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Category Archives: Appetizers

Recipe: Jalapeño Popper Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Jalapeño Popper Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Jalapeño Popper Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

 

Is there a better comfort food than a great grilled cheese sandwich? Maybe. I think fried chicken and macaroni and cheese come pretty close. During a recent football party, I put together a grilled cheese menu and this one, the Jalapeño Popper Grilled Cheese Sandwich, was my favorite.

Jalapeño Popper Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Assembling the Jalapeño Popper Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

This grilled cheese uses Cheddar, cream cheese, jalapeño strips (all the ingredients in a jalapeño popper) and bacon. Why hasn’t anyone thought to add bacon to jalapeño poppers? That’s a mystery. Anyway, this is super easy to make and quick.

Ingredients:

  • 2 jalapeños, seeded and cut into strips
  • 4 slices cooked bacon, crumbled
  • 10-12 pieces of nice crusty bread, cut along the bias
  • 4 TBSP cream cheese
  • 4 TBSP salted butter, melted
  • 1/2 pound sharp Cheddar cheese, sliced
Jalapeño Popper Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Unsalted butter is a necessity when grilling sandwiches.

Directions:

  1. Preheat a panini press, griddle, grill or skillet.
  2. Spread cream cheese on one slice of bread.
  3. On another, place two slices of Cheddar cheese.
  4. Lay three or four jalapeño strips on the cream cheese side.
  5. Sprinkle bacon on top of cream cheese side.
  6. Place cheddar cheese side, cheese down on top of the cream cheese side.
  7. Brush melted butter on top of sandwich and place buttered side down on the panini press.
  8. Brush top side with melted butter.
  9. Shut panini press and grill four to five minutes or until Cheddar cheese is melted. Alternately, flip sandwich after two or three minutes if using a griddle, grill or skillet.
  10. Cut in half then serve.
Jalapeño Popper Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Use a panini press to make the perfect grilled cheese sandwich.

You may think this Jalapeño Popper Grill Cheese Sandwich recipe is spicy, but to me, fresh jalapeños aren’t too spicy. Especially, when compared to pickled jalapeños. The peppers give the sandwich a nice crunch.

Be sure to pick a nice bread that won’t fall apart. I used a jalapeño-Cheddar bread from my local Whole Foods and it was perfect. Try this sandwich next time you need some good ‘ol fashioned comfort food.

 
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Posted by on June 7, 2017 in Appetizers, Cookin', Entrees, Recipes

 

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Recipe: Boudin Egg Rolls

Boudin Egg Rolls

Boudin Egg Rolls

 

One of my favorite things about cooking is the opportunity to fuse ethnic dishes. In this case, it’s the Chinese egg roll and Cajun boudin into Boudin Egg Rolls. I call it Casian cuisine. And man, are they good.

I used boudin straight from Lafayette, but the store-bought kind will probably work as well. In my opinion, the smokier you can find, the better.

Boudin Egg Rolls

Boudin + Egg Rolls = Deliciousness

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup chili oil
  • 1 1/2 lb. boudin
  • 10 egg roll wrappers

Directions:

    1. In a Dutch oven or other heavy-bottomed pot, heat oils to 350F over medium-high heat.
Boudin Egg Rolls

Serve Boudin Egg Rolls with Creole mustard and/or pepper jelly

  1. Remove the boudin from the casing.
  2. Finely chop up casing and add to boudin. NOTE: Adding the casings back in is optional.
  3. Place 2 TBSP boudin in center of each egg roll wrapper.
  4. Wrap from bottom up and then fold the sides in and top down.
  5. Fry until golden brown on all sides.
  6. Drain on paper towels.
  7. Serve with Creole mustard and/or pepper jelly as dipping sauce.

These Boudin Egg Rolls were surprisingly simple to make. There’s not much assembly required once you get the hang of rolling the egg rolls.

I will definitely be adding these Boudin Egg Rolls to my tailgating cuisine repertoire. They are perfect to grab, dip and go. They may just be one of my new favorite appetizers.

 
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Posted by on April 19, 2017 in Appetizers, Cookin', Recipes

 

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Recipe: Bone Marrow on Toast with Goat Cheese and Black Pepper Fig Jam

Bone Marrow on Toast with Goat Cheese and Black Pepper Fig Jam

Bone Marrow on Toast with Goat Cheese and Black Pepper Fig Jam



Bone Marrow

Bone Marrow

Hands down, Bone Marrow on Toast with Goat Cheese and Black Pepper Fig Jam is one of the best appetizer recipes I’ve yet to create.

