Summer Tapas Dinner Menu

August 21, 2011 at 12:57 pm | Posted in Appetizers | 31 Comments
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In Rocky Mountain National Park

Our rock and roll loving, wine drinking, bird watching friends Nancy and Neal (California) and Thomas (Ohio) descended on Colorado last week. A couple of days spent in Denver included a lovely dinner at Ja Ja’s a great little French Bistro, and a tapas-style dinner on our back deck the next evening. Throw in a week-long trip to the high country where we stayed at a rustic cabin at the base of Rocky Mountain National Park on a sleepy little mountain lake, complete with moose, marmot, mink, otter, chipmunk, chickoree, ptarmigan, elk, deer, bats and miscellaneous riff-raff (racoon), and you’ve got a fabulous little vacation. “Paradise” as one of us coined it.

Elk Grazing on The Tundra, Rocky Mountain National Park

The 10-day extravaganza included many memorable culinary moments:

  • Foie gras at Ja Ja’s French Bistro in Littleton.
  • Elk medallions at The Rapids Lodge.
  • An evening meal on the porch at Grand Lake Lodge complete with a rainbow over the lake and spectacular views of craggy mountain peaks.
  • A grilled chicken dinner on the back deck of our cabin.
  • Huevos rancheros and a mouth-watering cinnamon roll at The Sagebrush BBQ and Grill.
  • Near fist fights over my spicy orange chocolate brownies.
  • A picnic lunch at Lake Irene on Milner Pass, Rocky Mountain National Park.
  • Yogurt and granola breakfasts on the back deck while watching hummingbirds buzz around our heads.
  • Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on the pontoon boat trip on Grand Lake.

Of course it wasn’t all about food. Lots of hikes, visiting, scenic drives over cliff-hanging Trail Ridge Road, and for you birdwatchers, a hike out onto the tundra produced views of the elusive White-tailed Ptarmigan, one male and a female with three chicks. We topped the week off with a serene pontoon boat ride on Grand Lake with Nautical Neal at the helm.

With all that said, let’s take a look at my tapas meal here at the house. Our Colorado evenings have been so lovely that I opted for a casual meal on the back deck rather than stuff everyone around a dining table. I really enjoyed the mostly no-cook offerings with my new favorite discovery being a shiitake mushroom bruschetta dish that I found from a fellow food blogger. I’ll post that recipe tomorrow. Let’s take a look at the starters.

First up was platter of Amadeus cheese, fig jam, grapes and water crackers. Amadeus is a pasteurized cows’ milk cheese from Austria. It’s pale yellow, smooth, creamy, and rich in texture. It’s one of my favorites with fruit and crackers.

Tapas Dinner

An idea from Vickie over at Part Three was a large plate of assorted skewers made a colorful and filling addition to our outdoor meal. Double stuffed garlic and jalapeno olives, dry salami and sun-dried tomatoes complimented traditional caprese skewers of cherry tomatoes, basil and small fresh mozzarella pearls. You can find these small mozzarella pearls at Costco, along with the double stuffed olives. I really liked how the flavors on this plate flowed. The briney olive and salty salami were complimented with the next bites of cool creamy mozzarella, the fresh basil and sweet tomato skewers.

Stay tuned over the next couple of days for the rest of the story. A couple of great recipes coming up that you’ll want to save for your next tapas style, appetizer party and some more photos of the trip.

Tapas…It’s What’s for Dinner on the Deck.

April Wine Time

April 19, 2011 at 6:43 am | Posted in Appetizers, Wine Time | 37 Comments
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2004 Vieux Telegraphe

 

Last Fall, Bob came up with a great idea to get our wine-loving friends together once a month, at our house, to taste test a notable bottle of wine.

When this bunch gets together, and due to a series of incidents at a certain bed and breakfast back-yard gazebo in Oregon, laying down rules is a rule.

Simple. Bob picks out the wine, I provide an appetizer, Tom and Kathy and Dan and Teri trade off turns bringing another bottle of wine and an additional appetizer.

I don’t know why I don’t blog about it more. Maybe we’re just having too much fun to take photos?

I’d like to put a stop to that, so sit back and enjoy April’s event.

