Appetizers and Snacks
Recipe: Prosciutto-Wrapped Pears
Pears and prosciutto are a winning combination, and a drizzle of aged balsamic vinegar adds a note of complexity to this easy, delicious appetizer for two.
Recipe: Crab Rangoon
Delicately spiced crab and cream cheese fill crisp wonton skins in this popular Chinese-American restaurant appetizer.
Recipe: Onion Rings for Two
Thin, crisp, golden brown onion rings make a great accompaniment to sandwiches or a delicious appetizer.
Recipe: Tortilla Chips for Two
Crisp, crunchy tortilla chips are so easy to make at home you'll wonder why it took you so long to try them.
Recipe: Guacamole for Two
Creamy ripe avocado is enlivened with jalapeno and onion in this classic Mexican dip. The small serving is perfect for two.
Recipe: Roasted Red Pepper Soup
The combination of roasted red peppers and slow-cooked onions gives this soup a deep, intriguing flavor. It's perfect as a small appetizer or delicious first course for two.
Recipe: Mexican Shrimp "Ceviche" Cocktail
This Mexican-inspired shrimp cocktail is not a true ceviche -- instead, the shrimp are lightly poached in lime-infused water and marinated in lime juice while they cool. The combination of shrimp, crunchy vegetables and spicy sauce is delightful and refreshing.
Recipe: Panko Fried Shrimp for Two
Crunchy on the outside, juicy and flavorful on the inside, panko-fried shrimp make a delicious appetizer, a great addition to main-dish salads, or an unusual taco filling.
Recipe: Marrow and Parsley Salad on Crostini
This simple but unusual recipe for roasted marrow and parsley salad, based on one by Fergus Henderson, is a great way to start a meal for two. Add a soup or another small plate, and you'll have dinner.
Recipe: Sweet and Spicy Walnuts
These crunchy, sweet and spicy nuts not only make a great snack but are also a delicious addition to salads and even desserts.
Greek Fried Squid (Kalamarakia)
If you want tender squid it must be cooked no longer than 3 minutes at high heat or for at least an hour at a lower heat. Cooked properly squid is delicious. Serves 2.
Stuffed Potato Skins: Potatoey-bliss Incarnate
I adore stuffed potato skins. Fried potatoes, bacon, cheese sour cream? What's not to love? I manage to mimit my consumption by not taking the easy way out and baking them (having to clean up after deep-frying restricts my urges). Serves 2.
Candied Bacon: Savory, Salty, Sweet
In 2009 Candied Bacon was all the rage. It's easy to make, absolutely delicious, and good for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Clementines and Prosciutto: A Seasonal Treat
Combining Clementines and Prosciutto is so simple, so obvious, that when I thought of it I almost literally slapped my forehead.
Sausage Rolls: Treats from Scotland
These sausage rolls are easy to make - even for breakfast. But they're also a great item at a tapas party and are perfect on Superbowl Sunday.
Italian Sausage Balls: Old Treat, New Taste
I was nine or 10 when I got the assignment: make sausage balls. Those first balls were made with Bisquick, ordinary country sausage, and cheddar cheese. These are a bit more sophisticated.
Stuffed Mushrooms with Pancetta and Sun-dried Tomatoes
Stuffed mushrooms are always a popular hors d'oeuvre, this unusual recipe has an Italian twist and features pancetta and sun-dried tomatoes. Serves 4.
These slices of pepper stuffed with goat cheese make a beautiful display on a platter. They are equally good hot from the oven, at room temperature or even cold.
Artichoke Bruschetta: An Italian Beginning
This artichoke bruschetta makes a great appetizer. Use the best olive oil you can get then simply spread it on a piece of bread. Serves 4 - 6.
Gougeres with Prosciutto: French, Swiss, & Italian
Gougeres are bite-size savory puff pastries generally made with cheese. Best of all, these can be frozen and reheated. The prosciutto is my own addition - and I really like it (think of ham and biscuits with a French accent). Makes 24.
Stuffed Cherry Tomatoes: Delicious Nuggets
This recipe for cherry tomatoes stuffed with herbs and cheese is an easy and delicious appetizer.
