Category Archives: Appetizers

Pommes Dauphine (Potato Puffs)

Pommes Dauphine

I first tried Pommes Dauphine at Vincent A Restaurant in Minneapolis.  I was there for a work outing and didn’t think much of the appetizer when it was ordered because it just sounded like fried potatoes but as soon as I took one bite I couldn’t believe how light and fluffy and delicious and wonderful and so on and so forth they were.

I made potato skins this weekend for Sunday Football Funday appetizers and needed to use up the insides of 5 pounds of potatoes so thought this would be a great time to try and make these suckers at home.  It turns out they really aren’t as difficult as I thought they would be.

I’m pretty sure Oscar went one for one on these with his dad.  He honestly ate so many of these he went into a food coma and is on his second 2 hour nap of the day.  We’re teaching him really young what Sundays are all about in this house.  Football, eat, nap, repeat!

Oscar and Dad Pommes Dauphine (2)Oscar Pommes

Potato Mix:

  • 1 pound potatoes, cooked and mashed
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1 egg yolk

Pate Choux Dough:

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 oz flour
  • 4 large eggs + 1 large egg white


  1. Add butter to warm mashed potatoes and season to taste with salt and pepper.  Add egg yolk and mix to combine.  Set aside.
  2. Boil water, butter, and salt over medium high heat in a heavy stockpot.
  3. Once boiling, remove from heat and add flour.  Stir to combine.  Return stockpot to burner over medium heat.  Stir vigorously until dough leaves the sides of the pot.
  4. Transfer dough to a kitchen aid bowl and allow to cool.
  5. Turn mixer to first speed and gradually add eggs fully incorporating before each new addition.  Scrape down bowl as needed.
  6. Add potato mixture and mix on first speed until fully incorporated.
  7. Fry batter by spoonfuls in neutral oil (peanut or canola) at 375F for 3-5 minutes or until nicely golden brown.
  8. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and serve immediately.
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Posted by on September 20, 2015 in Appetizers, Sides


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Pesto Tomatoes

Pesto Tomatoes

These little bite-size appetizers pack a big flavor punch.  It’s a good thing to make when you have endless amounts of summer basil that you just aren’t sure what to do with.

For Pesto:

  • 2/3 cups pine nuts, toasted
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 4 cups basil leaves, packed
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 1/2 tsp. coarse sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp. fresh ground pepper
  • 2/3 cup good quality extra-virgin olive oil

For Tomatoes:

  • 24 cocktail tomatoes
  • 1 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 1/4 cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 Tbsp. butter, melted

For Pesto:

  1. Toast pine nuts in a dry heavy skillet over medium heat, about 4 minutes.
  2. Put garlic through a press and add to food processor. Add basil, Parmigiano-Reggiano, toasted pine nuts, salt, pepper, and basil leaves. Turn food processor on low until everything is finely ground.
  3. Slowly drizzle in extra-virgin olive oil.

For Tomatoes:

  1. Mix together panko breadcrumbs with butter to moisten then add 1 cup of Parmesan to breadcrumbs.
  2. With a sharp pairing knife.  Cut a circle around the top of each tomato being careful not to slice through the bottom of the tomato.
  3. Using your finger, carefully hollow out each tomato.
  4. Place 1 tsp. of pesto in each tomato then stuff Parmesan/breadcrumb mixture into tomatoes until they are overflowing.
  5. Place stuffed tomatoes in mini muffin tins.
  6. Bake at 350F for 10 minutes or until browned.
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Posted by on September 21, 2013 in Appetizers, Summer, Uncategorized


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Crispy Shrimp Spring Rolls

Crispy Shrimp Spring Rolls

Yield: 24 spring rolls
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes


  • 2 Tbsp. oyster sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 2 tsp. sesame oil
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 bunch green onions
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 2 medium carrots
  • 1 (3.5oz) package shitake mushrooms, stems removed
  • 12oz medium shrimp, coarsely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. peanut oil for stir-frying
  • 4 cups peanut oil for deep-frying spring rolls
  • 1/2 package wonton wrappers
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten


