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218 posts categorized " 01) Hors D'Oeuvres, Appetizers & Starters"

09/13/2020

~ That's a Wrap -- A Week's Worth -- 5 Tortilla Wraps ~

Whether it's for for a back-to-school lunchbox, a back-to-work brown-bag it, or, an at-the-stadium tailgate, tortilla wraps are, in my opinion, the perfect make-it-and-take on-the-run meal. In almost all cases, wrap sandwiches can be assembled and refrigerated the night before, which is a real time-savor on a harried weekday morning. That said, the reverse is true too. Whether it's for a home-schooled or work-from-home lunch break, or, for a sports-or-movie-watching event in front of the TV, tortilla wraps are, a quick and satisfying solution to some much needed chaos control. Spicy Southwestern Salsalito Turkey & Jalapeño Jack Wrap: Rare Roast...... View full recipe for "~ That's a Wrap -- A Week's Worth -- 5 Tortilla Wraps ~"

09/10/2020

~Blazing Buffalo Chicken, Blue Cheese & Slaw Wrap~

I'll admit, I don't buy deli-style chicken breast very often -- I'm more of a deli-turkey-breast sandwich kinda gal. That said, when I do, nine-out-of-ten-times it is Boar's Head Blazing-Buffalo-style chicken. Why? Because my family loves my Buffalo-style chicken wrap sandwiches and every slice of Boar’s Head Buffalo-style chicken is full of classic RedHot Buffalo-chicken flavor -- it's downright addicting. Inspired by hot and spicy Buffalo chicken wings, Boar’s Head Blazing Buffalo Chicken Breast is coated with cayenne red pepper, vinegar and spices for a distinctly piquant taste that delivers the kick of America's popular tailgate treat without the mess....... View full recipe for "~Blazing Buffalo Chicken, Blue Cheese & Slaw Wrap~ "

09/07/2020

~ There's Something about a Salami & Cheese Wrap ~

I love the combination of salami and cheese -- more specifically Boar's Head's hard salami and picante provolone cheese. Let's talk salami for a moment. Lots of folks prefer genoa salami, but, I am not one of them, and, the answer might lie in my Eastern European ancestry. Genoa salami is an Italian salami which originated in Genoa, where porcine is more prevalent than cattle. On the other hand, hard salami originated in Central Europe, where cattle are more prevalent. It's the more-pork-to-less-beef ratio in cured-but-not-smoked Genoa salami that renders it a bit too soft and, for lack of a...... View full recipe for "~ There's Something about a Salami & Cheese Wrap ~"

09/04/2020

~Make-My-Day Peppered-Ham, Swiss & Slaw Wraps~

Interestingly, or not so interestingly, when it comes to a ham sandwich, I like various types of super-thin-sliced deli-ham better than baked ham of the type leftover from a holiday meal (which I prefer to make use of in a few breakfast and dinner casseroles). I've never met a deli-ham that I seriously didn't like (unless it isn't sliced thin enough), and, my three favorites are (in this order): Boar's Head pepper ham, deluxe ham, and, sweet deli ham. There's more. For me, ham goes hand-in-hand with mustard, and, my three favorites are (in this order) Bookbinder's whole-grain, Guldon's spicy...... View full recipe for "~Make-My-Day Peppered-Ham, Swiss & Slaw Wraps~"

09/02/2020

~ Roast Beef, Bacon and Horseradish-Cheese Wraps ~

Fly me to the moon. As a card-carrying carnivore, a thin-sliced deli roast beef sandwich is one of my favorite things. Slather the bread with some horseradish cheese spread or horseradish mayonnaise (or both) and I'll follow you anywhere. Once upon a time, I made a tray of exactly 60 of these wrap sandwiches (there were 120 halves on the platter). I served them to our PSU tailgate group. They were intended to be a snack, with bloody's Mary's, for an early morning tailgate-at-the-stadium, for a Noon kickoff. Fourteen men plus roughly fourteen women polished off the entire tray, in,...... View full recipe for "~ Roast Beef, Bacon and Horseradish-Cheese Wraps ~"

08/29/2020

~ Spicy Southwestern Salsalito Turkey Breast Wraps ~

This is not your average deli-style turkey- or turkey-club- wrap sandwich -- bacon need not apply. Inspired by the food culture of the American Southwest, every slice of Boar’s Head Salsalito Turkey Breast is a bold, flavored-packed taste of Southwestern flavors. Boar's Head Ovengold Turkey Breast had been my go-to staple in the deli-drawer of my refrigerator for years -- a slice here, two slices there, I snacked on some every day. This new-to-me "flavor" of deli-turkey was suggested as a substitute ("this one's VERY popular"), when my grocer ran out of Ovengold. As it was explained, the entire Boar's...... View full recipe for "~ Spicy Southwestern Salsalito Turkey Breast Wraps ~"

