It seems that many of my holiday traditions are wrapped up in the places from which my family hails, going back generations and to all manner of countries. Traditions and foods transplanted from our great and great-great grandparents. Though I would expect that some sticky points in the translations have occurred over the years, in general, my holidays rely largely on the flavours of elsewhere. This year, I wanted to add something to our holiday table and traditions which celebrate where we are right now; in this moment, season and of this place. Oysters are of course all about provenance,… Read more
Guests are coming over earlier than expected, and you need a quick appetizer to hold them over to dinner. When a bag of chips just won’t cut it, this easy-to-make appetizer will give your guests something to snack on until the main course is ready. Open the fridge and take a look. If you have a block of feta, you can create this impressive starter in minutes with a few slow roasted tomatoes, fresh herbs, and pita bread. Crumble the feta into a shallow baking dish, add the toppings (see variations for olives or shrimp listed below) and broil. A… Read more
Light and almost ethereal, taking a bite of a still-warm gougère is a magical experience. I served them recently at my book club dinner as an appetizer, and people went absolutely crazy for them. “You made these?” I felt like a celebrity chef for a few minutes as they all clustered around the tray. Someone requested I make them for her company’s upcoming cocktail party. I declined, saying, “You can make them yourself, they don’t take long at all.” A dubious stare ensued. Armed with a wooden spoon, you can make these impressive, savory French cheese puffs. The recipe starts… Read more
Treat your holiday guests to elegant hors d’oeuvres that are deceptively easy to prepare. Crisp, lightly browned baguette slices topped with caramelized onion jam are the base for this deceptively simple-to-prepare appetizer. The sweetness of the onion jam pairs beautifully with Gorgonzola and fresh figs. Contrasting textures of the toasted baguette and creamy, melted cheese come together in one delicious bite. The onion jam can be prepared ahead of time. It would be wonderful atop a pan-seared pork cutlet or roasted chicken sandwich.