  1. Stir together oyster sauce, soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, and salt.
  2. Finely chop garlic, green onions, celery, carrots, and mushrooms.
  3. Heat 2 Tbsp. peanut oil on medium-high heat until hot but not smoking.
  4. Add garlic and green onions and stir-fry for 1 minute.
  5. Add celery, carrots, and mushrooms.  Stir-fry for 6 minutes.
  6. Add shrimp and stir-fry for 1 minute.
  7. Transfer to bowl and allow mixture to cool before filling wontons.
  8. Lay the wonton to look like a diamond in front of you.
  9. Place 2 tsp. filling mixture and spread out to form a line in the bottom third of wonton wrapper.
  10. Fold in sides of wrapper.
  11. Fold bottom side up over filling and begin to roll tightly.
  12. Brush egg wash over very tip of wonton wrapper and finish rolling to completely seal.
  13. Heat 4 cups peanut oil to medium-high heat and fry rolled spring rolls for 3-4 minutes until browned on all sides.
  14. Serve immediately.

Step-by-Step Instruction:  “How to Fold a Spring Roll”


Posted by on September 8, 2013 in Appetizers, Uncategorized


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Zucchini Fritters with Lemony Mayo


Zucchini Fritters with Lemony Mayo

3 years ago I planted my first garden.  I learned very quickly that two people do NOT need 5 flourishing zucchini plants!  We had so much zucchini that I bet I made these fritters 50 times.  Needless to say, I was “frittered-out” by the end of that summer.

It took me until yesterday to have a craving for them.  I forgot how light, fluffy, and full of flavor they are.  The lemony mayo adds just the right amount of creaminess and zing to make all the flavors pop.  So go crazy, make some fritters, and see if you can have more restraint than I did!

Yield: 30 bite-sized fritters
Time: 30 minutes


  • 1 large zucchini, diced
  • 1/2 jalapeno, minced with seeds
  • 6 slices bacon, cooked crisp and chopped fine, reserve bacon fat for frying
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/8 tsp. cayenne
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 cup mayo
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon


  1. Toss zucchini, jalapeno, and bacon in a large bowl to combine.
  2. In a small bowl, lightly beat egg. Stir in milk, cayenne, salt, and pepper.  Pour over zucchini mixture and toss to coat.
  3. Add flour and baking powder to zucchini mixture and stir to combine.
  4. Heat bacon fat over medium heat.  Drop spoonfuls of zucchini mixture into bacon fat making sure to not overcrowd.  Cook for 2 minutes or until golden brown.  Flip fritters and flatten with the back of a spatula.  Cook another 2 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through.
  5. Whisk together mayo and lemon juice and serve with warm fritters.

Posted by on September 2, 2013 in Appetizers, Summer, Uncategorized


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Caprese Skewers

Caprese Skewers

How cute are these little guys?!  Everyone is well aware these days of what a caprese salad is, but there is just something so good about a tiny version of anything.  Once you get past the “cuteness-factor” these are also a bomb of goodness in your mouth.  Enjoy!

Yield: 50 skewers     Active Time: 20 minutes


  • 1 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 25 cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 50 bocconcini
  • 50 fresh basil leaves, cut in half lengthwise if large
  • salt & pepper


  1. Bring balsamic vinegar up to a boil in a saucepan then lower heat to medium and simmer until it’s the consistency of very thin maple syrup, about 10 minutes. Pour into a bowl and let cool.
  2. Cut tomatoes in half. Thread a mini mozzarella cheese ball, basil leaf (fold in half if large) and a tomato half onto a tooth pick. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Sprinkle with salt & pepper, then drizzle cooled balsamic reduction on top.
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Posted by on July 24, 2013 in Appetizers, Uncategorized


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Buffalo Chicken Wonton Cups

Buffalo Chicken Wonton Cups

These little guys are all over Pinterest and I just had to try them for myself to see what the fuss is about.  Since they make such a big batch, I decided to make them for a bachelorette party I was throwing.  They did not fail me!  I honestly think I could have polished off all these by myself.

They are easy, quick, and a perfect bite-size snack.  This recipe will definitely be coming out next football season.  Another plus is that you can prepare a bunch of them and throw them in the freezer until you need them.

