Everything Bagel Cheese Twists

A word from my kitchen…This is just the perfect little accompaniment for your afternoon tea or appetizer for cocktail hour. In my household, they are loved equally by both children and adults. The children like cheese on all of the twists and bagel spices on only half of the twists. The choice is yours, and it’s always right. The children and I have been making these together for years, because a good recipe never gets old!

1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed overnight in refrigerator
1 large egg, beaten
2 Tbs everything bagel seasoning
1/4 cup grated Assiago cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
Roll out dough to smooth creases.
Cut puff pastry sheet in half crosswise, (I like using a pizza cutter for ease!) on lightly floured surface.
Then cut each half into 1″ wide strips.
Brush with egg wash.
Sprinkle with bagel seasoning and cheese (The children and I made half with bagel seasoning and half with just cheese).
Roll with rolling pin to set the ingredients into the pastry.
Twist each strip a few times.
Place on baking sheet.
Bake 18 minutes; rotate baking sheet; bake 4 more minutes until golden brown.
Remove from oven and let cool.

Lemon and Pepper Jelly Shrimp

The great Rocco DiSpirito was on The Drew Barrymore Show a couple of weeks back and I was blown away! Rather than totally freak out when I researched his life as a chef, I decided to Keep Calm, Munch On, Try his Recipe, and Order a Couple of his Books. No recipe hunting for you this weekend good folks; I’m just handing it out to you. Just enough spice to make you happy but not ring the fire alarm! This is so full of ease and joy to prep, that you will be cooking it quite often. Add a simple salad or asparagus (to my version) and you have a totally balanced meal, nutritious, and calorie conscious. This food is pure art; and…we’re off!

This is what you need:
1 lb large, cleaned shrimp
2 Tbs olive oil
1 t coarsely ground black pepper
1 t coarse ground salt
2 Tbs butter
Juice of a lemon
3 to 4 Tbs Pepper Jelly, to taste*
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

*I used Jammit Jams Garlic Pepper Jelly, so I omitted the 2 garlic cloves.

And this is how you do it:
Blot shrimp dry with a paper towel.**
Season with salt and pepper.
Heat large skillet over medium high heat.
Add 2 Tbs olive oil to skillet.
Add shrimp, seasoned side down, and sauté for 2 minutes.
While this is sautéing, season the “upside” of the shrimp.
Flip shrimp over with tongs and cook second side 2 minutes.
Immediately remove shrimp to separate bowl.
In hot skillet, add lemon juice, butter, and pepper jelly.
Stir until jelly is meted and all is combined, about 2 minutes.
Toss shrimp back in skillet and stir to cover with sauce.
Serve over cooked rice.***

**I blot most things dry before placing in a skillet…shrimp, scallops, chicken, beef, and pork fillets. It improves the texture during cooking if the protein is dry when added to the pan. Trust me!
***Rocco’s recipe calls for sautéed broccoli rabe to be served with this shrimp, which really cuts down on the calories. Unfortunately, that’s not one of my favorites, and honestly, I really like a little starch. OOPSIE !! I think we have a winner here; and speaking of winners, Super Bowl LV is in 8 days…who’s going to win?
P to the S. I have a favorite! TB for history, just saying.

Taking it Easy Tuesday

We’ve all been cooking, shopping, wrapping…and all of this while sadly refraining from being with our family and closest friends. Yep; it’s a drag. So I’m giving you a wee little Tuesday pep up to help manage this unfortunate stress. As good as it gets, just got a bit better; no recipe hunting and easy on the cook! So just order delivery service from your local Trader Joe’s, and call it a day. (If your local Trader Joe’s doesn’t offer delivery service, Amazon will do it for you!)

This is my very favorite Fast and Furious supper. Butternut Squash Ravioli and Vodka Tomato Sauce. Cook according to package directions and top with grated Parmesan cheese. Zero to Sixty in 5.2 Package to mouth in 13 minutes!

