Archive | Hors d’oeuvres RSS feed for this section

Simple Veg: Guacamole

10 Feb

guacamole - ingredients

I first learned to make guacamole at an all-inclusive resort in Mexico, where one of the activities was a cooking demonstration.   Ever since, guacamole has been a regular party staple in our household.  Who doesn’t like guacamole?  Fresh and flavorful, guacamole is excellent all year round.

There’s room to play in making guacamole.  Normally, I use a habañero pepper (about 1/2, deseeded), but you can also use serrano or jalapeño peppers, depending on your preference.  Recently, we like using serrano peppers because they have a good balance of heat and flavor (David calls it “umami”).  A few of my friends don’t like cilantro, in which case I’ll swap out cilantro for basil and make what I call “Mediterranean” guacamole.  Although traditional guacamole uses yellow onions, sometimes I like to use red onions, which are sweeter.  You can use heirloom tomatoes or cherry tomatoes or beefsteak tomatoes, depending of what looks best at the market.  I like my guacamole crunchy, so you can definitely play with the ingredient ratios.

Here’s the basic mix as a guideline:

Continue reading


Mediterranean-style Salsa

9 Feb

We’ve found gorgeous organic, heirloom mini-tomatoes here in Stockholm — perfect for making my “Mediterranean salsa” even more colorful!  This “salsa” is great alongside meats (pork chops, steaks), as a dip (with gluten-free crackers, for instance), or with eggs (fried or scrambled).  Very simple to make, and tasty.  In a large bowl, mix together: chopped up the tomatoes; a small red onion, minced; finely mince jalapeno pepper (less or more depending on your tolerance for heat); a big handful of basil, chiffonade; and 2 tablespoons or so of capers (depending on how much you like capers).  Squeeze in the juice of one lemon.  Drizzle some olive oil, and season with salt to taste.

P.S.> No need to use heirloom mini-tomatoes, of course.  Any delicious, preferably organic tomatoes would make a great Mediterranean-style salsa!

Chacuterie & Smoked Salmon Platter

6 Jan

No cooking was required on my part here — but it was a good looking spread!  For hors d’oeuvres for our Christmas Eve dinner, we put out a spread of charcuterie and smoked salmon (2 types) alongside some nice gluten-free crackers and sliced cucumbers.   The spread was colorful, festive and appropriate for a laid-back but sophisticated snacking before the dinner.

Deviled Eggs with Caviar

27 Nov

As hors d’oeuvres for our “Swedish-inpspired” non-traditional Thanksgiving, I made deviled eggs with caviar.  Recently, deviled eggs seem to have made a comeback as a trendy bar food around New York.  One of our favorite Brooklyn bars called  Henry Public has deviled eggs on its menu, which we love to order when we enjoy a late-afternoon cocktail at the bar.  Deviled eggs make good hors d’oeuvres because they are easy to make, an appropriate size for finger-food, and look pretty.  I decided my “Swedish”-inspired deviled eggs would be topped with caviar (2 types) and chives.

The best egg boiling instruction I received came from an episode of Ina Garten’s cooking show.  She instructs that you put the eggs in the pot from the start —  add cold water just enough to cover the eggs, and bring to a boil.  Once the water comes to a boil, take the pot off the heat and leave the eggs in the hot water for 15 minutes.  This method of egg boiling keeps the egg yolks from turning a gray color around the edges.  I boiled the eggs the night before, so that they were ready to peel when I got home from work.

Peel the eggs carefully, and cut the eggs in half vertically (long-side).  Gently take out the egg yolks and put them in a bowl.  Finely mince half a small red onion and some chives, and add them to the yolks.  Add a table spoon of Dijon mustard, and about a tablespoon of good olive oil, until the consistency of the yolk mixture is creamy.  Season with salt.  It’s imprtant to taste and adjust the seasoning/flavor as you see fit.

Spoon the yolk mixture into the egg whites.

Top with caviar and sprinkle some chopped chives.  Serve on a platter.  Enjoy!