Tag Archives: hors d’oeuvres

Guacamole: The Basic Plus 14 Fresh Ways


close up



Skiing on Big Game Day in Sun Valley is usually superb because you mostly have the mountain and trails to yourself. The rest of the folk are prepping the chicken wings, guacamole and wondering about “flat footballs”.


You’re on your own for the chicken wings but here’s a little help for the Guac and believe me that will NOT be flat. Frankly, I like a good tasty strong Bloody Mary to go with any one of these recipes—but if beer, wine or a margarita is your preference, go for it.


And just in case you’ve bought too many avocados, next week I’ll have a nice little breakfast oven baked avocado/egg recipe just so those extra avocados won’t go to waste. It’s easy, delicious, healthy and not flat either.


The Basic GUAC’ for 8 (Way # 1)


  • 2 to 3 ripe avocados
  • Juice of 1/2 to 1 whole lime (taste as you add)
  • 1/2 to 1 Tsp. ground cumin (taste as you add)
  • 1/2 C. diced tomato (fresh and drained canned)
  • 2 Tblsp. chopped/minced fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 C. diced/minced red onion
  • S & P, to taste (can be as much as 1/2 to 3/4 Tsp. salt)
  • Hot sauce, to taste or 1/2 to 2/4 Tsp. red pepper flakes (taste as you add)
  • 2 cloves minced garlic


  • Slice avocados in 1/2; remove the seed; spoon flesh into a medium sized bowl.
  • Using a fork, mash the avocados until the consistency of your desire has been reached. If you wish a rougher chop, use a knife to slice through the avocado flesh and then a fork. And you might add the lime juice to the pulp to start with so that the avocado doesn’t brown.
  • Stir in the rest of the ingredients.
  • Serve immediately.
  • medium up

14 Fresh Ideas For A Switch On The Ole’ Basic GUAC’

  • Fast and Dirty: In place of the tomato, cilantro and red onion, stir in 1/2 C. of your favorite jarred salsa, 1 Tblsp. olive brine and 2 Tblsp. chopped green olives.
  • Mango-Balsamic: In place of the tomato, stir in the diced flesh of 1 mango. Use scallions in place of the red onion and 1 Tblsp. balsamic vinegar in place of the lime juice.
  • Chipotle-Corn: Stir in 1 minced chipotle and 1 Tblsp. adobo sauce from a can of chipotles in adobo. Add 1/2 C. corn kernels (fresh, defrosted frozen or drained canned)
  • Tzatziki: Use 1 C. finely diced seedless cucumber in place of the tomato and red onion. Use dill in place of the cilantro. Stir in 2 minced garlic cloves.
  • Roasted Garlic and Poblano: Roast a head of garlic wrapped in foil with a little olive oil until tender and brown, about 30 minutes at 400 F. Roast a poblano pepper under the broiler, turning frequently, until the skin is charred. Carefully remove the charred skin from the pepper (with gloves maybe), then chop the flesh. Squeeze the garlic pulp from the skin and mash. Mix both into the guacamole, omitting the onion.
  • Minted Cotija: Follow the basic recipe but add 3 Tblsp. chopped fresh mint instead of the cilantro and add 2/3 C. crumbled cotija cheese. Season with S&P.
  • Maple-Bacon: Follow the basic recipe but use 3 avocados, 2 Tblsp. white wine vinegar, 2 Tblsp. soy sauce, 2 Tblsp. maple syrup, 2 chopped scallions and 1/2 C. chopped cooked bacon. Season heavily with black pepper.
  • Ginger-Hoisin: Add 2 Tblsp. grated fresh ginger and 2 Tblsp. hoisin sauce to the basic recipe.
  • Citrus Tabbouleh: Replace the tomato and onion with 3/4 C. purchased tabbouleh and the zests of 1 lemon, 1 lime and 1 orange. You can also add 1/3 C. pomegranate seeds. You’ll love the color of this version.
  • Shrimp Scampi: Use lemon juice in place of the lime juice and basil in place of the cilantro. Omit the cumin, tomato and onion. Stir in 1 C. chopped cooked shrimp, 2 cloves minced garlic and 1/3 C. shredded Parmesan cheese.
  • Pico de Gallo Guac: add 1/2 C. of chunky tomatoes, 2 Tsp. of minced jalapenos and 2 Tbsp. of chopped green peppers to the basic recipe. Don’t like green pepper, choose the milder red, yellow or orange one.
  • Calorie Conscious Guac: Delete one of the avocados and add 1/2 C. of LIGHT sour cream or LIGHT plain yogurt. Here you’ll have a creamy and fluffy guac minus some calories. You may like to do this even with 2 or 3 avocados because it’ll be a bit different.
  • Greek Guac: Add 1/4 C. of chopped Kalamata olives and red peppers and instead of the cilantro and lime, add basil and lemon juice.
  • Guac in those little peppers: Yes, you know those cute little peppers in all colors, all ready in a package. Serve a tray of those, cut in half and filled with your favorite Guac. Fun, easy and colorful. And you still can have chips and drinks on the side.


