Tag Archives: appetizer

Garlic Shrimp–3 different ways


Garlic Shrimp (3 different ways) for an appetiser or for a light mealgarlic shrimp

Serves 4

Well, I love shrimp and I love garlic so you know what I think of these simple, delicious and lovely to look at dishes.  If you like the two ingredients I just mentioned,  don’t wait to create these easy ecstasies; they can suffice as hors d’oeuvres or as a luncheon or supper dish.  Easy and good–I aim to please.


  1. 1/4 C. Olive Oil or more (Make sure that the olive oil covers the pan bottom. DON’T SKIMP!)
  2. 4 large garlic cloves, finely minced
  3. 1 Tsp. red pepper flakes
  4. 1 to 1 ½ Lb. medium shrimp, peeled, deveined and unfrozen (I do not buy the ready to cook type of shrimp because for my taste, the uncooked shrimp is so superior and it’s a breeze to handle).
  5. 2 Tblsp. lemon juice
  6. 2 Tblsp. dry sherry (I used white vermouth because I didn’t have dry sherry.  White wine would be OK as well.  I hear that even white vinegar or rice wine will do but I haven’t tried that for this recipe).
  7. 1 Tsp. paprika
  8. Chopped Italian parsley for garnish and lemon wedges as well
  9. Crusty sliced French bread or white rice to go with this dish


  1. In a sauté pan or a large deep skillet, over medium heat, heat the olive oil.  Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and sauté until the garlic turns golden (about one minute).
  2. Raise the heat to high and add the shrimp, lemon juice, sherry and paprika.  Stir well, then sauté, stirring briskly, until the shrimp turn pink and curl slightly (about 3-4 minutes).
  3. Season to taste with S&P and sprinkle with parsley.
  4. Serve hot over white rice or even Spanish styled rice or sided with sliced crusty French bread.  Left-over’s? Place in frig. and reheat slightly in the micro the next day.  They’ll still be good.

Variation to the above recipe:

  1. Chop roughly the peel of one orange and add it when you sauté the garlic and red pepper.
  2. Substitute the lemon juice with the juice of your one orange.
  3. 1 Tsp. of ground cumin can be added to the paprika if you wish or you can delete both of these spices totally.
  4. Substitute chopped cilantro for the Italian Parsley.
  5. Serve this with warm corn tortillas or over Mexican rice or with sliced crusty French bread.

Very Lastly:

If you wish you can easily make a broiled shrimp scampi from both of the above recipes:


  1. Preheat the broiler
  2. Make sure your pan that you are using stove top will be broiler proof and will fit on the oven rack correctly as near to the broiler as possible. Turn the fan on.
  3. Where the directions say to add the shrimp etc., do so but very quickly so as be able to stir everything to blend well—- once again quickly.
  4. Immediately place the pan under the broiler
  5. Cook, shaking the pan once or twice and stirring if necessary, but generally leaving the shrimp undisturbed until they are pink all over and the mixture is bubbly.  This may take from 5 to 10 minutes depending on the heat of your broiler.
  6. Garnish and Serve IMMEDIATELY.


Artichokes Spells Green Goodie for St. Pat’s



Frost Kissed Artichokes are in town—just in time to celebrate the GREEN of St. Pats (PART ONE)

This is the first of a two series presentation of Artichoke Recipes—so stay tuned!!


I do really enjoy artichokes and have had a lot of fun with new comers in the instruction of the “how to eat” an artichoke.  When I resided in CA I used to grow these edible thistles in my yard so I garnered very fresh chokes that barely needed to be cooked.  Here our chokes are usually a bit older however the ones I picked up the other day at the Bellevue Atkinsons’ for such a good price were the frost kissed variety so I knew that they weren’t very old. Sure enough, when cooking them I started smelling their fragrant aroma in 20 minutes and 5 minutes later, they were done and delicious. Frost Kissing occurs when the temps drop below 32 degrees resulting in an enhanced nutty flavored artichoke. So if you like this veggie, hurry and get some.  They also make great appetizers.


