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.

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!



Oysters and Golden Mushrooms for a Chafing Dish


Hopefully, America’s oyster beds will be producing plentifully with the Christmas season approaching and this creamy oyster and mushroom melange will be a delicious addition to a holiday buffet served in crispy pastry shells or more informally as a dip with toasted garlic bread rounds.  This recipe will serve about six but you’ll want to triple the recipe for a large crowd.

  • Three dozen oysters drained and halved
  • One half cup of oyster or shitake mushrooms, sliced
  • One large onion, finely chopped
  • One half cup of green peppers, chopped
  • Two celery sticks, thinly sliced
  • Two cloves of garlic, smashed and minced
  • One third cup of butter
  • One teaspoon of red pepper sauce
  • One can of golden mushroom soup (undiluted)
  • One tablespoon of chopped green onion tops
  • One tablespoon of chopped parsley
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Saute first six ingredients in butter until vegetables are tender and oysters are curled.  Add soup and pepper sauce and cook on low for three minutes.  Add onion tops and parsley and cook for another two minutes.

Chilled Mussels with Onion

black seashell beside beige stone

Photo by Pixabay on

Just back from a spell in Peru and a special time in Cusco with the twin grandgirls, after climbing Machu Picchu and scrambling through even more spectacular ruins in the Sacred Valley.  Don’t miss the train through the valley and skip the village that has dozens of restaurants devoted to culinary excesses using the guinea pig.  Here is something better,  a novel presentation of mussels we still rave about that we discovered in Lima. 

  • 18 mussels
  • three limes
  • three red onions, minced
  • two cloves of garlic, crushed and minced
  • two tomatoes, finely minced
  • one cob of grilled corn, kernels removed
  • one rocoto, or a poblano pepper, diced
  • three teaspoon of chopped parsley
  • olive oil, sea salt, and freshly ground black pepper

Steam the mussels in salt water, shuck, and remove from shells.  Return each mussel to a half shell.  Mix remaining ingredients with oil, salt, and pepper to taste.  Pile a full tablespoon on each mussel and chill until serving.

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.

Fast and Funky Hot Shrimp Dip

gulf shrimp

So about an hour ago you saw the neighbors in the driveway and you asked them to come over for a drink and you’re in a panic because you need a quick, but spectacular hor d’oeuvres and you are raiding the pantry and the freezer because they are going to be here in forty-five minutes.  You are so lucky you have a can of Cream of Shrimp soup!

  • One can of cream of shrimp soup
  • One can of shrimp, drained
  • One roll of garlic cheese (or a cup of grated cheddar and a teaspoon of garlic powder)
  • One 8 ounce can of mushrooms, drained
  • One tablespoon of sherry

Stir the first two ingredients together in a four-cup pyrex mixing cup and microwave until it bubbles  Add garlic cheese in thin slices and microwave for another minute or two, incorporating the melted cheese.  Stir in the mushrooms and microwave for another minute or two.  Pour into the shallow covered stoneware dish your sister gave you for Christmas and add the sherry.  Now you can keep it warm in the microwave.  Surely you have some chips or crackers about?