Potato, Kale and Bacon Cakes with Ume Shallot Aioli

Appetizer, Main | April 7, 2017 | By

The potato.  So mundane, humble and beige.  Except for purple potatoes.  Oh, and sweet potatoes.  So not always beige.  But still, a rather unassuming tuber.  And yet it is the backbone of many kitchens.

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Peperoni Gratinati al Forno (Red Pepper Gratin with Bread Crumbs)

Appetizer, Sides | March 1, 2017 | By

Using the Simply cookbook by Diana Henry this month has been a joy.  She has a wonderful collection of dishes that bring flavours together that we may not have thought of combining. Exotic, depth, fun, definitely a cookbook to keep your creativity fired up.

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Citrus and Fennel Salad with Kiwi

Appetizer, Sides | January 10, 2017 | By

Seriously, the wind sounds ominous today!  The sky is dark despite the hour (10 am as I write this) and the snow is whipping around in a funnel here outside our balcony.  It’s January.  And it’s a real Winter day.  And thank goodness we have citrus!

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Umeboshi Shrimp Toast

Appetizer, Main | December 19, 2016 | By

I can still remember the day I went to see ‘Pretty in Pink’.  I was visiting friends in San Diego.  One evening, we went to the movies to see a new release.  Just another teen angst movie, or so I thought.  True, it was a teen angst movie.  But the music played such a vital role, that I was completely gobsmacked by the whole experience.  We literally went directly from the theatre to the music store so that I could pick up the soundtrack.  Yes, this was the days of tapes and CD’s.  If you wanted one song, you invested in the entire album.

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Potato, Kale and Gorgonzola Tart with Rosemary and Walnuts

Appetizer, Main | November 29, 2016 | By

If I could put some of my all time favourite savoury flavours in a tart, it would taste like this.  Oh wait…I did put them all in one tart! One of our favourite pizza combos is potato, gorgonzola and onion.  So, I figured, if we like these ON a pizza, why not put them IN a tart?  This flavour combo just screams colder weather, cozy eating.  And I threw in some kale, you know, to be healthy.  Oh, and some walnuts for protein.

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Harissa Spiked Roasted Shrimp Cocktail

Appetizer | November 24, 2016 | By

Shrimp on the Barby.  Shrimp on the brain. I’ve been on a shrimp kick lately.  Can’t explain it. But I do find them really versatile.  Perfect in salads, noodle or rice bowls, skewered, bisque, with grits, grilled, and, as this oh so easy appetizer.  Truly, appetizers don’t get any easier than this one.  Except maybe cheese and crackers.  Or chips and dip.  But come on, it’s nice to go beyond the frat house snack, and have an appetizer that has wow appeal as well as taste and ease of execution.

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Harissa Crab and Cheddar Dip

Appetizer | October 20, 2016 | By

This is one of those fantastically retro appetizers that is always welcome on any snack table.  Sure, all the veggie platters, with those slightly sharp radishes, crunchy carrot sticks, broccoli and cauliflower florets, and the humble, somewhat ignored celery sticks, are good for us.  They are the way we try to justify having the artichoke dips, chips and pretzels, chicken wings etc.  But who are we kidding?  We don’t just want to see a veggie platter at the table, as that football game or movie is going to start.  We got together with friends to have FUN.  Veggies are good for you, tasty, and perhaps mildly amusing.  But FUN?  No, we eat them because we know they are good for us.  But we WANT the nachos, the pizza, the dips.  

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Harissa Tomato Jam

Appetizer | August 16, 2016 | By

Tomato Jam.  Yep, it’s a thing.  And it’s real yummy.  You know how we love our red pepper jelly with cheese on crostini? Or fig or plum butter with pork dishes?  Or even fruit compotes with charcuterie platters? Well, you can just add Tomato Jam to the list!

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Harissa Pickled Veggies

Appetizer, Vegetarian | June 30, 2016 | By

A jar of pickled veggies is a staple in most refrigerators.  We probably have three at any given time.  Not including pickles themselves.  Jim loved hot banana peppers.  I love the mezze dish of pickled veggies, including carrots, peppers, celery etc.

So this fresh and easy pickle was a no brainer to share with you all.  It combines what we all like: heat, veggies, and brine.  The perfect accompaniment to a charcuterie platter or sandwich spread.  I’ve tried numerous recipes through the years, and this is a slight riff on a recipe found in Zahav, by Michael Solomonov.  But it has my own spin on it!

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Harissa Spiked Bruschetta

Appetizer, Vegetarian | June 28, 2016 | By

Jim doesn’t like tomatoes.  Or so he says.

He loves marinara sauce, bolognese, pizza with a good tomato sauce, he’ll even eat the odd cherry tomato.  But he insists he doesn’t like tomatoes.

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