This delightful appetizer recipe was provided to me by Peggy's friend, Lynda. I can vouch for the fact that it is excellent. In a few instances I had to replace the "to taste" directions with specific amounts based on my own experience making the crab dip. You do want to make this one and serve it with some mild crackers ... You don't want to use highly spiced crackers as they would overpower the delicate and delicious flavor of the crab. Enjoy!
Process until well combined, scraping down the sides of the food processor (or mixer bowl) with a rubber spatula as necessary.
Put the mixture into a one quart bowl and fold in the chopped chives and crabmeat.
Adjust the seasoning with salt, pepper, and hot sauce, if necessary, then cover and refrigerate the crab dip.
Serve with mildly flavored crackers like white (corn) tortilla chips or Keebler® Club Crackers or plain seeded crackers.
Escargot - ☺♥
Escargot is snails usually prepared first in some white wine and then sautéed in butter with onions (or shallots) and garlic and parsley. It is considered to be an appetizer, and the cost is usually between $8 and $11 per serving of six snails. Typically restaurants serve the snails in snail shells on a very hot white glass or porcelain platter with indentations for each shell for an attractive and functional presentation (you want to keep the snails and sauté ingredients hot during eating). The sauté ingredients are drizzled in and around the shells after the sautéed snails have been inserted in them. The appetizer is served with a cocktail fork and sometimes with special snail shell holders for easy removal of the snails and with some bread to sop up the delicious melted butter, onions, parsley and garlic.
By random chance I happened to see canned snails in a discount "job lot" store and I decided to buy a few cans and prepare them. Now here is the best part … each can contained 24 to 25 extra large snails without shells … the price was only $1.25 per can. I couldn’t believe the price so I doubted the quality but decided to try them. They were superb! The following day I revisited the store and bought every can they had left on the shelf … 19 in all. You won’t believe how simple the recipe is and how delicious the escargot is also. I ate 12 and I was wishing I had prepared more. Very recently my friend, Sue Rosa, suggested I can improve the escargot recipe with the addition of a small amount of Pernod® liquor. I have yet to try it but I'll bet it provides a unique effect. Sue should know as she and her husband have owned a few restaurants with high end chefs. Ingredients: (three to four servings) 1 can of 24 extra large snails
6 oz. of a medium dry white wine like Pinot Grigio or a French white burgundy
½ tsp. of dried parsley flakes or 1 tsp. of finely chopped fresh parsley
1 tsp. of Pernod® liquor
24 snail shells (optional)
1 small French baguette, sliced into ½ inch thick slices (optional) Directions: Dump the snails and the liquid from the can into a small saucepan. Add the wine and heat to a simmer on low heat. Let the snails simmer for two to three minutes, then drain them and place them in a small skillet. Discard the liquid.
Meanwhile, put the dishes or plates and any snail shells you may have purchased into a 250ºF oven to pre-warm them. Add the remaining ingredients to the skillet, mix them and heat the contents on low heat to a sauté temperature, which simply means getting the melted butter hot enough to make the onions and garlic bubble slowly. Sauté on very low heat for three to four minutes but be certain not to let the garlic or onions turn tan or brown. Remove the skillet from the heat. Also, overcooking will result in the snails becoming tough instead of remaining tender. Remove the snails to whatever pre-heated serving dish or plate you intend to use. If you used snail shells then use small tongs to put one snail into each shell. Drizzle the sauté butter, onions and garlic and parsley over the snails and/or into the shells. Serve the escargot with the slices of the French baguette and the same kind of wine you used to simmer the snails.
Filo Delights - ☺♥
This appetizer/hors d'oeuvres recipe is compliments of my sweetheart, Peggy. She used to bake trays of it for friends at camp and they loved it. So she made it for me and I have to give it very high marks. It is delicious. It is also rather easy to make.
