in 2 diced shallots or even a 1/4 of a large yellow onion.  I prefer the red onion because it …