Archive for ‘Appetizers’

June 8, 2010

Raspberry Cream Cheese Stuffed Crêpes

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June 8, 2010


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May 24, 2010

Fried Hot Wings

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February 11, 2010

Pollo Tuxedo

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November 16, 2009


zeppole 26

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January 1, 2009

Fried Ravioli

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January 1, 2009

Chocolate Ravioli

When I was a little girl, my parents would get Nutella quite often and I absolutely loved it.  But after moving to the states, we didn’t get it any more and it wasn’t until after I had children of my own I spotted that amazing little jar of goodness on a shelf at the grocery store when I was reaching for peanut butter.  It was the equivalent of spotting the Holy Grail for me.  I picked it off the shelf, debated on grabbing more, in case this was a one time stocking.  If you have never tried it, this recipe is a great excuse to try out the blend of chocolate and hazelnut, blended to the texture of a thick peanut butter.

Serve warm alone or with a side of your favourite ice cream.  These can be made 1=2 days in advance if preparing for a party.  Just reheat in the oven at 150 degrees F for about 15 minutes before serving.

(I apologize for the dimness of some of these pictures, my daughter didn’t realize the soft flash setting was on so they came out a bit yellowish on a few shots.)

Ingredientschocolate ravioli21

1 package wonton wrappers

1 egg, well beaten

1 jar Nutella

Powdered sugar

4 Tablespoons vegetable oil


  • Lightly dust a working surface with powdered sugar.
  • Lay out one wonton wrapper.
  • Spoon in one spoonful of Nutella into the center of the wrapper.
  • Using a basting brush or your fingers, paint on a light coating of egg around two edges of the wrapper that form a corner.
  • Lift the opposing corner over and press firmly to seal the wrapper.
  • I lightly dust a glass dish with powdered sugar to stack my uncooked ravioli, but wax paper will work as well.
  • In a skillet over medium to high heat, heat vegetable oil.
  • One by one, lay ravioli into the skillet and cook until a light golden brown, on each side.
  • Remove from pan and place into a glass baking dish.
  • Sprinkle hot triangle ravioli with a few pinches of  powdered sugar or use a sifter to shake a bit on the tops.
  • Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.
  • Bake for 10 minutes.
  • Serve warm.

chocolate ravioli6 chocolate ravioli8

chocolate ravioli14chocolate ravioli16

    January 1, 2009


    Often when we think of crepes, we think of lacy thin pancakes with fruit syrups and whipped cream toppings.  This delicious appetizer puts an end to these thoughts.  This is a classic Italian dish server during Lent, when meat is to be avoided.

    As with a lot of Florentine dishes, it includes the standard of spinach, though I prefer to kick it up a notch with Arugula leaves mixed in as well as a few sprigs of Italian parsley.  Arugula is a Roman spinach leaf and isn’t always easily found in your local grocery store.  Often you will have to scour the organic section to locate a nice bag.  If your climate allows, you might give growing it a try, as once you start, it takes hold and is rather reproductive.

    This dish also includes ricotta cheese and I suggest not using a low fat one as there tends to be a good deal of liquid run off and can make your crepes soggy.

    Typically I segregate the recipes when we are stuffing a separate component, but this crepe recipe is unique to this recipe and not the same you would want to use for your Sunday morning sweet tooth.


