Showing posts with label appetizers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label appetizers. Show all posts

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Mr. Right’s Smoked Fish Dip -- #recipe @LeslieBudewitz

LESLIE BUDEWITZ: Mr. Right loves smelly fish. This makes him enormously popular with the cat, aka Mr. Kitten. I, on the other hand, can take it or leave it. That’s okay—boys need their bonding experiences, and enjoying a can of sardines or a bite of smoked salmon together is good for the male psyche.

But then the packages began arriving.

Mr. Right keeps close ties with several high school friends. One—who shall remain nameless—is actually referred to in our house as He Who Shall Remain Nameless, because of his tendency to show up on short notice mere days, or in one case, 20 minutes, after his name comes up in conversation, despite living several hundred miles away.

These days, Nameless lives in Eastern Washington taking care of his elderly father. By that I mean they fish. They get in the camper, drive across the valley, and fish. Or they drive across the state, or around the West, and fish. Nameless smokes those fish, mainly trout. And then he packs them up, freezes them, and sends little padded envelopes full of smoked fish to us.

To both Mr. Right’s surprise and mine, I love it. Especially in this dip, which Mr. Right created to showcase the newest batch, smoked over cherry wood. (Nameless is working out a maple-smoked process for the next catch.) While we used the smoked trout, this dip would also work beautifully with salmon, or any other smoked fish. Although we haven’t tried it yet with a dash or two of cayenne or smoked paprika, we think it would be tasty.

I’m sure Nameless would approve. In fact, I think I hear a truck and camper in the driveway...

Mr. Right’s Smoked Fish Dip

8 ounces cream cheese, softened
4 ounces sour cream
½ to 1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 green onions, chopped
4 ounces smoked fish, chopped

Mix the cream cheese, sour cream, and lemon juice until smooth and well-blended. Stir in the chopped onions and fish.

Serve with crackers or toasted slices of baguette. Eat and enjoy!

From the cover of TREBLE AT THE JAM FEST, Food Lovers' Village Mystery #4 (Midnight Ink, June 8, 2017):  

Erin Murphy, manager of Murphy’s Mercantile (aka the Merc), is tuning up for Jewel Bay’s annual Jazz Festival. Between keeping the Merc’s shelves stocked with Montana’s tastiest local fare and hosting the festival’s kick-off concert, Erin has her hands full.

Discord erupts when jazz guitarist Gerry Martin is found dead on the rocks above the Jewel River. The one-time international sensation had fallen out of sync with festival organizers, students, and performers. Was his death an accident?or did someone even the score?

Despite the warning signs to not get involved, Erin investigates. And when the killer attacks, she orchestrates her efforts into one last crescendo, hoping to avoid a deadly finale.

Leslie Budewitz is the author of the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries and the Spice Shop Mysteries—and the first author to win Agatha Awards for both fiction and nonfiction. The past president of Sisters in Crime, she lives in northwest Montana with her husband, a musician and doctor of natural medicine, and their cat, an avid bird-watcher.

Swing by my website and join the mailing list for my seasonal newsletter. And join me on Facebook where I announce lots of giveaways from my cozy writer friends.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Italian Easter Pie Palmiers: Little Heart-Shaped Quiches by Cleo Coyle

Every year at Pasqua, my beloved Aunt Mary would make an Italian Easter Pie. Her version of this rustic pie was amazing to me because it was so satisfying yet so simple. She called it a "pizza," but Americans would recognize it as closer to a white calzone.

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She would fill her rustic Easter pie with ricotta; diced ham; fresh parsley (always fresh!); strong, grated Italian cheese; and raw eggs for binding. She'd mix up a delicious, slightly sweet dough using just her hands on a big bread board. Then she'd roll our the dough, mound in the filling, fold over the dough, seal it, and bake it. After it was baked and chilled (yes, chilled!), we would cut thin slices and eat it at all hours, for breakfast, lunch, snacks, as an appetizer before dinner, or a savory dessert after.