Nuts, Nuts, Nuts to the Holiday


spiced nuts 1

spiced nuts 2




Nuts, Nuts, Nuts to the Holidays—

Spiced nuts are so easy to make; they are an easy, lovely little treat to give to someone you like for the holidays. Here are 3 simple recipes that you can make in a jiffy and of course, if I were you, I would keep some of these nuts for myself because of course I hope that you like to treat yourself as well. Any kinds of nuts would suffice for these recipes; however, I have mentioned the ones that I like the most for each individual recipe.

Nuts Recipe #1:   Sugar and Spice Nuts (This is very tasty with raw cashews and raw almonds)

  • 3/4 C. sugar
  • 1 Tblsp Kosher salt
  • 1 Tbslp chili powder
  • 2 Tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 Tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 large egg white
  • 4 Cups raw cashews and almonds


  • Preheat oven to 300.
  • In a small bowl, whisk the sugar with the salt, chili powder, cinnamon and cayenne pepper.
  • In a large bowl, beat the egg white until frothy.
  • Add the nuts to the egg white along with the sugar combo.
  • Mix well until all the nuts are well coated.
  • Spread out on a parchment covered cookie sheet and bake for about 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes.
  • Cool the nuts and store in an airtight container.

Nuts Recipe # 2: Curried Nuts (this is very good featuring raw cashews)


  • 6 Tblsp. lemon juice
  • 6 Tblsp. curry powder
  • 4 Tsp. Kosher salt
  • 6 C. nuts


  • Preheat oven to 250
  • Whisk lemon juice, curry powder and salt in a large bowl. Add nuts, toss to coat and spread in an even layer in 2 lined with parchment paper baking sheets
  • Bake, stirring every 15 minutes for about 45 minutes.
  • Let cool completely and store in an airtight container for about 3 weeks.

Nuts Recipe #3:   5 Spice nuts (this is very good featuring raw pistachios)


  • 6 Tblsp. orange juice
  • 6 Tblsp. Chinese Five-Spice Powder
  • 4 Tsp. Kosher salt
  • 6 C. nuts


  • Preheat oven to 250
  • Whisk orange juice, 5-spice powder and salt in a large bowl. Add nuts, toss to coat and spread in an even layer in 2 lined with parchment paper baking sheets
  • Bake, stirring every 15 minutes for about 45 minutes.
  • Let cool completely and store in an airtight container for about 3 weeks.



Shrimp Bruschetta with Arugula and Wine


Shrimp Bruschetta with wine and arugula


Baguette slices or toast points

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large or 2 small shallots, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 pound extra-large shrimp, peeled and deveined
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 Roma tomatoes, chopped
1/4 cup white wine
1/4 cup low-sodium chicken stock
3 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon leaves
1 packed cup arugula, chopped
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese, at room temperature


For the toasts or baguette slices: Put an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Arrange the bread/baguette slices in a single layer on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Bake until light golden, about 10 minutes. Cool for 2 minutes. Rub the warm toasts/baguette slices with the cut side of the garlic. Set aside.

