20080228

CONFETTI HAM AND CHEESE ROLL-UPS APPETIZERS

These are truly retro h'ors d'ouevres, right out of a classic 50's cocktail party. They're also one of the easiest snacks to prepare as well as being an attractive addition to your party platters.

Colorful and perfectly bite size, these roll ups go great with my Pineapple Upside Down Martini!

Here's the text recipe:

Ingredients:
16 Ounces of Cream Cheese
1 Package of Ranch Dressing Mix
2 Green Onions, Minced
4 Twelve Inch Tortillas
1 Two Ounce Can of Sliced Black Olives
1/2 Cup REd Bell Pepper, Diced
1/2 Cup Cheddar Cheese, Shredded

Directions:

Combine the cream cheese, ranch dressing mix and green onions in a bowl.
Spread this mixture on each tortilla.
Sprinkle the red peppers, celery, olives and cheese over the cream cheese mixture.
Roll up the tortillas, wrap them tightly with aluminum foil.
Chill 2 hours to overnight.
Cut of the ends and then slice the remainder of the chilled rolls into 1 inch slices.

Now you're ready for a fiesta of fun - and don't forget the recipe for the Pineapple Upside Down Martini!

20080227

Deep Fried Asparagus Appetizers

I used to do an art show in Stockton, California called The Asparagus Festival. They served asparagus up in hundreds of ways but my favorite was the Deep Fried Asparagus. I used to love doing that show because of that delicious treat!

So, here's a recipe I found that closely follows what they did at The Asparagus Festival in Stockton. Enjoy!

Text Recipe for Deep Fried Asparagus:
Ingredients:
3 Pounds of Raw Asparagus, Cleaned and Cut into 5" pieces.
1/2 Cup Cornstarch
Peanut Oil
3/4 Cup Flour
1/4 Tsp. Black Pepper
1/2 Ts. White Pepper
1 Tsp Salt
2/3 Cup Cold Flat Beer
1 Tsp. Baking Powder
1/2 Tsp. Baking Soda
1/2 Tsp. Celery Salt
2 Egg Whites
Toasted Sesame Seeds
Parmesan Cheese
Directions:
Whisk all the ingredients, except the asparagus, in a bowl. Dip the asparagus individually in the batter and deep fry in at least 2 inches of peanut oil until golden brown. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds and/or Parmesan cheese.

COOKING TIP: Keep the batter bowl in a larger bowl filled with ice - this helps the batter butterfly out like tempura!

These would be great served with one of my favorite recipes from my martini blog, The Martini Diva, go check out the blog and check out all the recipes in the blog archive!

20080222

TASTE OF THE ISLANDS NACHOS - A TROPICAL VACATION FOR YOUR TASTE BUDS!

 

This nacho recipe contains all the food groups and is so healthy you'll soon be able to serve them in that itsy, bitsy, teeny weeny polka dot bikini you have hiding in your closet!

With the wonderful salsa of mango, pineapple and cilantro that compliments the chicken so well you'll be asked to serve them at all your parties.

Pair this with one of these Tropical Martinis from The Martini Divaand treat your guests to a gastronomic visit to the Islands! Be sure to get some of those little paper umbrellas to enhance the mood!

Welcome to the Islands, mon! Here's the text recipe:

Taste of the Islands Nachos

INGREDIENTS
1 (16 ounce) package tortilla chips
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 yellow bell pepper, diced
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1 avocado - peeled, pitted, and diced
1 small can of cubed pineapple
1/2 cup cubed Mango
8 thick slices bacon
3/4 cup thick jerk marinade
1 pound cooked chicken, cubed
1/2 pound shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1/4 pound shredded Cheddar Cheese
1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
DIRECTIONS
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
2. Layer the chips on a cookie sheet or an oven safe serving dish.
3. Scatter the red pepper, orange pepper, onion, avocado, and pineapple on top of the chips.
4. Cook bacon until crisp; drain on a plate lined with paper towels
5. Chop the bacon and sprinkle over the nachos.
6. Pour the jerk marinade into a saucepan over medium heat
7. Add the chicken and stir to coat and the chicken is warm.
8. Scatter the chicken over the nachos; top with cheeses and cilantro.
5. Bake for 8 - 10 minutes or until the cheese is nicely melted.

20080219

BLUE CHEESE STUFFED MUSHROOMS!

STUFFED MUSHROOMS WITH BLUE CHEESE - GOOD EATS!

These stuffed mushrooms are so easy to make and they taste wonderful and rich. The caramelized onions on top give just the right touch of sweetness to the savory and creamy blue cheese.

