Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto Palmiers


6 sun-dried tomatoes, oil-packed, drained (oil reserved) and chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tablespoon reserved oil from sun-dried tomatoes
3 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
7 ounces puff pastry
1 egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon water


Preheat oven to 400.

For pesto, mix tomatoes, garlic, reserved oil, and 2 tablespoons Parmesan untill well combined.

Roll pastry to 6″ x 14″ rectangle.  Trim uneven edges with sharp knife.  Spread pesto evenly over pastry.  Roll up short ends tightly to meet in the middle of pastry.  Refrigerate until firm, 20 minutes.  Brush with beaten egg on all sides.  Cut across into 1/2-inch thick slices.  Place slices on a greased baking sheet.  Bake until crisp and golden, 10 minutes.  Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan when hot from oven.

Cool on wire rack.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

To make up to 3 days in advance, store in an airtight container at room temperature, then crisp in a preheated 400 oven for 3 minutes.

Alternatively, to make well in advance, freeze unbaked, then bake from frozen in a preheated 400 oven for 15 minutes.

White Bean Dip


1/4 cup soft bread crumbs
2 tablespoons dry white wine
19 ounces canned cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
2 teaspoons snipped fresh oregano or basil
toasted pita chips


Combine bread crumbs and wine in a small bowl; set aside.  Combine beans, almonds, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, ground red pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a food processor bowl.  Cover and process until almost smooth.  Add bread crumb mixture.  Cover and process until smooth.  Stir in snipped oregano or basil.  If desired, cover and refrigerate for 3 to 24 hours to blend flavors.

Serve with toasted pita chips.

Crepes Suzette Cups



Orange Sauce:
1 1/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1 T butter, melted
1/8 tsp grated orange rind
1 T Grand Marnier or orange-flavored liqueur

4 T sifted cake flour
3 1/2 T sifted bread flour
2 T sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup warm milk
2 T butter, melted
2 tsp brandy


For sauce, cook sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat until melted and golden, stirring constantly.  Stir in orange juice; mix until well blended.  Stir in butter and orange rind; boil 1 to 1 1/2 minutes or until slightly thickened.  Stir in Grand Marnier.  Keep warm.

Sift together cake flour, bread flour, sugar and salt; set aside.  In medium bowl, wisk egg and egg yolk until well blended.  Stir in milk, butter and brandy; wisk until well blended.  Slowly wisk in flour mixture until smooth.  Do not wisk to excess or batter will be bubbly and crepes may have holes.

Heat 5-inch nonstick crepe pan over high heat for 2 minutes; reduce heat to medium.  Brush pan with melted butter; spoon 1 1/2 T batter into pan.  Tilt pan and swirl batter until batter covers bottom of pan.  Cook crepe until light brown on both sides, turning once.  Remove from pan and place briefly on waxed paper to cool.  (Note: Crepes may be made in advance and refrigerated for up to three days.  Allow crepes to warm to to room temperature before serving).

Fold each crepe in half and then roll into a loose cone.  Place two rolled crepes into individual glass cups and spoon a generous portion of warm orange sauce over top.  Garnish with orange sections and mint leaves, if desired.  Serves 8.

Chilled Cucumber Soup


1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 bay leaves
2 lbs peeled, seeded and diced cucumber
2 cups chicken stock
1 cup milk
1 cup whipping cream
2 T chopped fresh dill


In 3-quart saucepan melt butter over medium-high heat;  add onion and bay leaves.  Cook until onion is tender.  Stir in cucumber; cook 5 to 10 minutes or until cucumber is tender.  Reduce heat to medium.  Stir in chicken stock and milk; simmer 5 to 10 minutes or until liquid is reduced.  Remove from heat; cool.  Remove bay leaves; puree in a blender or food processor.  Stir in cream; season to taste with salt and white pepper.

Cover; refrigerate overnight.  Serve chilled in soup cups or bowls; garnish with fresh dill and paper-thin cucumber slices

Tequila and Lime Marinated Shrimp


3 T onion,  finely chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup olive oil
2 lbs fresh shrimp, peeled and cleaned
1/4 cup  good quality tequila
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/8 tsp salt
2 T cilantro, chopped


Cook onion and garlic in olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat about 3 minutes or until tender.  Add shrimp and tequila; bring to a boil.  Boil gently, uncovered, 3-5 minutes or until shrimp turn pink, stirring occasionally.  Transfer shrimp mixture to a bowl.  Add lime juice, salt and cilantro.  Toss to mix.  Cover and refrigerate 2-24 hours, stirring occasionally.  Drain before serving.  Serves 10-12.

