Cannellini Bean Crostini with Marinated Red Onions and Salami

Appetizer | December 27, 2010 | By

I meant to post this recipe idea before the holidays, but well, you all know how that goes.  This simple crostini idea is great because you can whip it up in just a few minutes.

What I liked best about this crostini is that I only toasted one side of the bread, making it easy to bite into.  One can of Cannellini beans whipped with some garlic and red wine vinegar is all I used to make a spread.  I little salt and pepper finishes it off.  Spread on the toast and topped with marinated onions and salami sliced into small matchsticks is the final step to making these simple snacks.

I’ve been a bit obsessed with simple salads and preparing single ingredients in the most simplest of ways, and this idea came from a Cannellini bean salad that contains the same ingredients.

Parrano Cheese Plate with Balsamic Onion Marmalade, Red Grapes, and Green Olives

Appetizer | August 7, 2010 | By

I used this cheese plate as an appetizer for a dinner party last night. I wanted something light and well rounded, yet robust and adventurous in flavor. Parrano cheese is one of my absolute favorites and it pairs really nicely with the balsamic onion marmalade and red grapes.

The pretty pink Dahlias add an extra splash of specialness to the plate. How can anyone resist them?

Fried Squash Blossoms Stuffed with Oaxacan Cheese

Appetizer | August 27, 2009 | By

Squash blossoms are in season and thankfully my mom planted a huge crop of squash that is overgrowing her garden at the moment. She gave me a huge pile of fresh squash blossoms and I promptly brought them home to stuff and fry.

fried squash blossoms

Michael had never tasted a squash blossom (crazy, I know.) and since our friend was coming over for a cocktail I thought having these stuffed blossoms as a little appetizer would be the perfect way to enjoy them. I used Oaxacan cheese which is like a really flavorful string cheese, but if you cant find it I would substitute Monterey Jack.

The best part of this recipe is the batter…I found it in this month’s Gourmet and it is seriously the best batter for frying I’ve ever tried. Up next? Fried Zucchini!

Recipe after the jump…

squash blossoms


Squash blossoms, as many as you want to serve
Oaxacan string cheese, 1/2 a block


1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp all-purpose flour
3/4 cup chilled seltzer or club soda
1/3 cup parmesan cheese, grated
1/4 tsp kosher salt


Very carefully open squash blossoms and place a small piece of cheese inside. The amount of cheese will depend on the size of the blossom…you dont want the flower to tear, so don’t over-stuff them. Twist the top of the blossom to seal the cheese inside.

Whisk together the flour, parmesan, salt, and seltzer until smooth. Dip the first half of the blossom and allow to slightly run down the second half. Heat 1/2 inch of olive oil to 375 degrees in a cast iron skillet. Fry each blossom 1 to 2 minutes on each side, or until golden brown. Don’t over fry or the cheese will totally run out. Once brown, take the blossoms out and place on a paper towel to drain and sprinkle with a bit more kosher salt. Enjoy!

Crudite Platter with Anchovy Lemon Dip

Appetizer | October 28, 2008 | By

By Danny

vegetable platter

Twist On A Crudite Tray

This is one of the appetizers we made for our recent cocktail party. It’s a twist on a traditional crudite platter in that the vegetables used are not what you would expect from a crudite tray. This platter uses haricot ver, asparagus, sugar snap peas, and cucumber! The best part is the dip—an anchovy lemon dip! It was divine! I’m usually bored by traditional crudite platters, so this is a nice twist.

Crudite recipe after the jump…

Crudite Platter with Anchovy Lemon Dip

1 pound thin asparagus
1/2 pound sugar snap peas
3 Kirby cucumbers
1/2 pound haricot ver

Have ready a bowl of ice and cold water. Trim asparagus and peas. In a large saucepan of boiling salted water blanch asparagus 1 minute and transfer with tongs to ice water to stop cooking. Drain asparagus well in a colander and pat dry. Return water in saucepan to a boil and blanch peas 30 seconds. Do the same for the haricot ver. Drain peas in a sieve and plunge into ice water to stop cooking. Drain peas well and pat dry. Cut cucumbers lengthwise into spears. Place on Platter.

Anchovy Lemon Dip

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sour cream, divided
2 tablespoons water
1 (2-ounce) can flat anchovy fillets in oil, rinsed and drained
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 to 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Stir together 2 tablespoons sour cream with water, anchovies, and garlic in a small saucepan, then cook at a bare simmer, whisking frequently, 10 minutes. Force through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl.

Whisk in mayonnaise, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, 1/4 teaspoon salt, remaining cup sour cream, and lemon juice (to taste). Chill, covered, at least 1 hour and up to 2 days.

Both recipes found on

Sweet Bell Pepper and Gorgonzola Bruschetta

Appetizer | October 24, 2008 | By

By Danny


Twist On Classic Bruschetta

We recently hosted a small cocktail party/fundraiser and made a number of new dishes. This appetizer is fantastic because it’s easy to make and guests really like it because it’s a great twist on the classic tomato and basil bruschetta. When hosting a party, I’m always looking for easy dishes that can be prepared ahead of time, and that can be set out once the party starts, which is why this dish is now a favorite of mine!

Bell Pepper and Gorgonzola Bruschetta recipe after the jump…

Easy Recipe For Bruschetta

2 Large Bell Peppers
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon capers
2 tablespoons chopped basil
2 ounces gorgonzola cheese
salt and pepper

Chop bell peppers into small cubes. Heat some olive oil in a heavy bottom pan. Saute bell peppers until goldern brown, about 10 minutes. Add sugar and saute for an additional 5 minutes. Add capers and basil and cook for 1 minute. Salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Add crumbled gorgonzola and mix. Place in a bowl and allow guests to spoon mixture over toasted bread. Enjoy!