Serve them up with my Oh Pear Martini, a delicious and delicate Pear Martini that complements the blue cheese perfectly!

Here's the text recipe:

Blue Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms

INGREDIENTS

1 Pound Fresh Mushrooms, Cleaned with Stems Removed
8 Ounces Blue Cheese, Crumbled
3 Medium Onions, Sliced into Rings
3 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
1 Teaspoon of Garlic Salt

DIRECTIONS
Preheat Oven to 375.
Brush mushrooms with olive oil.
Sprinkle garlic salt over mushrooms.
Fill mushroom caps with crumbled blue cheese.
Bake in oven for about 8 - 10 minutes or until cheese is starting to melt.
While the mushrooms are baking, saute onion slices in olive oil until caramelized (nicely browned and tender).
After you pull the mushrooms from the oven, top with the caramelized onions and serve hot.

THE OH PEAR! MARTINI recipe.

Stop by PopArtDiva.com for other great recipes and free recipe cards! Plus my great Retro Art!

20080214

Food Presentation, Plating Food - Garnish or Garish?

Why does my appetizer look like a piece of modern art I can't afford?

I was watching Iron Chef America and the guest chef was plating his food very creatively. His presentations were very "arty" and, as a professional artist, I would call them avant guard. I realized while watching him plate that I didn't like his approach. The dishes were stark and cold and didn't look appetizing! I did not want to taste his dishes.

Food is supposed to look good to eat, it's food! You aren't going to hang it on a wall or display it on your coffee table for posterity, you're going to eat it! Sometimes food presentation can be over designed and even badly designed, just like art.

Food should not be too pretty to eat or too sleek to appeal to the taste buds. On the other hand, it shouldn't be a big clump of glop sitting on a plate either. Colors are important, blue food should be left to the Who's in Whoville and gray foods are best served to the family pets. Keep the colors of your food natural and use contrasting garnishes to interest the eye.

The first priority for food is always taste. No matter how good it looks if it tastes bad you've failed as a cook or chef. The aroma is critical, it gets the digestive juices flowing and excites the tongue. The look of your food is the third element in your chef's palette, but it can be a critical step because if the food does not look good no one will ever taste it.

A sprig of parsley is boring and not enough while a construction of architectural proportions is overkill. It's always fun to play with food artistically, but please remember that it's food and not an original Picasso so don't get carried away.

Stay tuned for my great Taste of the Islands Nachos Recipe and stop by The Martini Diva for the latest designer martini recipes.

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20080210

Crab Stuffed Pepperoncini - Poppers with a twist

This is a great recipe I found for a popper that is a tad bit healthier than all those deep fried jalapeno poppers.

I'm one of those people who has to be very careful with hot peppers - the more powerful ones can actually blister my mouth! (Though smoked peppers don't seem to have that effect on me.)

I'm quite fond of pickled foods - I get that from my dad, and I love pepperoncini so this recipe caught my eye. Here's the text recipe:

Ingredients:
36 Pepperoncini
1 Pound of Cream Cheese
8 Ounces of Shredded Crab Meat
1 Tsp. Dried Thyme Leaves
1 Tsp. Fresh Cilantro
1 Tsp. Garlic Salt

Directions:
Cut the stem off the pepperoncini, scrape out the seeds and set aside. Combine the cream cheese, thyme leaves, cilantro and garlic salt. Gently mix in the crab meat. Place the mixture in a pastry bag (or a plastic bag with a small hole in one bottom corner) and pipe into the peppers. Dip the cream cheese end in the chopped cilantro for decoration.

Try these with some of my designer martinis from The Martini Diva and pat yourself on the back for enjoying a popper version that isn't deep fried!

BTW - Happy Valentine's Day and check out my great Valentine Martini, The Chocolate Dipped Strawberry Martini for your romantic dinner tryst!

20080203

MINI QUICHES - Bite Size Breakfast Tapas

I don't do football so Superbowl Sunday is a day when I invite my female friends (football widows) over for our own party, which I call the Un-Superbowl Party.

You will not see pizza, wings, bean dips, beer or chips on my party table. I am into tiny foods, remember?

This year it was Mini Quiches along with my two latest rumaki recipes I posted this last week (see recipes below).

I added two great martini recipes from The Martini Diva - the The Bloody Martini and the Orange Julius Martini and, voila (or Voylah, as my friend Nancy says) - A Mini Brunch of Diva goodness!

The next time you see a big sports weekend staring you in the face and you'd rather watch an old movie, keep this post in mind and throw your own Un-Superbowl Party!

BTW - Congratulations to the New York Giants! I may not watch but I do know who won!

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