Category Archives: appetizers

pancetta-wrapped peaches & vinho verde

A topic I’ve been longing to learn more about is wine and of course along with that comes wine and food pairings. While I can easily say that wine is my favorite liquid, I will admit that it is something I don’t know much about. I’ve got books, I’ve got a BF who sold wine for a short stint and yet I can barely determine if something is “oaky” or not.  But what I do know? I know that a vinho verde tastes just perfect with peaches & pancetta.

With a short ingredient list and the use of cured pork I was sold on this recipe when I came across it on the Food & Wine website. Although I’m almost convinced you could wrap anything in pancetta and it would turn out delicious.  

And until my wine palette is more refined, I’ll just have to stick with what tastes good. I think I can handle that.

Pancetta -Wrapped Peaches from Food & Wine, serves 4 as an appetizer

  • 2 ripe peaches, sliced into wedges
  • a few basil leaves, torn into about 12 pieces
  • 12 slices pancetta

Roll pancetta in half. Place basil leaf and peach on one end and wrap pancetta around peach. Fasten with a toothpick if necessary.

Coat pan with cooking spray. Heat to medium-high heat. Add peaches and cook on both sides until pancetta is crispy. 

Serve!

Do you know of any good wine resources to help me out?

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Filed under appetizers, fruit, herbs, in season, Uncategorized, wine

4th of July Menu

Still need some menu ideas for 4th of July celebrations? Look no further! I’ve rounded up some of my favorite recipes along with others from the blog world!

Appetizers:

Guacamole with Basil & Shallots

Roasted Vegetable Cheese Spread

Cheese Filled Endeive Leaves from MommyRD

Main:

Chicken Satay with Coconut Peanut Sauce

Grilled Pizzas from Fake Food Free

Prosciutto Chihuahua Panini from Eating for England

Sides:

Artichoke Ravioli Pasta Salad

Greek Potato Salad

Arugula & Apple Salad

Lynn’s Cabbage Slaw with Mango from The Actors Diet

Drinks:

White Wine Mojito

Pomegranate Champagne – add some blueberries for the 4th!

Desserts:

Strawberry & Mascarpone-filled Cupcakes

Banana & Blueberry Popsicles – perfect for little ones – from Weekly Bite

What’s on your weekend menu? If you have some good recipes,  please share below with a link!  Have a safe & happy 4th!

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Filed under antioxidants, appetizers, blog friends, cheese, cocktails, dessert, entertaining, fruit, great meals, in season, Recipes, salad, vegetables, whole foods, whole grains, wine

grilled vegetable crostini

A recipe for a grilled vegetable flat bread caught my eye while paging through Martha’s Everyday Food and like most recipes that catch my eye, I added it to the never-ending “list.”  But with my recent grocery bill woe’s and a loaf of bread already in the cart I decided that this would be a situation where a carb is a carb and it would be just as good on bread as it would a tortilla. I’ll end up with the tortilla version eventually because it just looks too delicious to pass up, but this was just as good on some chewy/crunchy bread and also made a great salad topping the following day.

The concept, like most of my recipes, is a simple one: grill a bunch of vegetables, top some great, grainy bread with them and finish with some feta crumbles if desired. Or, if you’ve already got some leftover grilled vegetables you know just how to use them!

Grilled Vegetable Crostini

  • 2 small zucchini
  • 1 yellow squash
  • 1 fennel bulb
  • 2 Portabella mushroom caps
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 1 small head of radicchio
  • crumbled feta cheese
  • loaf of bread

Cut up vegetables in pieces to grill. Spritz with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill vegetables in batches, flipping over after a few minutes one one side and removing after a few minutes on the other side, until slightly charred. Set aside to cool and then chop up vegetables in about 1 inch pieces.

Slice bread and spritz with olive oil. Grill bread if desired. Top bread with vegetable mixture and sprinkle with feta cheese.

