Posts filed under ‘party-food’

Twisted Tapas

(Originally published by, by me, on May 23, 2007)
Today’s recipe is inspired by the some of the mainstay ingredients of Spain. I call it Twisted Tapas. Made with salty serrano ham, mild manchego cheese and sweet quince paste, these bite-sized pieces are a delicious delight for your taste buds. Twisted Tapas are very easy to prepare and can be made up to 3 days in advance of your party and kept in the refrigerator. The day of the party, just slice, heat, serve and enjoy!

Twisted Tapas
3/4 cup finely grated manchego cheese (about 3 ounces)

1 tsp. spanish smoked paprika (optional)

2 tsp. quince paste (spanish membrillo)

1 puff pastry sheet (from one 17 1/4-ounce package frozen puff pastry
sheets), thawed

1 large egg, beaten lightly

2 ounces thinly sliced serrano ham

To Make:
In a bowl combine manchego and paprika. On a lightly floured surface arrange pastry sheet with a short side facing you and cut in half crosswise. Arrange one half of sheet with the long side facing you and brush edge of far side with some of the beaten egg. Place half of serrano ham evenly on top of pastry, avoiding egg-brushed edge, and top with half of the manchego mixture. Starting with side nearest you, roll pastry jelly-roll fashion into a log and wrap in wax paper. Make second log the same way. Chill pastry logs, seam sides down, until firm, at least 3 hours, and up to 3 days.
When ready to serve, pre-heat oven to 400°F. and lightly grease 2 large baking sheets.
Cut logs crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices and arrange, cut sides down, 1 inch apart on baking sheets. Bake in batches in middle of oven until golden, 14 to 16 minutes. Transfer to a rack and cool slightly. Serve warm.

About 30 – 40 pieces


January 8, 2008 at 3:29 am Leave a comment

Watermelon Gazpacho

(Originally published by, by me, on May 16, 2007)
The weather here in Belgium has been absolutely fabulous and it has inspired me to dig into some of the refreshing seasonal fruits that are now available. This watermelon “gazpacho” is the perfect starter for a dinner party, an easy take a long for a picnic event or a tempting treat on the appetizer table. The ingredients can be varied to your tastes and imagination, but here is my favorite version:

Watermelon “Gazpacho”


5 cups seedless watermelon, diced and divided (approx. one 3lb. watermelon)

1 small cucumber, 1/4 in. dice (approx. 1 cup)

1/2 yellow pepper, de-seeded, 1/4 in. dice (approx. 1/2 cup)

1/2 red pepper, de-seeded, 1/4 in. dice (approx. 1/2 cup)

1 peach, 1/4 in. dice (approx. 1 cup)

1 small jalapeno pepper, de-seeded, minced

1/2 small red onion, 1/4 in. dice (approx. 1/2 cup)

1/4 cup mint, finely chopped

1 tsp. fresh ginger, minced

3 T. lime juice

2 T. red wine vinegar

1/4 tsp. salt
Olive oil and sea salt for serving

To Make:
Put 4 cups of diced watermelon into a blender and puree. Pour into large bowl. Add remaining 1 cup diced watermelon and the rest of the ingredients. Stir. Cover and refrigerate for 1-4 hours. (The longer it sits the better the flavors will blend). To serve, pour into shot glasses and drizzle with olive oil and a little bit of sea salt.

Approx. 20 shot glass servings

January 7, 2008 at 3:35 am Leave a comment


(Originally published by, by me, on May 29, 2007)
The following recipe is inspired by the delicious flavors we sampled on a recent trip to the Greek Isles. In Greek: Tyropitakia (pronounced tee-ro-pee-TAHK-yah) loosely translates to cheese-filled triangles. These are little golden packets of goodness which are very easy to make using store-bought phyllo dough and they look scrumptious on the table. The filling can be made a day in advance to help save time before your party. Be sure to buy extra phyllo dough as the sheets may stick together.