Yield: 54 mini wonton cups     Prep Time: 30 minutes     Cook Time: 10 minutes


  • 1 (8oz) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup Ranch dressing
  • 1/2 cup Frank’s hot sauce
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked and shredded chicken
  • 12 wonton wrappers
  • 1/4 cup blue cheese crumbles
  • Celery, very thinly sliced.


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray miniature muffin tin very lightly with cooking spray.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine softened cream cheese, Ranch dressing, hot sauce and 3/4 cheddar cheese (save remaining 1/4 cup for topping). You can soften the mixture slightly in the microwave if needed to make it come together. Stir in shredded chicken.
  3. Cut each wonton wrapper into 4 squares. Place 2 wonton squares in each muffin slot so they are overlapping and come up the sides of the tin to form a cup.  Place 2 tsp. of filling, and top with both shredded and blue cheese. Bake for 10 minutes. Let cool slightly then remove from pan.  Top with celery slivers.

Posted by on July 23, 2013 in Appetizers, Uncategorized


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Homemade Flatbread

Homemade Flatbread

Yield: 2 Servings     Prep Time: 10 minutes     Total Time: 2 hours 10 minutes

Make ahead: Dough can be refrigerated 2-3 days


  • 3/4 cup warm water (110-115F)
  • 1 (1/4oz) packet active dry yeast
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil

Activated Yeast

  1. Pour warm water (110-115F) into a small bowl and stir in the yeast and sugar until dissolved.  Allow the mixture to stand for 5 minutes until a layer of foam develops on the surface like this:

    If this doesn’t happen, it’s best to start over as the yeast has not been activated.  This can happen for a number of reasons.  The temperature of the water could be too cold which will not activate the yeast.  If it’s too hot, the yeast will be killed, and sometimes the yeast can be old.  It’s best to store yeast in the refrigerator for this reason.

  2. Mix the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add the yeast water and 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil. Mix well.
  3. Lightly flour a clean working surface and form the dough into a ball. Turn the dough out onto the working surface and knead until it becomes smooth and elastic.  Only add more flour if needed to keep the dough from sticking to the working surface.
  4. Place the dough back into the mixing bowl. Rub remaining teaspoon of extra-virgin olive oil over the dough to keep it moist while rising. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set in a warm place, about 75˚F for 2 hours, or until it doubles in size.
  5. If you would like to make individual flatbreads, cut the dough in half.  Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface working it into a circular crust about 5 inches in diameter for 2 flatbreads, or 10 inches in diameter for one flatbread.
  6. Wipe the inside of a heavy skillet with a paper towel moistened with olive oil. Preheat the pan over high heat for 5 minutes until smoking. Place the rolled out dough in the skillet. The crust will bubble within 1 minute.  Reduce heat to medium.
  7. Turn the flatbread onto a working surface, grilled side up, add toppings, and return to skillet.  Flatbread is done when cheese is melted and bottom has formed a brown crust.



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Peruvian Shrimp Ceviche

Shrimp Ceviche

Yield: 20 appetizer servings    Prep Time: 20 minutes     Active Time: 30 minutes

My husband and I recently bought our first home.  The second day we moved in, we were tearing down walls and opening up counter-space for my dream kitchen!  We may have slightly under-estimated how much work a full kitchen remodel actually would be, but hey, we’re young and determined!  I initially thought, “Ok in a month when this kitchen remodel is done, we will throw a house-warming party.”  Ha!  A month?  In my dreams!    Sooooo…here we are 5 months later and the time had finally come.  We invited friends, old and new, into our “brand new” house.

I decided that I wanted to attempt shrimp ceviche for the party.  I had never made this before, but we were in Vegas for a wedding last summer and had the most amazing ceviche at Sushi Samba in the Palazzo.  The next time you’re in Vegas stop in.  They have a very reasonable happy hour from 4-7pm Sunday-Friday that offers $6 mojitos and $6 appetizer specials one of them being a shrimp ceviche that I couldn’t get out of my head for months.  The shrimp was perfectly acidic and complimented by sweet tropical fruit and a kick of spice from aji peppers.