There are a myriad of ways to which to treat this thistle in a culinary fashion.  I’ve even been given a recipe dealing with using raw artichoke strips in a salad.  Sad to say, I was very disappointed with that recipe. Below is the way I’ve always cooked my choke plus another easy greener recipe I thought you might enjoy.  Next week will be another very tasty recipe that my editor, Leslie Thompson, a terrific cook, is offering for the followers of this column.   


Basic Instruction for Prepping an Artichoke:

Hold the choke by its long end and with a scissor, cut the individual leaf ends off so that the thorns are removed; next, with a serrated knife, cut both ends of the choke: the stem close to the choke bottom and the very top off about 1/2 inch.  Now wash them and they are ready to be cooked.

Margot’s Favorite Way:

Cooking instructions:

Place the chokes in a tall pot that accommodates your chokes and fill the pot with water (I put in warm or hot water) that goes about half way up. In the water add a dash of olive oil,  one or two bay leaves, one or two whole peeled or even unpeeled garlic cloves, some pepper corns and a dash of sea salt and a squirt of your favorite vinegar or lemon juice.  You can also add some fresh tarragon or thyme.  Put the pot on the burner and when the water comes to a boil, turn it down to a rolling simmer and place a top that will fit in and not on top of the pot. This will keep the chokes under the liquid and from discoloring. If you don’t have that size top, just put a regular top on the pot. Start testing in 25 minutes by trying to take a leaf off with ease to see if it is tender. I use tongs to do that. Also I’ve noticed that when the choke starts smelling good, that’s when you know that it’s about done.  An artichoke can be done in as little as 20 minutes or as long as a bit over an hour—depending on size and age.  When done, turn the choke upside down in a bowl to drain. If you have left over’s, they can be stored in the frig for several days and reheated in the micro or just enjoyed cold or stuffed for hors d’oeuvres. Oh my, so many options with a choke—————–

I like to eat my chokes plain but many people like to dip the leaves in melted butter, olive oil or mayonnaise.  You can even combine the butter or olive oil you are using as a dipping sauce with a dash of minced garlic, lemon juice and S&P or/and some grated Parmesan or some dill or Dijon mustard.  And if serving the choke cold as an hors d’oeuvre, mayo with a dash of curry or other powder is a breeze to whip up. Well, you get the idea—- imagination is the ingredient here.

Lastly, no matter how you cook and eat your choke, don’t forget to remove the uneatable furry/fuzzy part to get to the best part—the heart. Also remember to provide an empty bowl on the side of the artichoke for discarded leaves and when guests are present, I usually put one discarded leaf in the bowl as an example.

Thinking of St. Pats, here’s an extra green to stuff in your choke:

  1. When choke is cooked, remove the interior including the fuzz and heart and fill it with 1/2 C. of frozen peas. Place a bit of butter on the peas and add some fresh mint, garlic or other seasoning.  Microwave in a covered dish for about 1 ½ minutes.  The peas will be done. If your artichoke had been refrigerated, the micro waving time may take a bit longer. Garnish with fresh mint and serve with fresh mayo and a shamrock.

There are so many choices in cooking a choke and as time goes on, I’ll pass on some more yummy recipes concerning this wonderful thistle.  However, don’t forget, if you have a special recipe concerning the artichoke or anything for that matter, be sure to pass it on directly to me or Leslie and you’ll get a nice Albertson’s $20 gift card.

For easy access and printing of this and past recipes, visit Margot’s blog http://blog.tempinnkeeper.com  Call Margot for personal cooking help @ 721-3551.

Margot is a self-taught enthusiastic & passionate cook. Having been an inn-keeper for 5 years at her own inn, she accumulated a lot of good recipes which she loves to share.

