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Category Archives: appetizers

Roasted Peppers with Anchovies

4 anchovy fillets, preserved in salt

3 red or orange bell peppers

1 tablespoon fresh oregano, finely chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

1 tablespoon capers, drained & finely chopped

¼ cup olive oil

  • Wash anchovy fillets under running water for several minutes to rid them of their salt. Bone them and finely chop.
  • In a small bowl combine anchovy, oregano, garlic and capers. Set aside.
  • Wash, dry and stem peppers; cut into quarters and remove ribs and seeds.
  • Place on a baking sheet cut side down and sprinkle with olive oil. Bake in a preheated oven at 400 F for 20 minutes or until slightly tender.
  • Cool and then cut into smaller strips.
  • Spoon anchovy mixture onto strips.
  • Let stand 2 hours for flavors to blend before serving.

Nutrition Notes: Colorful peppers are rich in the antioxidants Vitamin C & carotenoids which help protect us from the cell damage of free radicals. Anchovies and capers are high in salt, so it’s best to balance these with lower salt foods in your day.

Lime Drizzled Shrimp

Thank you Mary Ann Anschutz for this recipe!

4 limes

12 raw and shelled or cooked and shelled jumbo shrimp

2 Tablespoons olive oil

2 garlic cloves, minced

Splash of sherry

Salt and Pepper

3 Tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley

  • Grate the rind and squeeze the juice from 2 limes; reserve the other limes for later and cut into wedges.
  • In a large skillet heat the olive oil. Add the garlic and stir for 30 seconds. Add the shrimp and cook until they turn pink and begin to curl.
  • Mix in the lime rind, juice and sherry. Stir together.
  • Transfer to a serving dish and season lightly with salt (optional) and pepper.
  • Add parsley and reserved limes cut in wedges for squeezing over the shrimp at the table.

Nutrition Notes: shrimp contain 100 mg cholesterol/serving but because it is also low in fat and saturated fat it can be enjoyed on a low cholesterol diet.  When finishing with salt, use the flaked sea salt because you can visualize & limit it more easily.  You can also enjoy the flavors of the other minerals in the sea salt.

Cantaloupe & Arugula Salad with Spanish Jamon & Cheese

Per each salad layer the following on a serving plate:

5 bite size pieces of cantaloupe

A small handful of arugula that has been tossed with 1 teaspoon olive oil and ½ teaspoon white wine vinegar

1 or 2 small thin slices of Spanish jamon

1 or 2 thin slices, shaved with a vegetable peeler, of Spanish cheese such as Cabra de Murcia

Drizzle with ½ teaspoon honey (you can also mix the honey with equal parts olive oil)

Sprinkle entire salad with ground black pepper

Nutrition Notes: Arugula is one of the dark green leafy vegetables very rich in many antioxidants, phytochemicals, vitamins and minerals. Cantaloupe is an orange colored food also rich in these nutrients. The more color, the more the nutrients! The jamon and cheese is high in salt, but the quantity used is very small. No other salt is added here. Jamon is a dry cured ham, similar to proscuitto. This is a small portion that can be used as a tapas. Increase as desirserving size ed for a side salad or entree.

Variantes: Spicy Marinated Olives with Pickled Vegetables and Garlic

This bar-top snack is commonly served in Barcelona with a midday apertif. It is very high in sodium, so balance this with other low salt foods through the day.

12 cloves garlic, unpeeled

1/3 pound carrots, peeled & cut in bite size pieces (may use beets, green beans or other firm colorful vegetable)

24  mixed olives

12 cocktail onions in vinegar, drained

12 baby gherkins, drained

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Pinch of hot chile powder

1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika

Generous teaspoon of fresh thyme leaves

2 stalks of fresh thyme about 3 inches in length

  • Bring a small saucepan 3/4 filled with water to a boil. Add the garlic and simmer 3 minutes.
  • Add the carrot and boil 2 minutes; Drain.
  • Place carrot and garlic in a bowl of cold water; Drain.
  • Place in another bowl of cold water; Drain again. Peel garlic.
  • Transfer carrot and garlic to a medium bowl
  • Add olives, onions, and gherkins and mix well.
  • Add olive oil, vinegar, chile powder, paprika and thyme.
  • Stir gently and evenly. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours. Mix once or twice.
  • Serve in a small glass bowl with toothpicks.

