California Walnut Pate


Nuts are good for you and this delicious spread will ensure your quota for a week or two.  Pack it in a crock and serve with extra crispy crackers.

  • 2 cups of bread crumbs
  • 2 cups of walnuts, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons of cumin
  • 2 teaspoons of smoked paprika
  • 1/4 cup of lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon of lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon of red pepper sauce
  • walnut or olive oil

In a food processor, blend first seven ingredients until they are combined but still not a paste.  Add oils by the teaspoon until a spreadable consistency is reached.  Taste and add sea salt for desired saltiness.

“I’ve Got a Secret” Smoked Tuna Dip

08_Canned TunaOur old and dear friend Nancy always surprises us when we show up on her doorstep for a drink and a lot of laughs before riding around to view the Christmas lights or to sample the newest restaurant on the Emerald Coast.  The last time we visited, we were treated to her original recipe for a smoked tuna dip and after raves all around, she leaked the secret.  It was simply canned tuna with liquid smoke.  Now, we live on the coast in tuna territory but this was shockingly good.  We want to share it, with her permission.

  • 1 can of albacore tuna in water, drained well
  • 8 ounces of cream cheese, softened
  • 2 teaspoons of liquid smoke
  • 1 teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup of grated onion
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh parsley, minced
  • 2 splats of red pepper sauce
  • 1 teaspoon of lemon juice
  • Smoked paprika for taste and garnish

Combine all ingredients except for the paprika and chill for a couple of hours.  Mound in a serving dish, sprinkle the paprika for taste and garnish and surround it with saltine crackers…just like your favorite fish camp!






Mexican Egg Mousse with Caviar


Here’s another easy and elegant approach for caviar or flying fish roe when time is of the essence.  Try serving this in a wide-brimmed Margarita glass with melba toast on the side.

  • 3 tablespoons of sour cream
  • 3 tablespoon of mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon of lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon of lime zest
  • 1 teaspoon of cilantro, minced
  • 1 teaspoon of red pepper sauce
  • 1 small onion, grated
  • 6 hard-boiled eggs
  • 3 tablespoons of caviar or fish roe

Process all the ingredients except for the caviar until it is a smooth paste.  Spoon into the serving glass and top with the caviar.  

Authentic Welsh Rarebit

                                    welsh rarebit

A friendly little pub in Pembroke with a spectacular view of the castle offered us a chance to taste what might have been standard fare if you had Welsh ancestors, as I did.  Plan on at least a full slice of wholemeal bread per person when you serve this classic dish.  Brain’s Beer, a bitter dark ale, is the go-to beer in Wales for Welsh Rarebit.

  •  1 pound of well-aged cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1/4 cup of melted butter
  • 2 tablespoons each of Worcestershire sauce, English mustard, and all-purpose flour
  • 8 tablespoons of dark ale
  • 8 slices of a coarse and rustic bread
  • Cayenne pepper

Mix all ingredients, except the bread and pepper, into a smooth paste and spread generously over the toast slices.  Place under a broiler and cook until well-browned.  Sprinkle cayenne pepper over each before serving.  Caution your guests to let it sit a moment before burning their tongues. 


Retro Favorite: Dried Beef Dip

Time to bring it back!  I know you remember this classic dip made from the chipped beef in the little glass jar. In its day it was seen on every coffee table on Saturday night.  Why? Because it was a delicious, satisfying, comfort food that somehow reminded veterans of SOS.  They still sell it in the little glass jar so you can bring back memories for your friends.

  • 2 eight ounce blocks of cream cheese, softened
  • 3/4 of a cup of sour cream
  • 1  five ounce jar of chipped beef, minced
  • 1/2 of a bell pepper, minced
  • 1/2 of an onion, minced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup of pecans, toasted and chopped

Mix first six ingredients well, spoon into a stoneware baking dish and sprinkle pecans on top.  Place in a 300 degree oven until it enthusiastically bubbles.  Tastes great with Triscuits! 


Eggs Jaipur

My friend, Franklin, and I tasted something akin to this as we explored the Golden Triangle in Northern India a year or two ago.  It was served at our hotel in exotic Jaipur as a breakfast dish, but I have adapted it as an appetizer that can be served as a dip with veggie sticks or as a spread on pita or Indian flat breads.

  • 6 eggs, boiled and chopped
  • 1/4 cup of Indian chutney, minced (Major Grey’s is perfect)
  • 1/4 cup of sour cream
  • 1 heaping tablespoon of Madras curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon of lime zest
  • 1/2 cup of coconut flakes
  • 1/2 cup of dry-roasted peanuts, chopped

Combine the first five ingredients and put in a serving bowl next to a basket of flat bread. Offer the coconut flakes and chopped peanuts as condiments.



Sausage and Onion Squares


Choose your favorite sausage or opt for bulk pork sausage.  This recipe offers you an opportunity to make it your own with a choice of herbs and spices.  We prefer a German or Polish kielbasa, combined with dill and caraway seeds and topped with a smoked paprika.

  • 1 pound of sausage, crumbled and browned
  • 1 large onion, chopped and cooked with the sausage
  • 2 cups of baking mix
  • 3/4 cup of milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon of dill, caraway, OR poppy seeds
  • 1 1/2 cups of sour cream
  • Sea salt to taste
  • Cayenne, smoked paprika, or chili powder to taste

Mix baking mix with milk and one egg. Spread in a Pyrex or stoneware baking pan.  Add choice of herbs or seeds.  Top with the sausage and onion mixture.  Mix sour cream with salt and remaining egg.  Pour over the sausage and. sprinkle with your choice of peppers.  Bake at 350 for thirty minutes.  Let cool and cut into 2 inch squares.  It should make about two dozen appetizers.