07/17/2020

~ Light & Easy Buffalo-Style Skinny Chicken Tacos ~

What started in 1964 as late-night pub grub at the Anchor Bar in Buffalo, NY, deep-fried chicken wings, is now found in many forms. Truth told, there's not much that Buffalo-style chicken can't do, and tacos are the perfect marriage of two of our favorite foods. But, are these tacos as good as, or as enjoyable as, eating chicken wings? As a lady who loves wings, but, only in the privacy of my own home (where I'm free to lick my fingers, smack my lips, get goo stuck in my teeth, and, drip sauce on my blouse), yes, while different,...... View full recipe for "~ Light & Easy Buffalo-Style Skinny Chicken Tacos ~"

07/12/2020

~ Light & Easy Tex-Mex-Style Skinny Chicken Tacos ~

Mexican food is a favorite of mine, but I often wish it wasn't. Don't misunderstand me -- I can and will gobble up all its flavor-packed goodness with the best of 'em. It's next to impossible for anyone me to resist the melty or crumbly cheeses along with the creamy-rich refried beans, guacamole and crema. That said, more often than not, when dinner is done, I find myself wishing I'd exercised (pun intended) even a modicum of restraint, but, let's face it, despite the array of fresh ingredients used in Mexican food, Mexican fare doesn't offer any genuinely light options...... View full recipe for "~ Light & Easy Tex-Mex-Style Skinny Chicken Tacos ~"

05/07/2020

~ Making Slow-Cooker Buffalo-Style Chicken Wings ~

When it comes to Buffalo-style wings, my mindset is, everybody into the pot. Nothing beats the 14-minute deep-fry. Sure, wings can be oven-roasted or grilled, but, it's my opinion those two methods compromise the end result -- the first doesn't render them crispy enough, the latter dries them out. Oh gosh yes, for chicken-wing lovers who are fearful of frying, they are seemingly wonderful. That said, nothing can compete with a deep-fried chicken wing straight out of the fryer basket -- crispy outer skin, fall-off-the-bone tender inner meat. That's my opinion. That said: The crockpot? Yes. It's a decidedly different...... View full recipe for "~ Making Slow-Cooker Buffalo-Style Chicken Wings ~"

05/05/2020

~Slow Cooker Japanese Teriyaki-Style Chicken Wings~

When it comes to Buffalo-style wings, my mindset is, everybody into the pot. Nothing beats the 14-minute deep-fry. Sure, wings can be oven-roasted or grilled, but, it's my opinion those two methods compromise the end result -- the first doesn't render them crispy enough, the latter dries them out. Oh gosh yes, for chicken-wing lovers who are fearful of frying, they are seemingly wonderful. That said, nothing can compete with a deep-fried chicken wing straight out of the fryer basket -- crispy outer skin, fall-off-the-bone tender inner meat. That's my opinion. Period. As odd as this is going to sound,...... View full recipe for "~Slow Cooker Japanese Teriyaki-Style Chicken Wings~"

03/19/2020

~ Buttery Curried Pita Chips & Curried Chicken Salad ~

I'm an eater of snacks -- a slice or two of cheddar and a few apple slices, a piece or three of deli-meat rolled up with a slather of whole-grain mustard inside, a tablespoon or two of tuna or egg salad dolloped on a couple of buttery crackers. Just a few examples of the way I like to eat. Yes, when left to my own devices, I'm happy to skip three squares and snack my way through the day. Pita bread is always on-hand in my kitchen. I purchase a package almost every week, because, everything tastes great stuffed inside...... View full recipe for "~ Buttery Curried Pita Chips & Curried Chicken Salad ~"

01/22/2020

~Pretty-in-Pink Tiny-Shrimp Dip, Salad & Sandwiches~

Americans love shrimp. Shrimp, the fruit of the sea, is America's favorite seafood. When it comes to shrimp, while big is always better served in a shrimp cocktail, when making deep-fried shrimp, and, in specialty dishes like firecracker shrimp, that's just not so when it comes to making many appetizers and hors d'oeuvres (shrimp dip, shrimp salad, tea sandwiches, various canapés, etc.). Extra-small shrimp, also known as "salad shrimp", are sweet, tender and adorable, so, when serving fingerfood, think small, because the extra flavor is important. Once upon a time, people bought salad shrimp packed in cans (similar to tuna)....... View full recipe for "~Pretty-in-Pink Tiny-Shrimp Dip, Salad & Sandwiches~"

