Tag Archives: Appetizer

Cauliflower Cutlets

Spiced Indian Stlye Cauliflower Cutlets

I love this simple recipe that requires very little time.

4 eggs
1/2 cup ground pork rinds or almond flour (if using almond flour, add 2 tablespoons of water)
6 cups steamed and mashed cauliflower (entire head of cauliflower)
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1⁄2 teaspoon garam masala
1⁄2 teaspoon ginger paste
1/2 teaspoon garlic paste
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
freshly cracked pepper
4 tablespoons of cilantro, finely chopped
4 green chillies, finely chopped
6 green onions, chopped
1 lb of sugar-free cooked bacon, crumbled
Bacon grease or any fat of choice for frying

In a large bowl, beat the eggs on high until they are nice and fluffy. Add the ground pork rinds and continue beating the mixture.

Add the remaining ingredients, all expect for the bacon grease.

Cover your hand in grease and form patties that are 1 inch thick and 3 inches in diameter. This should make 16 cutlets.

Fry 4 at a time in a pan heated to medium- high. It will take 1-2 minutes per side. Set on a paper towel for the excess grease to come off. Serve plain or with greek yogurt, my spicy yogurt sauce or spiced jalapeno sauce.

Canapé au Coloré

Canapé au Coloré translates to Colorful Open Faced Sandwiches. When making appetizers, it is nice to stick to the basics and keep it simple. We have all heard the saying, “We eat with our eyes,” and this is so true. Add color and interest to your food with some creative sauces.

1 large baguette, cut into 20 pieces
20 pieces of thinly cut honey ham, turkey, salami, pepperoni or your preferred cut of meet
1 cucumber sliced
1/4 cup of lettuce or spinach (I like to use different colors even red lettuce when avaliable)
1/8 cup shredded cheese of your choosing
White pepper aioli

White Pepper Aioli Ingredients
1 egg yolks
1 garlic clove, finely minced
1/3 cup oil of choice (I prefer olive oil for this)
2 tablespoons freshly ground white pepper
½ tsp salt
2 teaspoons lemon juice

White Pepper Aioli Directions
In a medium bowl, beat the egg yolks with a wire whisk until translucent. Add in the garlic and gradually add the oil in a thin stream, beating the mixture constantly until it is light and creamy. Season with salt and pepper and slowly stir in lemon juice. Cover with plastic wrap (make sure the plastic is touching the aioli so a crust does not form) and refrigerate immediately.

Toast the baguettes and place a piece of meat on each piece of bread and bend the meat to make it look more appealing. Place the other ingredients on top and staggering the layers so each ingredient can be seen.

Top with a small amount of the white pepper aioli. I like to put the aioli in a plastic bag and cut the smallest part of the corner and pipe it on.

Top with shredded cheese.

Smoked Salmon Rolls

Smoked Salmon RollsI love entertaining but hate spending the entire time in my kitchen while everyone else is having a blast. So, my favorite dishes have a few things in common: they are made ahead of time, bites of food(this way everyone can try everything and it means less dishes for me) and are simple to make but taste amazing!

One pound of smoked salmon, thinly sliced (pre-sliced salmon is fine)
1 brick of cream cheese, softened (feel free to use an soft, mild cheese)
6 tablespoons chives, minced
Pinch of sea salt
1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Mix together ingredients 2-6 and set aside.
Put a spoonful of the cheese mixture on a slice of salmon and roll. Stand the roll upright on a large platter. Repeat the process with the remaining slices. Cover and refrigerate until you are ready to serve them. Cover with plastic wrap so it does not absorb the flavors of the food in your fridge.

Quick Mini Pastries

Quick Mini PastriesDon’t you hate it when you are having a really bad day and then you remember that you promised to bring a dish to the party that you are attending that night. Me too! This is my go to dessert that looks complicated but takes less than 30 minutes to make. This can stay our little secret.

2 boxes of Phyllo pastry shells (each box contains 15 shells)
2 boxes pudding (vanilla or chocolate flavor)
1 8 ounce package of cream cheese, softened
2 cups milk
1 cup cream
2 tablespoons vanilla
Toppings of your choice: chocolate syrup, caramel sauce, raspberries, sliced apples, other fruit and nuts

The Phyllo cups are pre-baked and ready to go, allow them to come to room temperature.

Pour the pudding mix, milk, cream, cream cheese and vanilla into a medium saucepan and bring to a full boil.

Stir the pudding mix and milk with a whisk until it is fully incorporated.

Allow it to cool on the counter and place in the fridge for at least 10 minutes.