I also call it Blood and Bone Toast for short so it may make a nice addition to an adult Halloween appetizer spread. This recipe may look like a lot of work, but it’s surprisingly easy to prepare.

Ingredients:

For the Black Pepper Fig Jam:

  • 1 lb. Mission figs, diced
  • 2 TBSP lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 TBSP cracked black pepper
  • 2 TBSP butter

For the rest:

  • 1 loaf of French bread, sliced into 1-inch pieces
  • Bone Marrow on Toast with Goat Cheese and Black Pepper Fig Jam

    Bone Marrow on Toast with Goat Cheese and Black Pepper Fig Jam

  • 4 oz. goat cheese
  • 3 large beef bones with marrow
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. On a large baking sheet, stand bones up vertically and roast for 20-30 minutes or until marrow is melting inside the bone.
  3. While bones are roasting, in a small pot, melt butter then add all Black Pepper Fig Jam ingredients. Bring to a boil and let simmer on low for 20-30 minutes.
  4. Remove fig jam from stove and refrigerate to let cool.
  5. Remove bones from oven and on a separate baking sheet, arrange bread pieces in a single layer and toast for 7 or 8 minutes.
  6. While bread is toasting, over a bowl, remove marrow from bones by using a kitchen knife (the narrower the better) to push or scoop out the marrow from the bone.
  7. Once bread is toasted, fig jam has cooled and bone marrow has been extracted, prepare the toast by spreading goat cheese on first, followed by fig jam and top with roasted bone marrow.
Black Pepper Fig Jam

Black Pepper Fig Jam

All these ingredients may seem like a weird combo. Hell, bone marrow itself may seem like a weird ingredient. But, I promise you this appetizer is decadent and full of flavor.

I should probably actually jar some of the black pepper fig jam. To me, it and the bone marrow are the equally award worthy costars in this recipe for Bone Marrow on Toast with Goat Cheese and Black Pepper Fig Jam.

 
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Posted by on October 3, 2012 in Appetizers, Cookin', Recipes

 

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Recipe: Bob Armstrong Dip

Bob Armstrong Dip

Bob Armstrong Dip

WARNING: Prepare the following recipe with extreme caution. Symptoms of serving this recipe include: foodgasms, overeating, chip disappearance, double dipping, eyes rolling back and generally euphoria.

Now that I’ve posted a full disclaimer, this is one of the best dips in the world. I was first introduced to Bob Armstrong Dip while eating at Mattito’s restaurant in Dallas. It’s not on the menu — something I full understand so the restaurant soundtrack doesn’t consist of When Harry Met Sally moments. Anyway, enjoy!

Ingredients:

For the guacamole:

  • 4 avocados, chopped and mashed
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh jalapeño, chopped
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Bob Armstrong Dip

Bob Armstrong Dip is a combo of guacamole, chile con queso and taco meat.


For the taco meat:

  • 1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, finely chopped
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 TBSP cumin
  • 1 TBSP garlic powder
  • 1/2 TBSP salt
  • 1/2 TBSP ground black pepper

For the chile con queso:

  • 1 can tomatoes with green chilies
  • 2 celery stalks, finely chopped
  • 3/4 cup reserved liquid from ground beef
  • 1 pound 2% milk Velveeta cheese
  • 1 TBSP cumin
  • 1 TBSP garlic powder
  • 1/2 TBSP salt
  • 1/2 TBSP ground black pepper

Bob Armstrong Dip

You’ll get a lot closer to Bob Armstrong Dip than this.


Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, mix together all guacamole ingredients and chill.
  2. In a large skillet, stir in bell pepper, celery, onion and spices from taco meat ingredients. Spread uncooked ground beef on top.
  3. Cook over medium heat until meat starts to simmer then break up meat and simmer on low for about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
  4. Drain liquid from cooked ground beef and reserve for chile con queso.
  5. In a sauce pan, combine all ingredients for chile con queso except the cheese.
  6. Bring to a light simmer and gently simmer for about 5 minutes.
  7. Turn down heat and add cheese. Simmer until cheese is melted.
  8. Warm a 9×13 inch casserole dish or pan.
  9. Spread guacamole into the pan, then add the taco meat, and top with chile con queso. Stir well to incorporate all ingredients.
  10. Serve with plenty of chips.

To keep this Bob Armstrong Dip warm, you can place it in the oven at 250F.

This is supposed to be served as an appetizer, but you may want to plan to serve it as an entree. It’s impossible to resist the dip known as Bob Armstrong Dip. Get ready to have your mind blown by this Tex-Mex concoction. It’s worth every bite.