01/20/2020

~ Spicy Tiny Salad-Shrimp Mini Shrimp-Cocktail Cups ~

Shrimp cocktail. Two ingredients. Shrimp and cocktail sauce. To be more specific, succulent, perfectly-cooked and chilled tails-on shrimp served with a spicy ketchup and horseradish concoction for dipping. When it comes to shrimp for classically prepared shrimp cocktail, big is always better. That said, if you're looking for an impressive addition to your next appetizer buffet, put out a tray of mini shrimp-cocktail cups. Count the seconds until they disappear. Extra-small shrimp, also known as "salad shrimp", are sweet, tender and adorable, so, when serving fingerfood, think small, because the extra flavor is important. Flash-frozen extra-small shrimp (a 90/200 count),...... View full recipe for "~ Spicy Tiny Salad-Shrimp Mini Shrimp-Cocktail Cups ~"

01/15/2020

~ Time out for Tiny Salad-Shrimp-Salad Sandwiches ~

I grew up in an era when tea sandwiches were in vogue. At every festive gathering, one could count on at least one three-tier tray of tea sandwiches. Some might argue they're still in vogue, but, I can't remember the last time I was offered a tea sandwich. These tiny shrimp salad sandwiches aren't exactly tea sandwiches (which are made using crustless white bread), but, I'm willing to classify them as such, as, they're too classy to classify in the slider-sandwich category. Once upon a time, people bought salad shrimp packed in cans (similar to tuna). That's ok. That's how...... View full recipe for "~ Time out for Tiny Salad-Shrimp-Salad Sandwiches ~"

01/13/2020

~Puttin' on the Ritz, Retro Salad-Shrimp Dip Revisited~

Pretty in pink, tiny salad shrimp are sweet, tender and adorable. Once upon a time, people bought them packed in cans (similar to tuna). That's ok. That's how things were done before flash freezing came along, followed by freezer- trucks and train-cars criss-crossing our country. It was also before in-home refrigerators had an ample freezer section and households started investing in chest- or stand-type freezers. When my mom got her freezer IT was a very big deal. When frozen salad shrimp became available to her, she never bought the canned shrimp again. Americans love shrimp. Shrimp, "the fruit of the...... View full recipe for "~Puttin' on the Ritz, Retro Salad-Shrimp Dip Revisited~"

01/10/2020

~ Smokie Cocktail Wieners in a Bourbon BBQ Sauce ~

Aside from an occasional glass of Austi Spumante, mom didn't drink a drop, but, as a cook she wasn't opposed to adding boozy flavor to certain dishes. If a recipe required a splash of sherry or wine, she didn't scurry around looking for substitutions -- she added it. In the case of bourbon, which is a common addition to recipes containing sweet and savory tomato-based barbecue sauces, she put the bourbon in. As parents, mom and dad (who did enjoy a beer or two and an occasional cocktail), a little bourbon in the cocktail wieners didn't mean we kids had...... View full recipe for "~ Smokie Cocktail Wieners in a Bourbon BBQ Sauce ~"

12/29/2019

~Meatless & Marvelous Creamy Pasta & Mushrooms~

A bowl of exquisite creamy-dreamy pasta. When the craving for it hits, it's one that can't be staved off. In terms of work, while I consider this a rather uncomplicated dish to make, requiring just two or three relatively-easy steps, I relax and take my time to make it right. As a mushroom lover, they're on-hand in my refrigerator 90%-95% of the time (which is why this is one of my favorite go-to pasta dishes) and they get seasoned and sautéed in a skillet first. Next I take five-ten minutes to make a Parmesan-cream sauce using always-on-hand ingredients. I cook...... View full recipe for "~Meatless & Marvelous Creamy Pasta & Mushrooms~"

12/26/2019

~ Parm, Pepper and Herb Puff-Pastry Cheese Twists ~

Along with the charcuterie, cheese twists are always something I've included on my snack table during the holidays. Light and airy, crispy-crunchy, buttery rich and full of flavor, they're the quintessential nosh with whatever cocktail one happens to be sipping. Interestingly, store-bought cheese twists are not only harder to find (it was three strikes we're out -- as in they do not carry them -- at our local stores this year), the quality (as in the three packages I purchased on-line) has gone decidedly downhill too. Years ago our local downtown Cheese Shoppe sold them, and, they were so damned...... View full recipe for "~ Parm, Pepper and Herb Puff-Pastry Cheese Twists ~"

