Archive | Appetizers

Artichoke Dip

Serves 4-6 as an appetizer | You’ll find this recipe and its many variations neatly recorded on index cards and Junior League and church cookbooks in South Florida (and everywhere else, for that matter). It’s simple, quick and oozing with cheesy, fatty goodness.

2    cans artichoke hearts in water, drained and chopped
1    cup mayonnaise
½    cup Parmesan cheese plus 2 tablespoons
Pita chips, toasted bread rounds or crudités

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place artichoke hearts in a bowl and mash coarsely. Combine with mayonnaise and ½ cup of Parmesan cheese. Heap mixture into ovenproof gratin dish and sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons of cheese. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until top is golden and bubbling. Serve hot with pita chips or crudités.

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Stuffed Mushrooms

Serves 8-10 as an appetizer | This savory treats graced many a trendy 80s cocktail party. Mushroom caps make a handy vehicle for fillings that include goat cheese, sausage, spinach, shrimp – really, anything that can be diced small enough to fill these bites.

20    large (2-inch diameter) firm mushrooms, white or Baby Bella, about 1 pound
¼    cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
1    tablespoon minced garlic
2    tablespoons Italian parsley, minced
4    oz. boiled ham, finely minced
⅔    cups homemade bread crumbs, dried
½    cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Quickly rinse mushrooms in water and dry in salad spinner. Separate stems from mushroom caps. Use a small spoon to carefully scoop out the dark mushroom gills to make more room for the stuffing. Discard gills. Use 2 tablespoons of olive oil to grease 9×13″ pan. Chop stems finely and place in the center of a large piece of cheesecloth or a clean towel, and twist and squeeze to extract as much juice as you can. Discard juice. Place remaining olive oil in a skillet and heat over medium heat for a few minutes. Add garlic and mushroom stems and … Read More

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Pão de Queijo

Makes about two dozen puffs | These addictive cheese buns are light and crispy on the outside, chewy and hollow on the inside – and they’re gluten-free. The mixing technique is similar to making cream puffs. For a shortcut, look for prepared mixes in Brazilian markets.

            2             cups tapioca flour*

            1            cup milk

          ½             cup butter

            1             teaspoon salt

            1½          cups grated Parmesan cheese

            2            eggs

* Tapioca flour, also called manioc starch or tapioca starch, can be found in specialty supermarkets.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a saucepan, bring milk, butter and salt to a boil, stirring constantly. Take off heat and slowly add tapioca flour, stirring constantly until thoroughly mixes. Add eggs and cheese and mix until smooth. Drop by spoonfuls in mini muffin cups or on a baking sheet. Bake till pale gold, about 20 minutes.

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Guacamole, Asian style

This is delicious with home-fried plantain chips or crispy Asian rice crackers. When Florida mangos are in season, use them, diced in 1/2-inch cubes, to add color and sweetness.

Serves 4 to 6

1 tablespoon sesame seed

1 large ripe avocado

1 tablespoon pickled ginger, minced

3 tablespoons seasoned rice wine vinegar mixed with 1 teaspoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon wasabi powder

Toast sesame seeds in a frying pan over medium-high heat, shaking pan often, until seeds begin to pop. Remove from pan and cool.

Peel and pit avocado and dice into a bowl. Add other ingredients and 1/2 teaspoon sesame seeds and mix gently. Transfer to a serving bowl and sprinkle with remaining sesame seeds.


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Spanish Tortilla with Sweet Potato

This recipe, which uses sweet potatoes instead of regular potatoes, turned out to be a real crowd pleaser at a recent event at The Kampong in Coconut Grove. Serves 12-16 (or more) in appetizer portions, or 6-8 as a first course.

1 large onion, chopped in small dice

3 cloves garlic, minced

½ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus 4 tablespoons

5 sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced thinly (¼-inch)

2 teaspoons smoked paprika

1 teaspoon salt

8 eggs


Green Mayonnaise

½ cup prepared mayonnaise

½ cup chopped cilantro

4 green onions, trimmed and sliced

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Combine thinly sliced potatoes, ½ cup olive oil, smoked paprika and salt in large bowl and toss thoroughly. Spread evenly on baking sheet and cook for 30 minutes or until lightly brown, turning gently with spatula from time to time. Set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, saute chopped onion and garlic in 2 tablespoons olive oil over low heat until onions are translucent. Set aside to cool.

