Posts Tagged ‘Appetizer’

A Shower for My Sister

June 6th, 2012

Strawberry cheesecakes

Later this summer, my little sister is getting married.  I started planning her shower back in the early spring, playing around with Pinterest, reading dessert cookbooks, and flipping through magazines.


The theme came together quickly – lipstick & lingerie – with the guests contributing to the bride’s visit to MAC and a pile of frothy underthings.  We spent the day before the shower getting primped and pampered, just like a bridal party should.

Sugar cookie wedding cakes

The food was where I had the most fun.  My grandma, an amazing baker, pulled off the shortbread wedding cakes seen above.  I ordered macarons from the lovely Bake Lethbridge, and everything else played into the fresh spring feel of the shower.  My favourite treat was also the easiest to put together – a tray full of bruschetta and goat cheese on baguette slices.  Half were a traditional tomato bruschetta; half were a summery strawberry bruschetta.

Desserts Garter from mom Party snacks

It was a wonderful afternoon, and I can’t wait for the big weekend.

Cheesy Artichoke Bread

October 2nd, 2011

Artichoke bread

A quick shout-out to Patrice, of Circle B Kitchen.  She came up with this recipe for what is probably the most amazing quick bread I’ve ever made.  A word of caution for when you make it, though – make sure there are people come over after you do the baking.  Otherwise there’s a good chance you’ll eat then entire loaf yourself.  It’s just that good.

Goat Cheese, Pea and Pesto tarts

July 31st, 2011

Goat cheese, garlic and pea tarts

Sometimes random, leftover ingredients can come together to make the tastiest little dishes.  This was one of those times.  I had a handful of fresh market peas, some local goat cheese and half a package of puff pastry sitting in my fridge.  Pulled together with some of last week’s garlic scape pesto, they make a delightful little appetizer.

Half a block of puff pastry
Garlic scape pesto (basil pesto would do in a pinch)
Soft goat cheese
Fresh peas

Preheat oven to 400ºF.
On a lightly floured surface, roll the block of puff pastry into a 12×9 inch rectangle.
Slice the rectangle into 12 equal squares.
Spoon a scant teaspoon of pesto onto the centre of each square.  Top with another teaspoon of goat cheese, then sprinkle on some peas.
Fold two opposite corners of the square into the centre, covering the toppings.  Fold the other two in the same way.
Gently lift the tarts into the cavities of a muffin pan and bake for 15-20 minutes or until puffed and golden brown.
Let cool on a cookie rack before serving.

Pesto Palmiers

April 14th, 2011

Shower snacks

Last weekend, I played the chef for a friend’s bridal shower.  We were expecting around 25 people and I wanted the food to be bright, springy, but most importantly, easy to prepare.  I opted for a trio of dips – hummus, baba ganoush and a creamy salsa – and a few little pastry nibbles.  The bride-to-be’s aunt hosted the party and made her signature Greek salads-on-a-stick.

My favourite snack of the afternoon, both in terms of its ease of preparation and its tastiness upon completion, were the pesto palmiers.  A single brick of Tenderflake puff pastry makes about 3 dozen palmiers.  I made two bricks-worth, which was enough for the party and even a few leftovers – those were saved for the next day, quickly re-baked, and served with big pints of beer.  Delish.

1 brick frozen puff pastry
1 jar good quality pesto

Thaw the puff pastry overnight in the fridge.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out a 10×12 inch rectangle of pastry.
Spread a thin layer of pesto on top of the pastry, going right out to the edges.
Fold each of the long edges of the rectangle 1 inch towards the middle.  Repeat until the folded parts meet together in the centre, then fold one on top of the other.  You should have a long, somewhat V-shaped, rolled-up log of pastry, with the pesto on the inside.
Slice the log into 1/3 inch slices.  Lay the slices out on a baking sheet, making sure to leave plenty of room for expansion.
Bake the palmiers at 375ºF for about 8 minutes, or until just turning golden brown.

Here’s a super-cute French video that shows the recipe for the original, sweet version of these palmiers:


Pickled Beans

September 9th, 2009


So I got it into my head to try some canning this fall. The veggies at the market have been glorious this year – huge cauliflowers, long, snappy beans, piles of potatoes and carrots everywhere. I’d been reading a bunch of canning and preserving cookbooks from the library, and finally settled on Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It: And Other Cooking Projects by Karen Solomon. She’s got some fantastic recipes in this book – homemade marshmallows (on the list to try), crackers (tasty and easy to make with the Kitchenaid pasta roller), pickles, jams, cheese… the list goes on and on, and everything looks so tasty.

pickled beans

Her pickled bean recipe looked easy enough, and with confirmation from Irma Rombauer’s Joy of Cooking, I was ready to go. The hardest part of the canning process was waiting for the water to boil, so I’ll be putting up a lot more jars of goodies over the next few weeks. Now I just need a bigger pantry to store them all in…

3 lbs green and yellow beans
12 cloves of garlic
6 big, fresh dill flowers
3 tbsp peppercorns
6 tsp salt
3 cups vinegar (approximately)
filtered water

For the exact canning procedure, I’ll let you refer to either Solomon’s or Rombauer’s books. My basic method was to prep the jars and lids in boiling water, then divide the ingredients in 3 and fill the jars. The lids were screwed on, the jars popped back into the canner full of boiling water, and 15 minutes later (due to the altitude) I had 3 very hot jars of pickled beans.

Some good online pickling guides:

  • Well Preserved
  • Bernardin (Canadian site)
  • National Center for Home Food Preservation
  • Canning Primer
  • Related Posts with Thumbnails