For the topping: In a medium skillet, heat 3 tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until soft, about 2 minutes. Season the shrimp with salt and pepper, to taste, and add them to the skillet. Cook until the shrimp are pink and cooked through about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the shrimp and chop into 1/2-inch pieces. Set aside.

In the same skillet, add the tomatoes and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Cook over medium-high heat until the tomatoes start to soften, about 4 minutes. Turn the heat to high. Add the wine and scrape up the brown bits that cling to the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the stock and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and add the tarragon, arugula, mascarpone cheese, and chopped shrimp. Stir until the mixture is creamy. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.


Arrange the toasts/baguette slices on serving plates and drizzle with the sauce. Sprinkle with salt and pepper before serving.


Bruschetta with Strawberries, Balsamic and ONE Mint Leaf


Bruschetta with Strawberries, Balsamic and One Mint Leaf


strawberries only

Strawberries for an appetizer? Yes indeed and I tell you, this is a really delightfully light and delicious treat to offer your guests for a hot summer day. Best of all, it’s a breeze to make. The only thing I have found that it’s best served when the strawberries are heated so that’s a last minute thing but not necessarily so because you can make the sauce ahead of time, refrigerate it for a day or 2 or even freeze it and then reheat it briefly in the micro (about 1 minute and I put the micro at 1/2 temp just to check that it’s not getting too hot and syrupy).



  1. One box of Melba Snacks Whole Grain Crackers or something similar
  2. 6 Tbsp. brown sugar (I use the light brown variety)
  3. 1 Tsp. grated lemon zest
  4. 2 Tsp. lemon juice
  5. One quick tiny squirt of Balsamic (CAREFUL—not too much)
  6. 3 C. cleaned, hulled sliced strawberries (you can also dice them if you prefer)
  7. 4-6 Tbsp. mascarpone
  8. A bunch of washed whole mint leaves



  1. In a small bowl, combine and whisk well the sugar, zest, juice and balsamic together.
  2. Heat a large Teflon skillet over medium-high heat and add the above mixture. When it begins to bubble (30 seconds to 1 minute) add the strawberries and stir until the juices begin to release their flavor and the berries are heated through (30 seconds to 1 minute more)

stawberries in pan

3.  If you are serving this immediately, I would recommend spreading the mascarpone on the crackers before you have made the sauce and have the crackers all ready on a pretty platter to finish off and serve.

4. After you have placed the sauce on top of the mascarpone, top each with a mint leaf. That will make the whole deal!!!


Bon Appétit strawberries on crackers

Cajun Shrimp Bruchettas


 Cajun Shrimp Bruschetta
Make the sauce the day before and refrigerate for the ingredients to meld well.
Serve on bruchettas or some good crunchy crackers; if you wish, spread some whipped cream cheese before topping with the sauce; be sure to place one good sized basil leaf as the very last topping.
Ingredients for sauce:
1. 1-2 tblsp. olive oil
2. 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
3. 1 small onion, finely chopped
4. 2 or 3 small garlic cloves minced
5. S&P to taste
6. Cayenne to taste
7. 1/4 C. finely chopped Basil
8. 3/4 to 1 C. bay shrimp—chopped
9. 1 C. canned crushed tomatoes or 3-4 fresh finely chopped Roma tomatoes

Ingredients needed for the finished product
a. Whipped cream cheese to spread on bruschettas before putting the shrimp mixture on.
b. Bruschettas that you have made or bought
c. Whole basil leaves for very last topping

1. In a medium sized frying pan, sauté the celery, onion and garlic. Season with S&P and cayenne to taste.
2. Add the chopped basil, chopped shrimp and the canned crushed tomatoes if you are using that or the fresh chopped tomatoes if you are using that. Sauté over low heat uncovered for 5-10 minutes.
3. Place sauce on bruschettas or some nice crackers which, if you wish, have been spread first with whipped cream cheese; top it all with a large whole basil leaf.
4. Serve and enjoy.