Use remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil to grease bottom and sides of 13x9x2″ pan. Place pan in hot oven. Beat eggs until blended. Combine in large bowl with potatoes and onion/garlic mixture, mixing well.… Read More

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Serves 4 | Tiger’s milk, or leche de tigre, is the Peruvian term for the citrus marinade that “cooks” the seafood in ceviche.

1 pound fresh hogfish, filleted and cubed with bloodline removed
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1 fresh orange, peeled and cut into segments
½ small cucumber, thinly sliced into cucumber straws
20-25 fresh cilantro leaves
Sweet potato for garnish
Oil for frying

Fish Stock
Head and bones from hogfish
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
1 stalk celery, roughly chopped
1 carrot, roughly chopped
½ lemon
1 bay leaf
Salt and pepper to taste

Place fish head and bones from hogfish filet into a pot with onion, celery, carrots, lemon, bay leaf, salt and pepper. Cover with water and gently simmer for about an hour. Reserve 3 oz. for the Tiger’s Milk.

Tiger’s Milk
½ stalk celery
2 cloves garlic
1 ½-inch piece fresh peeled ginger
2 oz. aji amarillo chile
3 oz. fish stock
3 oz. fresh orange juice
3 oz. fresh lime juice
Blend celery, garlic, ginger and aji amarillo into a puree, then strain to remove pulp. Combine with fish stock and citrus juices and set aside.

Use a mandolin to slice sweet … Read More

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Baked Kale Chips

These are easy to make and nearly as addictive as potato chips. 

1 bunch kale
Extra-virgin olive oil
Salt to taste

Preheat oven to 350°. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Use a knife or kitchen shears to remove the leaves from thick stems. Tear into large bite-size pieces. Wash and dry in a salad spinner or between paper towels and place on cookie sheet. Drizzle olive oil on top and sprinkle with salt. Bake 10-15 minutes until edges start to brown.

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Krome Guacamole

This recipe for guacamole with a tangy twist is an original recipe from William Krome, reprinted with permission from the Tropical Fruit Growers of South Florida.

2 cups avocado,diced

3 teaspoons lime juice

½ oz. blue cheese

3 squirts tabasco sauce or salsa,to taste

½ tsp salt

Make a paste of blue cheese,seasoning and a small amount of the avocado. Add the diced avocado to the paste mixture,mashing with a fork. Serve as a dip for chips,as a sandwich filling,or as a salad dressing.

*Original recipe from William Krome, Homestead,Florida.

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Chicken Wings

4-6 servings
3    lbs. chicken wings
½     cup lemon juice
2     tablespoons plain yogurt
1      tablespoon minced garlic
1     tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1     teaspoon ground coriander
1     teaspoon ground cumin
1     teaspoon ground turmeric
1     teaspoon garam masala
2    teaspoons salt
½    cup cilantro, chopped

In a large bowl, combine lemon juice, yogurt, garlic, ginger and spices. Add chicken wings and coat with marinade. Let chicken marinate in the refrigerator at least 4-6 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 400º. Transfer wings to a roasting pan, making one even layer of wings. Bake for about one hour or until chicken is cooked through. Sprinkle chopped cilantro over the wings and serve on a large platter.

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Deviled Eggs

Deviled Eggs

Makes 24

This basic recipe lends itself to lots of improvisation. Add anchovy paste, chopped herbs, a dollop of sour cream, wasabi, finely chopped cooked bacon or prosciutto. For an Indian twist, replace celery and pickles with finely chopped red onion, add garam masala and garnish with cilantro.

12 large eggs

½ cup mayonnaise

2 teaspoons brown or yellow mustard

¼ cup finely chopped pickles

¼ cup finely chopped celery

Salt and pepper to taste

Garnish: finely diced red pepper, paprika, chives, caviar, etc.

Cover eggs with cold water by 1½ inches in a 5-quart pot and bring to a boil. Cover, remove pot from heat and let eggs sit for 15 minutes. Rinse eggs under cold water for 5 minutes to stop the cooking. Peel the eggs and cut them in half lengthwise. Carefully remove the yolks and mash them in a bowl with a fork. Add mayonnaise, mustard, pickles, celery, and salt and pepper and stir with fork until combined well, then spoon into egg whites and add your garnish. Deviled eggs can be assembled a few hours ahead, but save the garnish until just before serving.

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