12/15/2019

~Light & Flaky Pastry-Wrapped British-Sausage Rolls~

Once upon a time in 1996, while sitting in a British pub in proximity to the British National Museum, while pondering what to order with our pints, a nice guy sitting next to us recommended the sausage rolls. As Americans, Joe and I consider sausage mostly a breakfast food, but, we didn't hesitate to place the order based on the recommendation (traveling teaches that locals will never steer you wrong). I hoisted my brew in a manner to toast the nice guy and waited, patiently, for the pub grub to be delivered, which in terms of time, was about three...... View full recipe for "~Light & Flaky Pastry-Wrapped British-Sausage Rolls~"

12/12/2019

~ Baked Three-Cheesy Hot Broccoli & Pimiento Dip ~

Eat your broccoli. That was never something my mom had to say to me. As a kid I loved raw or cooked broccoli (cauliflower too). Mom did too. My dad and my brother, not so much on either count, but, they didn't 100% hate it either -- they put up with it on an occasional basis. When broccoli was served for dinner, I knew there was going to a bonus snack later in the evening, made from preplanned-on leftovers: A little crock of bubbling hot, creamy broccoli-cheese dip. It wasn't fancy and only took a few minutes to mix together,...... View full recipe for "~ Baked Three-Cheesy Hot Broccoli & Pimiento Dip ~"

12/09/2019

~Gruyère & Olive-Tapenade French-Bread Appetizers~

Olive cheese bread was a trendy hot appetizer served with drinks at laid-back TGIF and fancy-schmancy holiday cocktail parties throughout the 1980's. For the obvious reason, the olives, they were particularly popular with martini drinkers. That said, olive cheese bread was just one of many spin-off recipes created by home cooks who were inspired by the introduction of the remarkably-tasty, frozen, store-bought, Stouffer's* French bread pizza into their lives. *Note: Making pizza on French bread was made famous in the 1960's by Bob Petrillose, the founder of the legendary Hot Truck on the campus of Cornell University in Ithaca, NY....... View full recipe for "~Gruyère & Olive-Tapenade French-Bread Appetizers~"

12/07/2019

~ Sweet-&-Savory-Glazed Buffalo-Chicken Meatballs ~

Everybody loves meatballs, and, rule of thumb: one can never make too many meatballs. When looking for a hot appetizer that is kid- and adult-friendly, relatively easy-to-make, can be made in advance, and, is perfect for a holiday party, a tailgate party, or any party any time of year, meatballs meet all the criteria. Sweet, savory and slightly-spicy, buffalo chicken meatballs, glazed in wing sauce, are a fun way to enjoy the flavor of chicken wings with more decorum and dignity than licking ones fingertips in public and disposing of a plate full of unsightly wing bones. Cocktail-size meatballs are...... View full recipe for "~ Sweet-&-Savory-Glazed Buffalo-Chicken Meatballs ~"

11/09/2019

~ Let's Talk about Roasted Turkey Breast Tenderloins ~

While my family always celebrates Turkey Day with a traditional dinner, with all the pomp and circumstances leading up to the moment when the oven-roasted and well-rested turkey gets carved and served, there are many folks, both novice and experienced cooks, (single men and women, young couples, elderly couples, etc.) who neither need nor want, or, don't have the time for an entire turkey. There are other folks, for whatever the reason, simply want to eat some turkey for the sake of the day and move on. That's why I'm talking about turkey tenderloins. While we're all familiar with whole,...... View full recipe for "~ Let's Talk about Roasted Turkey Breast Tenderloins ~"

11/07/2019

~Let's Talk about Poached Turkey Breast Tenderloins~

We're all familiar with chicken breast tenderloins. Weighing in at about 2-3 ounces each, these 4 1/2"-5" long, thin strips of chicken are the tenderest part of the chicken. I love them, and use them often, because, quite frankly, they are superior to the last-luster, "rubber chicken" boneless, skinless breast. Whole, chopped, sliced or lightly-pounded, they cook quickly. They can be poached or simmered, pan-fried, deep-fried, stir-fried, or grilled-panned to use in any recipe that requires cooked chicken -- appetizers, soups, salads, sandwiches, or casseroles, and, dishes like chicken curry, Parmesan, Milanese, Oscar, Piccata, etc. They're versatile. While we're all...... View full recipe for "~Let's Talk about Poached Turkey Breast Tenderloins~"

09/04/2019

~ Nacho Mama's Buffalo Chicken Sheet-Pan Nachos ~

Research has revealed that nachos made their debut in Northern Mexico in the 1940's when a large group of hungry servicemen wandered into a restaurant where Ignacio Anaya was cooking. The savvy chef quickly threw some cheese over a big pan of leftover tortillas. When it emerged from the broiler, he scattered his creation with jalapeño peppers. When he presented the soldiers with his group-sized appetizer, after devouring it, they took it upon themselves to spread the word. Popularity came fast, and, along the way, nachos acquired an assortment of toppings. Nowadays, the tortilla chip, just like the pizza crust,...... View full recipe for "~ Nacho Mama's Buffalo Chicken Sheet-Pan Nachos ~"

