Small Plates, Appetizers and Snacks
As a rule, I'm not a huge cookie fan, but I am a huge picnic fan and cookies can't be matched as a dessert to take on picnics. These Applesauce Cookies are soft, spicy and frankly irresitable.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.