Among the ingredients listed below there is a convenience product prepared by Formaggio® and sold by supermarkets. You can easily replace that entry by providing your own salami or proscuitto ham, mozzarella cheese and ground or fresh basil. Actually, you can use your imagination regarding all of the toppings above the filo dough, for a simple search of Internet recipes related to filo dough appetizers will suprise you with all of the listed varieties of ingredients. In any event, have fun ... lots of fun
Salt and pepper to taste Directions: Fry the bacon on low heat until it is crisp. Remove the bacon and set it aside, reserving the bacon grease in a small cup. Sauté the diced onion in half of the reserved bacon grease.
When the onion pieces are golden add the port wine and cook on low heat for 3 minutes. Set the mixture aside.
Sauté the Foie Gras in the remaining reserved bacon grease to medium doneness (slightly pink inside). Set it aside.
Puree the Foie Gras, bacon and onions while still warm in a small food processor.
Add mayonnaise, salt and pepper to taste, and chill immediately. Spread the pâté into a shallow glass dish for quick chilling. Refrigerate covered until the pâté is used. Fruit Salad - ☺♥
A well made fruit salad is both refreshing and very satisfying, not to mention nutritious. The quality depends completely on the choice and freshness of the ingredients, though some ingredients are likely to come from a can or be frozen instead of being fresh. I learned how to make delicious fruit salads from Marie. Believe me, they bear no resemblance to the garbage sold as "fruit cocktail." I have experimented a lot and I have my own ideas of what to include and when to introduce a given ingredient to the salad for maximum texture, taste and color effects. I know you will get rave reviews if you serve this salad to your guests, either as an appetizer or as a dessert. I believe ripe fresh fruit is optimal but realistically we can't buy decent quality fresh fruit in our typical supermarkets. Seldom is it truly ripe and sweet and juicy. Thus, you will notice that I recommend canned fruits for some ingredients. If you have ripe fresh fruits where I recommend using canned fruits then by all means use the fresh fruits. Note that some of the fresh ingredients are not added to the fruit salad until just prior to serving it. That is particularly important for the fresh strawberry pieces and the banana slices, as these fruit pieces will lose their character, appearance and taste if mixed with all the other ingredients prior to chilling the fruit salad. Ingredients: (This recipe makes a gallon of fruit salad. More if the optional ingredients are added.) 1 quart of fresh ripe strawberries 2 ripe bananas 1, 20 oz. can of sliced peaches or two very ripe large peaches, peeled and pitted 1, large fresh Gala or similar apple 1 cup of fresh or frozen blueberries 1 large fresh orange 1, 15 ounce can of mandarin oranges (optional) 1, 6 ounce package of fresh red raspberries or blackberries 1, 20 ounce can of pineapple tidbits, or, equivalent amount of very ripe fresh pineapple 1 to 2 cups of fresh orange juice 1 cup of sliced seedless white/green grapes All of the syrup from any canned fruits that you use 1/2 cup of sliced maraschino cherries and/or 1 cup of sliced frozen or fresh dark sweet cherries 1, 20 ounce can of lychees (optional) Directions: Use a 1 1/2 gallon stainless steel or glass bowl and a large wooden spoon to prepare the fruit salad. Add the canned peach slices plus juice, or, the peeled, pitted and sliced fresh ripe peaches. Peel, seed and chop the apple into pieces about 1/2" on each side, then add to pieces to the bowl and mix lightly to coat the apple pieces. Add the cup of fresh or frozen blueberries to the bowl and mix lightly. Peel the fresh orange, cut it in half and remove all pith. Cut the orange halves into pieces about 1/2" on a side. Add the pieces to the bowl and mix lightly. Add the can of mandarin oranges and the juice to the bowl and mix lightly. Add the fresh red raspberries or blackberries to the bowl and mix lightly. Add the can of pineapple tidbits including the juice, or, 1/2" per side cut pieces of peeled and cored fresh ripe pineapple. Mix lightly. Add the sliced fresh seedless white/green grape pieces. Mix lightly. Add the sliced maraschino cherry pieces, and/or the sliced fresh or frozen dark sweet cherry pieces. Mix lightly. Slice the (optional) lychees into four pieces each and store them with the juice from the can in a one quart Ziploc® freezer bag in the refrigerator. Cover the fruit salad bowl with plastic wrap and put it into the refrigerator for at least four hours, or overnight. When you are within an hour of serving the fruit salad then do the final steps outlined below.
