Chiang Mai Cucumber Cups

food vegetables cucumbers gherkins

Photo by Tookapic on

We spent a memorable ten days in Chiang Mai in an ancient guest house on the river with some of the best food we have ever eaten…our hostess, Prim, directed a kitchen that turned out these little appetizers for our afternoon delight.  Multiply the recipe for your needs.  This recipe makes six cucumber cups.

  • One cucumber
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • 4 tablespoons of lime juice
  • 2 small chilies, deseeded and chopped
  • 3 teaspoons of sugar
  • One and half cups of ground, roasted peanuts
  • Sea salt

Divide the cucumber into six equal slices, scoop out the center with a melon baller and leave a base in each cup.  Combine remaining ingredients and mix well.  Fill cups and chill before serving.



Italian Telephone Wires

Risotto translates as telephone wires due to the content of mozzarella in this dish…we love these as an appetizer or as a side dish with veal piccata.  The recipe looks complex but it comes together quickly.  

  • Two tablespoons of olive oil
  • One medium onion, minced
  • One garlic clove, minced
  • One half of a red bell pepper, diced
  • Three quarters of a cup of long grain rice
  • One teaspoon of oregano
  • One and half cups of chicken stock
  • One half cup of dry white wine
  • Three ounces of mozzarella divided into 12 teaspoon-sized pieces
  • Olive oil for frying

Heat the oil and add the next five ingredients, cooking for about three minutes.  Add the stock and wine by the spoonful, waiting for the rice to absorb the liquid.  After about fifteen minutes, all the liquid should be absorbed and the rice should be tender.  When cool enough to work with, form balls of rice around each of the twelve pieces of cheese.  Cook in batches of four in hot oil for two minutes or until golden.  Drain thoroughly on paper towels and serve hot.

Bacon and Grits Kabobs


This recipe calls for thickly cooked grits made with your favorite recipe and flavored with red pepper sauce, butter, garlic, a little cheddar or whatever is your preference.  I am not going to venture into telling my gentle readers how to cook grits.  Anyway, when done, pour out onto a cookie sheet at a depth of about an inch and set in the fridge to cool.  Meanwhile, cut about a dozen slices of lean bacon into thirds.  When the grits harden, cut into one inch cubes and wrap the bacon around each cube, skewering it with a bamboo kabob that has been soaked for a half hour in iced water.  Cook under a broiler for seven to eight minutes until the bacon is crispy and serve hot.

Stuffed Baby Med Peppers

We have always loved to add pepperoncini to our Greek salads.  On our last visit to Rhodes we were served these simple but satisfying pre-prandial bites at a little sidewalk cafe near the gate to the port.  These pickled peppers, which are just as popular in Italian dishes, are so easily available in the United States and so overlooked when we think of savory appetizers.  Our chef simply soaked them for a time in icy water, slit them open, and filled each pepper with an equal amount of local cheese, what tasted like minced salami, and a generous helping of grated onion.  Dust this with Greek seasoning, squeeze a little lemon juice over all and warm in a 300 degree oven for ten minutes.  You may substitute minced, crispy bacon and Monterey Jack for a departure. 

Neighbor Nancy’s Cheesy Stuff

Don’t know how to describe this…is it a dip?  Is it a spread?  Is it an entree?  It really doesn’t matter once you taste it.  Just take my word for it and whip this up for your next gathering.

  • 8 ounces of old dependable cream cheese
  • 2 cups of shredded cheddar or whatever you have
  • 1 half cup of mayonnaise
  • 4 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 dozen well-crumbled ginger snaps
  • 1 half cup of pepper jelly
  • 1 shot of rum

Combine first four and mix well.  Spread on a stoneware serving platter.  Sprinkle ginger snaps on top and bake at 350 for ten minutes.  Meanwhile, combine pepper jelly with an ounce of rum  in a pyrex cup and warm in a microwave.  Stir well and pour over cheese mixture, fresh from the oven.   Serve with your favorite crackers or more ginger snaps.

Slushy Sangria


This cooling beverage will fill about ten wine glasses.  Blend an 8 ounce can of crushed pineapple, three cups of red wine, one and a half cups of orange juice, one half cup of lemon juice, and a half cup of sugar at high speed.  Pour in a shallow baking pan and freeze overnight.  When ready to serve, soften at room temperature and stir with a fork until you have a slushy consistency you can spoon into the glasses.  Enjoy!

Cheddar, Ham, and Green Peppercorn Souffle


A kind and generous follower of But First sent this recipe on to us very recently.  We were blown away with its cheesy goodness and the ease with which it all goes together.  The punch of green peppercorns gives it an unexpected flavor.

  • Four green onions, roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon of green peppercorns
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup of mayonnaise
  • 3 cups of sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1 cup of smoked ham, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon of fresh garlic, minced

Process the onion, peppercorns, and egg in a food processor until the onion is minced. Pour into a one quart  baking dish and add other ingredients, stirring well.   Bake at 325 degrees for about 30 minutes or until puffed and golden.  Serve while warm with crackers or thick potato chips.