Grape and Goat Cheese Bruschetta

I mean seriously, have you ever seen the cooking show Naughty and Delicious? There is a wonderful Brit gal that is as charming as the English countryside…for me, that means the city of London… I’ve been watching her for a while now and hoped to bump in to her on my three day layover in London last year! Alas, that didn’t happen. But to satisfy all of us until I do meet her, here’s a great easy on the cook Bruschetta, reminiscent of her.

Dodge those raindrops outside!Appetizer Grape Goat Cheese Bruschetta
1/2 small sourdough loaf, cut into six 1/2″ slices
1/4 cup olive oil
1 clove garlic, cut in half
1 1/2 cups red seedless grapes, cut in half lengthwise
1/2 cup green seedless grapes, cut in half lengthwise
6 fresh mint leaves
3/4 cup soft goat cheese, room temperature
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 lemon

Preheat oven to 400°.
Brush both sides of bread slices with oil.
Toast on middle rack 1 minute.
Turn and cook another minute until bread is crispy on both sides.
Rub each slice of hot bread with cut garlic clove as it comes out of the oven.

Add 3 Tbs oil to skillet over medium heat.
Add red grapes and sauté until warm and softened, about 3 minutes.
Add green grapes and toss just to warm. Remove to a bowl.

Add mint leaves to the hot oil and fry until crisp, 15 to 20 seconds.
Remove to paper towel to drain.

Spread goat cheese over one side of each piece of toast.
Top with mound of warm grapes.
Sprinkle with sea salt and pepper.
Top with a mint leaf.
Zest the lemon generously over each slice.

Caesar Crostini

Hello Hello and Happy “FRInally” to One and All! This is a post to make you, your taste buds, and your tummy smile. I bet you have all of this right at your fingertips. So go create a simple little weekend appetizer guaranteed to delight.

…Not to sound all broken record blah blah but please remember to wash your hands, wear your mask, and put your energy where it will multiply, not where it will be drained. You’re welcome for that little life hack! 😉
Appetizer Caesar Crostini II

French Baguette, sliced 1/2” thick
Olive oil for drizzling
1/2 cup Caesar salad dressing, divided
Romaine, chopped
1/4 cup shaved Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350°.
Place baguette slices on parchment lined baking sheet.
Drizzle with olive oil lightly.
Brush generously with Caesar dressing.
Toast 10 minutes, or until lightly browned.
Toss lettuce with remaining dressing.
Pile gently on each slice.
Top with shaved Parmesan.
Sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper.
Serve immediately.
Makes 12 thin appetizer slices.

Family Party Time!!!
Appetizer Caesar Crostini I

Strawberry Brunch/Tea Sandwiches

Brunch Strawberry Cream Cheese Tea Sandwiches.jpgYummy…All the Way Down the  Throat. No joke. This is a total software update for your palate…and speaking of which; it totally looks like the palette for a still life…calling Kristin!! Since strawberry season is in full swing here, I’m taking it straight to the kitchen. Hope that you do the same. With the marinade in this recipe, any strawberry will work if you live in an “off berry season”!

1 cup thinly slices strawberries
1 Tbs white balsamic vinegar
1 t honey
Pinch of salt and pepper
Vegetable cream cheese, room temperature (I prefer light)
Bunch baby arugula
8 slices white bread, edged, and cut in half

Toss together berries, balsamic, honey, and salt.
Let sit 30 minutes, then drain.
Spread cheese on all bread slices.
Season 8 bread halves with salt and pepper.
Layer strawberries across these halves.
Top with arugula.
Top with remaining bread slices.

Makes 8 tea sandwiches.

Apple, Brie, and Thyme Crostini

It’s a dance party on a piece of bread folks! It’s totally over the fence, sorta like Big Papi and his famous home runs.  And it’s simple. Listen. This is not a maybe; this is a MUST! From one of my new and all time favorites, The Love and Lemons Cookbook by Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Matthews. Here’s what you need:

8 slices Ciabatta bread
8 slices Brie
1 Honey Crisp apple
Olive oil, for drizzling
Sea salt
Fresh ground black pepper
Fresh thyme leaves, removed from sprigs
Honey, for drizzling (I use Matt and Judy’s local honey)

apple-brie-thyme-crostini

Preheat oven to 350°.
Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
Place ciabatta slices on baking sheet.
Top each with slice of brie, then 2 apple slices, and a drizzle of olive oil.
Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Bake 8 – 9 minutes until cheese melts and bread is toasted.
Remove from oven.
Top with thyme.
Drizzle with honey.