Frost Kissed Artichokes are in town—just in time to celebrate the GREEN of St. Pats (PART TWO)

This is the second of a two series presentation of Artichoke Recipes


It’s amazing when looking up the history on various vegetables how very long ago they were mentioned in the discovered writings of ancient times.  The artichoke was mentioned by the Greeks and the Romans and even in the excavations of the Roman-period in Egypt.  So I imagine that  Cleopatra and Julius or Mark enjoyed them at one of their soirees.  Later in time, they found their way to France (Avignon) and Italy and down to the hinterlands of Holland.  The Dutch introduced them to England and they grew in Henry VIII”s garden at Newhall in 1530. He also probably dined on them at one of his lively soirees.  Then by the French immigrants coming to Louisiana, the choke was introduced; it also was introduced to California by Spanish immigrants.  Presently, can you believe, 100% of the U.S. crop is provided by California (if they aren’t torn up for vineyards—I hope not) and 80% is grown in the Steinbeck country of Monterrey County. Castroville, on the Pacific in Monterrey County proclaims itself to be “The Artichoke Center of the World”.  They hold a very fun festival there each year.  Don’t miss it if you are in the area.  If I remember correctly, there’s even artichoke ice cream to be tasted.

Leslie Thompson’s (the Weekly Sun’s Editor) Favorite Way (when time allows):

Preheat oven to 425.  Prep them as above, THEN, take loads of fresh minced garlic; pull the leaves back and sprinkle the garlic among the leaves. Then, add some Parmesan cheese in the leaves too (stuff down anything that’s left sticking up). Next lightly sprinkle them with a favorite herb mix (I usually make a thyme and sage blend that I mix myself) and S&P. Squeeze some fresh lemon juice and drizzle some olive oil over it all. Then wrap them up in a double layer of heavy tin foil making sure that they are totally sealed. Bake them in a 425 oven for an hour or 45 minutes for small ones.

There are so many choices in cooking a choke and as time goes on, I’ll pass on some more yummy recipes concerning this wonderful thistle.  And don’t forget, if you have a special recipe concerning the artichoke or anything for that matter, be sure to pass it on directly to me or Leslie and you’ll get a nice Albertson’s $20 gift card.

Roasted Red Pepper/Artichoke Dip: (a very colorful dish when placed on cooked artichoke leaves)


  1. 4 Artichoke hearts (fresh is preferable of course)
  2. 1 leek, diced
  3. 2 Tblsp. butter
  4. 1 C. of roasted Red Peppers (from a jar) drained
  5. 3/4 C. Grated Parmesan
  6. 3 Tblsp. mayonnaise


  1.  In a small sauté pan over medium high heat,  add the butter and when it’s melted and warm, add the leeks.  Cook until leeks are tender. Set aside to cool.
  2. Add artichoke hearts, peppers, cheese, mayo and cooled leeks to food processor or blender.  Pulse until dip is smooth and well combined.
  3. Serve with artichoke leaves, chips or fresh veggies.


For easy access and printing of this and past recipes, visit Margot’s blog http://blog.tempinnkeeper.com  Call Margot for personal cooking help @ 721-3551.

Margot is a self-taught enthusiastic & passionate cook. Having been an inn-keeper for 5 years at her own inn, she accumulated a lot of good recipes which she loves to share.

Crudities with Green Goddess Dressing


Crudities with Green Goddess Dressing

Makes 12-18 appetizer servings


Crudities Ingredients:

  1. 2-3 lbs. small raw mushrooms
  2. 2-3 lbs. asparagus (tough ends removed)
  3. Broccoli (cut into small flowerets)
  4. Small peeled carrots
  5. Edible-pod peas
  6. 40 to 50 small inner leaves from 3-4 heads of romaine lettuce(washed/crisped)

Green Goddess Dressing ingredients (makes 1 ½ C)

  1. 3 large egg yolks
  2. 3 Tblsp. white wine vinegar
  3. 2/3 cup chopped parsley
  4. One 2-oz. can anchovy fillets
  5. Green onions, chopped including the tops
  6. 1 ½ Tsp. dry tarragon
  7. 1 ½ C. olive oil


  1. Place all of the ingredients except the oil in a blender and whirl until a smooth puree.  Slowly add the oil till well blended.
  2. Serve or cover and chill for up to a week.

