Tag Archives: appetizers

Tomato Week:: Two Bite Parmesan Crisps


These lovely little two-bite parmesan crisps are savory and salty with a crunch—perfect to serve with a chilled citrus-y glass of Prosecco or Rose. It’s a quick appetizer that uses parmesan cheese with a combination of tomatoes – tomato jam to be exact.

The tomato jam here is the star of the show, but you’ll love the addition of mozzarella and basil too. These bites make a great addition to any menu for a summer soiree.

Two Bite Parmesan Crisps
Makes about 32

For the Tomato Jam:
You will need:
– 3  tablespoons olive oil
– 1 garlic clove, chopped
– 1 teaspoon salt
– 4 large heirloom tomatoes, coarsely chopped
– 3 tablespoons sugar
– 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

To prepare:
Place ingredients into a medium pot over medium heat for 15 minutes, set aside to cool. This step may be done a couple days in advance, and placed in the refrigerator in a sealed container until ready to use.

For the Parmesan Crisps:
You will need:
– 8 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated (about 4 cups)
– Place 2 tablespoons of Parmesan on a cookie sheet fitted with a silpat.
– Arrange the spoonfuls about 3 inches apart as they will spread to form round crisps.

To prepare:
Place in a 350 F degree oven for 3-5 minutes until golden brown. Remove and allow to cool before assembling the appetizer.

To assemble:
– 1 (8-ounce) ball fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
– 1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh basil leaves

Place a dollop of  jam on top of the crisp, and add cubes of mozzarella and garnish with a basil leaf.

From my book Picture Perfect Parties RIzzoli NY


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Delicious Cocktail Italiano Appetizer:: Eggplant Camponata


If you’ve received your copy of Cocktail Italiano, you now know that it’s not only filled with cocktails but also delicious appetizers. In the section on Imperia, an industrial town along the coast, you’ll find three classic cocktails and several nibble recipes. This eggplant camponata is one of them. Camponata is one of my favorite, stand by appetizers. It’s creamy, spicy, salty, and of course, eggplant-y. It’s divine.

I like to serve mine with thin crackers or crostini, along with arugula and grape tomatoes. Plate it all with a touch of grated Parmesan cheese and a drizzle of the best olive oil you have. Enjoy!

Eggplant Camponata

This has been my favorite tried-and-true apero recipe for many years. I make a lot, and I keep it in the fridge for unexpected guests. It’s also an amazing topping for pizza, another great aperitivo snack!

You will need:

– 1/4 cup olive oil
– 1 small red onion, finely chopped
– 4 cloves of garlic, crushed or coarsely chopped
– 4 cups of cubed eggplant, skin on (1″ cubes)
– 1 cup chopped tomatoes
– 1 cup chopped fresh basil
– 1/4 cup capers
– 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
– 1/2 cup tomato sauce (from a jar is fine, unless you have homemade hanging around)
– 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
– salt and pepper to taste
– Parmesan cheese for garnish
– Crispy crackers or flat crostini (find this recipe in Cocktail Italiano, too!)

To prepare:

In a large pan, saute chopped onions and garlic in olive oil until translucent. Add all other ingredients, except Parmesan cheese. Cover and stir frequently, so camponata does not stick. Saute on low heat until combined and soft, about 30-40 minutes.

Serve as a warm appetizer on crisp crackers and plate with arugula and tomatoes. Enjoy alongside cold white or sparkling wine with friends.

xx Annette

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Recipe:: Fried Green Tomatoes

While it's not quite green tomato season yet, tomato season will be here before we know it. Put this recipe in your spring appetizer arsenal.

As most of you may know I am the Entertaining Editor for Atlanta Magazine’s HOME. In the latest issue, I showcased a traditional Southern recipe, Fried Green Tomatoes from one of the most original party ideas to date. One of my dear friends has a party called “The Birthday Club”. My friend and fine art gallery owner, Arnika Dawkins, gathers throughout the year with her best gal pals to celebrate each of their birthdays in a unique way.

Here’s how it works: each woman chooses an activity for her birthday and the other birthday club members make it happen. The club has enjoyed traveling, spa days, and concerts. In the Spring issue we featured Arnika’s birthday party. Everyone came together for lunch at Arnika’s photography gallery. For the complete feature make sure to pick up a copy of Atlanta Magazine’s HOME on newsstands now.

Make sure to put this recipe in your spring appetizer arsenal and enjoy them with family and friends.

xx Annette

Fried Green Tomatoes with Goat Cheese and Red Pepper Coulis 
Serves 6

You will need:
– 1 cup goat cheese
– 4 green tomatoes, sliced 1⁄2-inch thick
– 2 eggs
– 1⁄2 cup milk
– 1 cup whole wheat flour
– 1⁄2 cup panko breadcrumbs
– 1⁄4 cup yellow cornmeal
– 2 teaspoons salt
– 1 cup vegetable oil
– Feta and fresh basil leaves, for garnish (optional)

To prepare:

Spread a small amount of goat cheese onto one side of each tomato slice. Arrange on a sheet pan, and chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour.