 
3 Comments

Posted by on September 25, 2012 in Appetizers, Cookin', Recipes

 

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Recipe: Silken Tofu with Kimchi

Silken Tofu with Kimchi

Silken Tofu with Kimchi

Looking for a vegetarian entree or appetizer that’s full of spice and loaded with nutrition? Look no further. This recipe for Silken Tofu with Kimchi is delicious and takes about 15 minutes to make.

Kimchi is a Korean dish that’s a spicy blend of spicy peppers, cabbage and other Asian vegetables. I used storebought kimchi I got from our local Asian market, but feel free to make your own. Here’s a recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 1 block silken tofu
  • 1 cup kimchi, minced
  • 6 tsp soy sauce (I use reduced sodium)
  • 4 tsp chili oil
  • 1 TBSP sesame seeds
  • Silken Tofu with Kimchi

    Silken Tofu with Kimchi makes a great entree or appetizer

  • Chopped scallions, for garnish

Directions:

  1. Boil a pot of water and add tofu and simmer until the tofu is warmed through. This should take about 5 or 6 minutes.
  2. Drain the tofu.
  3. Divide the tofu evenly between 2 bowls (or 4 if making as an appetizer). Drizzle each portion with half of soy sauce and half of chili oil. Divide kimchi evenly atop both bowls of tofu.
  4. Garnish with green onions and sesame seeds, then serve.
Silken Tofu with Kimchi

Silken Tofu with Kimchi serves 2 to 4

I was surprised at just how much flavor is in this dish given the limited amount of ingredients and easiness to prepare it. The only problem is that I was left wanting more.

While this can be served as an entree or an appetizer, it’s probably better as an appetizer as the portions are small. I chose to eat mine as an entree as I had a tennis match to play an hour later so I wanted something light. This Silken Tofu with Kimchi definitely fit the bill.

 
3 Comments

Posted by on September 6, 2012 in Appetizers, Cookin', Entrees, Recipes

 

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Recipe: Watermelon, Cucumber and Feta Salad

Watermelon, Cucumber and Feta Salad

Watermelon, Cucumber and Feta Salad

This is one salad that’s perfect for Summer. It’s also full of healthy ingredients and won’t blow your daily calorie intake.

This Watermelon, Cucumber and Feta Salad is perfect for picnics, backyard barbecues and even a weeknight dinner. It has a nice crunch and even better taste. Plus, no cooking required!

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups watermelon, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 cucumber, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint, chopped
  • Watermelon Salad

    Watermelon is the quintessential fruit of Summer.

  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 3/4 cup crumbled feta
  • 2 TBSP freshly cracked black pepper
  • 3 TBSP white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Directions:

  1. Cut up all the fruit and herbs and mix in a large bowl.
  2. Add in feta cheese, salt, pepper and vinegar then toss well to mix.
  3. Serve and enjoy.
Watermelon, Cucumber and Feta Salad

Watermelon and cucumber complement each other well.

That’s it. Super simple, right? If virtually impossible to mess up.

You can play around with the amount of herbs, salt, pepper and vinegar to add based on your taste preferences. I’ve found it doesn’t keep too well so I would eat it within two days of making. Otherwise, it gets a little soggy. It’s so good it’ll probably be gone in one sitting anyway.

 
5 Comments

Posted by on June 5, 2012 in Appetizers, Cookin', Recipes

 

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Recipe: Prosciutto-Wrapped Pears

Prosciutto-Wrapped Pears

Prosciutto-Wrapped Pears

Honestly, I’m not sure I’ll ever post a recipe easier than this one. If you can’t make it, there may be no hope left for you in the culinary arena.

Regardless of the difficulty (or lack thereof), this appetizer goes great with the bubbly which is a huge plus around New Year’s. Give it a try before 2012 gets here.

Ingredients:

  • 2 pears, quartered (cut into a total of 8 slices)
  • 4 slices of prosciutto, halved
  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 TBSP sugar cane vinegar (or other sweet vinegar)
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, for garnish (optional)/li>
  • 1/4 cup blue cheese, for garnish (optional)

Prosciutto-Wrapped Pears

Prosciutto-Wrapped Pears


Directions:

  1. Wrap prosciutto around pear slices and place on a serving plate.
  2. Drizzle with olive oil and sugar cane vinegar.
  3. Serve.

Aside from being super easy to make, these Prosciutto-Wrapped Pears have a nice savory/sweet combo working. They are appropriate for nearly any party.

And like I mentioned earlier, they go really well with champagne. Cheers.

 
2 Comments

Posted by on December 28, 2011 in Appetizers, Cookin', Recipes

 

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