Tag Archives: jewelry party snacks

Stilton and Toasted Walnut Balls (more Wilde party recipes)

23 Mar

Stilton is to England as Gorgonzola is to Italy, as Roquefort is to France, as Danish Blue is to …oh come on, must I?

As such, this blue cheese was the perfect choice for an Anglo-Irish themed evening during which we were reading Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest and drinking Pimm’s and eating beef stew and shepherd’s pie and ushering in St. Patrick’s Day. If it was a bit of a mix of cultural culinary references…well that’s okay by me! I’m American; we screw this stuff up all the time. Just look at the eight page menus at a “Greek diner” and tell me how that makes any sense whatsoever.

A view of the welcome appetizer table. Hot food was later set out in the kitchen for self-service...

A view of the welcome appetizer table. Hot food was later set out in the kitchen for self-service…

So my friend David, who is actually quite famous for his good taste, and who kindly offered to help with the planning and preparations, found the following recipe for Stilton and Toasted Walnut Balls, originally from the BBC. I didn’t so much adapt it as make the instructions more specific to make it more user-friendly. I started it early in the morning and he finished it up a couple of hours before party time.

Rich (very rich, very, very rich) and crunchy and peppery, it has a terrific mix of things going on in every tiny bite. Twenty-six may not seem like much for a party of ten, but trust me, they are very satisfying and most people are not going to have more than two before looking for something more crisp and bracing to balance them.

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Five Tasty, Terrific, and Totally Easy Mushroom Recipes!

16 Apr

According to Organic Gardening magazine, today is National Mushroom Day (although according to every other source it is not!). Dramatic and sustaining, mushrooms are a quick way to jazz up your basic burger, make a delicious appetizer or add some sexiness to a tapas night. So in honor of the day that may or may not be, here are my top five mushroom posts.

They can all be made with the basic white button mushroom, which tends to be the most economical. Look for unblemished crowns and on the underside, try to get mushrooms which are closed around the stem, not fanning out. Wipe them clean with a damp paper towel (the woman I worked for in France had me peel them one by one, but I don’t recommend that for every day cooking. Too much work!)

Click directly on each photo to connect to the recipe.

One of my all-time top posts: Sauteed mushrooms and onions is the Best Burger Topping. Ever.

One of my all-time top posts: Sauteed mushrooms and onions is the Best Burger Topping. Ever.

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Three Easy and Elegant Tapas for Your Holiday Table

15 Dec

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Party Snacks: Tapenade (Black Olive Spread)

16 Sep

This is one spread that makes no excuses. It has full-on, big-ass, unapologetic, salty flavor: black olives, capers, anchovies…This is for your friends who really enjoy robust and lusty food and who will slather spreads generously and lavishly. It is not subtle, so don’t waste these party snacks on the tea and crumpet crowd.

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Shrimp and Avocado Salad with Chipotle-Spiked Vinaigrette

29 Feb

I have been very, very busy these days with several projects (a culinary dictionary is one!), so deserved a grown-up meal made by my own loving hands. But it also had to be something not very involved that I could sling together fast, because  just don’t have enough time for everything I’d like to do!

Whether you are doing the Lenten fish on Friday thing or just happen to have some extra cooked shrimp from a buffet table or recipe, or just defrosted some shrimp that you didn’t get a chance to use and want to do something fun with (and that you have absolutely no intentions of sharing with your spoiled little son for whom you do too much anyway and whose leftovers you are sick of picking at instead of making something proper for yourself)….this is a very simple recipe that looks and tastes like a million bucks.

In an avocado shell or on a tostada...this salad looks as good as it tastes!

Shrimp and Avocado Salad Spiked with Chipotle Vinaigrette

(can be double or tripled or more to accommodate a crowd!)

Dressing:

3 Tbs olive oil

1 Tbs fresh lime juice

1 tsp chipotle in adobo – you can use the sauce and skip the peppers themselves, or include peppers, seeded and minced

Pinch salt

Salad

1 Cup cooked shrimp, cut into small chunks

1Tbs red onion, minced

10 grape tomatoes, quartered

1 ripe avocado, sliced in half. Scoop out flesh (discard stone) carefully and cut into small chunks. Reserve shells.

Salt to taste

Extra squeeze of lime to finish

Whisk dressing ingredients in a small bowl until incorporated.

Place shrimp, onion, and tomatoes in a medium bowl. Cover with dressing and stir gently. Then add avocado chunks and stir once again, very gently. Scoop salad into reserved avocado shells (or onto tostadas. Finish with lime and salt and serve.

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