The Very Best Stuffed Grape Leaves


We love Grecian stuffed grape leaves and they serve exceptionally well for a entree when made with rice, ground lamb and sauced in an egg and lemon bath.  But for an appetizer, and that is what we are all about, this recipe is spectacular:

  • One and a half cups of cream cheese
  • One half cup of ground almonds
  • Two tablespoon of dates, chopped
  • Two tablespoons of butter
  • One quarter cup of slivered almonds
  • Twelve to Eighteen Grape Leaves, prepared

Beat the cream cheese together with the ground almonds and dates.  Melt the butter and fry the almonds until golden brown.  Add to the cream cheese mixture.  Lay out grape leaves and spoon filling into each one, folding over to enclose.  Place in foil and heat eight to ten minutes before serving.


Spicy Creole Peanuts

                                  brooks peanuts

And here’s another spiced nut idea for your beer buds:   Finely chop two teaspoons of fresh rosemary and two teaspoons of fresh oregano.  Melt two tablespoons of butter and toss with two cups of shelled peanuts.  Add the fresh herbs along with 1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper, 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper, and one tablespoon of garlic salt.  Toss well and spread out on a cookie sheet.  Bake in a 300 degree oven for about thirty minutes, turning twice.  Let cool and enjoy!

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.

Hot Peanuts and Pepitas

Several bowls of these nibbles sitting on cocktail or side tables will be appreciated by those who have the munchies prior to dinner or a cocktail buffet. Test the heat and choose your chiles which can range from smoked paprika to dried and crushed serranos or chile arboles. Preserve the taste buds for your homecooked spread.

2 tablespoons of olive oil

2 tablespoons of chile powder (your choice)

1 tablespoon of garlic salt

1 cup of shelled raw peanuts

1 cup of raw pumpin seeds

Mix well and turn out onto a cookie sheet and roast at 275 degrees until brown. Check every five minutes to keep from burning. Pour out onto paper towels to remove excess oil and store in a ziplock bag until needed. This will keep for a week or ten days and may be warmed before serving.

Blue Cheese and Walnut Turnovers


Somehow walnuts and blue cheese have an affinity for each other.  They work well in a spinach salad, in a buttermilk salad dressing, and in cheese rolls.  We love this easy appetizer with an always impressive presentation on a silver tray.

  • 2 sticks of butter
  • 8 ounces of blue cheese, crumbled
  • 2 cups of self-rising flour
  • 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon of sea salt
  • 1 pound of toasted walnut halves

Cream first five ingredients and roll into a three inch diameter log. Chill for an hour, then cut half-inch thick circles, fold each over a walnut half, seal edges with an egg wash, and bake for fifteen minutes in a 350 degree oven or until brown.

Brooks Farms Peanut Dip

I am fortunate to have close kinfolks in the

peanut business, both as producers and

processors. When I am very, very, good I am

on the receiving end of a five pound bag of

shelled peanuts suitable for roasting. This

recipe is a favorite way to share that wealth

with friends. I first oven-roast the peanuts

after tossing with peanut oil and sea salt

in a 350 degree oven until golden brown.

1 cup of roasted peanuts

½ cup of green onions, sliced

4 garlic cloves, minced

2 tablespoons of tomato paste

2 eight ounce jars of roasted red peppers, drained well

2 tablespoons of lemon juice

Red pepper sauce to taste

Place peanuts, onions, and garlic in a pan and

saute in a small amount of peanut oil until garlic

is transparent. Put in a food processor with the

remaining ingredients and process until thoroughly

pureed. Serve with celery sticks or wheat crackers.

Coconut Almonds

Coconut Almonds

You can never have too many bowls of nuts

sitting around during the cocktail hour and

we love these! Cristina, our housekeeper in

San Cristobal, would retrieve a fresh coconut

from the market, crack it, and grind the meat

to make these memorable spiced nuts.

¼ cup of brown sugar

½ cup of fresh ground or flaked coconut

2 teaspoons of curry powder

¼ teaspoon of chili powder

1 large egg white, whipped

1 pound of almonds

Add almonds to a bowl with the whipped egg white.

Then, add the first four ingredients and toss well.

Turn out in a single layer on a cookie sheet and

roast until golden at 300 degrees for twenty to

twenty five minutes. Cool until nuts crisp.