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

Sunday, October 23, 2016

SPOOKY Carrot Eyes for #Halloween #recipe @LucyBurdette

LUCY BURDETTE: Supposing you're having a Halloween party, or maybe even better you're going to one, but you're supposed to bring something spooky. And maybe it's not supposed to be a sweet. 
Then this recipe is for you. In fact, it's so easy that you may say Lucy, that's what you call a recipe?? But let me tell you, my taste testers thought it was both adorable and delicious.
Ingredients for spooky carrot eyes

Whipped cream cheese
Sliced black olives
Onion powder to taste
White pepper to taste

The amounts of the above will depend on how many of these you are making.
To serve three people before lunch, I used one carrot, one large tablespoon of cream cheese, and a dash of the onion powder and white pepper. If you're making a bigger plate of "eyes", simply double or triple the amounts.

Wash and scrape the carrots and cut them into rounds, probably about half inch thickness will work best. Mix the cream cheese with the seasonings (and feel free to substitute other favorites if you prefer.)

Top each carrot round with a dollop of the cream cheese mixture and place a black olive "eye" on top. That's it! Refrigerate until serving.

And if the carrots don't float your boat, how about pumpkins stuffed with cornbread, leeks, and bacon?

Or Cornmeal Pumpkin Pound Cake?

 Lucy writes the Key West food critic mysteries--her Key West Halloween book is called KILLER TAKEOUT.  Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram!

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Easy cheese platter ideas from author @AveryAames

Featured: smoked Gouda, sharp white Cheddar,
and sharp orange Cheddar.
HAPPY ALMOST NEW YEAR!!!! Will you be partying? Going out of having people in? No matter what, you want easy, don't you? Think buffet. Think finger food. And say cheese!  [I'm in cheese mood right now. I've got a new Cheese Shop Mystery #7 FOR CHEDDAR OR WORSE to be released in 4 weeks. Count 'em. 4!] So cheese is on my mind.

The ease of a cheese platter is something so wonderful. All it takes is your own creativity, a great plate, some good cheese.

Think variety when you're putting together a cheese platter. Variety of color (orange, white, yellow, red rims).  Variety of texture (creamy, hard, hole-y, gritty). Variety of shapes (round, square, triangles, cubes).

And then think what you want the accompaniment to be: sweet, savory, salty. 

There is NO right or wrong. 

If you have a cheese monger to go to, great. Ask her for advice. If you don't, go to the store and pick with your eyes. Choose what appeals to you. 

By the way, do not be a cheese snob. Let's face it, sometimes budget is an issue. There are some great Cheddars, Swiss, and Monterey Jack cheeses that are extremely reasonable in price. 

If you want to, add a label or two to your cheeses, but it's not necessary so long as you remember what they are. However, make sure, if you do have guests, that you taste the cheeses first so you can tell them what each cheese tastes like.  

And - this is just from me - remember to consider your gluten-free guests. They can probably eat the cheese, but not the crackers (unless you have gluten-free), so I like to keep them separate. (*see topmost photo)

If you have lactose-intolerant friends, do your best to have other choices for their snacks, but hard cheeses are usually "good" for an intolerant person, in limited amounts.

And get this, there are even vegan cheeses! I've not tried any (sorry to say) but I hear popular brands include: Cheezly, Daiya, Teese, and Tofutti. 

Whatever you do, enjoy. Have a glass of wine (or champagne or water, both of which go with all cheese) and savor the delight!!
Yes, that's chocolate paired with cheese!

Also, remember, you can always find other appetizers and platters I've shared on MLK on my website: APPETIZERS.

Savor the mystery and say cheese!

Daryl Wood Gerber aka Avery Aames
Tasty ~ Zesty ~ Dangerous!

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Thursday, August 20, 2015

Easiest Antipasto Ever #recipe @LucyBurdette

LUCY BURDETTE: You may have heard me say that my husband and I belong to a supper club with five other couples. Every 6 to 8 weeks, we make a date to get together for dinner. The hosts provide the main dish (meat, fish, chicken, etc) and the others provide some designated part of the dinner. It's a good way to ensure we all see each other, without burdening anyone with too much entertaining. We had a dinner recently in the middle of a very busy stretch for me. My hub and I were designated the appetizer crew and I had big plans to marinate a lot of vegetables and make some wonderful dips, too.

As can happen, I simply didn't have time to cook. I considered a platter of cheese and crackers--boring! Instead I went to one of my favorite farm shops and the farmer's market, and here's what I came up with. 

Isn't it pretty? I'm going to list the ingredients for you, but the point is, there are a million ways to make this and none of them are wrong!