Special Note: If you will be serving only part of the prepared one gallon of fruit salad then dispense the approximate amount you plan to serve into a smaller stainless steel or glass bowl. Then adjust the quantities of strawberries and banana slices indicated below to smaller amounts based on the amount of the one gallon fruit salad you intend to serve. Cover the remaining unused fruit salad and return it to the refrigerator for later use. Hull and wash the fresh strawberries and slice them into four pieces each, or more if they are very large. Peel the bananas, removing any membrane or discolored areas. Cut them in half lengthwise and then slice the halves into pieces about 1/4" thick. Add the sliced strawberries and the slices of banana to the chilled fruit salad. Add the optional lychee pieces along with the juice. Mix the fruit salad lightly but thoroughly. If the fruit at the top of the bowl is mostly covered with juice then the salad is ready to serve. Otherwise add the fresh orange juice in small additions, and mix the fruit salad with each addition, but only use just enough orange juice to barely cover the fruit. Serve the fruit salad in chilled clear glass cocktail or dessert dishes of sizes six to ten ounces.
Kim Chee - ▲
One year my cabbage crop was so abundant I got tired of making sauerkraut. I think I had canned ten dozen quarts of it, but I still had a few heads of cabbage left over. For whatever reason I happened to think about the Korean pickled cabbage product named Kim Chee. A bit of Internet searching to gain some knowledge about Kim Chee convinced me that it was worth trying to make, as it has a reputation for being very pungent with garlic and ginger and hot also due to the use of hot peppers.
Some recipes involve fermentation and some do not. I chose the latter way of making it. As usual, I sought a variety of recipes on the Internet, thought about the pros and cons of each, and then I put together my own recipe and tried it. Wow! It is potent stuff and very tasty. I tried it with a few friends and family and about six of us really liked it. Kim Chee is a very potent tasting cabbage dish that is best served cold on a relish tray (or eaten out of a jar with a fork!). The mixture of fresh ginger, garlic, hot peppers(habaneros), sugar and vinegar is responsible for the pungent smell and flavor. This recipe makes about nine pints of Kim Chee. You can keep the finished product in double Ziploc® freezer bags (double to avoid having the pungent smell get into other food products) in your refrigerator or you may simply store it in a jar in your refrigerator or you can can it or use your vacuum sealer. Canning is the best method in terms of a longer shelf life and canning makes it easy to give to friends and family as a gift. If you can it in pint jars, 10 minutes in a boiling water bath is fine. It has a shelf life of about two years if canned. The second year that I made Kim Chee I decided to try vacuum sealing it in pint bags and simply refrigerating it to see how long it would remain fresh and safe. The short answer is that it was still great after six months and still edible after a year, but I decided the six month limit to be the best choice. In any event, vacuum sealing sure took a lot of the work out of processing, and it resulted in a better finished product because it wasn’t heated for any period of time as it was when I canned it. Even better, vacuum sealing followed by refrigeration made it very simple to give the Kim Chee as a gift to friends and family. Enough background … Here is the recipe. It is easy and fun and open to whatever variations you might want to try after your first batch. That means you might want to try small batches by scaling down this recipe. I actually bought some Kim Chee a few years later just to compare it to my product. They were apparently similar in ingredients, the only ingredient differences being the commercial product used red pepper instead of hot peppers and it also contained some type of anchovy sauce, which mine does not. A taste test comparison caused me to drop the bottle of commercial stuff directly into the garbage can. Mine is vastly superior. Ingredients: Two large heads of cabbage
1½ gallons of salt brine with a ratio of ½ cup of Kosher salt per quart of water
2 fresh habanero peppers (or use 4 hot cherry peppers instead of the habanero peppers for a milder Kim Chee)
