Weekend Party Trick: 60-second appetizer

November 20, 2009


The challenge: make a great looking appetizer that tastes fantastic in less time than it takes to wiggle into your party clothes.

The solution: Fruit and Nut topped Camembert

1 wheel Camembert or Brie cheese
Liquid honey
1 handful Back to Nature Raisins, Almonds, Pumpkin Seeds, Pecans and Apricots blend

Place the cheese on a platter and drizzle with some honey. Mound some of the trail mix on top. Drizzle with a bit more honey and serve with grapes, apple slices and crackers.

Need a wine match? Try an off-dry Riesling for white drinkers or a light, fruity pinot noir for a red choice. Can’t decide between red or white? Prosecco is a great match, too!

Now that you’ve seen my favourite party trick, tell me about yours!


Easiest appetizer ever

July 15, 2009


I admit it. I’m hooked again. This time it isn’t a tangy Asian-inspired slaw or a wanton lasagna that I’m enticed to make over and over. No, my new passion is so very, very simple that it’s almost not a recipe at all. And, it’s that very fact that makes me love it so! I’ve made this new favourite twice in the last week — that’s how easy and how delicious this concoction is!

I’m talking about the easiest. Summertime. Appetizer. Ever. Specifically, a watermelon and feta cheese plate.

All you need to do is cube equal amounts of watermelon and real Greek (i.e. sheep’s milk) feta. Arrange them on a plate and drizzle the cheese with some great extra virgin olive oil and then sprinkle over lots of cracked black pepper. That’s it. That’s all.

Feeling fancy? Cut the melon into wedges and crumble the cheese over top and continue with the oil and pepper as directed. See, even the fancy version is easy.

Do you have a super easy appetizer that makes you look and feel like a gourmet rockstar?

Easiest gourmet appetizer ever

December 26, 2008


Photo courtesy of Patchwork Pate.


Tired of turkey?  Fatigued by cooking for family?  Still inundated with social obligations but sadly out of savvy ideas for impressing?  No worriesCharcuterie platters are all the rage this holiday season and the good news is that you don’t have to be a great cook to get in on this hot entertaining trend.

Like a cheese board, the success of a charcuterie platter depends on making good choices at the grocery store. Sure you can be like my husband Martin and make your own lamb sausage, but you can just as easily buy fabulous cooked sausages, pates and cured meats from a store.

When creating a charcuterie platter, be sure to choose a range of flavours, textures and types of meat. Ideally you’ll want smoky, spicy and aromatic (i.e. herbs, truffles) flavoured options as well as a range of textures from chewy dry cured chorizo to velvety smooth pates.

Likewise, opt for artisan and natural products versus mass produced cured meats to avoid cloying artificial flavours, unnecessary fillers and other nasty stuff.

What’s your favourite charcuterie platter option? Do you pine for pate de foie gras, or go bonkers over balotta ham?

An easy appetizer for the weekend

March 20, 2008

Naan toast

I mentioned our scotch-tasting party in Monday’s post. Although Martin had the meal figured out in advance, we realized — just before our guests arrived — that we hadn’t thought about appetizers. Given that people were coming mid-afternoon to drink scotch, it seemed imperative to offer a substantial nosh that could sop up the booze and help our guests stay standing for dinner.

Enter my trusted supply of make-ahead caramelized onions. Since time was short and our menu featured lamb curry, coconut-zucchini curry and basmati rice, I picked up a few packages of Naan bread at the grocery store, covered it in a thick swath of thawed caramelized onions and a generous amount of shredded extra old cheddar cheese. I cranked the oven to 400F (200C) and popped in my concoction. Voila! I had a hearty appetizer prepared in less than 20 minutes (fortunately, I live close to the store!).

So, if this weekend you find yourself needing an appetizer to appease your Easter feasters while they await the ham and scalloped potatoes, feel free to fall back on this easy idea. You’ll find the directions for making caramelized onions in my original post.

Tell me about the instant appetizer that saved the day when you needed a last-minute offering for guests by replying in the comments section below.