Posts Tagged ‘Appetizers’

Mini Apple Tarts

Author: admin

Mini Apple Tarts

These are always a hit! 

The secret is to buy the prepared phyllo dough cups in the frozen food section.  They are already baked, so all you have to do is defrost them.

You can fill them with just about anything — make them sweet or make them savory…

This time, I made little mini apple tarts with them.  This recipe isn’t really a recipe — it’s more like a method.  I just usually “wing” all of the amounts.

Wash, peel, and dice some apples.  If you are doing a large batch, put them in a bowl of cold water with a quirt of lemon juice.  This will keep them from browning.  When you’re done with the apples, drain them well.

Add a little bit of brown sugar and add a little bit of cinnamon (to taste).  Mix thoroughly.

Put the mixture into a baking dish, cover with tin foil,  and bake at 350 degrees for about 35-40 minutes or until the apples soften to the consistency you want.  I like my apples to still have a little “bite” to them.

Cool the mixture.

Fill the tart cups with about 1 tablespoon of the mixture.

Melt some caramels in a microwave-safe bowl.  Drizzle it over the top of the apples.

Done.  Voila!  How easy is that???

I’ve made these before using a sausage stuffing mixture, and they came out extremely well!  Get creative!

Magnificent Mussels

Author: admin

Magnificent Mussels

Mussels are a great appetizer for two or a real nice meal for one.  These mussels are cooked in a very simple, very fresh way.  Light and tasty, these are perfect with an ice-cold beer…

1 bag of mussels (usually a pound or more)
1 can petite diced tomatoes
2 cloves garlic

Soak the mussels in a pan of water for about 15 minutes and swish around to loosen any remaining dirt.  If there are any fuzzy “beards” on them, remove them.  They are usually pretty clean if you get them from the grocery stores, but there may be one or two with some of the beard still on.

Drain and set to the side for later.

Chop the garlic.

In a large skillet or pan that you have a cover for, heat some olive oil, enough to coat the bottom of the pan.

Add the garlic and sautee for a minute or so to cook out the rawness.  Add the can of petite diced tomatoes.  Bring it up to a simmer and let it cook the tomatoes down a little, about 3-4 minutes.

Salt and pepper to taste.  Add the thyme.  Cook 1 more minute.

Add the mussels.  Stir to coat them.  Put the lid on and let them get happy in the sauce.

When the mussels all open, they are done – Usually just a couple of minutes – Definitely less than 5.  You do not want to overcook them.  Overdone mussels are like rubber bands – tough and chewy.

Turn off the heat.  Stir again to coat everything nicely in the sauce.

Pour into a large bowl and serve.

You can add fresh chopped parsley for garnish if you want, but they don’t really need them.


Cannellini White Bean Dip

As much as I like hummus, I hardly ever make it myself because I just don’t cook with Tahini paste, so it’s never stocked in my pantry. 

This luscious, creamy, bean dip is so super-easy to prepare, and I always have Cannellini beans and the other ingredients on-hand. 

1/3 cup Olive Oil (about… I just drizzle from the bottle)
1/2 tsp Salt, plus more to taste
1/4 tsp freshly ground Pepper, plus more to taste
1 large can of Cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup fresh, flat-leaf Parsley
2 Tbls fresh Lemon Juice (from about 1/2 a lemon)
1 clove Garlic, smashed and chopped fine

In your food processor, combine the Cannellini beans, parsley, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper.

Pulse until the mixture is coarsely chopped.  With the food processor running, gradually mix in the 1/3 cup of olive oil until the mixture is creamy (you may or may not need to use it all depending on the texture of the beans).  Season with more salt and pepper to taste.

That’s it!  How easy is that?

This dip is quick, but it always tastes like you spent a long time making it.  It’s delicious!  This dip is sooo delicious, you may just find yourself licking it from a spoon!

It’s definitely a case of the whole being more than the sum of its parts — This so creamy, that sometimes you’re not even sure that the base is beans.

Serving Ideas:

Instead of serving with pita wedges like hummus, try serving this with crostinis made from a nice Italian bread.  Breadsticks work well, too.

Also, this dip is fantastic with any crisp, fresh, vegetable.  Try colorful and sweet bell peppers, celery sticks, baby carrots,

broccoli, cauliflower, radishes, snow peas, and any other veggies you can think of.  This is the perfect veggie dip!

Mangia!  🙂