Entries Tagged as 'appetizers'

roasted garlic spread

July 22nd, 2011 · 13 Comments

When I first started this blog back in 2007, this was one of the first recipes I put up.  (My food photography skills had a long way to go, as you can see here… yikes!)

Funny story: for a while I was on this kick where I’d eat three garlic cloves per day, sauteed in various dishes or just like this.  I love, love, love garlic, and I can eat a ton of it before I get even remotely sated.  It’s incredibly good for you, I thought, so why not?

I’ll tell you why not.  I was sitting in a car with my parents at one point, talking about all these dishes I’d been cooking up.  And my dad goes, “something in this car smells very strongly of garlic.”

And I had to be like, “Um, dad?  That’s probably ME.”

So, after that, I cut back a little bit on the garlic.  If you eat this every day, I can attest to the fact that garlic will start coming out of your pores. 

But every once in a while?  Then it’s just delicious.

Roasted Garlic Spread


1 head of garlic
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Fleur de sel
Freshly cracked black pepper
6-7 baguette slices


Preheat oven to 450 degrees. 

Slice off the top of the garlic head, leaving each clove slightly exposed.  Drizzle garlic with 1 tbsp olive oil, and sprinkle with salt. 

Wrap garlic in tin foil, and roast for 30 minutes.  Remove garlic from oven, pick cloves out of their shells, and place them in a small bowl.  Add 2 tsbp olive oil and mash cloves with a fork, and then spread on baguette slices.  Sprinkle with additional salt and freshly cracked pepper.  Serve.

Serves 1-2.

Tags: appetizers · food

best homemade guacamole

July 6th, 2011 · 14 Comments

I love guacamole. 

In fact, the word ‘love’ might not be strong enough.  I’m enthralled, enraptured and a little bit obsessed with this recipe, in no small part because it’s one of the best-tasting good-for-you snacks I can imagine.  Avocados are full of healthy fats, and guacamole is basically just a combination of a few simple, fresh ingredients, tossed and served up.  It doesn’t get much yummier than that.

A few tips on storing guacamole without the avocados turning brown — first, don’t make this until the last possible minute.  But if you have to make it ahead (or, even more rarely, if this doesn’t get eaten in one sitting), save the pits and store them in the same container.  Rub some saran wrap with a little bit of lemon juice, and cover the top of the guacamole that would otherwise be exposed to the air, and then add an airtight lid. 

And on day two, throw this on some tortilla chips, add some sour cream and cheese, and viola — nachos!

Best Homemade Guacamole


2 ripe avocados
1 shallot, minced
1 plum tomato, seeds and pulp removed, chopped
2 tablespoons cilantro leaves, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Freshly grated black pepper


Cut avocados in half and remove the pit.  Scoop the flesh of the avocado into a mixing bowl.  Add the chopped onion, cilantro, tomatoes, lime juice, salt and pepper and mash with a fork until chunky and mixed.  Serve with chips or chopped veggies.

Tags: appetizers · food · salads

burrata, basil and tomato salad

June 23rd, 2011 · 5 Comments

Have you guys tried burrata yet? 

The answer is probably yes — this creamy, delicate mozzarella has been popping up on menus for the past year or two in really excellent restaurants, and it’s spread like wildfire. 

Which, of course, is because it’s one of the best cheeses I’ve ever tasted.  And I do not say that lightly.

I’ve never been much of a fan of mozzarella — the key ingredient in a million fast food pizza places across the country has never held much of a culinary interest to me. 

But burrata is something else entirely — more like a creamy, rich cheese than a hearty mozzarella, this is worth trying even if you’ve never been interested in anything on the pizza spectrum.  All you need are some fresh mid-summer tomatoes, and this dish is an absolute dream. 

