Archive for the ‘Appetizers’ Category

Luncheon Pick: Chicken Salad with Toasted Pecans and Grapes

Monday, April 14th, 2014 No comments
Chicken Salad

Chicken Salad

With Spring in the air, picnics and potlucks are right around the corner. One of my go-to dishes is a chicken salad. Light, creamy, and a little bit sweet, this recipe for Chicken Salad with Toasted Pecans and Grapes has always been a crowd pleaser.

Try this recipe next time you’re invited to a potluck this Spring, or even as a light appetizer for an Easter or Mother’s Day luncheon:

Chicken Salad with Toasted Pecans and Grapes

4 organic skinless, boneless chicken breasts, grilled
1 cup toasted, chopped pecans
2 celery ribs, chopped
1 roasted red bell pepper, skinned and chopped
2 cups seedless grapes, halved
1/2 cup red onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons tarragon, finely chopped
Juice of one lemon
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper

Toss together all ingredients and chill for several hours. Serve with fresh baguette.


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Holiday Hors D’Oeuvres from Jenn Phillips, Gourmet Chef and Caterer

Friday, October 19th, 2012 No comments
Charcuterie with Holiday Accents

Charcuterie with Holiday Accents

Las Damas of Fairbanks today hosted a holiday cooking demonstration at the home of Jenn Phillips, Gourmet Chef and Caterer. Jenn provided us with a few great holiday hors d’oeuvre recipes that are simple and lovely as we try to balance demands of time and need for perfection for holiday entertaining. She created a beautiful Charcuterie Table, which provided a great place for people to gather and sample the special cured meats, which she also surrounded with cheeses, veggies, tapenades and assorted breads and crackers. This is a simple appetizer offering, because there is not much prep involved, but the beauty of the table is what made this so special. She used assorted fall flowers, vases of lavender, alstroemeria and pumpkins to create a lovely table upon which to feature the appetizer.

Another interesting appetizer for those who try to escape the many carbs that are usually offered before the meal was the Chicken Meatball Lettuce Wraps.

Chicken Meatball Lettuce Wraps



Chicken Meatball Lettuce Wraps
1 lb. ground chicken
3 tablespoons Asian fish oil
3 small shallots
3 garlic cloves
1 stalk lemon grass, tender white inner bulb only
3 tablespoons cilantro
1 tablespoon mint, plus 1/3 cup for serving
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 head Boston or red leaf lettuce, separated
1 small seedless cucumber, thinly sliced
1 small red onion, halved and thinly sliced



Soy Chili Sauce
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 teaspoon red chili sauce
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon hot mustard
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Position a rack in top third of oven.
Put chicken in medium bowl. Add fish sauce, salt, pepper and cornstarch. In food processor, pulse shallots, garlic, lemon grass, cilantro and mint until finely chopped. Add to chicken mixture. Combine thoroughly. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. With moist hands, roll chicken mixture into 1 1/2 inch balls. Roll meatballs in sugar evenly coating them and place onto prepared baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes, until they are lightly browned and cooked through. Let cook for 3 minutes.

Meanwhile arrange the lettuce, cucumber, cilantro and mint on a platter. Transfer the meatballs to the platter and serve with the soy chili sauce.


Another St. Regis Recipe To Try at Home: Caramelized Cauliflower and Pistachio Pesto

Sunday, October 14th, 2012 No comments
Cauliflower with Pistachio Pesto

Cauliflower with Pistachio Pesto


Another of my favorite menu offerings at the J&G Grill was the cauliflower that we ordered for one of our starters.  My publishing partners and I  all love cauliflower and voted this the most incredible of the veggies we tasted.

Caramelized Cauliflower and Pistachio Pesto

I actually came back from Utah and immediately prepared this for Gary.  In the process, I converted the measures from grams and simplified this a bit, but it was still delicious.

For the Pesto  (as I modified it)
5 oz. toasted pistachios
2 cups tightly packed fresh basil
1/2 finely chopped Jalapeño (couldn’t find Green Thai chili)
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 oz. micro-planed Parmesan

Blanch and shock basil, squeeze out all excess water in clean kitchen towel.  In the food processor combine basil, olive oil, and salt and puree until completely smooth.  Add remaining ingredients and puree until coarse.

To Serve:
1/2 cauliflower cut into 1-2″ nuggets
salt/black pepper as desired
2 ounces toasted pistachios
Extra Virgin Olive oil
Chopped basil or micro basil

Heat pan with olive oil and sauté cauliflower until very well caramelized and tender.  add pistachios and cook until toasty, then season with salt and pepper (they also called for marjoram leaves, which I omitted).  Smooth some pesto into the bottom of a hot side bowl.  Fill with caramelized cauliflower and finish with the micro basil.


Father’s Day Brunch: TORTILLA ESPAÑOLA

Saturday, June 16th, 2012 No comments



Gary has placed his order for Father’s Day brunch tomorrow. One of my favorites too, tortilla ESPAÑOLA is offered as an appetizer in the Spanish Wine Dinner chapter of Cook the Part, but it’s also a great lunch or brunch dish. I know the kids will also want pancakes or waffles, but those will go well with the egg dish.
Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there!


4 tablespoons Spanish olive oil, divided
4 Yukon Gold potatoes, sliced very thin (Note 1)
2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 onion, cut in half and sliced very thin
2 garlic cloves, crushed

6 large eggs
2 teaspoons dry grill rub or seasoning

Freshly ground pepper to taste
Roasted red pepper strips, purchased or homemade

Note 1: Use a mandolin (if available) set at 1/8”.
*Recipe In Cook the Part, page

Prepare potatoes for Tortilla Española.
Heat 2 tablespoons oil in large nonstick skillet on medium-high flame.
Add potato slices and sauté for 12 minutes, turning to ensure even cooking.
Add another tablespoon oil and 1 teaspoon salt. Reduce flame to medium.
Add onions and continue cooking until onions are soft and potatoes are tender, about 5 minutes.
Add crushed garlic and sauté for 2 minutes. Turn off flame and set aside.

Prepare eggs and finish Tortilla Española. Serve.
Beat eggs with 1 teaspoon salt, rub and pepper in a large bowl.

Remove potatoes from skillet, add to egg mixture and let stand for 10 minutes.
Add 1 tablespoon of oil to skillet. Pour egg and potato mixture into heated skillet.
Allow eggs to set, lifting the sides of the omelet to let more egg mixture run underneath.
When the omelet can be lifted from the side of the pan, invert the omelet onto a plate and slide it back into the pan to cook the other side. Add ground pepper to taste.
Slide the cooked omelet onto a cutting board or serving plate and cut into cubes or wedges. This can be served at room temperature. Serve with roasted red peppers strips.