And then it turns out like this!

The combination of sweet, savory and “herby” is undeniably fantastic! Email me if you want to try Matt and Judy’s Beelicious Honey. I’ll hook you up with some. And they will ship as well. They make it right here in Pitt County from local bees. Yep. That’s right.

appetizer-apple-brie-thyme-crostini-ii

Chilled Corn Soup

Happy “After Labor Day”…which means fall IS coming and this heat will finally go away! As an appetizer feature at Peggy’s Mae Lew Farm Jubilee we served this yummy soup shooter! There is pure magic in these details. The rooster reminded us that we were on a farm, albeit, one glorious farm! Go grab some fresh white corn while it’s still available and make this great soup. It’s excellent for a light lunch as well. Use it people!

Soup Chilled Corn Chowder Shooters1 Tbs olive oil
1 clove garlic, peeled and smashed
2 green onions, white and tender green parts, chopped and separated
3/4 t ground coriander
3/4 t ground cumin
3/4 t chipotle chili powder
3 cups fresh corn kernels (if not available, use frozen white shoepeg corn, thawed)
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup water
1/2 t salt
1/4 cup chopped cilantro for garnish

Heat oil in skillet over medium-low heat.
Cook garlic, white parts of onion, coriander, cumin, and chili powder.
Stir until garlic and onions are tender, about 3 minutes.
Add corn and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 4 minutes.
Transfer mixture to blender.
Add buttermilk, water, and salt.
Purée until smooth.
Chill at least 1 hour.
Serve chilled, garnished with green parts of onion and cilantro.

Makes 6 – 8 lunch serving sized bowls.
Or 20 soup shooters.Soup Chilled Corn Chowder II

Cheese Please!

I adore cheese…and if it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right. So grab a mixture of sheep, cow, and goat cheese offerings. Serve it up with fresh seasonal fruits, dried apricots and cranberries, and a ginger snap or two. Crossing borders here with Humboldt Fog, a California goat milk cheese, followed up with Port Salut which is a semi-soft French cow’s milk cheese. Also served here is Brenton’s favorite, the semi-hard Manchego, made from the milk of sheep in the La Mancha region of her beloved Spain. For this particular tray, I rounded it out with a Dutch yellow cow’s milk Gouda. Rather spectacular. This presentation was for the umpteenth* one of my Mother’s 90th (XC) Birthday Jubilee Celebrations. Appetizer Cheese Tray

  • Umpteenth literally means an indefinitely large number in succession. And that’s precisely how she celebrated this special birthday, party after party. Kudos to her…and us for the endless prepping of said parties! Self patting self on back…yep, that’s what my dear sister-in-law Su-Su and I are doing now that, after three full months, the celebrations are complete. Flowers and more yummies later! And that’s a promise, ’cause I’m gonna improve your future outcomes!

Chocolate Drizzled Chips

Call your best friend! This is your childhood favorite ridged chip, all decked out in a little black chocolate dress. This has stood the test of snacking with girlfriends, couples, and even a five year old while playing go-fish. It’s a cinch to make, although you may not want to cinch that belt afterwards; it’s the weekend, do you really care?

Snack Chocolate Potato Chips

1 bag of ridged chips (due to their sturdiness)
1 1/2 cups milk chocolate morsels
1 Tbs instant Espresso powder

(Although you should omit the espresso if you are serving your children, unless you want them bouncing off the walls all night!)

Melt the chocolate in small sauce pan over low heat, stirring often.
Add espresso powder (if using).
Place chips on serving tray.
Drizzle melted chocolate with spoon over chips.

Alternatively, dip half of a chip in the pot of melted chocolate.
Shake off excess.
Place on parchment paper to cool.

Snack Chocolate Potato Chips II

Allow chocolate to cool and harden on chips.
This may take an hour.
If you just can’t wait to dig in, simply pop the tray in the fridge for 10 minutes.

Try to stay out of this oppressive heat, and have a great weekend!