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Filed under appetizers, cheese, entertaining, in season, Recipes, vegetables, whole foods, whole grains

grilled bruschetta

An appetizer that just screams summer to me is bruschetta. Once the tomatoes are good (ie not mushy and tasteless like they are in January) you can be sure that bruschetta is showing up on our plates on a regular basis. Always partial to my Mother’s recipe, although my friend Anna makes a delicious version with mozzarella, simplicity is key with bruschetta and nothing is better than tomatoes, basil, garlic and some olive oil.

This was the first time I’ve tried bruschetta grilled and as with most foods, grilling just takes it to the next level. The tomatoes were slightly roasted, the bread imparted with a smoky flavor that just can’t be replicated in the oven.

Grilled Bruschetta

  • Whole grain baguette
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes
  • olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  • fresh basil, julianned

Cut bread into 1 inch pieces and rub with cut side of garlic clove. Set aside. Rub tomatoes with garlic clove.

Thread alternating bread pieces and tomatoes on skewer. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Grill over medium heat for about 4 minutes per side until bread is toasted.

Remove from skewer and put on a plate, and sprinkle with basil.

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Filed under appetizers, herbs, in season, Recipes, tomatoes, vegan, vegetables, whole foods, whole grains

entertaining: how to plan a cocktail party

By no means am I claiming to be an expert, but throwing and attending cocktail parties is one of my favorite things to do! I think it has a little to do with my love for hors d’oeuvres but it can also be easy to build a healthy meal with cocktail party fare, while enjoying delicious food and great company.

Choosing the Menu:

Choosing your Cocktails:

Setting Everything Up:

  • Fresh flowers are a must!
  • Set aside a specific bar area: glasses, bottle openers, wine, pitcher of signature cocktail, ice, etc.
  • Have 2 or 3 different food areas so the guests can mingle
  • Area of plates, napkins and necessary utensils

Planning Ahead:

  • Choose things that can be made ahead and don’t need to be served immediately as they will be sitting out for a few hours
  • Make everything as much ahead as you can and give yourself an hour for last minute things that will come up (they always do)
  • Make a great playlist
  • Have your friends help!

Make sure to have fun! That is the whole point after-all, isn’t it?

What are your tips for throwing a great party?

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Filed under appetizers, cheese, cheese tray, cocktails, crackers, entertaining, olives, Recipes, wine

herbed goat cheese with edible flowers

I believe that my food and meals should not only taste great and be made from real ingredients but should also look great. I give great consideration to how food looks and how I plate meals, and in case you needed anymore reasons to eat fruits and veggies, it is those fresh foods that always look great on a plate.  A rainbow of color or a sea of white flour and sugar? The answer is simple to me!

But this dip relies on more than just its good looks, it happens to taste as amazing as it looks. Thanks to Susan for this recipe, it is definitely one I’ll be making again. I took it to my friend Morgan’s Bridal Shower and it was a perfect appetizer for a shower, because aren’t they all about flowers and pretty things?

Herbed Goat Cheese with Flowers

  • 1 large log of goat cheese
  • 8 oz neufchâtel cheese (light cream cheese)
  • Fresh herbs of choice (I used basil and chives)
  • Edible flowers

Combine goat cheese and neufchâtel cheese. Fold in chopped herbs. Form into mound and place edible flowers on top. Serve with bread or crackers.


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Filed under appetizers, cheese, crackers, Flowers, herbs, Recipes

entertaining:butter & salts

A few years back, I met the tasters sister Amy at a great little wine bar in Chicago and one of the items that we had was butter with various salts. I’ve never forgotten how delicious it was and I’ve been building my salt collection ever since. When the truffle salt made its way into my collection, I knew I was ready for my own butter and salt experience.


The concept is simple and the preparation is minimal – simply sprinkle the salt over pieces of high-quality butter and serve with bread or crackers. Wine is optional but highly recommended 😉 Although I love red, I think a crisp white would pair beautifully with the saltiness and creamy butter.

Left to right: Truffle Salt, Himalayan Sea Salt, Smoked Sea Salt, Citrus Sea Salt

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Filed under appetizers, entertaining, fats, great meals, restaurants, Uncategorized, whole grains, wine