1 pint fresh figs
4 to 5 carrots
Kalamata or other olives
Parmesan cheese
Stick of good salami 
Purchased dip (Mine was a pesto/feta dip from the farmer's market)

Wash the figs and cut them in half lengthwise. Peel the carrots and cut them into sticks. Slice the cheese and meat into bite-sized pieces. That's it! Arrange everything on a pretty plate and serve with a basket of your favorite crackers.

Just for fun, here are a few of the other recipes I've made for supper club:

Grilled skewers of shrimp and sausage with grits
David Lebovitz's French Onion and Olive flatbread
Pomegranate, Olive, and Walnut salad
Pimento cheese, two ways

FATAL RESERVATIONS is on bookshelves now!

And you can follow Lucy on Facebook,



and Instagram!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Death and the Watermelon Appetizer by Cleo Coyle

For centuries, Italians have eaten fresh melons paired with prosciutto or another cured, salty meat. Though the combination is delicious, this was not a culinary tradition so much as a dietary precaution with a very long history.


In the hot summer of 1471, Pope Paul II dined on a refreshing meal of sliced cantaloupes, and he promptly dropped dead. Though the Pontiff likely perished of a massive coronary, congestione was blamed—stomach distress. 

The physicians decided that the pope's death must have been caused by eating three melons at a single sitting.

The news caused panic, but fortunately for melon farmers (and ultimately for us) Medieval medicine discovered a culinary "cure," and the Italian diet was changed forever.

To this day, folklore has it that if a cold food like melon is not balanced by a hot food like a spicy meat, the results could be deadly. The body might become chilled and one might risk a bout of indigestion, or even the dreaded congestione!

Cleo Coyle has a partner in 
crime-writing—her husband.
Learn about their books
by clicking here or here.

Of course modern medicine debunks this notion, but the paring of melon and meat has stuck around because, well, it’s tasty. And refreshing. 

So why am I bringing you this tale today? Because it's the start of summer, time for tasty and refreshing this one.

Last summer, Marc and I learned about a hot, young executive chef (very young, age 19!) who was packing a Hamptons' restaurant with his culinary flare. His pairing of watermelon with pork belly as an amuse-bouche was not a wholly original idea, but it sounded like a delicious one to us.

We didn't have pork belly (i.e., uncured bacon) on hand, but we had cured bacon (close enough), so we sliced up some sizzling strips into bite-sized pieces and affixed them with toothpicks to juicy chunks of watermelon.

Sweet-savory heaven!

Bacon and Watermelon Appetizer

A quick culinary hack of a young
Hamptons' chef's amuse-bouche...

The salty, crisp bacon and sweet, juicy melon are a combination to die for. And if you're a superstitious Italian, they may just prevent that untimely end!

We highly recommend it for a fun, refreshing, and slightly different summer appetizer. Try it, your guests will thank you!

And how about that bacon?

A BLT with fresh garden tomatoes is also a summer treat to savor, but sweating over a hot stove top is no joy at all. My solution is one many of you may already employ yourselves. I bake my bacon in the oven, and it comes out beautifully every time. To see a past post on how I do it click above or click here. And...

May you...

Eat with summer joy!

~ Cleo Coyle

New York Times bestselling author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries 

Friend me on facebook here. * Follow me on twitter here
Learn about my books here

The Coffeehouse Mysteries are bestselling
works of amateur sleuth fiction set in a landmark
Greenwich Village coffeehouse, and each of the
14 titles includes the added bonus of recipes. 

* * *

Once Upon a Grind:
A Coffeehouse Mystery

* A Best Book of the Year
Reviewer's Pick - King's River Life 

* Top Pick! ~ RT Book Reviews 
* Fresh Pick ~ Fresh Fiction 
* A Mystery Guild Selection

Delicious recipes are also featured in our 14th 
culinary mystery, Once Upon a Grind, including...

* Cinderella Pumpkin Cake 
* Snow White Chocolate Mocha 
* "Fryer Tuck's" Ale-Battered Onion Rings 
* Poor Man's Caviar * Black Forest Brownies 
* Cappuccino Blondies 
* Shrimp Kiev * Turkish Coffee
* Bosnian Coffee 
* Dr Pepper Glazed Chicken 
* Caramel-Dipped Meltaways 
* Silver Dollar Chocolate Chip Cookies

...and many more recipes, including 
a guide to reading coffee grinds...

See the book's
Recipe Guide (free PDF)

* * * 

Marc and I also write
The Haunted Bookshop Mysteries

Get a free title checklist, 
with mini plot summaries, 

Or learn more about the 
books and meet Jack Shepard, 
our PI ghost by clicking here.