My Aunt
Mary Capaccio
I greatly miss my Aunt Mary. She came to the USA from Italy with my mother. During my childhood, she lived with us and was like a second mother to me and my sister. Aunt Mary passed away over ten years ago, and I still yearn for all the wonderful foods she made for our family. Although I do try to duplicate her recipes, it's the cooking from her heart that I miss the most.

That's why I am once again sharing this Easter recipe with you today, which folds all the flavors of her Easter Pie into a little palmier. The French palmier (a cookie made of sugar-dusted puff pastry) is actually named after a palm leaf, but the shape reminds me more of a heart and that seemed just perfect for my memory of Aunt Mary and her Easter Pie. 

I can also testify that a bite of this palmier (after it is baked and chilled) will give you an almost identical taste to what my aunt made every Easter.

Buona Pasqua, Aunt Mary!

Happy Easter, everyone!

~ Cleo

To download this recipe 
in a free PDF document 
that you can print, save, 
or share, click here.

Cleo Coyle's Italian 

Easter Pie Palmiers

Little Heart-Shaped Quiches

Makes 10 savory palmiers

Serve as an appetizer or snack; taste can be compared to a quiche.


1 cup ricotta cheese (whole milk)
2 tablespoons grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1/2 cup flat leaf Italian parsley (fresh!), finely chopped down to 1/4 c.
1 sheet of Pepperidge Farm puff pastry (or 10 x 10-inch homemade)
1 egg, lightly beaten
5 thin slices of good quality ham or prosciutto


Step 1: Mix the filling - In a small bowl, mix the ricotta, grated Romano, and finely chopped fresh parsley. (I just use a good handful, which is about 1/2 cup. When you chop it finely, the volume measure goes down to 1/4 cup.) This filling should be very well mixed--be sure to work in all of the grated cheese and parsley. Set aside in the fridge to keep it cold.

Step 2: Prepare the pastry - Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. The paper is mandatory. Not only will it help prevent your palmiers from scorching on your pan's hot spots, it will help you fold the puff pastry when the time comes. Lay the puff pastry out on the parchment paper. Use your favorite recipe or go with the Pepperidge Farm frozen puff pastry sheets. If you've never used these before, see the photo below...

Two folded sheets of puff pastry come in one package. Take out one sheet and allow it to thaw about 30 minutes (or you can cheat and microwave it on low for no more than 10 seconds to thaw it slightly). Now unfold the dough. If there are any cracks, wet your finger and press the dough together to mend it. TIP: Handle the dough as little as possible and keep it cold during the assembly process by returning it to the fridge to re-chill.

Step 3: Brush and layer - Lightly beat the egg and brush it over the entire sheet of puff pastry. Then mound the ricotta cheese mixture onto the egg-washed pastry. Use a rubber spatula or the back of a spoon to smooth the filling into an even layer. Now lay your thin slices of ham (or prosciutto) over the top layer of ricotta and fold.

Step 4: Fold - You want to fold this 10 x 10-inch sheet like a letter, into thirds, and then a final time so that the two folded layers are stacked. I like to use the parchment paper to lift and fold, which prevents my hands from warming the puff pastry.

Step 5: Chill and slice - Chill the dough for at least 20 minutes and then cut into 1-inch slices. 

WARNING: The chilling is necessary for the best result. If the dough is warm, it will begin to give and bend as you cut it, and you're palmiers will not hold their pretty shapes. Set the slices on their sides, leaving room between each to allow space for expansion while baking.

Step 6 - Bake and cool - Bake 15 to 20 minutes in an oven that is well pre-heated to 400 degrees F. The Easter Pie Palmiers are done when the pastry has puffed and turned golden brown. Remove the pan from the oven and allow the palmiers to cool a bit before carefully transferring to a rack. Allow these savory goodies to cool to room temperature before eating. If you want to experience the true taste of a traditional Italian Easter Pie, then chill these a bit in the fridge, take them out, with joy! Love, Cleo

To download this recipe
in a free PDF document,
click here, and...

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Happy Easter, Everyone!

~ Cleo Coyle

New York Times bestselling author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries 

Alice and Marc in Central Park. 
Together we write as Cleo Coyle. 

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