All posts filed under: Appetizers

Fried Cauliflower with Coconut-Curry Dipping Sauce

As we are nearing the end of cauliflower season, I suddenly can’t get enough of this cruciferous vegetable. I’m doing all sorts of things with cauliflower: baking it with breadcrumbs and cheese, making it into soup (tasty recipe coming soon!) and even frying it in this recipe for Fried Cauliflower with Coconut-Curry Dipping Sauce. While cauliflower is pretty healthy (a great source of Vitamin C and K), I’m taking it and making it semi-unhealthy by frying it. While it may not be super healthy for you, it is so incredibly crunchy and flavourful and pairs perfectly with a dipping sauce. It is sure to impress all of your friends and family and definitely has the potential to become a signature recipe! I had a version of this tasty appy during a recent work trip to Ottawa, Ontario at a fabulous Asian restaurant called Datsun. They have great Asian fusion vibe, tasty cocktails and a wonderful appy/small plates menu. Of all the tasty dishes that my work colleagues and I tried that night, this fried cauliflower …

Pesto Stuffed Cherry Tomatoes

Basil + tomatoes = the best summer combination. Even though summer is winding down, you can still celebrate these two delicious summer foods for just a while longer. For the next few weeks, the basil will still be abundant and delicious and the tomatoes will be juicy and flavourful. By the end of September, these will all be gone until next summer. Thank goodness we are able to preserve these flavours well into the winter by making some pantry staples like tomato sauce, oven-fried tomatoes, and basil pesto. On this last long weekend of summer, I really want to sit back, relax, and enjoy the rest of the basil and tomatoes I have on hand (and maybe a drink or two :P). And what better way to do this by making my Pesto Stuffed Cherry Tomatoes! I picked up some fresh, local basil and cherry tomatoes (along with some other goodies) at the Burnaby Farmers Market today specifically for this recipe.  I love the rainbow cherry tomatoes for this recipe because they are super sweet …

Savoury Cheese and Spinach Pastries

Peanut butter and jelly. Salmon and dill. Peas and mint. These are all ingredients that go perfectly together. Adding to this list of perfect food pairing is of course, spinach and cheese. Used in a variety of dishes, spinach and cheese compliment each other perfectly no matter what dish they are in together. I combine these two ingredients (with a few extra complementary ones) in this recipe for Savoury Cheese and Spinach Pastries. I am not just using any old cheese for this recipe. No, sir! This recipe makes use of a special, artisinal ingredient: quark cheese. Haven’t heard of quark cheese before? I don’t blame you. It is definitely not an everyday ingredient in North America. But in Germany, Austria and other parts of eastern Europe, they use this almost as much as North Americans use cream cheese. Once you taste it you will know why. This soft, smooth, unripened cheese tastes like a cross between Greek yogurt and cream cheese. It does not have a strong pronounced flavour, rather it has a light …

Spot Prawn Festival

The weather did not stop Vancouverites from coming together to celebrate the opening of BC Spot Prawn season at the 11th Annual Spot Prawn Festival. Held annually at False Creek Fisherman’s Wharf on Granville Island, this is a festival that is not to be missed! Not only can you taste the first BC Spot Prawns of the season at the Spot Prawn Boil, you can purchase these sweet and succulent prawns that have just hauled up from the ocean from the fishermen who caught them right off their boats. You can’t get much fresher prawns than that! Now, spot prawns are some creepy little buggers, but they are incredibly delicious and are one of the prized delicacies of the sea in BC. From looking at them, you can tell they are spot prawns from their white spots on their tail and their thin white stripes on their shells. They are also quite large in size- actually the largest from all prawns from the BC coast. In terms of taste, spot prawns are definitely sweeter than …

Jalapeño Canoes

Jalapeño Canoes are the perfect spicy appetizer for the big game. You can prepare these peppers a day in advance and bake them off at halftime so you won’t miss any of the action. These Jalapeño Canoes will definitely score big points! A note for the chef- the crispy cheese pieces are the best! Sneak some away for yourself before treating your guests 😉 Servings: 12 Difficulty: Easy Prep Time:  20 minutes   |   Cook Time: 15 minutes   |   Total Time: 35 minutes Ingredients: 12 jalapeño peppers, halved lengthwise and seeded 1 cup cheddar cheese, grated 1/3 cup mayonnaise 2 stalks celery, finely chopped 1 scallion, finely chopped 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce 1 teaspoon ground black pepper 1/2 cup unseasoned breadcrumbs Directions: Begin by preparing the jalapeños. Cut each of the peppers in half lengthwise. Use a teaspoon to remove the seeds and membrane. Make sure you wash your hands after completing this step- trust me…if you touch your eyes or nose, they will burn like hell. Set the jalapeños on a parchment lined baking sheet. In a large bowl, mix …

Happy Chinese New Year

To celebrate the Year of the Rooster, I have curated my tastiest Chinese recipes in this post. Now, my experience cooking Chinese foods has not been that extensive, but I have nailed these recipes. They key to cooking these foods is to have the right ingredients. I go to Asian grocery stores (such as TNT Supermarket) to get the freshest and most authentic ingredients and it definitely pays off. Plus, I often discover new ingredients are am inspired to cook new dishes. These appetizer and main course recipes were inspired from my visits to these grocery stores and are a great way to ring in the new year. Let the celebrations begin! Pork and Chive Potstickers These Pork and Chive Potstickers are the perfect appetizer for the New Year. In Chinese culture, potstickers are traditionally eaten on Chinese New Year as they symbolize wealth. These delicious little bundles are stuffed with pork, chive, and cabbage and are fried and steamed and fried again to create crisp yet juicy bites. Now, these potstickers do take a while …

Endive Spears with Black Olive Tapenade

We are almost there! We have two days left of 2016 but we have one more final push of holiday parties to go…this time for New Years. With all the holiday parties and dinners this season, I have to admit that I have overindulged. I don’t really mind as Christmas only comes once a year, but I feel like I need to really get myself back in order to start of 2017 off on the right foot. But with the final push of New Year’s parties around the corner, comes the temptation to indulge again. In an effort to avoid this temptation, I’ve created an elegant, refreshing appetizer that is sure to please all your guests and get them on the right start for 2017 as well- Endive Spears with Black Olive Tapenade. Black olive tapenade is a classic Mediterranean spread that is normally eaten with bread, added on top of pizza, or mixed in with warm pasta. All are delicious options, but this tapenade can be elevated to a much lighter and healthier level when …