Chocolate Hazelnut Puffs


2 3-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup chocolate-hazelnut spread
1/4 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup chopped toasted hazelnuts
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup water
1/2 cup butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 eggs
Sifted powdered sugar


For filling, beat together cream cheese and 2 tablespoons of the granulated sugar in a mixing bowl. Gradually beat in chocolate-hazelnut spread and the whipping cream. Stir in nuts. Cover surface with plastic wrap and chill up to 2 hours.

For puffs, stir together the remaining 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, the flour, and cocoa powder; set aside. Combine water, butter, and salt in a medium saucepan. Bring mixture to boiling. Add flour mixture all at once, stirring vigorously. Cook and stir until mixture forms a ball that doesn’t separate. Remove from heat. Cool for 10 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well with a wooden spoon after each addition until smooth.

Drop dough by rounded teaspoons into 24 mounds 1 inch apart on a greased extra-large baking sheet. Bake in a 400 degree F oven for 25 minutes. Transfer to wire racks and cool.

Cut tops from puffs; remove soft dough from inside. Fill with cream mixture up to 2 hours before serving. Chill until serving time. Makes 24 (12 servings).

Whole Wheat Crostini with Dried Tomato Tapenade


1 7-ounce jar dried tomatoes (oil pack), drained (3/4 cup)
1/2 of an 8-ounce tub cream cheese
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
1 2-1/4-ounce can sliced ripe olives, drained
1 tablespoon dried basil
2 cloves garlic
1/3 cup water
2 whole wheat baguettes


For Dried Tomato Tapanade, place dried tomatoes, cream cheese, pine nuts, olives, basil, garlic, and the 1/3 cup water in a food processor bowl; process until almost smooth, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary. Transfer to covered container. Cover and chill up to 1 week. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Cut baguettes into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Place slices in a single layer on baking sheets. Bake until lightly toasted, 5-7 minutes. When cool enough to handle, spread each slice with about 1 teaspoon Dried Tomato Tapanade. Makes about 60 servings.

Blue Hawaii Martini

Blue Hawaii MartiniIngredients

8 ounces vodka (1 cup)
2 ounces blue curacao liqueur (1/4 cup)
2 ounces pineapple juice (1/4 cup)
Ice cubes
Orange wedges (optional)


In a pitcher, combine vodka, blue curacao, and pineapple juice. Place ice cubes in a martini shaker. Add the liqueur mixture; shake. Strain into four chilled martini glasses. If desired, garnish each serving with an orange wedge.

Roasted Eggplant Rolls


2 medium Japanese eggplants or 1 medium eggplant (1 lb. total)
3 to 4 T. olive oil
1/2 tsp. dried herb blend
2 to 3 T. olive paste or tapanade
1/3 to 1/2 cup finely crumbled feta cheese


Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with nonstick foil or parchment paper; set aside. Trim ends off of eggplant. Cut each eggplant lengthwise into 6 to 8 slices, each about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick (a mandoline is best for this). If using 1 medium eggplant, cut each slice in half lengthwise. (You should have 12 to 16 slices total.) Arrange eggplant slices on prepared baking sheet. Lightly brush both sides of eggplant with oil (spray with olive oil cooking spray as an alternative). Lightly sprinkle tops of slices with the dried herb blend.

Roast eggplant slices about 20 minutes or until tender and starting to brown. Cool eggplant slices on pan on a wire rack until easy to handle. Spread a thin layer of olive paste atop each eggplant slice. Sprinkle cheese atop paste. Roll up eggplant slices, starting from a short end. Secure with wooden toothpicks or skewers. Makes 12 to 16 appetizers.

Coconut Shrimp on Romaine Leaves

Coconut Shrimp on Romaine LeavesIngredients

12 ounces fresh or frozen peeled and deveined shrimp
1/4 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1/4 cup unsalted, dry-roasted peanuts, chopped
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 T fish sauce
3 T fresh lime juice
1 T finely shredded fresh ginger
1 small jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped
1/4 tsp salt
30 small romaine leaves


For shrimp filling, thaw shrimp, if frozen. In a large saucepan bring 4 cups water and 1/2 teaspoon salt to boiling. Add shrimp and simmer 1 to 3 minutes or until opaque. Drain. Rinse under cold running water. Drain again. Coarsely chop shrimp (you should have about 1-1/2 cups). Cover and chill.

Spread coconut in a shallow baking pan. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 5 to 10 minutes or until golden brown, stirring once or twice. Remove from oven. Cool.

For sauce, in a small saucepan combine coconut milk, peanuts, brown sugar, and fish sauce. Bring to boiling. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, over medium heat about 8 minutes or until slightly thickened, stirring occasionally. Cool.

In a bowl combine chopped shrimp, toasted coconut, lime juice, ginger, jalapeno pepper, and salt. Stir in sauce. Cover and chill up to 4 hours.

Transfer shrimp mixture to a serving bowl. For each appetizer, place a spoonful of shrimp filling on a romaine leaf. Roll up. Makes about 30 appetizer servings.