Pan con Tomate or Pa amb Tomaquet or Tomato Rubbed Bread

This Catalan dish has Mediterranean links to Italian bruschetta. Pan con Tomate lies close to the heart of the Catalan way of life. They have a passion for this simple food which is unrivaled. It is often the first thing brought to the table and is a classic served with ham, cheeses and pickles or with barbecued foods.  Famous Catalan chefs have made their own versions from Carles Gaig’s fresh tomato pulp in a cone of crispy bread to Ferran Adria’s tomato ice cream with a wafer-thin bubble of pastry. I served this with a toothpick of serrano jamon, manchego cheese & a grape tomato!

1/2 lb. ciabatta or coarse country white bread, preferably sourdough

4 cloves garlic, halved, optional

4 small ripe tomatoes, about 1/3 lb

Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling

Salt, optional or used flaked sea salt

  • Preheat grill or broiler to high
  • Slice the bread on an angle about 1/2 inch thick or less
  • Grill or broil the bread on a baking sheet on both sides until light golden brown
  • While warm, rub one side of the bread with the garlic, if using.
  • Cut each tomato in half. Rub the cut sides of the tomato on top of the toasts until only the skins are left. Discard skins.
  • Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with salt if desired.
  • Pile the toasts on a serving platter and serve

Nutrition Note: Tomato contains the carotenoid antioxidant lycopene which helps prevent gastrointestinal cancers. When finishing, use flaked sea salt because you can visualize & limit it more easily.

Easy Roasted Red Bell Pepper Sauce

Combine all ingredients in a food processor or with a stick emersion blender in a medium bowl. Process until smooth. Serve warm as a sauce over pasta or quinoa and cold as a condiment as you would use ketchup. Quinoa is a seed which is similar to couscous. Cook as you would rice. Rinse well before cooking to remove any bitter taste. It is pronounced Keen-wah and originates in South America.  Yield: 2 cups

1 -12 oz jar or 1 1/2 cups bottled roasted & peeled red peppers, drained (packed without oil)

1/2 cup tomato juice

1 Tablespoon aged thick and flavorful balsamic vinegar

2 Tablespoons tomato paste

1/2 teaspoon pepper

2 cloves garlic

Nutrition Notes: Red peppers and tomatoes are rich in the antioxidants Vitamins C and A, other carotenoids and other antioxidants which help protect healthy cells from damage caused by free radicals which attack healthy cells. Weakened cells are more susceptible to cardiovascular disease and certain types of cancers. Quinoa is rich in fiber and gluten free.


Curry Dip

A recipe from Strongbow’s Turkey Inn, where I worked in the buffet and catering kitchen during my college years at Valparaiso University. This veggie dip has a beautiful brilliant yellow color! Thank you Chuggie!

2 cups mayonnaise (I prefer Hellman’s)

1/2 cup sour cream

1/4 teaspoon tumeric

1 Tablespoon curry powder

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

4 teaspoons sugar

2 teaspoons lemon juice or lemosa from the bar

Whisk together and serve with fresh veggies! You can substitute light mayonnaise and Greek style yogurt for the mayo and sour cream. I prefer a 50:50 ratio. I also like the Madras style curry powder.

Goat Cheese with Lemon and Rosemary

This is an appetizer I have made 50 times and everyone always loves it! You can think of it as a contemporary type of cheeseball! Serve it with a salad and you have lunch!  Thank you to Deb Kammer for the inspiration!