Tuna Deviled Eggs: A Spanish Tapas
Deviled eggs are a popular component of cookouts and picnics - not to mention being a great snack at any time of year. They can be made a day or two in advance, are perfect for eating with your fingers, and are almost universally loved.
Saganaki (Fried Cheese): Small Bite, Big Taste
Saganaki, a great appetizer, is one of several Greek cheeses dredged in flour, fried in olive oil, and drizzled with lemon juice.
Parmesan Crisps: Better than Crackers
This recipe for parmesan crisps couldn't be any simpler. And because it's so simple, the quality of the ingredients is essential. So don't skimp,
Smoked Salmon Bruschetta
This recipe for smoked salmon bruschetta can be prepped hours in advance and refrigerated, but are quick enough to make and serve in 15 minutes. Serves 2.
Proscuitto and Goat Cheese Crostini
These Proscuitto and Goat Cheese Crostini are an invention of mine based on a spread sold in Europe. I recreated this delicacy after my second trip to the old world. Spread on lightly toasted slices of baguette, or even on crackers, it's a great little munchie. Makes 12 - 15 crostini.
Hummus bi Tahini - A Middle Eastern Treat
Hummus bi Tahini (Chickpeas with Sesame Paste) is wildly popular throughout the Middle East and North Africa. It's great with a round of pita, raw carrots, celery, and cauliflower.
Fried Chickpeas (Ceci Fritos)
Fried Chickpeas are a cinch to fix and make a great little snack to enjoy with a glass of wine or a cocktail before dinner.
Sun-cooked Tomato Bruschetta
This Sun-cooked Bruschetta kicks that deliciousness up a notch. It's an outstanding munchie while you wait for your steaks or ribs to cook.
Figs Stuffed with Chevre: A Seasonal Treat
Figs stuffed with chevre (goat cheese) seem such an obvious combination. The soft, somewhat tart cheese is a perfect match for juicy fresh figs.
Tex-Mex Butter Cracker: Game-time Munchie
My friend Judi brought me some spicy cheese crackers from her native state of Texas. They were absolutely addictive and because I didn't live in Texas I set out to recreate the crackers myself. The unusual thing about them was their extremely crumbly texture and after some rumination I finally figured out they were essentially savory Scottish...
Marinated Mushrooms and Artichoke Hearts
This recipe for marinated mushrooms and artichoke hearts has been through a lot of tweaks over the years. I've found it difficult to hit exactly the right balance of flavors because, as much as I love them, artichokes are a difficult flavor to manage. This particular mixture works for me and I'd recommend trying it as written.
Bacon-wrapped Water Chestnuts
Flavor-wise these Bacon-wrapped Water Chestnuts taste mostly of bacon (so choose a good bacon) because water chestnuts have little flavor, what the water chestnuts contribute is a delightful crunch.
Potted Shrimp: An English Canapé
A once-common feature at English teas was a ramekin of seasoned shrimp or mushrooms - referred to as either potted shrimp or potted mushrooms. Potted shrimp makes a great canapé for a party, but also a great snack just waiting in the fridge.
Smoked Oysters: Fire and Water
I've loved those little cocktail smoked oysters that come in a tin since I was a child. But one year my brother Loren showed up for a family gathering with a cooler full of oysters he bought the day before in Florida. We smoked the oysters ourselves. Oh my God.
Creole Crab Dip: Munching in New Orleans
This creamy, spicy, Creole Crab Dip make a delightful hors doeuvres served on crackers or endive. It's also quick and easy to make.
Souped-up Oyster Crackers
A friend of my mother's made these souped-up oyster crackers and they are absolutely addictive. The recipe calls them a snack, but they are equally addictive in cheddar chowder, tomato soup, clam chowder and chicken noodle soup.
Greek Meatballs: From the Shores of the Med
Greek meatballs can be made with lamb, beef, a combination of the two or even pork I suppose, though I've never run across a pork recipe. They have a beautiful minty flavor (very Greek) and while sometimes served in a tomato sauce they're more often accompanied with either a lemon wedge or tzatziki sauce.
Tomato/Vodka Appetizer: Bite-Sized Bloody Marys
I don't recall where this idea came from, but it gets raves at parties. One of the great things about it is even in winter you can buy edible sherry tomatoes (I think the Nature Sweet brand is the best) so it's a year-round appetizer.
