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Category Archives: Appetizers

Cucumber and Cream Cheese Tea Sandwiches with Dill

These tea sandwiches are perfect finger food for a formal occasion. They are easy to make and look beautiful when arranged in quarters on a large platter with toothpicks. I serve them with tea at fundraisers and at holiday parties. These sandwiches add a sophisticated touch to any event.

Preparation Time: 15-20 minutes
Cooking Time: N/A

Ingredients:

  • One loaf of high quality bread. (Whole wheat or white is fine. Just make sure the bread is soft and not dry).
  • 16 oz. plain cream cheese
  • 1 cucumber
  • Dill for sprinkling on sandwiches
  • Toothpicks for holding sandwiches together

Instructions:

  • Cut cucumber into thin round slices. Set aside.
  • Lay out 2 pieces of bread on clean cutting board.
  • Carefully cut off crusts with a knife.
  • Spread a generous layer of cream cheese on both pieces of bread.
  • Place 4 cucumber slices on 1 of the pieces of bread, arranged so that each quadrant has a cucumber.
  • Sprinkle dill on top of cucumber and cream cheese.
  • Cover with second piece of bread.
  • Cut sandwich diagonally twice through the middle to create 4 triangular mini-sandwiches.
  • Insert a toothpick into the center of each mini-sandwich and arrange on serving platter.
  • Repeat above steps for entire loaf of bread.
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Posted by on December 27, 2011 in Appetizers, Other, Sandwiches

 

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Caprese Salad

(Original source: AllRecipes.com)

Caprese salad is an Italian dish, especially delicious in the summer when made with garden tomatoes and fresh basil. You may mix the ingredients in a bowl, but laying them out as described below is more aesthetically attractive and transforms this into a crowd pleasing appetizer. I prepared caprese salad for an Italian themed potluck and it was an instant hit.

Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: N/A

Ingredients:

  • 4 large ripe tomatoes, sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 1 pound fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 1/3 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Fine sea salt to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Instructions:

  • On a large platter, alternate and overlap the tomato slices, mozzarella cheese slices, and basil leaves.
  • Drizzle with olive oil.
  • Season with sea salt and pepper.

 
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Posted by on June 26, 2011 in Appetizers, Other, Salads

 

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Spinach Balls

Grandmama

When it came to appetizers, Grandmama was best known for her delicious dips, but these spinach balls are also quite good. In The Ince Family Cookbook, she notes that these are “a great party recipe” and were served at Uncle John and Aunt Cathy’s wedding reception. Something to keep in mind for when I get married one day. The recipe comes from Grandmama’s sister, my mother’s Aunt Ann.

Preparation Time:
Cooking Time: 20-25 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 ½ cups fine Pepperidge Farm dressing mix
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 1 stick oleo or butter, melted
  • 2 (10 oz.) packages of frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and drained
  • ½ cup chopped red onion
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ½ tsp. pepper

Instructions:

  • Combine above ingredients and chill.
  • Form into 1 inch (or smaller) balls.
  • Bake on greased sheet at 350 for 20 minutes. If frozen, bake for 25 minutes.

Chef’s Tip:
If short on time, you can quickly defrost spinach by soaking it in a bowl of warm water.

 

 
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Posted by on May 16, 2011 in Appetizers, Other

 

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Guacomole

Mom

You are looking at the most basic recipe on this website. I’m guessing that most of you have made guacamole at some point, but since this was something Mom made often (usually in conjunction with Grandmama’s clam dip from The Ince Family Cookbook), I thought I would include it here. 

Preparation Time: 5-10 minutes
Cooking Time: N/A

Ingredients:

  • 1 jar, mild salsa
  • 1-2 avocados

Instructions:

  • Pour salsa into a bowl.
  • Slice avocados into small pieces and add to salsa.
  • Mix together until you have a smooth consistency.

Serving Suggestion:
Serve with tortilla chips.

Chef’s Tip:
Use avocados that are slightly soft to the touch, but not hard (under ripe) or extra soft (over ripe). If there is any brown in the flesh of your avocados, remove it with a spoon and only use the green part. Discard skins.

 

 
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Posted by on May 16, 2011 in Appetizers, Dips

 

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Sonoma Crab Dip

Grandmama

Grandmama served clam dip at every family gathering, but if she had a lot of company over, she also served crab dip or spinach dip.  This crab dip recipe is from Grandmama’s sister, my mother’s Aunt Ann who lived in Sonoma, California during her younger years.

Grandmama often talked to me about how beautiful her sister was. When I was young, Mom would take me and Gabe to visit Aunt Ann in Old Lyme, Connecticut and sometimes she would stay with us in Cambridge. Aunt Ann had a hard life and she died from emphysema when I was in seventh grade. I remember the look on Mom’s face when Grandmama called to tell her the news. That was the first time I lost someone close to me.

Preparation Time:
Cooking Time: 15-20 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. cream cheese
  • 4 Tbsp. milk to soften
  • 4 Tbsp. green onion, chopped
  • 1 can crab meat ( 7 ¾ oz.) or ½ lb. fresh
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • Dash of pepper 

Instructions:

  • Mix all ingredients using an electric beater or mix by hand. If you use a Cuisinart or blender, the onions turn it green and the crab gets lost.
  • Bake at 375 degrees for about 15-20 minutes, until it is just barely golden brown on top.

Serving Suggestion:
Serve with melba toast.

 

 
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Posted by on May 16, 2011 in Appetizers, Dips

 

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Clam Dip

Grandmama

This clam dip is a traditional Ince family favorite and was served by my grandmother, my mother, all my aunts, and now by me and my cousins. It’s a staple appetizer at every family gathering. Decadently thick and creamy, this dip will be gone before you know it, so make a lot!

 

Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time:
N/A

Ingredients:

Clam Dip

  • 1 lb. cream cheese (Grandmama says Philadelphia is best commercial brand)
  • 1 can minced clams
  • 1 or 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

Instructions:

  • Cream softened cream cheese with electric beater or Cuisinart.
  • Slowly add juice from can of clams until it is soft, but not runny. (Clams will add liquid as will lemon juice and Worcestershire sauce).
  • If using electric beater, crush garlic in garlic press. If using Cuisinart, add cut up garlic to cheese and whirl with chopping blade).
  • Add lemon juice and Worcestershire sauce. Mix.
  • Add clams last, and if using Cusinart use blade very carefully so that clams are not pureed.
  • Chill to marry flavors.


Serving Suggestion:
Serve with Frito Scoops (that’s what Grandmama always did).

Chef’s Tip:
I suggest doubling this recipe for large gatherings.

 
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Posted by on May 16, 2011 in Appetizers, Dips

 

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