The Wine:

For this month’s featured selection we broke out a 2004 Vieux Telegraphe Chateauneuf du Pape; It was a big rollicking wine featuring a lot of fruit, minerality and mouth-watering acidity. We all enjoyed this Southern Rhone perennial blockbuster immensely, only wishing we could break the rules and have about two more bottles.

The Food:

Kathy and Tom had just been to Omaha to visit friends and apparently returned home with their luggage packed to the gills with gourmet foodie items. Really From Omaha?? Nebraska???

Take a look at this great little slate board with the cheese types written below each one. This was definitely an impressive lineup!

From back to front:

Hard to pick a favorite, but mine was the Morbier.  You can click on the links to learn more about any of these cheeses.

A great assortment of cheese wouldn’t be complete without a classic array of crackers.

Kathy sliced up a soft baguette, topped it with Cambazola Blue Cheese and drizzled with some balsamic glaze. I couldn’t keep out of these things. Really nice flavors. The glaze was purchased in Omaha? Really?? Nebraska???  I hope I can find some in Denver, that’s a long drive.

My contribution was a recipe compliments of Stephanie over at Plain Chicken. Meatball Sliders. Frozen Italian-style meatballs, simmered in jarred marinara sauce and wrapped in Pillsbury Crescent Rolls with a slice of mozarella. Thanks Stephanie! These were incredibly good, easy to put together and a crowd pleaser. Click on the link for the recipe.

And of course, our Wine Time event wouldn’t be complete without Cheetos, a tradition Dan started at the very first event. Why do those darn things seem to pair so well with every single wine we’ve had??? 

The People:

Note to self: Remember to take photos of people too.

April Wine Time…Appetizers were for Dinner .

One Year Ago: Southwestern Chicken Fried Steak With Green Chili and Egg

Recipe Roulette and Spanish Deviled Eggs

December 28, 2009 at 1:29 am | Posted in Appetizers | 40 Comments
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How about a little bit of South of the Border Tapas?

I’m most certainly ready for change from all of the Holiday food, which I have eaten WAY to much of (not complaining, but kinda).

Our friends Kathy and Tom gave me this cute and fun cookbook for Christmas, W.I.N.O.S. (Women In Need Of Sanity) GO TAPAS. by Bonnie Jesseph.  The inside cover suggests we visit their website www.winoshavefun.com.

  As I was thumbing through it at our party, Tom asked what I was going to make first. My reply was “have you ever played Recipe Roulette?” So that’s what I did and here are the rules.

Recipe Roulette:  You take a cookbook in your hands, close your eyes, spin the cookbook every which direction possible. With eyes still closed open the cookbook and point your finger on the open page. Open your eyes and you have to make the recipe your finger has landed on.

You HAVE to – it’s the rules. 

My finger landed on Spanish Deviled Eggs. Lucky for me, as I love deviled eggs and the idea of topping them with Chorizo and Cilantro sounded so interesting.  Actually the recipe used parsley, but all I could imagine in..on ..and along-side those eggs was cilantro.  These were pretty darn good and I think would make an interesting appetizer for your next dinner party.

I served these with a Spanish cabbage soup that is so easy and delicious you’ll have a fit and I mean an  f-i-t.  I’ll post that recipe soon.  But first,  here is the recipe for the eggs:

Spanish Deviled Eggs

  • 1 dozen eggs
  • 4 ounces Spanish chorizo sausage, finely chopped
  • 1 T. cilantro, finely chopped and a sprig for garnish
  • 1/4 c. seeded, finely diced roasted red peppers, such as piquillo (couldn’t find so I used roasted red bell)
  • 1 T. sherry vinegar
  • 3 T. mayonnaise
  • 1 T. Dijon mustard
  • 2 T. cold water
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Salt and pepper to taste

Hard boil eggs.  Slice eggs lengthwise, remove yolks and place yolks in a medium bowl.  Arrange egg white halves in your favorite Deviled Egg serving bowl.

To prepare filling, cook chorizo in a skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally until crisp.  Meanwhile add cilantro, red pepper, vinegar, mayo, mustard and water to yolks.  Mash.  Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.

Scoop filling into egg whites.  Sprinkle with warm chorizo and cilantro.

What a fun and easy little recipe and I think next time I’ll throw in a dash of cumin.  Why not!  And since I’ve substituted cilantro with parsley and added cumin,  we’ll call it India African Inspired Spanish Deviled Eggs.

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