Entries Tagged as 'appetizers'


June 29th, 2012 · 11 Comments

Chad has a crazy, crazy food dislike: tomatoes. 

I don’t understand it.  He’s ok with pizza, he’s ok with pasta sauce, but put a sliced tomato on anything?  Yuck.  He literally pulls them to the side, and I pick them off his plate.

Because to me, there’s nothing better than a gorgeous, bright, colorful summer tomato — I could eat nothing else all day.  The only thing that’s even better?  This gorgeous tomato-bread salad, tossed with a little oil, vinegar and some fresh basil.  Beautiful enough for a restaurant, simple enough for a weeknight dinner.  Does it get any better than that? 



2 pints cherry tomatoes, mixed red and yellow, cut in half
4 cups crusty bread (sourdough or french), cut into chunks the same size as the tomatoes
25 stems of fresh basil, torn into little pieces
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
Fleur de sel
Fresh ground pepper


Toast the bread for about 3 minutes, until just crispy on the outside.  Mix everything together and let marinate, covered, at room temperature for at least 30 minutes.  Serve.

Tags: appetizers · food · salads

asparagus tart

June 11th, 2012 · 8 Comments

This was originally one of the very first recipes I ever posted on Sugarlaws!  It’s such an easy one, and there’s a reason why so many of my friends have tried it on their own (even one this weekend!) — it’s incredibly simple, only takes a few minutes, and it’s foolproof for even the most beginner cook. 

And so beautiful!  I actually made this a few weeks ago and brought it over to a friend’s house for dinner — it was such a pretty, easy, last minute addition!  This weekend was SO busy doing stuff for our new house before we move, and I am flat-out exhausted.  I can’t believe how much there is to do — but it’s so exciting at the same time!

Asparagus Gruyere Tart

Flour, for rolling the puff pastry
1 sheet frozen puff pastry
1 tbsp olive oil
2 cups Gruyere cheese, shredded
1 pound asparagus
Coarse sea salt


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  On a floured surface, roll the puff pastry into a 16-by-10-inch rectangle. Trim uneven edges and place the pastry onto a baking sheet.  Using a fork, prick the dough at 1-inch intervals.

Trim the bottoms of the asparagus (they should snap off in your hands when bent).  Brush the puff pastry with olive oil and sprinkle with Gruyere.  Arrange the asparagus over the Gruyere. Sprinkle with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.  Bake for 30-35 minutes, allow to cool, and serve.

Adapted from Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food.

Tags: appetizers · food

salad on a stick

May 4th, 2012 · 4 Comments

So, some of you already know, but Chad and I got big news yesterday — we both passed the Texas Bar Exam!  Which is very fortunate, because I’m not sure I could have gone through it a second time.  I’m writing this post about two seconds before we meet up with some friends to celebrate, and mostly I’m just happy that the OMG-the-test-is-tomorrow-and-I-haven’t-studied nightmares will now cease.  Hopefully.

But coincidentally, this recipe has something to do with the bar exam (sort of).  A couple days after it ended, Chad and I headed out to the Rodeo, where I was introduced to the phenomenon of food on sticks in a big way.  Like, every food on earth on a stick. 

Like, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough On a Stick.

And once I was done scarfing that down, I thought of this recipe.  Because salad on a stick doesn’t quite have the same ring as fried chocolate chip cookie dough, but this was still really fun to make.  It’s an easy, healthy appetizer to serve for your family or friends — probably mostly with ingredients you already have in your kitchen!

Salad on a Stick

2 bell peppers, yellow and red, cut into 1″ square pieces
3 large ciabatta rolls, cut into 1″ squares and toasted
24 Pitted kalamata olives
Romaine Lettuce
Olive Oil
Balsamic Vinegar
24 wooden skewers


Roast the pieces of bell pepper on a sheet of tin foil at 400 degree for 15 minutes.  Allow to cool.

On each skewer, layer pieces of lettuce, pepper, olive, and toasted bread.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and drizzle with olive oil and vinegar.  Serve.

Tags: appetizers · food · salads

honey-glazed grilled watermelon

April 18th, 2012 · 16 Comments

So, it’s summer here — serious, full on summer with long hot days, light till 8 o’clock, and wearing shorts is practically mandatory on the weekends.  And I LOVE it. 

I love it so much that I’ve created this recipe for you would-be barbeque-ers out there!  I did these in a grill pan in our kitchen, but I cannot WAIT until we’re living in a house with a a real outdoors grill!  It’s no fun setting off the smoke detectors every time I try this. 

Coco hides under the bed when I get the grill pan out.  (Smart dog.)

You could easily serve this as a light appetizer or mix it into a salad, but these would also make an excellent healthy dessert!  There’s nothing better than fresh summer watermelon, is there?

honey-glazed grilled watermelon

8 slices seedless watermelon
2 tablespoons honey
Sea salt
Fresh ground pepper


Lightly sprinkle the watermelon wedges on both sides with the salt. Stand the watermelon wedges on their edges on a rack over a sink or pan and let them drain for half an hour.

Preheat the grill to high.  After the watermelon has drained, rinse each piece under cold running water. Place each piece between two folded paper towels and gently but firmly press to remove excess water.

Brush the watermelon lightly on both sides with the honey. Grill over high heat until grill marks have formed and the melon is slightly softened, about 5 minutes.  Remove from grill and sprinkle with sea salt and a little fresh ground pepper.

Tags: appetizers · desserts · food

strawberry balsamic tart

April 12th, 2012 · 15 Comments

This dish was tumbling around in my head after I saw an inspiration photo on Pinterest — and then combined it with the flavors in this recipe and this recipe, to come up with this tart!  I love the strawberry-balsamic combo, and this felt like the perfect way to make it into something a little prettier! 

There’s something so beautiful about a tart like this — it only takes a few minutes to pull it together, but it looks like you put a ton if time and effort into it!  I also love that this could double as an appetizer or a healthy dessert!

Strawberry Balsamic Tart

1 puff pastry crust (I used Pepperidge Farm)
1/3 cup strawberry preserves
1 pint strawberries, greens removed, sliced
10 small basil leaves
2 tsp balsamic vinegar


Defrost puff pastry and bake for 15 minutes at 400 degrees in a preheated oven.  Microwave the strawberry jam with 1 tsp of water for 30 seconds.  When the puff pastry comes out of the oven, brush it with the warm jam, leaving about 1 inch around the edges of the tart.  Layer the strawberries over the jam and add basil leaves as desired.  Drizzle 2 tsp of balsamic vinegar over the tart, and serve.

Tags: appetizers · desserts · food