Whisk eggs and milk in a shallow bowl. In a separate bowl, combine flour, breadcrumbs, cornmeal, and salt. One by one, dip each tomato slice into the egg mixture, then the crumb mixture; shake off any excess.

Pour oil into a deep frying pan and place over medium heat until a thermometer registers 350°F. Working in batches, fry tomatoes until golden on both sides, about 3 minutes per batch. Garnish with feta and basil, if using, and serve immediately with red pepper coulis.

Red Pepper Coulis

You will need:
– 7 ounces roasted red peppers from a jar
– 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
– 1 clove garlic
– 1⁄4 cup olive oil
– 1 cup fresh basil leaves
– 1⁄2 teaspoon salt

To prepare:
Puree all ingredients in a blender until smooth.

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Whipped Ricotta Dip

whipped ricotta dip

As some of you know, I attended Mimi Thorisson’s Workshop in Medoc, France this spring. It was 4 days filled with cooking and lots of eating. I have the 3 pounds to prove it. One night Mimi made this lovely ricotta dip with walnuts for dipping. Much to our delight we were dipping duck cracklings into this gorgeous whipped dip. Um, yes pretty outrageous right?! My first thought was this is delicious, and my second thought was there is no way my friends would consider dipping fat into fat as a starter. So I came up with this rendition, an Americanized, healthy version of the whipped ricotta dip. For those of you daring enough to dip duck cracklings into it, go for it!

Whipped Ricotta Dip

You will need:
– 1 cup whole milk ricotta
– 1/4 cup whipping cream
– 2 garlic cloves minced
– 1/2 teaspoon salt
*(1 cup finely chopped walnuts optional)

In a medium bowl, using a whisk whip all the ingredients until well-blended and whipped. Store in the fridge for at least 2 hours and serve with crudite.

It’s the perfect summer appetizer!

Enjoy xx

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Cookbook 7: The French Laundry

This book by Thomas Keller should come with a warning label, well actually 2.

1.WARNING: This book is so beautiful that it may hurt your eyes.

2. WARNING: This book is for the more experienced cook.

The first warning out weighs the second warning. I had to buy this cookbook to add to my cookbook collection as soon as it came out. I wanted to go over it with a fine tooth comb. If you have ever read anything about Thomas Keller you know he’s very OCD [you know I love that] and a beyond perfectionist. So I knew this book would be the most amazing cookbook in my collection, and it is.

A year after I became the proud owner of this cookbook. I had the opportunity to cook recipes from it in Napa at the Culinary Institute of America during a professional course I was taking. Since I had read the book cover to cover and attempted several recipes I felt confident I could complete my assignment. I was paired with a young chef from Google [ yes that Google] apparently they have a great food program on the Google campus and this young lady was part of that crew. I loved being paired with her as she and I had different strengths and approaches. We had a blast and knocked it out of the park. Yay us!

Enough about me. Get this book. Even if you don’t cook out of it, it’s the most beautiful book ever, it will hold up until the end of time, a classic beauty. I do encourage you to try the recipes. Here’s one of the recipes we made at the CIA, give it a whirl and let me know how it goes.

Truffled Egg Custard
by Thomas Keller from The French Laundry

For the Chive Chips:

  • 1 large russet potato
  • 2 t. clarified butter
  • Kosher salt
  • 20 ea. chive chips, very thin (use the tops of the thinnest chives you can find)

Preheat oven to 375 degree F. Brush 2 silpats with clarified butter and kosher salt. Match up mandolin-sliced band-aid shaped potatoes with chive in the center of each one. Remove air pockets from each raw chip. Top with the second silpat, butter side down and top with second sheet pan. Bake 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.

For the custards:

  • 8 large eggs (with the paper egg carton) for the serving pieces. Only 2 eggs used in the custard itself. Reserve the other eggs for another use.
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1 T. white truffle oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground white pepper

Heat the milk and cream. When it boils remove from heat. Turn on a blender and pour in the dairy mixture. Add the truffle Oil and the 2 reserved eggs, salt and white pepper. Strain through a chinois into a pitcher. Let the custard sit and skim off any foam. Fill each egg shell _ full with custard mixture. Put egg carton into pan and fill pan with hot water 2/3 of the way up the eggs. Cover the pan and bake 40-45 minutes or until the custard is set. The finished eggs may be kept in the water, in a warm place, for 2 hours.

For the truffle ragout:
1/3 cup veal stock
1 t. finely minced black truffles
few drops white wine vinegar (used as a flavoring, like salt)

Reduce to 3/4 T. Then add:
1 t. unsalted butter (mount the sauce after reduction)
1 t. white truffle oil
kosher salt
freshly ground white pepper
To assemble:
Place the custard filled eggshell in an egg holder (or mound kosher salt or sel Gris or fleur de sel onto a small plate and put the eggshell in the salt, standing up).  Put a little of the truffle ragout on the top of the custard and season with trufffle oil (optional) and salt and white pepper.  Just before serving, stick the chive chip in the custard.

I will say I had the great pleasure of dining there with my husband a few years ago and it truly was a highlight culinary experience. It’s not overrated, it’s the most amazing place in America. If you can go, well go to the French Laundry! In the meantime make a note and get this book.

Buy The French Laundry

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