Fill each cup with the pudding mixture and top with fresh fruit, chocolate syrup and nuts.

Serve on a tray.

Simply Delicious Savory Ground Beef Samosas

Puff Pastries filled with spiced veggies and/or beef
Puff Pastries filled with spiced veggies and/or beef

I grew up on samosas. We would come home from school and have these delicate pastries as a snack. My mom made the dough from scratch but who has time for that these days? Not me! Instead I cheat and use Phyllo dough. Since my parents are vegetarians they stuck to the Veggie Samosas, I wanted to come up with my own version but with beef. This is the perfect after school/work snack and I have even taken it to work as a meal but my co-workers managed to eat most of them. This recipe makes 40 samosas.

20 sheets of Phyllo dough, cut each sheet in half
2 large potatoes, boiled, peeled and cut into bite size pieces
1 onion finely chopped
1 cup frozen  green peas
1 pound ground beef (go for lean meat)
6 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
1 tablespoon ginger, peeled and minced
1 cup oil for frying (I prefer peanut or grape seed oil)
1-2 green chilies, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 tablespoon coriander powder
1/2 tablespoon cumin powder
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/2 tablespoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
2 tablespoons cilantro leaves, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried mango powder (omit if you can’t find it)
1 cup oil for frying (I prefer peanut or grape seed oil)

In a large pan, allow the oil to come up to 350 degrees F.

Cook the ground beef, drain and add in the spices and once incorporated, add the green peas and potatoes.

Place 2 tablespoons of filling at the edge of one half sheet of Phyllo dough. Fold the dough to create a triangle. Seal the edges with water and continue to fold the dough creating the triangle shape. Seal the edges again with water. Continue this process until all of the filling and dough has been used up.

Fry 3-4 pieces at a time, make sure you do not crowd the pan. Then place on paper towel to allow the excess oil drain from the dough.


Stuffed Pork Dumplings

Stuffed Pork DumplingsDumplings are present in every culture, we just have different names for it. I got into the bad habit of buying frozen dumplings from a wholesale store and found myself eating a quarter of the bag at one sitting. One day, as I was waiting for the dumplings to steam, I looked at the package to read the ingredients and realized that I couldn’t pronounce half of the ingredients and the nutritional content was close to eating cardboard.

I wish I could say that my initial response was to chuck the entire bag and vow to never eat them again but sadly, no- I used that as an excuse to scarf the remainder dumplings down that night (I am pretty sure that I ate half of the bag) and start fresh the next day.

I don’t know about you, but I get into a routine. I begin to crave certain foods for a long period of time until I find my next thing. That was true with my pork dumpling fix. This recipe makes 100 dumplings, I know that sounds like a lot but if you eat this as a meal, one person can eat 14-16 dumplings and they freeze quite well.

100 wonton wrappers
1 lb ground pork
1 tablespoon fresh garlic, minced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
4 tablespoons scallions, minced
4 tablespoons soy sauce
4 tablespoons sesame oil
1 tablespoon sesame old for frying
¾ lb napa cabbage, shredded
2 carrot, shredded
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon white pepper (black will do)
1 egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon of water added

Dipping Sauce Ingredients
3 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon srirachi sauce
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
Pinch of white pepper
Pinch of salt

Blanch the cabbage in boiling water for one minute. Remove from the water and squeeze out all of the liquid. Let dry for a bit, you will be additional liquid in the form of oil and soy sauce so you want the other ingredients to be as dry as possible.

Combine all of the ingredients but the egg into a large mixing bowl. Mix together to breakdown the pork and to ensure that every bit is covered with the seasonings.

Place the filling in the center of the wanton wrapper and fold into a triangle.  Using your finger or brush, brush the egg mixture in the inside rim of the wrapper and press together. I like to use a fork or use my fingers to make it look like what I buy in the stores or restaurants. The purpose of the egg mixture is to ensure that your filling stays on the inside and binds the two sides together. (I bought a calzone press set a few years ago and used it to created a fluted effect, no need to get this fancy.)

Place the completed dumpling on a parchment paper or foil to prevent it from sticking.

At this point, you can freeze the dumplings up to a month.

Steam the dumplings in a bamboo or metal steamer; it will take approximately 15-20 minutes.

After the dumpling has steamed, I like to fry it up in a pan to gives the edges a crispy texture. Use sesame oil to continue the lovely flavor. Sometimes, I like to deep fry them like I did here.

Combine all of dipping sauce ingredients and mix together until everything is well blended.