Below are 2 ways to make your bruschettas: (PS—this is an Italian word so the “ch” is pronounced as a “k” for a totally correct pronunciation. )
1. Preheat oven to 450.
2. Slice the baguette on a diagonal into about 1/2 inch thick slices. Using a pastry brush, coat one side of each slice with olive oil. Place slices on a cooking sheet, olive oil side down. You will want to toast them in the top rack in your oven, so you may need to do these in batches depending on the size of your oven and baking sheet. Place the tray of bread slices in the 450 degree oven on the top rack. Toast for 5-6 minutes, until the bread just begins to turn golden brown. Watch carefully so they don’t burn. Serve olive oil side up.
3. Alternatively, you can toast the bread without coating it in olive oil first. Toast on a griddle for 1 minute on each side. Take a sharp knife and score each slice 3 times. Rub some garlic in the slices and drizzle half a teaspoon of olive oil on each slice. This is the more traditional method of making bruschetta.

Guacamole with Toronja (grapefruit)


Guacamole w. grapefuit

Toronja (grapefruit) Guacamole with Oven Baked Tortilla Chips

Serves 4-6

2 for 4—that is at Atkinsons’ Market in Ketchum, ID. I bought 2 delicious large avocados for $4.  They come from Mexico and truly are so tasty and sweet, it’s hard to believe that they arrived here in that condition.  YUM!! So, here’s a new twist to the ole’ guacamole and I think that it’s really good to eat with chips, or as a veggie wrap or with fish tacos. You can store the guacamole in the refrigerator for several days but here’s a tip: forget the old tradition of putting the pit in the avocado to keep it from turning brown.  What makes the avocado turn is oxygen (air).  So, if you wrap it thoroughly in wrap or in a container so that NO AIR can reach it, it’ll stay green.   As well, I’ve included an easy way of making your own tortilla chips.  Buenos apetito!!!


  1. 2 large ripe avocados or 4 small ripe avocados
  2. 1 medium grapefruit—I used a ruby one
  3. 1 small onion, diced
  4. 1 jalapeno, seeds taken out and minced
  5. 1/4 C. chopped fresh cilantro
  6. 1/4 Tsp. salt
  7. A bit of diced garlic and a splash of lime if you wish

Directions and put the following ingredients in a medium size bowl:

  1. I processed the onion and jalapeno into dice chop. But you can hand dice as well.
  2. Cut the grapefruit crosswise; serrate and cut out and drop the individual sections over the bowl—so as to catch the juice as well.  Remove whatever seeds fall in.
  3. Cut the avocados in half, length wise; remove the pits; remove the flesh and put in bowl.  You can do this with a spoon but I cut the flesh criss-cross wise and scoop it out that way.
  4. Add the chopped cilantro and salt.
  5. Mash it all with a potato masher or a fork.
  6. Serve it immediately or store in refrigerator till ready to serve. I think that it gets better when refrigerated for a bit.

Oven Baked Tortilla Chips



  1. 12 corn tortillas—white or yellow
  2. 1-2 Tbsp. safflower or other like kind oil (can be optional)
  3. Fine or Sea Salt to taste (optional)


  1. Brush BOTH sides of the tortillas with the oil.
  2. Stack the tortillas and cut the pile into sixths or whatever size you wish for your chips.
  3. Spread the chips in one layer out on parchment lined cookie sheets and season with salt to taste.
  4. Bake until golden brown and crisp for 12-15 minutes.  Rotate the sheets half way through this time period.
  5. Place on a paper towel to drain and then store in a paper bag.
  6. You can also bake the chips without any oil.  They just might not be quite as tasty, but certainly will contain fewer calories.
  7. And of course, you can go the full route, and deep fry them.

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.

(Guacamole Recipe inspired by Garden Betty)

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.