culinary review

Salmon, Corn Chip & Lemon Dill Sauce Canapé

Last Modified: 06/17/11
First Published: 06/17/11
Views: 612
Views: 612

This salmon, corn chip and lemon dill sauce canapé is very simple to make and tastes light, refreshing and elegant. We actually made our own corn chips by simply frying corn tortillas cut in pieces in some oil in a pan. It's really easy to do, and would be perfect if you have leftover corn tortillas in the fridge. Also, when you make your own chips, you know exactly what's in them.

We actually grilled the salmon here, but any way of cooking it would be great. Then we made a nice cool sauce with lemon and dill and topped each chip with a piece of salmon, some sauce, a slice of cherry tomato and some ruccola salad. 

How to make corn chips:

Add an inch or two of vegetable oil in a heavy bottom pot, and turn the heat to medium. Cut each corn tortilla in four pieces, for a nice snack size. The oil is hot enough when a piece of tortilla sizzles when you drop it in the oil. Cook the tortillas in batches - do not overcrowd the pan. Cook for about a minute or two on each side until golden, then place on paper towels to drain. Immediately add fine salt to the hot chips. (these are vary simply seasoned, for a more flavorful version, you could either dip the tortillas in a spicy vinegar solution before cooking, and once they are crispy add a combination of chili powder and other spices.)


- Chips - make the chips, or use store bought (thin slices of baguette would work too.)

- Salmon

- Cherry Tomatoes, Ruccola


  • sour cream
  • mayonnaise
  • garlic
  • dill
  • lemon
  • salt
  • pepper


Mix sour cream, a very small amount of mayonnaise, some minced garlic, a generous amount of dill, some freshly squeezed lemon and some salt and pepper.

Cook the salmon. Cut in bite size pieces.

Cut the cherry tomatoes in fine slices, and coat them in some olive oil, salt and pepper.

Assemble: on each chip put a piece of salmon, a small spoonful of sauce, a cherry tomato slice and a piece of ruccola.

Serve immediately.

Strawberry bites with soft goat cheese and balsamic syrup

Last Modified: 03/14/11
First Published: 06/17/07
Views: 4597
Views: 4597

How wonderful that strawberries are in season and so sweet and plentiful! We had a lot of strawberries on hand and needed to eat them before they went bad! So we extended our strawberry intake to appetizers as well into this classic combination of goat cheese, strawberries and reduced balsamic vinegar. And I have to say that this is really the epitome of summer sweetness - such a simple yet delicate treat. Try it!


  • Good, crispy bread base such as grilled flat bread, baguette, toasted tortilla, crackers.. (we used grilled flat bread)
  • Fresh strawberries, cleaned and cut into bite size pieces
  • Soft goat cheese
  • Cream cheese
  • Some fresh basil
  • Balsamic vinegar


Start with putting some balsamic vinegar in a small casserole on the stove and let it the reduce for a few minutes until syrupy (yes the aroma in your kitchen will be over-pungent, but just bear it out.)
Grill or toast your bread and cut into bite-size pieces. Mix the goat cheese with cream cheese until you achieve a good balance (if you really like goat cheese, you can use that as it is) and add some fresh, chopped basil. Spread on the bread, top with a few strawberry pieces and drizzle over some of the balsamic syrup.

Enjoy in warm weather along with some taste coctails!

Spicy Buffalo Wings

Last Modified: 02/06/11
First Published: 02/04/08
Views: 5313
Views: 5313
This recipe from America’s Test Kitchen produces perfect spicyspicy buffalo chicken wings buffalo wings with the traditional hot, tasty flavor. A classic hot sauce such as Frank’s Louisiana Hot Sauce provides the recognizable taste (hot, slightly sweet and vinegary) and coupled with brown sugar, apple cider and extra Tabasco, the sauce gets the right kick.

We used drumsticks, because it has more meat on it then chicken wings. Both wings and drumsticks work great to use – just make sure to increase the temperature of the oil to 375 degrees F if making drumsticks, since are slightly larger.

This appetizer is perfect to serve with celery sticks and blue cheese sauce. A light beer goes especially nice with this dish.
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General Info
Servings: 6
Total Cost: $5.49
Cost Per Serving: $0.91
Total Calories: 1,886
Calories/Serving: 314
Chicken, Drumsticks, with Bone (or wings) * 3.00 Pounds $3.00 907
Butter, Unsalted 4 Tablespoons 56.00 Grams $0.25 400
Franks Hot Sauce 1/2 Cup 120.00 Grams $0.87 40
Tabasco Sauce 2 Tablespoons 28.20 Grams $1.00 6
Brown Sugar, Packed 1 Tablespoon 13.75 Grams $0.04 52
Vinegar, Apple Cider 2 Teaspoons 9.33 Grams $0.03 5
Vegetable Oil (soaked up during deep frying) 3 Tablespoons 42.00 Grams $0.09 360
Corn Starch 3 Tablespoons 30.00 Grams $0.13 105
Cayenne Pepper 1 Teaspoon 1.77 Grams $0.04 6
Black Pepper, Ground 1 Teaspoon 2.13 Grams $0.02 5
Salt, Table 1 Teaspoon 6.00 Grams $0.01 0


3 pounds whole chicken wings (or drumsticks)
4 tablespoons butter
½ cup Frank’s Louisiana Hot Sauce
2 tablespoons Tabasco
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons cider vinegar
1 – 2 quarts of oil for frying (vegetable or peanut oil)
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon salt


1. If you are using wings, then cut the top of the wings off.

2. Make the sauce: melt the butter on the stove, whisk in the hot sauce, Tabasco, brown sugar and vinegar. Mix well, then set aside and let cool.