    3 eggs

    1 3/4 cup milk

    2 Tablespoons butter, melted

    1 cup flour, unsifted

    1/2 teaspoon iodized salt

    3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil


    1 pound fresh spinach leaves, washed and finely chopped

    1/2 pound fresh Arugula leaves, washed and finely chopped

    1/4 pound fresh Italian parsley, washed and finely chopped

    1 cup boiling water

    1 egg

    1/2 cup fresh Romano cheese, grated

    1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

    1/ teaspoon ionized salt

    1 15 ounce container ricotta

    • In a medium mixing bowl, blend 3 eggs, milk, melted butter, and flour until well blended.  Mixture should be rather thin, like a pancake batter.
    • In a non-stick skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat.
    • Pour in batter by 1/4 cup ladles at a time, cooking each until lightly tanned.
    • Set aside.
    • Preheat oven to 150 degrees F.
    • In a large mixing bowl, combine green leaves.  Pour boiling water over leaves and drain into a collander promptly.
    • In a dry large bowl, beat egg, ricotta, Romano, salt and nutmeg until well blended.
    • Stir in leaves.  Blend well.
    • Drop 1 – 2 spoonfuls of filling onto each crepe and roll up.  Secure with a toothpick.
    • In a large baking dish, prepared with non-stick spray or a little olive oil, arrange filled crepes.
    • Bake for fifteen minutes or until crepes are crisped.
    • Remove toothpicks and serve warm.
    January 1, 2009

    Pork Bruschetta

    porkbruschetta 9

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    January 1, 2009


    When I was a little girl in Sicily, this was one of my favourite foods. The difficulty here is patience in making them but oh so worth the effort. These are easily reheated and are a meal on their own. I usually serve two per person.


    3 cups white rice
    3/4 lb shredded beef*
    1 jar spaghetti sauce**
    1 1/2 cup raw peeled potatoes, diced to pea size
    8 oz mozzarella cheese
    2 sticks salted butter
    2 cups peas
    4 eggs
    2 cups breadcrumbs with Italian seasoning
    4 cups cooking oil, for frying

    *I typically use deli style roast beef, broken into small half-inch pieces. I have also tried it the way my parents did with a small chunk of roast beef, cooked in advance and then pulled and shredded – but I think this recipe is time consuming enough without having to cook a roast as well.

    • In a large pot, pour 6 cups of water and a dash of salt. Bring to boil. Add rice and cover, lowering to medium-low heat. Once rice has cooked, remove heat and put both sticks of butter into the pot. Cover and let sit for ten minutes. Stir thoroughly and leave uncovered.
    • In a separate pot, pour spaghetti sauce in over medium heat. Add beef and potatoes and stir often. Potatoes should be cooked but firm, not mushy. Once done, add peas and remove from heat.
    • Spread out a large sheet of wax paper and when rice is cool to touch, begin forming it into balls about three inches in diameter. Let sit on wax paper to harden to the outside a bit. Once the outside is hardened enough to hold its form, use a finger to create a hole in it about an inch to two inches deep. Press in a decent amount of mozzarella and a heaping spoonful of the meat mixture. Tighten the form of the ball to seal the hole and set aside.
    • The balls should sit for about 3 to 4 hours.
    • After the balls have sat to harden, begin to heat the oil. My dad’s recipe says to 350 degrees, but to be honest I have always checked it the way my mom did – toss in a bread crumb and when it sizzles, the oil is ready.
    • In a medium bowl, break eggs and beat thoroughly.
    • Pour bread crumbs onto a plate.
    • Dip the balls individually into the egg batter and then roll in bread crumbs until covered completely. Using a serving spoon, lower the ball into the oil, bouncing it gently on the spoon, but do not drop it into the oil as it is very heavy and breaks apart easily.
    • When a dark golden brown, remove from oil and gingerly lay on a paper towel to absorb excess oil.

    January 1, 2009


    I have to give full credit where it is due here to my friend Jen who roped me in with a snapshot of hers and thanks to left over wrappers and a hankering for some Oriental food, I went begging for the recipe.  This was insanely easy to whip together and I let the kids actually work on the stuffing and sealing portion with those nimble fingers of theirs.  Jen offered one key pointer in that you need to use block style cream cheese as softened or tub style whipped cream cheese doesn’t work well in the boiling process.  One more thing I found out the hard way is they do not heat well in the microwave, but in the oven at about 150 degrees F for about fifteen minutes they are perfectly warmed for serving.