Sign up for our Coffeehouse Newsletter here.
(Recipes, contests, videos, fun info)

After you subscribe, an auto-reply will send 
you a link to several past newsletters.

Thanks for stopping by the Kitchen! 

~ Cleo

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Bourbon Hot Dogs from The Unemployed Cookbook via author Cleo Coyle

After my dear dad passed away last year, I received some of his things. Among them was this blast from the past...

Cooking on Extended Benefits: 

The Unemployed Cookbook. 

The book was put together by volunteers in the Western Pennsylvania area during the deep recession of the 1970s. 

Old joke:

What's the difference between
a Recession and a Depression?

A Recession is when
some other guy loses his job.
A Depression is when I lose mine!

So anyway, while national stats ran to 9% or so unemployment in the mid-1970s, regional stats were appalling. Some towns in our Mon Valley area were registering up to 50% unemployment. Families used to working hard and paying bills on time were now accepting blocks of government cheese and using food banks.

Worst of all, men and women who had decent-paying jobs not only lost them, they fell off the grid. After their unemployment ran out, nobody counted them anymore. Some would never be employed again. Some would find work, but the new jobs would pay them far less that the old ones. 

Recovery? Not a good recovery for them. But that's a song this country has heard before: Eddie Cantor performed the brilliantly ironic lyrics during The Great Depression.

Feeding the Community

As for this cookbook, it was created to raise money for the Mon Valley Food Bank. It was also distributed to families to help them with ideas for cooking at home and eating economical meals. It was done with good humor and good grace, and I'll always cherish it.

Below is a recipe from the book, 

so let's get cooking!

Shockingly tasty...

Cleo Coyle has a partner in
crime-writing—her husband.
Learn about their books
by clicking here and here.

Bourbon Hot Dog Bites

Marc and I have seen versions of this dish around the inter-web, but the recipe predates the digital domain. Given that it was in my late father's  Unemployed Cookbook, it's at least 40 years old. 

It's also shockingly tasty. Seriously. We could not stop popping these babies into our mouths.

We did tweak the original recipe, adding dry mustard for better complexity of flavor. We used dark brown sugar instead of light brown for the same reason. And if you're serving these at a party, we suggest using a little slow cooker to keep the bourbon bites warm throughout the evening. 

Finally, we're sharing our bright idea of using pretzel sticks instead of the usual toothpicks or cocktail forks to spear them. That little bit of salty crunch with the sweet bourbon bite certainly had us eating with joy. 

We hope you enjoy it, too...

~ Cleo

For a free, illustrated PDF
of this recipe that you can
print, save, or share, click here.

Click me.

Adapted by Cleo Coyle 
from The Unemployed Cookbook


1 pound of your favorite hot dogs*
1 cup ketchup (we use Heinz Natural)
1 cup bourbon** (we use Jim Beam)
1 teaspoon dry mustard (our addition)
1 cup brown sugar (we suggest dark brown)

*Note 1: This recipe is delicious with beef or pork hot dogs, as well as Brats and cocktail meatballs.

**Note 2: The original recipe suggested that if 1 cup bourbon is too rich for your household, use 1/2 cup bourbon and 1/2 cup fruity red wine.


Step 1 - Cut both ends off each hot dog, slice cut each wiener into five, 1/2-inch pieces. Set aside.

Step 2 - In a large skillet or saute pan, combine ketchup and bourbon and bring to a boil. As the mixture cooks, add dry mustard and dark brown sugar. Simmer for about 5 minutes and then...

Step 3 - Add your sliced hot dogs (or Brats or cocktail meatballs). When the mixture boils, lower the heat and simmer for 12 to 15 minutes. Serve warm...

SERVING NOTE: Instead of the usual toothpicks or cocktail forks, Marc and I like to serve these with pretzel sticks. That salty crunchy flavor with the sweet bourbon bite is outstanding.

Click here for the
free recipe PDF, and...

Eat with joy!

~ Cleo Coyle

New York Times bestselling author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries

Yes, this is me, Cleo (aka Alice). 
Friend me on facebook here.
Follow me on twitter here
Learn about our books here.

☕ ☕ ☕

The Coffeehouse Mysteries
are a bestselling series of 
amateur sleuth
murder mysteries set in a landmark
Greenwich Village coffeehouse,
and each of the 
14 titles includes
the added bonus of recipes. 

Get a Free Title Checklist
(with mini plot summaries)
clicking here.

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by signing up for my free E-newsletter,
Simply write an e-mail that says
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