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Posts Tagged ‘appetizers’

by Caitlin Saniga

I had originally envisioned this dish as a finger food. But the apricots get a little runny under the broiler, so it's best to use a fork. Try to get a little of each element in each bite so you can get the full flavor.

I had originally envisioned this dish as a finger food. But the apricots get a little runny under the broiler, so it's best to use a fork. Try to get a little of each element in each bite so you can get the full flavor.

  •  2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated ginger
  • 4 ripe apricots
  • 8 raspberries
  • 8 sprigs of mint

Turn the broiler on low, and position an oven rack about 8 inches from the broiler.

In a small dish, mix together the honey, vanilla, brown sugar and ginger. Set aside

Cut the apricots in half, removing the pits. Spoon about a teaspoon of the honey mixture into each apricot, spreading it over the whole cross section and letting it pool in the center.

Broil the apricots for 6-7 minutes, or until the fruit softens and the honey bubbles. Remove from the oven, and let cool for 5 minutes.

Add a raspberry and a sprig of mint to the top of each apricot and serve warm.

Makes 8.

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by Caitlin Saniga

The last time I was at my grandparents' house, my grandpa asked my grandma, "Trisha, when's the last time you made Gus puffs?" which basically means he's crazy for these things. P.S. Grandma calls these Gus puffs.

  • 1 ounce Parmesan, grated, plus more for topping
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 3/4 cup minced onions
  • 6-7 slices soft bread (I used a soft wheat, but white or Italian would work wonderfully.)
  • 2-3 chives, snipped into 1-inch segments
These crispy little puffs can be ready in no time! The most time-consuming part is cutting out the circles.

These crispy little puffs can be ready in no time! The most time-consuming part is cutting out the circles.

In a small bowl, mix the Parmesan, mayonnaise and onions.

Use a small glass to punch out circles of bread (avoid the crust!). Put the circles on a baking sheet.

Turn the broiler on low, and position an oven rack about 8 inches from the broiler.

Place the bread under the broiler, and toast until it turns golden-brown, 2-3 minutes. Remove the bread from the oven. Spread a heaping teaspoonful of the onion mixture on the untoasted side of a piece of bread. Repeat until all of the bread is topped with the mixture. Sprinkle a pinch of Parmesan cheese over the topping. Return the baking sheet of bread to the oven, and cook until the onion mixture puffs up and turns golden brown, 6-8 minutes.

Remove puffs from the oven and top with a few chives.

Serve warm.

Makes dozens. (Depends on the size of the bread slices and the size of the glass you use. My 1 1/2-inch glass with 6 slices of Pepperidge Farm wheat bread made 36.)

Recipe: Patricia Janis, my grandma

*Throughout December, “Merry and Bites” will feature finger foods with seasonal flair. All of them can be found here. Happy holidays!

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by Caitlin Saniga

Heat up the marinara sauce while the wontons are frying. That way everything is warm when you take your first bite of crispy, ooey-gooey awesomeness.

  • 4 ounces fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
  • 1/4 cup roasted red and/or orange peppers (from a jar or from scratch), cut into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 1 scallion, green part chopped finely
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 20 wonton wrappers
  • canola oil
  • water
  • 1 cup marinara sauce

It's OK if one or two spoons of this stuff make their way to your mouth instead of the wonton.

In a small bowl, toss together the cheese, pepper, scallion, parsley and garlic. Season with salt and pepper.

Spread out the wonton wrappers on a dry surface, such as a table or counter top. Scoop about a heaping teaspoonful of cheese mixture onto each wonton wrapper.

There's a fine line between too little filling and too much filling. You'll just have to find out what it is on your own!

Fill a small bowl with water. Wet a brush or your finger and use it to moisten the edges of one of the wonton wrappers. Fold the wrapper in half to form a triangle, and press the edges to seal it. Repeat until each wonton is sealed.

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Line a baking sheet with about 3 layers of paper towels, and place the baking sheet in the oven.

Just... wow. Enjoy this moment when it comes.

(You’ll transfer your finished wontons to the sheet to keep them warm while you fry the rest.)

Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium-low heat. (Put on an apron and use a large lid as a shield if need be. The oil gets hot and tends to splatter when you add the moistened wontons.) To test whether the oil is ready for frying, dash a couple of drops of water over the oil. If the oil crackles, it is ready. Working in batches, use a slotted spoon to place wontons into the hot oil. (I cooked the wontons 4 at time.) Cook them until the underside is golden, about 1 minute. Flip and cook until the other side turns golden, about another minute. Transfer the finished wontons to the baking sheet in the oven.

Serve warm with marinara sauce for dipping.

Makes 20.

P.S. Who thinks I should start doing my own instructional videos for simple preparation (like how to roast a red pepper)?

*Throughout December, “Merry and Bites” will feature finger foods with seasonal flair. All of them can be found here. Happy holidays!

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by Sarah Steimer

I love Mexican food, even if you roll it all up in a ball and serve it with salsa.

  • 2 15-ounce cans black beans, rinsed
  • 1 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 cup corn kernels
  • 1/4 cup plus 1/2 cup plain dry breadcrumbs or Panko crumbs
  • 1 cup finely chopped tomatoes (can use canned)
  • 1/3 cup chopped onion
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon (or more) olive oil

Mash black beans and cumin with a fork in a large bowl until no whole beans remain. Stir in corn and 1/4 cup of the breadcrumbs. Combine tomatoes, onions, cilantro and 1/2 the chili powder in a medium bowl and add this to the black bean mixture.

Mix the remainder of the breadcrumbs, chili powder and oil in a small bowl until the breadcrumbs are coated in oil. Divide the bean mixture into eight balls (less than a 1/2 cup of the mixture each). Lightly press each ball into the breadcrumb mixture, turning to coat. Place on a glass baking dish that has been sprayed.

Bake at 425 degrees for about 20 minutes or until the croquettes are heated through the the breadcrumbs are golden brown. Serve with salsa.

Makes eight croquettes.

Recipe adapted from: Eating Well on a Budget

Photo: Sarah Steimer

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