07/31/2019

~ Deep-Fried Chicken Wings w/RedHot-Ranch Slaw ~

There's nothing earth-shatteringly new about deep-frying chicken wings in a vat of oil for 14 minutes a batch. In fact, this post doesn't even include a pictorial recipe for deep-frying chicken wings -- or oven-roasted wings if that floats your boat. If you and yours love wings, you already have your favorite method for preparing them. This post is about transitioning your wing-fest from a pub grub bar nosh to a kid-friendly family-style sit-in-front-of-the-TV movie-night meal. Back in the 1980's and '90's, our three sons frequently wanted chicken wings for dinner, which, in my mind, didn't constitute a proper dinner....... View full recipe for "~ Deep-Fried Chicken Wings w/RedHot-Ranch Slaw ~"

07/13/2019

~ Adding Olives to Mexican or Mexican-Style Dishes ~

Olives in Mexican food? It's controversial. So-called experts will flatly state that olives in Mexican food make the dish Spanish, not Mexican, meaning "don't". That said, with some of the largest concentrations of green olive trees in the world being located in regions throughout Mexico, areas bordering Texas, and, the Guadalupe Valley in Northern Baja California, common sense would and should lead one (it did me) to a different conclusion, meaning, if you are an olive lover, "go for it". Just know, a Mexican dish you added olives to can't be peddled as "authentic" or "classic" Mexican" -- olives render...... View full recipe for "~ Adding Olives to Mexican or Mexican-Style Dishes ~"

06/26/2019

~Grilled Shrimp and Asparagus Cocktail w/Lemon Dip~

How much would you pay for this in an upscale restaurant? About $8.00 as an appetizer? Perhaps $12.00 as a lunch entrée? Both sound fare to me, but, truth told, this small plate of happiness is so good I'd happily pay more. 'Tis true, rake my shrimp cocktail over some hot coals and I'll follow you anywhere -- and pay a tidy sum for it too. Add a few slices of grilled bread, uncork a bottle of white wine, and invite a few guests to join you too -- it's that impressive. For the pucker-up lemon sauce for seafood or...... View full recipe for "~Grilled Shrimp and Asparagus Cocktail w/Lemon Dip~"

06/20/2019

~ Amazingly-Lemony and Perfectly-Grilled Asparagus ~

Asparagus, served hot off the grill grids, drizzled with a bit of lemon-infused EVOO and white balsamic vinaigrette, is one of my favorite Summer side-dishes. Name it -- grilled steak, chicken or seafood, it plays well with them all. Interestingly, I sometimes serve it as an hors d'oeuvre too -- it pairs perfectly with melon wrapped in prosciutto. There's just something downright delightful about picking up a medium-to-fat, crunch-tender asparagus spear in my fingertips, politely swishing it a pucker-up, creamy, lemon sauce and savoring the lightly-charred flavor. Just eat. It's too simple for words, hence this short post. Grilling asparagus...... View full recipe for "~ Amazingly-Lemony and Perfectly-Grilled Asparagus ~"

05/12/2019

~ Briny, Garlicy & Herbaceous Greek-Olive Tapenade ~

My pantry and/or refrigerator are never without a can or two of inexpensive, mild-flavored ripe, black olives and a big jar of tangy green pimiento-stuffed olives too. Throughout the year, I toss either one or both, whole into garden salads, or, slice and use them to top an occasional pizza. That said, at the end of a long Summer's day, there is nothing like a well-chilled cocktail out on the deck with a salty snack to nibble on. A cracker or two with a slather of soft brie or chèvre topped with a dollop of tapenade is a favorite, but,...... View full recipe for "~ Briny, Garlicy & Herbaceous Greek-Olive Tapenade ~"

03/05/2019

~ Na-Cho Mama's Fully-Loaded Sheet-Pan Nachos ~

Undercover nacho tester. I suppose it could get boring, but, because every eatery I've ever been to makes this Tex-Mex pub-grub staple a bit different, I'd be willing to risk running into some occasional repetition and hard-earned heartburn. From nibbling on basic nachos consisting of deep-fried corn tortillas topped with melty cheese sauce, to digging-into nachos-grande, nachos-supreme, fully-loaded nachos or ultimate-nachos piled high with a plethora of enough savory stuff to qualify for full-meal status, yes, I think undercover nacho tester could be my dream job. Research has revealed that nachos made their debut in Northern Mexico in the 1940's...... View full recipe for "~ Na-Cho Mama's Fully-Loaded Sheet-Pan Nachos ~"