So here I was attempting to recreate this wonderful concoction from what was now a faint memory from months prior.  Aji peppers are not easy to find…yet!  I have a feeling we will be seeing these in more abundance in coming months as the Peruvian food scene really kicks off.  I decided to make my ceviche with beautiful fresno peppers for their bright red color and the kick of heat they provide.  I paired this with shrimp that was marinated in a blend of lemon, lime, and orange juice.  Mangoes and papayas were the fruit of choice, jicama for crunch, and creamy mashed avocados on the side to bring it all together.  I thought about making plantain chips which I think I would attempt next time, but for times sake I just fried up some corn tortillas and sprinkled them with a bit of lime and salt.

I most likely marinated my shrimp MUCH longer than needed.  After reading up on other recipes, I see the marinating time ranges from 4 minutes to 30 minutes at most.  Since I had never done this before, and am a freak about food safety, I went for 4 hours hoping to see the shrimp turn pink.  This really didn’t happen.  Not in the way you see when you saute shrimp.  What you want to look for is the shrimp to become opaque.  Once they are opaque, remove them from the fruit juices and toss with the other ingredients except the avocado.  My shrimp still had a good texture to them, but you live and you learn.  Now I know for next time!

Final result, YUM!!!!



  • 1 1/2 pounds medium raw shrimp
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1 cup lime juice
  • 2 mangos, diced
  • 1/2 papaya, diced
  • 1 cup jicama, diced
  • 4 Tbsp. red onion, minced
  • 2 fresno chiles, seeded, deveined, and minced
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 4 Tbsp. minced cilantro
  • 6 avocados, coarsely mashed
  • corn tortilla chips, for serving


  1. Peel shrimp, remove tails, and coarsely chop.
  2. Mix together orange, lemon, and lime juice in a medium bowl.  Pour juice over shrimp making sure shrimp are entirely covered.  Cover with shrink wrap and refrigerate checking every few minutes.  Once shrimp turn opaque, drain shrimp in a colander.
  3. Toss together mangoes, papaya, jicama, red onion, fresno chiles, salt, and cilantro.  Fold in cooked shrimp.
  4. Serve with avocado mash and tortilla chips.

Peruvian Shrimp Ceviche


Posted by on March 13, 2013 in Appetizers, Uncategorized


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Spicy Peanut Noodles

Spicy Peanut Noodles
Yield: 8 servings          Active Time: 30 minutes


  • 3 cups peanuts + 4 Tbsp. chopped (for garnish)
  • 2 Tbsp. peanut oil
  • 1/4 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1/4 Tbsp. coarse kosher salt
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 3/4 cup coconut milk
  • 2 Tbsp. red curry paste
  • 12oz. soba noodles
  • 2 fresno chiles, deseeded and julienned (for garnish)
  • 1 cup cilantro, coarsely chopped (for garnish)
  • 1 cucumber, julienned (for garnish)


  1. Grind peanuts, oil, sugar, and salt in a food processor or blender until smooth and creamy.  Stir in chicken stock and coconut milk.
  2. Heat red curry paste over medium heat for 2 minutes until fragrant.  Stir in ground peanut mixture and heat to a low boil.  Remove from heat.
  3. While sauce is cooling, boil soba noodles in water following package instructions.
  4. Toss noodles with sauce and allow to cool before serving.
  5. Garnish with fresno chiles, cilantro, cucumber, and remaining chopped peanuts.
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Posted by on March 3, 2013 in Appetizers, Entrees, Uncategorized


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Spicy Roasted Chickpeas

Spicy Roasted Chickpeas

This is a great snack and adds a nice spicy crunch to any salad.


  • 2 (14oz) cans S&W Garbanzo beans
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1 1/2 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. cayenne
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. allspice
  • 1 tsp. salt


  1. Preheat oven to 425F.
  2. Drain and rinse chickpeas.  Transfer chickpeas to a paper-towel lined cookie sheet to dry chickpeas as much as possible.
  3. Combine the dry ingredients.
  4. Transfer dried chickpeas to a mixing bowl and toss with olive oil then mix in the spice blend.
  5. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and bake for 30-40 minutes or until the chickpeas are very crispy being careful not to burn.

Spicy Roasted Chickpeas Label

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Posted by on December 6, 2012 in Appetizers, Beans, Holiday, Uncategorized


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