Burrata, Basil and Tomato Salad

4 vine-ripened tomatoes
8 ounces burrata, outer layer stripped away
10 leave basil, julienned
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp aged balsamic vinegar
Sea salt
Fresh ground pepper

Slice tomatoes into 1/4″ strips.  Arrange two tomatoes each on two appetizer-sized plates and top with burrata.  Sprinkle fresh julienne-ed basil over the salad, and drizzle with olive oil and vinegar.  Grind sea salt and pepper over the salad and serve.

Serves 2.

Tags: appetizers · food · salads

crab and avocado salad

May 30th, 2011 · 13 Comments

A few weekends ago, Chad and I were feeling adventurous on a Friday night, and decided to try someplace kind of trendy for dinner.  We stopped into one of our usual special-occasion spots on the way home, only to find that they were completely full for the rest of the night.

So we tried a total longshot: Minetta Tavern, the Keith McNally restaurant that was one of the last spots that Frank Bruni rated before stepping down as the restaurant critic for the New York Times.  For as long as I can remember, it’s been the type of spot you have to call a full month in advance to get a reservation at, and even then, you’ll probably be eating dinner at 5 or 11 pm.

But for some reason, I was feeling lucky.  Rumor has it that Minetta Tavern keeps a few tables open for walk-ins, and we figured it couldn’t hurt to ask.  And to our (incredible) surprise, they led us to a fabulous table the second we walked in.

The meal was fabulous, but we both agreed that the best part was the crab, avocado and grapefruit salad that we shared as a starter.  It was so good that I found myself craving it afterwards, and I decided to try to recreate the same dish at home.  I accidentally left out one important ingredient (hearts of palm) because I forgot to pick them up in the grocery store, and the restaurant version used delicious baby watercress and chives as the garnish, not parsley, but I think overall, this came pretty close.  Which is good, because I’ll probably never pull of that kind of restaurant coup again.

Crab and Avocado Salad

1 grapefruit
1/4 pound jumbo lump crabmeat
1 avocado
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Sea Salt
Ground Pepper
Parsley, watercress, or chives, as a garnish

Cut the grapefruit in half, and section it horizontally.  Peel or cut away the rind.  Reserve 1tbsp grapefruit juice.  Cut the avocado into thin slices.

Whisk together the grapefruit juice, olive oil, a pinch of salt and some freshly ground pepper.  Arrange the avocado slices on two plates, top with the grapefruit sections, and then the crabmeat.  Drizzle with the dressing, and serve.

Serves two.

Tags: appetizers · food · salads

corn and jalapeno salad

April 30th, 2011 · 11 Comments

Ok, so, I’m officially that girl who got up at six in the morning to watch William and Kate tie the knot yesterday (and then got home at 7:30 pm and watched the whole thing all over again, not even kidding).  And I wasn’t even remotely disappointed — everything was a beautiful as I expected.  I’ll admit, though, I’m a little bit of a wedding sap — I don’t think I’ve ever been to one without crying! 

And on a fashion note… I wonder if hats will make a comeback this year?  All those crazy fascinators, part of me kind of wants one!

But on to more important things — like this recipe!  The weather finally took a turn for the better this week in NYC, and I celebrated by breaking out the sundresses and LOTS of fresh veggies.  This spicy, healthy salad is perfect if you’re looking to be bathing-suit-ready in a month or so, or just if you’re looking for something quick and delicious!

Corn and Jalapeno Salad

2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp champagne vinegar
1 tsp lemon juice
3 cups fresh corn kernels (from about 3 ears), boiled for about 5 minutes
1 plum tomato, diced
1 shallot, peeled and diced
2 jalapeno peppers (use only one if you want it mildly spicy)
1 small can water chestnuts (available in asian sections of grocery stores)

Slice the jalapeno peppers in half.  If you prefer a less spicy salad, remove the seeds from the peppers.  Cut the peppers into thin slices.  Drain the water from the water chestnuts can and dice them as well.  Toss together the corn, tomato, shallot, peppers, water chestnuts.  Add the olive oil, vinegar and lemon juice, plus any salt and pepper, and toss again.  Serve.

Tags: appetizers · food · salads