    I use peanut oil, just because the flavour is amazing for oriental dishes.  You can use any preferred frying oil for this, but if you choose to use peanut oil, note that it smokes quickly at lower temperatures than most oils.  If you have followed any of my recipes, I never use a thermometer to test the readiness of oil.  I just keep a few snips of bread handy, toss them in as the oil heats and when they tan and turn – it’s ready.

    I plan to test out adding in crab meat next time, but if you have other add in suggestions, throw them this way!  I hope you enjoy these as much as we did!


    8 ounce package of cream cheese

    4 – 5 green onions, finely minced

    1/4 pound fresh chives, finely minced

    50 wonton wrappers

    1 egg, beaten


    • In a medium mixing bowl, add onions, chives and cream cheese.
    • Stir well with a fork until no longer clumpy.
    • Using a basting brush or fingertips, lightly paint egg on each side of wonton wrapper.
    • Fill wonton center with a spoonful of cream cheese mixture.
    • Seal wrapper by bringing four points to center and sealing meeting sides firmly.
    • Set on a clean non stick surface.
    • In a heavy pot or fryer, ready oil.
    • Lower rangoons in gingerly, no more than three at a time.
    • Once completely golden, remove from heat and allow to drain on a paper towel or wire rack.
    • Serve warm.




    January 1, 2009

    Asparagus Wraps

    These appetizers are soooo easy to make but look super schmancy! I have also served them as a side with dinner as well and they are just so tasty.  I have tried various cheeses, but I like gouda best. White cheeses look the best, display wise.

    Ingredientsasparagus and proscuitto

    24 fresh asparagus spears, uncooked
    2 cups fresh arugula
    1 lb smoked ham or prosciutto, deli style thickness
    1 lb Gouda slices

    • Fill a large saucepan half full with water and bring to boil over high heat.
    • Wash the asparagus stalks thoroughly and trim the bases.
    • Rinse arugula thoroughly and set aside in colander to drain excess water.
    • Once water is boiling, drop stalks in to water for three minutes.
    • While asparagus is boiling, lay out a large sheet of wax paper and preheat oven to 250.
    • Drain asparagus and rinse in cool water. Set aside.
    • Lay out three strips of prosciutto or ham on wax paper. Lay a couple shoots of asparagus across so that the spear tips are not covering the meat. Take a small bundle of arugula leaves and roll them between your palms and lay atop the asparagus. Top with one slice of cheese and then roll the vegetables so that the meat wraps around them.
    • Place wrap on a cookie sheet with a sheet of wax paper down.
    • Rinse repeat.
    • Place cookie sheet into oven for fifteen minutes.
    • These should be served warm.
    January 1, 2009

    Easy Quesadilla

    I love quesadilla and they are so easy to make for after school snacks, munchies, parties, what ever.  You can make grande ones if you get the big fajita sized tortillas, but I tend to use the 8 inch rounds for tacos.

    Cheeses you can use are as various as the day is long but you want to make sure whatever type you use is good for melting.  Obviously cheddars and jacks are always perfect, I personally prefer white sharp cheddar.  You can get creative and blend cheddars with jacks or mozzarella.  If you have a Hispanic section at your grocery store though, you can really get creative.  The best are Asadero, which has a sweetish butter flavour to it; or Oaxaca, which has a bite like a jack, but is stringy like mozzarella.

    If you have an iron skillet, these are ideal for making quesadilla.  If not, a good heavy skillet will suffice.


    10 8 inch tortillas, soft

    3 cups freshly grated cheese

    • Place skillet on medium to high heat for four minutes.
    • Using either a small slice of butter or a quick spray of aerosol baking spray, lightly coat the pan.*
    • Gently lay one half of a tortilla onto the skillet and put in one handful or 1/4 cup of cheese.
    • Lightly fold the top over but do not press down.
    • Allow to cook for 1 to 2 minutes, then flip.
    • Press with the spatula and cook for another 1 to 2 minutes.
    • Remove from heat and promptly cut quesadilla into triangle thirds.
    • Serve.


    *Do not use oil as it is too heavy and absorbs into the tortilla.