Nibbles and Appetizers (The Starters)

The British Serve Cucumber Sandwiches To Avoid A Sticky Wicket

In the film Moonraker, Hugo Drax asks James Bond, “may I press you to a cucumber sandwich?”      Are you looking for something to serve in the tea breaks at your club’s cricket matches? Or perhaps you would like to offer your guests a light mid-afternoon snack? You might also be looking for a nice addition to a picnic and a luncheon.      The answer: serve cucumber sandwiches. They are, of course, very British, and modern variants (largely of American origin) exist, involving cream cheese. Also, chopped dill or spices, brown bread,…

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bites

Cranberry Brie Bites

Bring A Snack To Share      You’ve been invited to a party, and you’ve been asked to bring a snack to share with the others in attendance. What’s a good snack to bring as your offering?     Considerations      We usually stick with the following criteria for a good party snack: We think individual bites are best – something a guest can pick up and put on their plate. Our current go-to snack is Cranberry Brie Bites. We avoid taking snacks that are messy or need to be cut, sliced, or spread at the table prior…

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Marrow

Bone Marrow Roasted

     Bone Marrow. For years now, nutritionists have been touting the benefits of consuming bone marrow in our diets. Claims have been made that it builds immunity, aids in digestion and wound repair, and even helps fight cancer.      It’s considered a culinary delicacy, but it’s been around long enough that it no longer has vogue status. It’s becoming more and more common to find bone marrow listed on menus, usually as an appetizer. Yuck!      And when you see it, it’s not terribly appetizing. It’s a soft and mushy…

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lemon curd

The Versatile Lemon Curd

A lemon curd? I’m thinking YUCK!      My introduction to this was at a friend’s house. Their breakfast offering was scones served with a lemon curd. The curds and whey mentioned in the nursery rhyme immediately popped into my head.      This always sounded awful to me, so with some trepidation I spread it on my scone. It resembled a spreadable custard in consistency, and it is in fact a type of preserves. It was delicious. And when you look at the list of ingredients, it’s no wonder it tastes so good – sugar, egg yolks,…

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tableside

Caesar Salad Without A Net

     One of the more delightful experiences diners can have is for a skilled waiter to prepare a Caesar salad at their table. It’s a chance for waiters to demonstrate their art by vigorously whisking, mixing, tossing and stirring the ingredients to the delight of their patrons. After croutons are added for crunch and slivers of cheese for flavor, the salad is served.  Ah, perfection.      With a bit of preparation and practice, you can do this at home.  If you want some pointers, search “Caesar salad preparation” on YouTube,…

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Turtle for soup

Turtle Soup (A Louisiana Delicacy)

      Seeking culinary adventures while vacationing in New Orleans, Dorothy and I thought what better way to begin than to dine at Commander’s Palace. We’d heard so much about the great food and impeccable service, and we were very excited about the evening’s possibilities.      As a first course we ordered turtle soup. It was suggested by our waiter that we might order a glass of sherry to drink with the soup, and we followed his advice.      The soup arrived at our table. It had a wonderful aroma and…

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Crock of creamy homemade butter

Sweet and Delicious Homemade Butter

      Butter – absolutely one of the sweetest, most delicious treats in life.  This was brought to light while we were enjoying a cheese plate with a side of bread at a favorite wine bar and delicatessen. I broke off a piece of the bread, buttered it, and I was shocked at how good it tasted. I like butter, but this was special.      Back home I tasted our usual brand of butter.  It paled by comparison. Over the next several weeks I tried seven different commercial brands, and none…

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Tomato salsa

Salsa Season In The Midwest

    Salsa has a season; at least it does in the Midwest. It begins when those first July tomatoes ripen on the vine, and it might last into the middle of September.      It’s hard to beat the succulent taste of a fresh tomato, and it spoils it for the rest of the year when we have to rely on grocery stores to be our providers. Their tomatoes certainly don’t compare with our homegrown types, but it really isn’t fair to the out-of-state growers to make such comparisons.      First…

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Wine flight

Wine Flight Appetizers (A Novel First Course)

      For a novel first course, we sometimes substitute the salad for a wine flight. We’ve found this to be an enjoyable and unique way to kick off an evening.      To populate a wine flight, we select wines either by vintage, varietal, region, or country. We also think it’s a good idea to consider the level of sophistication of the guests’ wine palettes. If our guests are new to wine, it gives them a chance to contrast the differences between each grape.       One of our recent wine flights featured…

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Sage

Camembert (Warmed) With Wild Mushroom Fricassee

     The World Series has been known as “The Fall Classic” for decades, but in our family we have recently added our own fall classic. It’s Food & Wine’s recipe for Warmed Camembert With Wild Mushroom Fricassee.      We have always liked soft cheeses, especially Brie, and many times we have eaten it warmed (melted). It was usually served with a sweet topping consisting of apples or apricots, but this recipe takes more of a savory approach. It calls for Camembert which is much like our old favorite, Brie. It…

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