1 1/2 cups of sugar Directions: Start with two large heads of regular cabbage. Cut the cabbages into strips about one inch by two inches and put the strips into a five gallon plastic (food grade) pail. You can buy suitable pails with lids at Home Depot® … in white, not colored plastic. Add salt water to the pail (1/2 cup of coarse or Kosher salt per quart of water, well mixed until the salt is dissolved). You will need about one and one half gallons of the salt water to have enough to submerge the cabbage pieces under a weighted dinner plate. Do that, put the lid on and let the cabbage soak overnight. Meanwhile, prepare the rest of the ingredients and store them in a double plastic Ziploc® freezer bag in your refrigerator or in a jar with a tight fitting lid. Be sure to wear latex or nitrile gloves while handling the hot peppers. Never touch your eyes or your genitals while working with hot peppers. If you must use the bathroom then discard the gloves first and wash your hands to be safe. Afterwards, put on a new pair of latex or nitrile gloves before resuming work with the hot peppers. Also, have a well-ventilated room to work in because fumes from habanero (and other) peppers can be so intense you can have trouble breathing. Okay … clean and dice two habanero peppers (pieces about ¼ inch square), or instead, four red cherry peppers. Do the other two red cherry peppers (hot or mild ones) and the five cloves (or more) of fresh garlic. Peel the fresh ginger root and slice it crosswise very thinly to make three teaspoons of finely sliced ginger. Dice the slices of ginger. Dice two medium size onions. Put all these ingredients into a gallon Ziploc® freezer bag or into a one quart canning jar. Add the sugar and 2 cups of white distilled vinegar. Mix well and close the bag/screw on the lid, eliminating as much air as possible if you use a freezer bag. Then place the bag inside another gallon Ziploc® freezer bag and close it the same way. Refrigerate the mixture overnight, allowing it to marinate. The next morning, drain the salt water from the cabbage, reserving a few cups of the salt water, but do not rinse the cabbage. Leave it in the five gallon pail. Then add the refrigerated marinated other ingredients to the cabbage. Wear latex or nitrile gloves and mix well by hand. If you plan to can the Kim Chee, then prepare (sterilize) nine wide mouth pint jars with lids and inserts. Then stuff each jar tightly with the cabbage and the other ingredients. When all the jars are stuffed, then use the liquid from the pail to bring the liquid level in the canning jars up, evenly in all jars, to the proper level (the glass rim about ¾ of an inch below the top). Be sure to get rid of any air trapped inside the jar by pressing on the cabbage mixture after adding the liquid. If you run short of liquid, use some of the reserved salt water and top off the jars as necessary. Make sure that no Kim Chee mixture is above the glass rim/liquid. Clean the top rims of the jars and put on the inserts and screw the lids on securely. Process the jars in a boiling water bath for ten minutes. Then remove the jars and let them cool, rechecking the tightness of the lids before cooling. Jars of Kim Chee prepared this way are easily kept for one to two years in any storage cupboard, provided the jars seal as they are supposed to do after cooling from the boiling water bath. You will hear the lid centers pop down as the jars cool. If you decide instead to store the Kim Chee directly in your refrigerator without canning, then pack it and the liquid tightly and evenly into two, one gallon Ziploc® freezer bags (or into large canning jars). Expel as much air as possible from each bag and seal the bag. Let it sit at room temperature for about two hours. The delay allows the cabbage to soften somewhat and absorb the flavors of the marinade. Then, open each bag a little and compress the mixture as much as possible and thus expel all air and then reseal each bag. Put each sealed bag inside another one gallon Ziploc® freezer bag. Expel the air and seal the second bag. Refrigerate the Kim Chee and use it within two months. If you process the Kim Chee with a vacuum sealer as I do, simply refrigerate the finished product, and use it within six months. This is my preferred method. I also think smaller batches make more sense unless you are giving the Kim Chee to others as a gift. Similarly, small batches favor quick turnaround, which gives you more freedom to try recipe variations. Looking down the road, I expect to use a food preservation chemical, like sodium benzoate, along with pasteurizing and vacuum sealing to produce a product that can be stored in a pantry for up to year. Do remember to serve Kim Chee chilled/cold, directly from the refrigerator. And don’t be put off if the first bite or two seems to be too potent. Just eat a few more pieces and you will become hooked on the stuff. It is easy to eat half a jarful without even realizing it. Enjoy!