02/17/2019

~ Perfectly-Prepared Chicken and Mushroom Risotto ~

Risotto is traditional Italian cooking at its best. Risotto is more of a method than a recipe, and it requires respect. There are no two ways to make risotto. Make it right or it's not risotto. Don't deviate from the method, don't take shortcuts and don't make substitutions. Risotto cannot be rushed -- it requires patience. It cannot be made in advance, it needs to be carefully watched, methodically stirred, and served immediately. Risotto is done when it is done, and only the cook knows when it is done, but, when it is done right, it's a meal fit for...... View full recipe for "~ Perfectly-Prepared Chicken and Mushroom Risotto ~"

02/09/2019

~ A Great Garlic Bread Spread for Great Garlic Bread ~

Damn the torpedoes and full speed ahead. A double-whammy of calories and carbohydrates are going on our dinner table tonight. Why? Because eating spaghetti and meatballs without a great big basket of garlic bread on the table is, gulp, culinarily criminal. We'll have a salad too, because it too goes great with this meal (not because it's healthy or to make me feel less guilty). Everybody knows spaghetti and meatballs require garlic bread, a salad and a bottle of red wine. Garlic bread isn't Italian. Neither is spaghetti & meatballs. While many regard spaghetti & meatballs as quintessential Italian, the...... View full recipe for "~ A Great Garlic Bread Spread for Great Garlic Bread ~"

01/17/2019

~ Du Pain, du Vin, du Cinq Boursin Cheese Recipes ~

Boursin cheese has been the star of KE the past ten days, and, it has enjoyed a delicious run. While some might question, or find themselves bored with, my little foray into Boursin (a most delicious form of French cheesefeed), there is always a reason behind one of my obsessions. In the case of the plethora of Boursin recipes, there are three reasons. #1. When someone asks, I always answer, and, I did -- with my recipe for Boursin mashed potatoes. #2. In our food world, food is expensive -- if I'm going to recommend purchasing a special or pricey...... View full recipe for "~ Du Pain, du Vin, du Cinq Boursin Cheese Recipes ~"

01/09/2019

~ Buttery-Rich and Cream-Cheesy Copycat Boursin ~

Hospitality at-the-drop-of-a-hat -- it's the name-of-the-game friends, and no self-respecting cook gets caught without a block of semi-soft-, wedge of soft-, or a spreadable-cheese on-hand. Get out the cheese board, the corkscrew, and voila, instant hospitality. A little effort and as little as thirty short minutes of spirited conversation (tick, tock) can build friendships that last a lifetime. Next to the port wine cheese, you'll find Boursin in my refrigerator -- both have relatively long shelf lives. That said, given enough time and/or notice I make my own copycat versions*. *Note: Making a case for making your own port wine...... View full recipe for "~ Buttery-Rich and Cream-Cheesy Copycat Boursin ~"

12/12/2018

~ Wing-Night with Oven-Baked Jamaican-Jerk Wings ~

In our house, chicken wings appear on our table or cocktail table on a regular basis -- like pizza, my kids crave them often, Joe and I do our best to eat them in moderation, and, while each one of us has his or her personal favorite, there is unanimous agreement that once I've agreed to make pizza or wings for supper or snacks, compromise on the type can quickly be achieved -- and many times, the decision simply comes down to how much time I've got to quell their cravings. How we cook 'em & country of origin is...... View full recipe for "~ Wing-Night with Oven-Baked Jamaican-Jerk Wings ~ "

12/09/2018

~Cool & Creamy Island-Style Jamaican-Jerk Wing Dip~

Wander into a bar anywhere in America. Buffalo wings are on the pub grub menu. No description is necessary. You know you're getting deep-fried wingettes and drumettes coated in a vivid-red vinegar-based cayenne pepper and melted butter sauce. They'll arrive with celery and carrot sticks, and blue cheese or ranch dressing. You'll likely be asked to specify if you want your wings tossed in a mild, medium or hot version of the sauce. Buffalo wing sauce is a classic. Chicken wings have come a long way baby. What started as a late-night snack served by Frank and Teresa Bellisimo in...... View full recipe for "~Cool & Creamy Island-Style Jamaican-Jerk Wing Dip~"

11/26/2018

~ Stick a Chip in It: Mel's Ultimate French Onion Dip ~

Stir a packet of Lipton's dehydrated French Onion Soup mix into a cup of sour cream and you will get no complaints from me -- zero. I love the stuff. I grew up watching TV shows (Bewitched, the Beverly Hillbillies, Andy of Mayberry, Gilligan's Island, Patty Duke, the Flintstones, etc.), to the crackling sound of a bag of Ruffles as I readied each chip for a copious glop of this beloved stuff. Those were good times. There were obviously no calories in it, because I was a stick figure. Nostalgic memories. We all have them. That said, times change, people...... View full recipe for "~ Stick a Chip in It: Mel's Ultimate French Onion Dip ~"