Combine olive oil, lemon juice and salt. Add the chopped rosemary and pepper to the marinade or sprinkle them over the cheese and marinade at the very last

Place the goat cheese on a platter with a little asked edge

Pour the marinade over the goat cheese 

Dip your crusty bread into the marinade and then spread some goat cheese on!

  • On a round glass platter about 11 inches across place:

1-3 ounce  log of goat cheese

  • In a small bowl combine:

 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice

1/4 cup olive oil 

1 teaspoon Kosher salt or sea salt 

1/2 teaspoon black pepper or more

 1/4 cup fresh chopped rosemary (try to use the tender new growth). Alternatively, you can add the rosemary after the marinade is poured on the cheese

  • Add more lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper or rosemary to taste.
  • Pour over the cheese
  • Voila! Perfecto!
  • Decorate the platter with lemon slices and a large stem of rosemary if you like. 
  • Serve with

Sliced French bread or a whole grain crusty bread


Have your guests dip one side of the bread in the marinade and then spread on the goat cheese with a small knife. You can easily double the recipe using the same size platter. To make it easier for your guests, dip and spread the cheese for them and place the bruschetta on a platter for them to enjoy!

Basil Pesto

This recipe can be made in a standard size food processor. It is an adaption of Marcella Hazan’s from her cookbook, The Classical Italian Cookbook. The food/travel author, Fred Plotkin, also influenced my recipe.

4 cups fresh basil leaves, lightly wiping the leaves with a damp paper towel to clean. Basil does not like to be wet and will brown quickly. Then gently tare into two or more small pieces. Be careful not to crush the basil. The purpose is to make fairly even sized pieces for uniform measuring. I prefer the traditional green leaf basil. It makes a nice bright green pesto. The purple basil produces a darker brown-green pesto.

You can also skip the cheese and pine nuts to make a BASIL SAUCE which is a delicious sauce to serve with vegetables, meats, eggs, cheese ….. Also you can add it to soups and tomato sauces for extra flavor.

 1 cup olive oil

4 cloves garlic, lightly crushed with a heavy knife handle and peeled

2 teaspoons Kosher salt

4 tablespoons pine nuts, chopped, but not too fine

1 cup freshly grated Locatelli brand romano cheese

1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan reggiano cheese (or any combination of the romano and parmesan reggiano cheese. Most traditional is the parmesan reggiano with possibly a tiny bit of romano)

In a food processor place the basil, olive oil, garlic cloves and salt. Process with the knife blade till basil is finely minced. Do not overprocess or allow the basil to heat up. Scrape the sides of the bowl often during processing.

Remove knife blade and stir in the pine nuts and cheeses. Freeze pesto in ice cube trays and when frozen, place in a freezer carton or bag for storage in the freezer. You can also store the pesto in a jar in the refrigerator by keeping a layer of olive oil on the surface and covering with a lid. Presto! Serve with pasta as the original recipe. Use as a spread on tomatoes and fresh mozzarella or sandwiches and bruschetta. Add as a flavoring to soups, sauces and stews. Use as a marinade for chicken.

Avocado n Strawberry or Raspberry Salsa

1 pound strawberries, medium diced or 1 pint whole raspberries

2 large avocados, peeled, pitted and cut into large dice

1/2 cup fresh cilantro, minced or 1/2 bunch, minced

1 fresh jalapeno, minced

1/2 cup fresh lime juice or 1 juicy fresh lime, squeezed

1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt or sea salt

Combine avocados and lime juice to prevent discoloration/oxidation. Add remaining ingredients and toss gently. Serve the soon the better with home made tortilla chips. Store bought chips also work

Tortilla chips: Preheat oven to 350 and brush small or 4 inch corn tortillas with vegetable oil. Cut into 1/4’s. Sprinkle with flaked sea salt. Bake 10 minutes or till crisp.

I fine tune recipes I love. I don’t like leftover pieces of jalapeno or limes or a 1/4 box of strawberries…..add the whole thing and make it work! This is my 2nd rendition of this recipe originally from Cooking Light.