Roasted Buttered Nuts with Two Variations


Roasted Buttered Nuts with Two Variations for appetizers

Makes about 4-6 servings


  1. 2 C. (about 1 lb.) unsalted nuts such as pecans, almonds or cashews
  2. 1 Tblsp. peanut oil or melted butter
  3. S&P to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 450
  2. Toss the nuts in a bowl with the oil/butter and S&P.
  3. Place on baking sheet and roast, shaking occasionally, until lightly browned, about 10 minutes.
  4. Cool before serving; they will crisp as they cool

Two Variations:


Sautéed Buttered Nuts:


  1. Place 4 Tblsp. butter or peanut oil in a large skillet and turn heat to med.-low.
  2. When the butter melts or the oil is hot, add the nuts and cook, stirring, until lightly browned—about 10 minutes.  Be patient; high heat will burn the nuts.
  3. As they cook season with S&P.

Spiced Buttered Nuts:


  1. Add 1 Tsp. to 1 Tblsp. of any spice mixture such as chili powder or all purpose curry powder to the mix as directed below:
    1. When roasting, toss the spice with the nuts at the beginning.
    2. When sautéing, add it to the butter or oil as it heats.

Smoked Salmon with Endive, Mini-Bagels, & Seasoned Cream Cheese Dip/Spread


smoked salmon

Smoked Salmon with Endive & Romaine Inner Leaves, Mini Bagels & Thin French Bread Slices with Seasoned Cream Cheese Dip/Spread and Other Significant Additions

Makes 30 to 40 appetizers


I love smoked salmon and as far as I am concerned, it can be the thick or the very thin variety.  I don’t care; I just really like it and I’m sure I’m not the only one.  So, still thinking about picnicking on the beautiful lawn listening to the even more beautiful and melodious Sun Valley Summer Symphony, here’s something you can enjoy with your picnic gang.



  1. 1 lb. whipped cream cheese (at room temp.)
  2. 1/2 C. sour cream
  3. 2 Tblsp. lemon juice
  4. 3 Tblsp. minced shallot
  5. 1/4 C. fresh dill finely minced and save some sprigs for garnishes
  6. 1 smoked salmon fillet (2 ½ to 3 Lb.)
  7. About 1 Lb. endive, washed and separated in spears; or small inner leaves from 6 heads romaine lettuce; or some of each.
  8. Medium sized sliced cucumbers which can be topped with the salmon, etc.
  9. 3 to 4 dozen small bagels (2-“size) partially split and/or combine the bagels with thinly sliced crusty French bread.
  10. 3 lemons thinly wedged mostly for décor but some like it squeezed on their salmon.
  11. Thinly sliced red onions for toppings.
  12. Capers (in the bottle and drained for easy picnic serving but you can put them in a small bowl if you would rather.)


  1. Beat the cream cheese with the sour cream, lemon juice, shallot and dill till nicely blended; put it in a serving bowl.
  2. Set the salmon on a large platter or board. Surround the boarded salmon with the lemon wedges, dill leaf sprigs and sliced red onion; a bowl with the cream cheese dip; a larger bowl filled with endive and romaine inner leaves; a bowl with the medium thick sliced cucumbers and the drained bottle of capers which has a little fork in it for easy serving (hint: capers usually go on last).
  3. Place the split bagels and thinly sliced French bread in a pretty basket near the boarded salmon.
  4. Pre-fill/top some of the endive/romaine lettuce leaves and sliced cucumbers with some of the salmon topped with the cream cheese dip and other goodies; set these on a separate dish or if your board is large enough, on that—to show guests how really yummy this is and for quick, fun appetizer grabbing. Let the guests put on the capers because not everyone likes them.
  5. PS—Napkins, toothpicks and small plates are a nice addition for this spread.
  6. Frankly, I love a bit of champagne with this spread.