10/09/2018

~The Crispy Bits about Bruschetta, Crostini and Panini~

Bread comes in many forms. I am of the opinion that bread IS the staff of life, and, I average one serving of bread per day. Sans the occasional requisite soft-textured grilled-cheese sliced white, the hot-dog roll and the hamburger bun, any humble flatbread or pita pocket, along with the breakfast-y bagel and English muffin, the display here represents a sampling of my personal artisanal favorites. Except for one, the delicate croissant, they are all firm-textured, and, by choosing the correct shape, I can make make one of three crispy Italian-style specialties. Bruschetta (broo-skeh-tah) means "oiled slice" and comes from...... View full recipe for "~The Crispy Bits about Bruschetta, Crostini and Panini~"

10/07/2018

~ Grillmarked: Italian-Style Panini-Croissant-Crostini ~

Panini-croissant-crostini. That's a lot to digest, and if you're of Italian-heritage, simmer down, lighten up, and read on before criticizing my fun-loving play on mouth-watering words. Sandwich-press-grilled panini, full of cured Italian meats and cheese, substituting mini-croissants for the traditional rustic Italian bread (I've affectionately added the word crostini to describe them, because I serve them, crostini-style, as 3-4 bite appetizers), are crowd-pleasing snacks that get gobbled up at a tailgate party faster than beer flows at a fraternity house. While crusty, firm-textured rustic-type breads make marvelous panini, I am here to tell you, if you've never made a panini...... View full recipe for "~ Grillmarked: Italian-Style Panini-Croissant-Crostini ~"

10/03/2018

~ Time for Tapas: Spanish-Style Garlic-Lovers Shrimp ~

A small portion of any hot or cold, savory edible that can be eaten in just a few bites, forkfuls or slurps. Here in America, we call them "snacks". In Spain they're called "tapas". Like the American snack, anything can be a tapas if eaten in a small enough portion. In Spain, tapas is a style of eating, and going out for tapas is one of their most popular activities. When going out for tapas, you're not going out for dinner (although, if you eat enough tapas, they can be the equivalent of a meal). You start out eating tapas...... View full recipe for "~ Time for Tapas: Spanish-Style Garlic-Lovers Shrimp ~"

09/19/2018

~Lo & Slow-Cooker Jerk-Style Baby-Back Spare-Ribs~

Jerk seasoning was/is the dry spice blend used to season jerky, and Jamaican jerk seasoning, known for the flavors of allspice, cinnamon, cloves, thyme and Scotch bonnet pepper, is perhaps the most famous. Throughout the Caribbean, islanders preserved/cured their spice-rubbed meats by drying them in the intense sun or over a slow fire -- this allowed the meat to be taken on long journeys and eaten as is or reconstituted in boiling water. The word most likely transitioned to the verb, "jerking", in reference to the way the meat gets "jerked" around on the grill as it cooks. The machinations...... View full recipe for "~Lo & Slow-Cooker Jerk-Style Baby-Back Spare-Ribs~"

08/21/2018

~Crunchy Crabmeat Crostini w/Secret Seafood Sauce~

There's nothing like driving back from a trip to the Maryland shore with a few pounds of sweet blue crabmeat in a cooler in the back seat. The mind races with all the mouthwatering options to enjoy after you pull in the driveway. While fresh crab is best, happily, high-quality pasteurized crabmeat is available to us all all-year long, which makes my food world a kinder, gentler place. Beer-steaming live crabs and hand-cracking them to pick their meat, is, not a sport I partake in. Ugh. I don't even enjoy sitting at a crab shack in front of a newspaper-covered...... View full recipe for "~Crunchy Crabmeat Crostini w/Secret Seafood Sauce~"

08/09/2018

~ Sweet & Hot Chili-Sauced Thai-Style Fried Chicken ~

Oh-My-Thai-style snacky-type appetizers. Truth told, I could easily make a meal out of these, and, frankly so could every person I've ever served them to -- every sweet-heat-seeking man, woman and child (every last one of them). Every now and then I get a hankering for fried-chicken -- the good old-fashioned batter-dipped and deep-fried kind -- crunchy on the outside, juicy and tender on the inside. When the hankering hits, I've just gotta have it. What could be better? Fried chicken with all the bold, bright flavors of Thailand. Winner, winner Thai-style sweet & hot red chili sauce. Simply irresistible...... View full recipe for "~ Sweet & Hot Chili-Sauced Thai-Style Fried Chicken ~"

