Zucchetta Gratinate al Forno (Baked Trombincino Gratin)

vegetable gratin
vegetable gratin
Simplest hot appetizer ever!

Now, unless you’re hanging out at Italian farmers’ markets (wouldn’t that be great?), you might not have trombincino squash. No worries. We’ll tell you right up front that you can use practically any vegetable, zucchini, onions, peppers, or eggplant, for this traditional Italian appetizer. And, it’s about the easiest appetizer you’ll ever make, too.

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Baked Arancini

baked arancini
baked arancini
Tasty, easy, crispy, and creamy.

We’re not sure about you, but we don’t deep-fry anything. Too messy, and too much trouble. We do pan-fry foods occasionally (Fried Okra, for example), but to fill up a Dutch oven with a gallon of oil, fry enough for two, then do something with the oil afterwards, nope. That’s not for us. Fortunately, you can almost always bake some of those things you’d deep-fry, instead. Yes, we know, they really aren’t the same, and we agree, but, if the choice is between baked or nothing, we’ll, we don’t scratch our heads thinking about that one.

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King Oyster “Scallops”

king oyster mushroom scallops
king oyster mushroom scallops
Looks like scallops, but they aren’t scallops.

Once a year, we put together a several course luncheon. As part of the luncheon, we like to serve a small appetizer, but not just an appetizer; we try to make it somehow different than you might expect. For example, one year we served deviled eggs on toast. Only the toasts were tiny and we used quail eggs so we’d have a miniature version. Right now, we’re thinking of making bacon-wrapped scallops, but not made with either bacon or scallops. For the scallops, we’re thinking of using rounds cut from King Oyster mushrooms, and, perhaps, the bacon made from carrots, as in the Crispy Smoky Salty Carrot Strips we recently made. If they turn out as we picture them, they should look  like bacon-wrapped scallops, to fool the eye and make it fun. Naturally, we have to test these beforehand, and, while we tested the bacon, we haven’t tested the scallops until now.

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Mushroom, Corn, and Brie Quesadilla

mushroom, corn, Brie quesadilla
mushroom, corn, Brie quesadilla
Perhaps it’ll start a new trend: French-Mexican restaurants.

We don’t really think that people need instructions on how to make a quesadilla. After all, it’s simply toasting two tortillas with a filling mixture between them. However, you might not have thought of using Brie cheese in your quesadilla, but we did. And, for two good reasons: one, it melts great, and two, Continue reading “Mushroom, Corn, and Brie Quesadilla”

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Baked Goat Cheese with Cherries, Apricots, and Walnuts

baked goat cheese with apricots, cherries, and walnuts
baked goat cheese with apricots, cherries, and walnuts
Simple and tasty appetizer!

This is a super-easy and super-quick item you can put together as an appetizer to  serve with bread or crackers. Or, if you want a light snack, or even a light dinner (which is what we did), you can use it for that, too. Your choice.

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Blackened Pea Pods with a Quick Soy Dipping Sauce

blackened snap peas
To serve, place in a bowl and sprinkle with a bit of sea salt.

We wanted to use our fresh pea pods as soon as we got them home, preferably in a manner that doesn’t get in the way of the fresh-from-the-farm taste. We thought about just eating them raw, but decided that might be too minimal; instead, we went for the quick blackening and a simple dipping sauce.

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Fromage en Croûte

fromage en croute
fromage en croute
Rich enough for an entire meal.

Sure, this is similar to the Baked Camembert we posted a little while ago, but it’s more upscale, using a puff pastry crust instead of bread. Since the winter here is rather short, we like to make at least one large batch of puff pastry to freeze and use in the upcoming months (during the summer, it’s just too warm to make puff pastry without the butter melting). Now, we don’t expect everyone will be up for a batch of puff pastry, so if you use a frozen, pre-made, version, we’ll understand.

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