Tag Archives: Appetizer

Baked Coconut Shrimp

Perfect for sharing.

Perfect for sharing.

Have you ever had trouble deciding between multiple menu items at a restaurant? I’m constantly stuck between two or three entrees, so much so that I attempt to manipulate my dinner companions into ordering the items I’m choosing from, just so I can have a bite. Occasionally, my persuasion backfires and I wind up with a serious case of “food envy,” not as impressed as I had hoped with my selection and wishing I had ordered what someone else has.

The easiest way to avoid the dreaded “food envy” is to order and entire meal of small plates or appetizers to share. I’m never more satisfied than when I can have a little bit of everything on the table. This recipe for a homemade, healthier version of a favorite finger food is so tasty, you may not want to share. Read More…

Blue Cheese Walnut Crackers

petizers and hors d’oeuvres are my weakness. Trays full of delicious, petite sized snacks are enticing and I’m usually the girl at the party standing by the displays with a plate full of shrimp tails and used toothpicks. Though I have my favorites, I don’t discriminate: everything from dips to cheese platters to nuggets is fair game.

Last week, I catered an Open House at a beautiful three bedroom home at 2310 Susquehanna Avenue. Thankfully, I have a wonderful place to live and am not looking to pack my belongings to move around the corner, but the capabilities this house had for entertaining caught my eye and were straight out of a home cook’s daydream.

The spacious living room and classy kitchen were a selling point alone, but the rear room of the house, which lead to the large backyard, featured cabinets and countertops with separate beer and wine fridges, a dual stainless-steel sink, and a cable hookup for a flat screen television. Like I said, I’m not in the market for a new home but I couldn’t help but picture myself showing Phillies games on the flat screen while I served family and friends cold ones from the fridge and burgers and dogs from the grill out back.

To highlight the back room I decided to make some Clean Plate favorites and add a few chic additions. For the new recipes, I turned to my Barefoot Contest cookbook. Ina Garden has become a respectable culinary figure due to her show on the Food Network, and thank God she’s allowed the rest of the world in on her tips and tricks for hosting anything from an elaborate dinner party to stylish cocktail party. These blue cheese and walnut crackers added simple elegance to the Open House spread. Read More…

Party People: Bacon Wrapped Hot Dogs

Bacon seems to be a pretty fashionable ingredient these days, making appearances in many dishes that are considered “outside the box” when compared to your standard breakfast sandwich. Food and Wine has a 20-recipe slideshow dedicated to the pork product that includes pasta dishes, salads, and even a snack mix. Restaurants and bakeries in the area add bacon to dessert items, giving the cured meat an opportunity to shine as a refined ingredient. The craze has led me to the conclusion that everything is better with bacon.

Joe’s uncle, Bill, hosts some pretty amazing parties, but his forte is the holiday gathering at the end of each year. Everything from the decorations to the food and drinks is perfect, and he makes party planning for a group of about 50 look easy. Though every item on the table tastes delicious, I have a crazy love affair with the mini hot dogs wrapped in bacon that always appear at this annual get-together. My infatuation can be embarrassing; the hors d’oeuvre is not meant to be made into a meal, but it’s next to impossible to refrain from standing next to the tray, poking away with toothpicks. I’ve begun making them for other parties, and it seems I’m not alone in my addiction; my godson, Ryan, loves the recipe so much that I no longer have to ponder what dish I’m making for his birthday parties. Read More…

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