05/28/2018

~ Happy Valley Spinach Dip for Your Vegetable Tray ~

In the mid-1950's and throughout the '60's, everybody who entertained was serving French onion dip with their celery and carrot sticks. This simple concoction of Lipton dehydrated onion soup mix and sour cream was a year-round staple on picnic and cocktail tables. Said to have been created by an unknown French cook somewhere in Los Angeles in 1954, as a kid, I loved the stuff. In the 1970's, due to the invention of dehydrated ranch-dressing packets, another dip began appearing at gatherings all across America: Hidden Valley Ranch spinach dip. As a young bride, I loved the stuff. Throughout the...... View full recipe for "~ Happy Valley Spinach Dip for Your Vegetable Tray ~"

05/12/2018

~ The Perfectly-Broiled 22-Minute Pork Blade Steak ~

The pork blade steak is my new-to-me muse -- in my own words, it's a bone-fide kick-butt man-sized pork chop. Known as pork steak, pork butt steak or pork blade steak, these bone-in steaks are cut from the shoulder of the pig -- the same part of the porcine used to make pulled pork. Similar in taste and texture to close-kin country-style spareribs*, they were invented in St. Louis, MO, and are a Midwest staple. As a country-style spare-rib lover living in central Pennsylvania, I ask the Sam's Club butcher to custom-cut these inexpensive, lesser-to-unknown-to-our-locale steaks for me. Perhaps this...... View full recipe for "~ The Perfectly-Broiled 22-Minute Pork Blade Steak ~"

05/09/2018

~Creamy, Cheesy & E-Z Chile-Lime Refried Bean Dip~

I love a starry night. Sitting outside in the warm Summer air, watching the sun set and listening to my next-door neighbors, the dairy cows, lowing in the pasture -- it's peaceful. That said, on some Summer nights, Thursdays during June, July and August, a band plays "up on the mountain" (the ski slope to the other side of the cow pasture). Weather permitting, on those toe-tapping evenings, if you stop by, you'll find a snack or three on the table next to the cooler of Corona. My neighbors, music on the mountain, &, bean dip. This easy bean dip...... View full recipe for "~Creamy, Cheesy & E-Z Chile-Lime Refried Bean Dip~"

04/24/2018

~ Mexican-Style Shrimp Cocktail (a Salad in a Glass) ~

Cóctel de camarónes. That's Spanish for cocktail of shrimp. If you're a fan of Southwestern spice, but never tasted a shrimp cocktail prepared Mexican-style, I recommend giving this Southwestern perfect-for-Summer twist on the classic a try -- plenty of plump, tender, poached (sometimes lightly-grilled) shrimp, swimming around in a citrusy, tomato, cilantro and spicy-hot sauce, containing pieces of diced avocado, cucumber, onion and jalapeño. It's a snazzy fork-friendly salad in a glass, not to be confused with its cousin, ceviche, which contains raw, cooked-via-marination fish and/or shellfish mixed with spices, citrus juice, vegetables and/or peppers. Traditional shrimp cocktail, as we...... View full recipe for "~ Mexican-Style Shrimp Cocktail (a Salad in a Glass) ~"

04/07/2018

~ Melanie's Perfectly-Cooked 18-Minute Flank Steak ~

When I want a perfectly-cooked, rare- to medium-rare steak, one that gets cooked indoors, next to the elegant filet mignon, the rustic flank steak is my choice. That said, in terms of taste, texture, versatility and price, without compromise, hands-down the flank steak wins on all points -- which is why I purchase one or two almost every week. In my food world, there's plenty of room for premium Delmonicos, NY strips, porterhouse and T-bones too, but, in terms of cooking steak indoors vs. grilling steak outdoors, those cuts typically "just don't do it" for me like filet or flank....... View full recipe for "~ Melanie's Perfectly-Cooked 18-Minute Flank Steak ~"

03/19/2018

~ Teriyaki-Style Slow-Cooker Baby-Back Spare-Ribs ~

How you cook spare-ribs is your business. Here in Happy Valley, sometimes we smoke 'em, sometimes we grill 'em, occasionally I make them in the oven, and, recently, I've started experimenting with slow-cooking them. Past that, even if you aren't a fan of crocket science, it might interest you to know that Japanese-seven-spice blend and teriyaki sauce, when substituted for traditional Tex-Mex rubs-and-mops is a delicious alternative to typical ribs -- give 'em a try. Do not confuse spicy "Japanese-seven-spice" powder with aromatic Chinese five-spice powder. They are completely different. "Shichimi togarashi", originated in Japanese apothecaries in the 17th century...... View full recipe for "~ Teriyaki-Style Slow-Cooker Baby-Back Spare-Ribs ~"