Tag Archives: appetizer

Mango Pico de Gallo

mango pico de gallo

I used to look forward to the summers in Oregon for one thing: berry picking! Okay technically I loved a bunch of things about summer in the Northwest, but freshly picked strawberries, blueberries, raspberries? Sooooo good.

We don’t have “u pick” berry farms in Hawaii, but summer here brings in its own set of delicious crops. In the last week alone, we’ve gotten a bunch of treats from our neighbors and friends who have an overabundance of avocados, star fruit, and pitaya growing in their yard. And the mangos! We got so much mango, in fact, that I was worried about eating it all before it went bad. That might sound crazy, but you didn’t see the pile o’mangos on our kitchen counter.

how to cut a mango

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Corn & Crab Salad {+ a Simple & Crisp Giveaway!}

Crab and Corn Salad

Despite what it may look like, I don’t cook every day. Sometimes dinner involves raiding the fridge for delicacies like… cereal and milk. Chips and guacamole. And my all time favorite: cheese and crackers. It’s also one of the things I miss most now that my grocery shopping habits have changed, thanks to Sam being banned from eating gluten and dairy. I suppose I could buy these items for myself, but it just feels mean. I’m trying to be supportive.

With all of these food allergies and dinner upheavals, I was grateful to be connected to the folks at Simple & Crisp; a Seattle-based company that’s making a beautifully packaged ‘cracker’ made exclusively of dried fruit. That’s right – an organic, gluten free and vegan cracker that’s low cal, to boot. It doesn’t solve my brie craving, but it certainly helps solve the wheat dilema.

Corn and Crab Salad

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Bacon Wrapped Stuffed Jalapeños with cream cheese + pineapple

Bacon Wrapped Stuffed Jalapeños with cream cheese + pineapple

This weekend I entered a Tapas competition coordinated by a group of Portland food bloggers and my local Whole Foods Market. I didn’t have as much time to prepare as I would have liked, and ended up whipping together a fairly untraditional but scrumptious appetizer. I didn’t win the competition, but the dish I brought was still a winner – and definitely one we’ll be making at our next party.

These stuffed jalapenos really catch hold of all your senses – sweet, savory and bacon. I sorta felt like bacon deserved its own category here. Let me know if you disagree. And without the seeds, these appetizers aren’t spicy per say, but they deliver some serious heat!

Bacon Wrapped Stuffed Jalapeños with cream cheese + pineappleBacon Wrapped Stuffed Jalapeños with cream cheese + pineapple

So if you’re looking for an easy appetizer to feed a crowd, add this one to your list. And speaking of lists – a special shout out to the bloggers who attended (and the AHmazing dishes they brought!): 

I love food bloggers. Almost as much as I love tapas.

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Spicy BLT Bites

spicy BLT bites

B. L. & T. Three simple letters that pack so much punch.

And as if the taste of crunchy bacon, fresh butter lettuce and heirloom tomatoes isn’t perfect enough in sandwich form, everyone knows that BLTs are simply more delicious in bite-sized form. It’s just a fact.

My step mother makes a bite-sized BLT that is arguably one of the best appetizers you will ever have. And I didn’t even ask if I could publish her family-famous recipe (surprise Joanie! Love you!).

Spicy BLT Bites

The secret to these open-faced BLT appetizers is a spicy kick from homemade Sriracha mayo. The Thai chili sauce adds an unfamiliar but oh-so-perfect flavor to the traditional sandwich flavor. [Note: Not familiar with Sriracha? Pick up a bottle – most grocery stores now carry it. It will become a new household staple!]  Continue reading


Scallop Ceviche

scallop ceviche

I’ve always known that ceviche is delicious. But the way the fish is supposed to cook in lime juice was was a bit of a phenomenon to me. Making scallop ceviche didn’t necessarily make the process any less magical, but it did confirm how scrumptious – and easy – it is to make.

For my recipe, I used red onion, tomatos, cilantro, lots of lime, and mini scallops (because: 1. Sam loves them, and 2. they were a great deal at the market. Sometimes that’s just what it comes down to, folks.) And of course, tortilla chips and avocado for serving.

scallop ceviche
scallop ceviche

Colorful Goat Cheese Appetizers

Colorful goat cheese appetizer

Last weekend I was strollin’ the aisles at Costco and stumbled upon a 2-pack of 10.5 oz goat cheese rolls for like $5 bucks. So I bought the darn thing. Why? Because it was a good deal, obviously. Sometimes my food blogger brain makes me do crazy things.

Naturally Sam gave me the look while I was unpacking the groceries. But I promised him I’d make good use of it. All of it.

Colorful goat cheese appetizer

Luckily, I had a pretty fun idea in mind. While we were in Europe for our honeymoon, we had some of the best goat cheese. It was covered in different “toppings” from fig jam to herbs. Oh the French and their cheese!

Taking cue from this experience, I took a stab at making my own flavored goat cheese – in bite size pieces. Because bite size is always fun.

Colorful Goat Cheese Appetizers

My toppings included some traditional flavors – chives, dried apricots and dried cranberries – and one that was a little experimental: maple syrup and bacon. And the experiment was a total success. Then again, it’s not often that bacon is ever wrong.

I’m definitely adding this to my list of go-to party recipes. It’s super easy to make and so colorful. The best part? You can get creative with your own flavors and topping combinations.

Colorful goat cheese appetizer
Colorful goat cheese appetizer

… And in case you were wondering, I’ve used the goat cheese in several recipes like this Roasted Butternut Squash salad, but there is still half a roll left. Perhaps Sam was right this time…

Colorful goat cheese appetizer
Colorful goat cheese appetizer
Colorful Goat Cheese Appetizer

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Goat cheese, 5-6 oz roll
2 cups of various toppings, diced (ex: dried cranberries, dried apricots, fresh chives, cooked bacon)

Roll goat cheese into balls with your hands (get messy!) using about 1/2 a tablespoon of cheese per piece. Roll in desired toppings. For maple bacon bites, dip goat cheese in maple syrup before rolling in bacon. Insert toothpick and enjoy.

Margaritas in the Rain http://margaritasintherain.com/