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prosciutto wrapped tomato

prosciutto wrapped tomatoThe holiday season is just around the corner and it’s that time of the year when we’re out socializing and entertaining at home. The thought of entertaining can be intimidating for both the novice and the experienced.  When I know I am having friends over, I generate a plan, cook ahead, stay within my limits and remember it is only a party – a time to have fun.  Everybody loves a party where they can reconnect, celebrate and get away from the stresses of daily life.  Entertaining is also about trying new things, new ideas and new techniques.  Which brings me to this insanely delicious dish:  prosciutto wrapped tomato. Continue Reading →

savory palmiers

savory palmiersThese delicate, but easy-to-make French pastries can be sweet or savory.  Palmiers, named so because they look like palm trees or the shape of an elephant’s ear, uses puff pastry for its base.  Traditionally, simple ingredients such as sugar and cinnamon are sprinkled over the pastry then folded, rolled, sliced and baked in the oven.  The festive season is just around the corner and these delicious morsels will take center stage when you present them at your next party. Continue Reading →

mushroom pâté

mushroom pateNow that November is here, I start looking for easy-to-make snacks, appetizers, and finger food for the upcoming holiday season.  Everyone has their favorites and one of mine is pâté.  The thing is, it’s rich and calorie laden.  An easy solution without compromising taste is to use the mighty mushroom.  Not only are delicious, they’re packed with natural goodness with things like boosting your immune system (helps in cold and flu season), anti-inflammatory, antibacterial etc.  Continue Reading →

crab phyllo cups

crab phyllo cups by The Culinary ChaseThe freezer compartment of our fridge is puny!  While it has 2 levels, it’s like playing a game of Jenga.  Everything placed in the freezer has to be done with much precision and each time the freezer drawer is opened, there’s constant reshuffling.  A while ago we purchased a package of frozen crab meat (imitation, that is) from a large box store – the price was too good to pass up.  A store employee was working at a food stall dishing out crab meat salad on small paper wrappers.  To our surprise, they were good and were shown where to find the crab.  Continue Reading →

turkey meatballs – with an Asian twist

turkey meatballsThis dish transports my foodie mind back to Thailand.  One of the first things introduced to us was a welcome snack called Miang kham.  The base is a betel nut leaf and piled onto the leaf are fried shallots, ginger, toasted coconut flakes, garlic, lime, peanuts, chopped chili peppers, and topped with a drizzle of palm syrup.  Then carefully wrapped up and popped into your mouth.  Talk about an explosion of tastes!  I can easily scoff down 6 they’re that good.  Continue Reading →

radish leaf pesto

Radish Leaf Pesto CrostiniPesto derives its name from pestâ which means to pound/crush.  A typical pesto consists of crushed garlic, basil, pine nuts mixed with olive oil and Parmesan cheese.  Pesto was originally used mostly to flavor vegetable soups. It wasn’t until the early 1900’s that it was used as a sauce for pasta.  Earlier versions of pesto used parsley or marjoram instead of basil, and did not include the pine nuts. Continue Reading →

Onion Dip – made from scratch

Onion DipAs a youngster and young adult, one of my favorite junk foods was French Onion Dip and a bag of rippled potato chips.  It’s been years since I last snacked on a commercial onion dip but the other day while I was at the grocery store, I really wanted to buy one.  Instead, my inner healthy voice said no and that I could easily make my own (party pooper!)Continue Reading →

Baked Vegetable Custard

Vegetable CustardYears ago I bought a book to hold all my scraps of paper that I scribbled recipes on or ones I cut from magazines and newspapers.  I remember, after the last recipe was glued down, how triumphant it felt to see my collection in one place.   The other day I went through one I started back in 2005.  I had forgotten these recipes.  The baked vegetable custard is one I made once before, most probably in 2005, and it’s a pity I forgot about it as it’s darn delicious and relatively easy to make.  As much as I like to view recipes online, I still enjoy the tactile nature of paper. Continue Reading →

Roasted Marrow Bones

roasted marrow boneEntertaining on a budget?  These marrow bones aren’t only good in a base for soup or for the dog to chew on.  And before you say eew! give this recipe a chance.  Many generations have enjoyed roasted marrow and some added it to puddings and pastries.  Have you ever eaten an Italian dish called osso buco (stewed veal shank)?  One of the main attractions of the dish is the prized marrow.  You can also find a marrow bone in a ham steak – one of my favorites.  As a kid (heck, I still do) I recall saving the bone for last so as to savour the cooked marrow.  Continue Reading →

3 Easy Appetizers

goat cheese ballsEntertaining is fun or at least that’s my view but for some, though, it can be a dreaded task.  Why?  The ‘idea’ of having friends over for a bite to eat is simple enough until one starts to ‘think’ about what to serve, the timing, and execution of each dish.  I believe that when you invite friends over for dinner it’s a social gathering where conversation flows regardless of what’s served.  Remember, they come to see you, not what’s on the table, or how your home looks.  I think hostesses put way too much pressure on themselves and in doing so empty all the fun and love out of the planning process.  Continue Reading →