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.

Pine Nut and Havarti Souffles

Want  full-flavored hors d’oeuvres to make ahead and reheat in just a few minutes before the doorbell rings!  Make several recipes of these if you have a crowd coming.  This makes 24 souffles in a mini-muffin pan.

  • Two tablespoons of butter, melted
  • Three tablespoons of all-purpose flour
  • One small jalapeno pepper, seeded , deribbed and minced
  • Three tablespoons of pine nuts, toasted and minced
  • Six tablespoons of whole milk
  • Six tablespoons of half and half milk
  • One half cup of grated Havarti cheese
  • One teaspoon of Dijon mustard
  • Sea salt
  • Black pepper, freshly ground
  • Two eggs, beaten

Coat muffin cups with non-stick spray and dust with a little flour.  Combine butter and flour in a pyrex bowl and microwave for one minute, whisking at intervals.  When blended, add pepper and pine nuts and cook for another minute.  Then add milk and half and half.  Cook for two to three minutes, whisking at intervals, or until thick and smooth.  Remove from microwave and blend in cheese, mustard, and seasonings to taste. When cooled to room temperature, add eggs, combining thoroughly, and spoon into muffin cups, filling halfway.  Bake at 400 degrees for about ten minutes or until puffed and golden.

Lime Rickeys by the Pitcher


We have long advocated cocktails by the pitcher or a signature punch when you host a gathering of people who want to catch up  or a crowd of new friends you want to get to know really well.  You’ll find other beverage recipes on this blog that are suitable for parties where a bartender is nowhere to be found.  This recipe gets a jump on spring just as the limes are coming in from the Keys.  Cheers!

Heat a half cup of water with a half cup of sugar to make a simple syrup and chill.  In a three quart pitcher, add one and a half cups of gin, three quarters of a cup of freshly squeezed lime juice, and the cooled syrup.  When you are ready to serve, add one and a half quarts of chilled soda.  This should make about eight tall glasses filled with ice and garnished with lime wedges.

Caviar on Cauliflower Cream


We love this alternative appetizer on thickly cut, home-made, potato chips but it will work just as well with blintz or melba toast.  The most important thing is to make sure you drain the cauliflower well after cooking so that the consistency of the cream is not runny.  I have found that microwaving the cauliflower in a covered dish with a few teaspoons of water for steaming is very satisfactory.

  • Two cups of cauliflower, cooked well and drained
  • One tablespoon of fresh chives, chopped
  • One third of a cup of sour cream
  • One half  teaspoon of kosher salt
  • Five ounces of your preferred caviar
  • One tablespoon of fresh chives, finely minced

Process first four ingredients and refrigerate until ready to serve.  Assemble by putting one teaspoon of cauliflower cream on the toast, followed by a half teaspoon of caviar. Garnish with a sprinkle of  minced chives.