Kalamata and Feta Roll-Ups

This one is a keeper.  If you have never used flour tortillas for roll-ups, you are missing out on a quick, convenient, and much-appreciated snack or appetizer.  Simply lay out a burrito-sized tortilla, mix together 8 ounces of cream cheese, 6 ounces of Feta, 6 ounces of chopped Kalamata olives, sprinkle in some Greek seasoning and garlic powder, and spread generously.  Roll up into a tube, slice into 1 and 1/2 inch pieces and plate.  This freezes well if you would like to make some in advance.  Simply wrap the whole roll in plastic wrap, and about 15 minutes before you are ready to serve, unwrap and slice.



Pimiento Shrimp Au Gratin

gulf shrimpWe enjoyed this appetizer with friends in Steamboat Springs in the fall and highly recommend it for an evening by the fire with friends.  You may use sweet red peppers, bottled prepared ones, or if you prefer some heat, add a bit of canned chipotle in tomato sauce.  Prepare in a flat stoneware baking dish that is suitable for serving with melba toast and cocktail picks. 

  • One can of tomato soup
  • One half cup of milk
  • One quarter cup of Worcestershire sauce
  • Juice and zest of one lemon
  • One half cup of roughly chopped red peppers
  • One teaspoon of oregano
  • One teaspoon of minced garlic
  • Two pounds of cooked shrimp, peeled
  • One cup of Monterrey Jack cheese, grated

Combine first seven ingredients in a saucepan and half a cup of the cheese.  Heat until the cheese is melted and the liquid is close to a boil.   Arrange shrimp in a large baking dish and pour heated sauce over all.  Sprinkle the remaining half cup of cheese evenly over the top and broil until the cheese melts and is lightly browned.

Scarlet Caviar Mousse

imgresSomehow red caviar just seems more festive than the black, despite the fact that it is much cheaper than Beluga.  This recipe is tried and trusted from the neighborhood gatherings in Montgomery’s Garden District.  We like it with sesame crackers.

  • Two envelopes of gelatin
  • Two tablespoon of tap water
  • One half cup of boiling water
  • Four ounces of red caviar (lumpfish or salmon)
  • Three cups of plain yogurt
  • Three cups of mayonnaise
  • One tablespoon of lemon juice
  • One tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce
  • Two tablespoons of onion juice

Add gelatin to the two tablespoons of tap water to soften for about five minutes, then pour in the boiling water to dissolve.  Add remaining ingredients and pour into a mold, chill until set.  Garnish with lemon wedges or cucumber curls.

Camarones Corona

The Mexican word for shrimp is camarones and the Mexican word for beer, world-wide, is Corona.  This simple method of preparing boiled shrimp for a peel-your -own group is quick and eminently edible.  If using heads-on shrimp add another pound or two.

  • Three pounds of raw shrimp in shells
  • Four bottles of Corona
  • Two tablespoons of dried Dill
  • One cup of Celery leaves
  • One half cup of roughly chopped Cilantro
  • Two Bay leaves
  • One teaspoon of minced dried Chipotle
  • One small Onion, sliced
  • One small lime, sliced
  • One Garlic clove, minced

Place all ingredients in a boiling pot, except for the shrimp, and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for five minutes.  Add shrimp and cover.  When liquid returns to a boil, remove from heat, and pour into a colander to drain.  You may chill the shrimp with the herbs and spices or remove them before serving.

Venetian Eggplant Pizza


The first time we tasted eggplant in company with the traditional flavors of an Italian pizza was from a small takeout shop in the Piazza Margherita in Venice. We were hooked and I came home and started experimenting.  One thing led to another with versions of grilled eggplant topped with different cheeses and sauces without a pizza crust.  We were amazed at the creamy texture of a grilled eggplant slice and decided to permanently forego the crust.  We have tried several varieties but have come to prefer the long and narrow purple oriental eggplant which can be sliced the length of the vegetable into about four pieces.  This is how we like it.  Make it your own with your choice of toppings.

  • Oriental Eggplant cut into one inch thick slices, lengthwise
  • Olive oil
  • Alfredo sauce, prepared, or make your own
  • Crumbled feta cheese
  • Thin slices of prosciutto or crumbled bacon
  • Hearts of artichoke, chopped
  • Lemon Pepper (without salt)

Brush or spray the eggplant slices with olive oil on both sides and place on a grill or under a broiler.  Cook until browned on one side, about five minutes on a hot grill, and turn over.  Spread the sauce, add toppings and seasoning and close the grill cover.  After five minutes check to see if cheese has melted and if the reverse side is browned.  Each slice may be cut into four portions and served as an appetizer, or serve as a family entree.


Shrimp Tortillitas

These small shrimp patties are a favorite in Andalucia, Spain’s tapas bars.  You may prepare them individually or make one large tortilla like a pancake and cut it into wedges for serving. 

  • One cup of all purpose flour
  • One half teaspoon of baking powder
  • Water
  • One third cup of chopped green onions
  • One cup of cooked shrimp, chopped
  • Three tablespoons of chopped cilantro
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Olive oil

Mix the flour and baking powder in a bowl and add water sparingly until you have a thin pancake batter.  Fold in the onions, shrimp, and cilantro and season to taste.  Pour about a half inch of oil in a pan and when it is hot, add the batter a tablespoon at a time to make three small patties.  They will require about two minutes on each side.  To make a large tortilla, add batter to the middle of the pan and spread out with a spatula.  You will need two large spatulas and a plate to turn the tortilla.  Practice makes perfect!



French Olive Squares


Imagine a terrine packed with succulent black olives enhanced with freshly grated parmesan cheese…that aptly describes this wonderful appetizer that you will find so easy to prepare that you will offer it often…keep it in the fridge for the holidays and cut it into cubes for cocktail service…and it goes well with a light tomato sauce if you choose.

  • Four tablespoons of all-purpose flour
  • Two teaspoons of baking powder
  • Four large eggs, beaten
  • One cup of whole milk
  • One cup of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, freshly grated
  • One cup of black olives, preferably Nyons or cured Kalamatas pitted and sliced into halves
  • One Tablespoon of Olive oil

Blend the flour, baking powder, eggs, and milk together and fold in the cheese, olives, and oil.  Set aside for two hours for the flour to absorb the liquids.  Preheat the oven to 425 degrees, stir the batter once more, and pour into a buttered loaf pan.  Bake for thirty minutes until it is golden brown and firm to the touch.  When cool, you may slice it and then cut into two inch cubes.

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