The Dogwood: A Cocktail for the Patio
The Dogwood is wonderfully cool and refreshing, low alcohol, and addictively good. I've been making them during the spring and summer for the past 30 years. They're perfect for sipping out on the patio or by the pool.
Deviled Eggs with Capers: Bites from Club Med
Adding capers and anchovy paste to these deviled eggs was sheer brilliance, if I say so myself. The anchovy paste doesn't so much flavor them as make them more eggy while the capers add a tanging, pickly edge without tasting like pickles. It's a good thing I used a dozen eggs - but you can use less.
Bacon Deviled Eggs: The Devil's in the Details
Not long ago a friend mentioned making bacon deviled eggs. It was a forehead-slapping moment. Of course bacon would be awesome in deviled eggs! Why hadn't I thought of that. She didn't have a recipe, it was just something she'd whipped up, but I knew exactly what to do - and even had an idea for making them more fun.
Asian Pork Meatballs: Main Meal or Appetizer
I love meatballs, and these Asian pork meatballs are awesome. Fried (or baked) porky goodness that makes a great hors douevres or an equally great main dish. And they freeze well, so it's worth doubling or tripling the recipe and freezing the extra.
Honeydew Soup: Keeping Cool
This honeydew soup is a great starter for a patio dinner or, paired with a panini, makes a wonderful lunch. The addition of Midori (a Japanese honeydew liqueur) makes it more intense, the floral notes of lavender complement the honeydew, and the bacon adds a surprising savoriness. If the melon is exceptionally sweet you may want to use less sugar.
Traditional Chicken Wings: Made from Tiny Buffaloes
I first had chicken wings in Buffalo, and they couldn't have been simpler. The wings were fried but not battered or breaded, then they were tossed with a simple combination of hot sauce and butter and served with celery and blue cheese dressing.
Carpaccio: A Recipe for Italian Sophistication
Carpaccio is an Italian recipe for a raw beef appetizer dressed with a lemony mayonnaise. My Carpaccio recipe uses a balsamic vinaigrette and is a great summer meal. Serves 2.
Spanish Omelet (Tortilla Patatas)
According to my Spanish friends it should contain nothing but potatoes, eggs, and seasoning. these omelets are often featured in tapas bars and served at room temperature. Serves 2.
Fried Vegetables: Restaurant Classic
Deep-fried vegetables were hugely popular at one time, although tat popularity seems to have flagged. Nevertheless, serve these at a football party and you'll be deeply loved by everyone watching the game.
For a while peel-and-eat shrimp were a popular happy-hour buffet item. Then chefs found people were eating pounds of shrimp - it was just to expensive to give away. But although you may have to buy and make your own, it's still a favorite.
Veal Terrine: Down-home Elegance
This terrine combines veal with smoked bacon, ham, Vidalia onions, and bourbon to create a delightful Southern take on the classic French country pate.
Chicken Fingers: Not Just for Kids
It's hard to find a better dipping food than chicken fingers - especially if you have a collection of sauces. There are all sorts of options and you can certainly go store-bought, but this recipe has three of my favorites: honey-mustard, buffalo, and sweet and sour.
Smoked Salmon Canape: For Two or 20
Despite the fact they live on an island, the Irish are not particularly famous for their fishing industry. However, like the Scots they do love the salmon caught in the streams and rivers and often smoke it.
The weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year's day are the party season. And whether you're preparing Christmas dinner or need to take something to a New Year party, it's also the season for hors d'Oeuvres, canapés, munchies, tapas, whatever you prefer to call bite-sized morsels.
Picnics seldom go acording to schedule and so you need munchies at picnics and tailgate parties. Some can be eaten in the car (fresh fruit is perfect in this role) and others can be quickly unpacked and enjoyed while the main dishes are readied for eating.
Small Bites: Appetizers, Tapas, Mezes, and Canapes
It's the season for parties, whether in your home, someone else's home, at work, or at church. One of my favorite party types is the tapas or meze party. These consist of lots of small bites and needn't be limited to traditional Spanish tapas or Greek mezes. But even for dinner parties and pot-lucks a selection of small bites is always welcome.