Tyropitakia (cheese-filled triangles)
1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano

4 ounces crumbled feta cheese

1 scallion, finely minced (white and light green parts only)

1 Tbs. finely minced fresh parsley

1/2 tsp. dried oregano

1 tsp. freshly grated lemon rind

1 egg

1/2 tsp. salt

1/8 tsp. pepper

8 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted

8 sheets frozen phyllo dough, thawed

To Make:
Mix Cheeses together in a large bowl. Stir in scallion, parsley, oregano and lemon rind. Beat egg in small bowl and add to mixture with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Melt butter in small saucepan. Lightly brush a large rimmed baking sheet with about 1 tablespoon of the melted butter. 
Place 1 phyllo sheet with short end closest to you (keep remaining phyllo covered with plastic wrap and damp kitchen towel to avoid drying out). Brush phyllo sheet lightly with melted butter, then cut lengthwise into 3 equal strips each about 4 inches wide.
Place 1 tablespoon of cheese mixture at bottom end of strip. Fold a corner of dough over filling and repeat folding (like a flag) until entire strip is folded. Brush with melted butter as you go.
Place triangles on baking sheet and brush tops with more melted butter.
Repeat until you have 24 triangles. Bake until golden brown and crisp, about 20 minutes.

24 triangles

January 4, 2008 at 3:26 am Leave a comment

Prosciutto and Mozzarella Bites

(Originally published by, by me, on June 5, 2007)
Bring a little Italy into your home at your next event with these prosciutto and mozzarella bites. The saltiness of the prosciutto is tempered by the sweet tomato and basil and it’s all held together with slightly melted mozzarella. Very simple to make and your guests are sure to love ’em!

Prosciutto and Mozzarella Bites
20 thin slices of prosciutto

8 oz block of mozzarella

2 plum tomatoes

20 fresh basil leaves

freshly ground pepper

To Make:

Cut tomatoes into 5 thin slices each (lengthwise) and then cut in half again. Slice mozzarella into 20 thin slices. On a work surface, lay out one slice of prosciutto and place one slice of tomato at end closest to you. top with mozzarella, basil leaf and another slice of tomato. Season with freshly ground pepper then roll into a small package. Do the same with the other slices of prosciutto. Place packets into a lightly oiled and pre-heated pan over medium heat for 2-3 minutes each side. Drain on paper towels and serve warm.

20 bites

January 3, 2008 at 3:20 am Leave a comment

White Bean and Cherry Tomato Tartelettes

Faced with the daunting task of throwing a party for an equal mix of vegetarians and carnivores, I went in search of quick and easy appetizers that would appeal to all of my friends. I saw a photo of these tartelettes in one of my Marie Claire cookbooks a while ago and thought they would fit the bill. In Belgium, it is easy to find ready-made tart crusts at the grocery store. In retrospect, though, I would probably make them myself. The ones that I bought were a bit dry and probably a little large for this recipe. I don’t think anyone else minded, they disappeared quick enough!

White Bean & Cherry Tomato Tartelettes (Tartelettes aux haricots blancs et tomates cerises)
Adapted from “Marie Claire Recettes: buffets et cocktails, Michele Cranston”

1 can white beans
2 garlic cloves (peeled)
30 cherry tomatoes
1.5 Tbs. fresh lemon thyme
1/2 cup olive oil
30 pre-cooked mini tart shells
2.5 tsp. salt

To Make:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Drain beans and place in dutch oven or medium pot with the garlic cloves. Cover with water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. While the beans cook, place the tomatoes on a baking sheet and drizzle with 2 tsp. thyme, 1/4 cup olive oil, and 1/2 tsp. salt. Cook for 30 minutes. Set aside to cool. Add 2 tsp. salt to bean mixture during the last 5 minutes of cooking. When the beans are tender, remove from heat and drain. Puree the beans (with the garlic) in a food processor or blender with the remaining olive oil and thyme. Salt and pepper to taste. Fill each tart shell with 1 tsp. bean puree and 1 grilled cherry tomato. Serve immediately.

30 tartelettes

January 2, 2008 at 5:32 am Leave a comment


Recent Posts

Flickr Photos