 For easy access and printing of this and past recipes, visit Margot’s blog http://blog.tempinnkeeper.com  Call Margot for personal cooking help or hosting

 @ 721-3551.

Margot is a self-taught enthusiastic & passionate cook. Having been an inn-keeper for 5 years at her own inn, she accumulated a lot of good recipes which she loves to share.


Oven Baked Cinnamon Sugar Tortilla Strips and South of the Border Berry Salsa


sugar cin. tortilla strips

Oven Baked Cinnamon Sugar Tortilla Strips and South of the Border Berry Salsa for appetizers

Serves 8

This is such an easy delectable tidbit to make as an accompaniment to a nice fruit dish or even just for a good nibble or as guest appetizers (and maybe even desert?).  I served it with a Mexican breakfast consisting of my Mexican Egg Casserole which I served with Peppered Corn Muffins and a beautiful bowl of freshly made Poached Pears with Cinnamon and Fennel.  Of course, kids will really go for these and probably you will too.  So beware—put them away before you or your family  eat them all.


  1. 8 inch Corn or Flour Tortillas—at least eight—the fresher the tortilla the better
  2. 1/2 C. Sugar
  3. 1 Tsp. Cinnamon


  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Cut the tortillas with a pizza cutter or a serrated knife in 8 long strips.
  3. Mix the sugar and cinnamon together.  I put this mixture in an empty spice bottle that had a shaker top on it. I actually did not use all of this mixture.
  4. Arrange the wedges on a large cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and spray the strips with nonstick cooking spray (I used olive oil spray).
  5. Immediately sprinkle the wedges with the sugar/cinnamon mixture—as much or as little as you wish.
  6. Bake the wedges in a preheated 375 degree oven for 10-12 minutes or until lightly brown and crisp.
  7. Let them sit for a minute or so.  If you are not going to use them immediately, place them in a paper bag and seal till ready to serve.

This goes very nicely with another appetizer:


Combine 1 cup fresh blueberries, 1 cup fresh sliced strawberries, 1 cup fresh raspberries, 1 seeded and finely chopped yellow bell pepper and 1 seeded and minced jalapeño chili in a medium bowl; toss gently. Add 2 tablespoons each of finely chopped red onion, finely chopped green onion and finely chopped cilantro; toss lightly. Combine 1 tablespoon each of cider vinegar, olive oil, freshly squeezed lime juice, orange juice and honey in a small bowl; mix well. Drizzle vinegar mixture over berry mixture; toss to coat. Serve in a large bowl or in individual bowls with the tortilla chips mentioned above.   Makes 8- ½-cup servings.

Janet’s Crab Mold Appetizer (an appetizer made the night before serving)


Janet’s Crab Mold Appetizer- (an appetizer made the night before serving)

My friend is a twin.  She lives here in Sun Valley but her sister lives in Alaska.  This is the sister’s recipe.  Her sister says that at her parties her guests can’t get enough of this and I can see why.  It’s delicious!! and like potato chips, hard to stop once you start. Even though I don’t favor cream cheese that much, Miracle Whip at all or processed foods like canned mushroom soup, however, with this particular recipe, II totally concede.  If you think like me, I believe that once you taste this, you will too.


1-      1-8oz. package of cream cheese

2-      1 small grated or finely chopped onion

3-      1/2 C. finely chopped celery

4-      1/2 C. cream of mushroom soup-undiluted

5-      1 package unflavored gelatin—(you only use 1 dissolved Tblsp. for this recipe)

6-      1/2 C. Miracle Whip

7-      1 ½ C. crab meat (fresh is the best however good canned , drained, will do)


  1. Heat soup in a medium sized pan and add the dissolved gelatin. (Dissolve the gelatin according to package directions.) Stir well.
  2. Add the cream cheese and the Miracle Whip.  Mix until melted.
  3. Add rest of the ingredients and put in a pretty greased mold.
  4. Refrigerate overnight.
  5. Before serving, set mold in warm water to help release.
  6. Serve on a pretty plate surrounded by thinly sliced baguette bread, good crackers, and celery.