3. Heat the oven to 200 degrees F. Heat the oil up in a large pot (preferably Dutch oven). Make sure to use enough oil so it measures 2 1/2 inches in the pot (only about 3 tablespoons of oil is actually soaked up during frying). Check with a thermometer and let the oil come up to 360 degrees F (or 375 degrees F if you are making drumsticks).

4. While the oil is heating up, mix the cornstarch, cayenne pepper, black pepper and salt in a bowl. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels (you don’t want the chicken to be wet at all!), then toss the chicken in the cornstarch mixture.

5. Fry the chicken in batches in the hot oil for about 10 to 15 minutes until golden – you don’t want the chicken to overcrowd the pot. Transfer the cooked chicken to a baking sheet lined with newspapers or paper towels and topped with a drying rack positioned upside down. Keep the chicken warm in the oven while you cook the next batch.

Sauteed Chanterelle Mushrooms in Cream on Toast

Last Modified: 10/27/10
First Published: 10/27/10
Views: 741
Views: 741

Few things are as delectable as chantarelle mushrooms sauteed in cream and served on toast. If you have the good fortune of coming across chantarelle mushrooms in the grocery store, at the farmer's market, or perhaps even in the forest, then you definitely want to use them carefully. First of all, in the store they are rather expensive to buy, so you might not be able to afford to buy too many. Secondly, chantarelles have such as a wonderful distinctive taste and it would be a shame to waste them by adding too many ingredients or cooking them the wrong way.

This is simply one of the best appetizers or small meals you can serve. Sauteing these mushrooms in butter, releasing their liquids, and then simply adding heavy cream and some salt and pepper really brings the best out of these delicacies. Some fresh parsley on top completes the meal and adds some color.

4 servings – small appetizer portions

  • 3 tablespoons of butter
  • 1 pint of chantarelles (or more if you have on hand)
  • 1 cup of heavy cream
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 pieces of white bread, toasted
  • fresh parsley


Heat up a sautee pan, add the butter and let melt. Add the chantarelles and some salt and let cook on medium – high heat and let the mushrooms reduce their liquids. This takes a few minutes, you don't want to rush the process. Once the mushrooms are starting to brown, add the cream and let simmer for a few minutes. Taste and add some salt and pepper to taste.

Toast the bread, and distribute the mushrooms evenly. Add some freshly chopped parsley and serve immediately.

Quick & Delicious Flavored Cream Cheese Spreads

Last Modified: 07/12/10
First Published: 07/12/10
Views: 934
Views: 934

cream cheese spread

To fix up a flavorful cream cheese spread can be the perfect solution when you need something quick, delicious and different. It's really easy to make different cream cheese spreads, all you need is cream cheese, a touch of milk and flavorings. And when it comes to flavorings, the sky is the limit!

These types of cream cheese spreads have so many uses. Of course they are fabulous on a toasted bagel, but they are also good as a base for a sandwich. Or for a sophisticated, yet simple appetizer or snack, spread a flavorful dip on some toasted baguette or cracker. Another great idea would be to spread some spread on a piece of salmon and then bake in the oven. There are so many options.

Here are a couple of different flavoring favorites which are easy to make and taste just great:

Basic spread:
8 oz cream cheese
2 tablespoons milk

Heat the cream cheese in the microwave on high power, for about 20 to 30 seconds or until soft. Add milk as well as other ingredients. Chill for an hour.


Smoked Salmon
2 tablespoons red onion, minced
2 tablespoons capers, rinsed
4 oz smoked salmon, chopped finely
1 tablespoon fresh dill, minced

Sundried Tomatoes & Feta
½ cup crumbled feta
¼ cup sundried tomatoes, chopped finely
1 tablespoon fresh oregano, minced

Olive & Rosemary
¼ cup black olives (preferably Kalamata), pitted and chopped
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, finely minced

Lime & Chipotle
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, minced
2 scallions, sliced thinly

Honey Nut
2 tablespoons honey
¼ cup toasted nuts (walnuts or pecans are good options), chopped finely

Smooth and Flavorful Homemade Cheese Spread

Last Modified: 06/15/10
First Published: 10/18/07
Views: 2667
Views: 2667

One of the best ways to utilize your left-over cheese – especially if you have small bits of different kinds, is to make acheese_spread divine cheese spread. Almost any nice strongly flavored cheese could be used, but of course the flavor of the spread will be affected by what kind of cheese you add.

We were first introduced to this concept by Alton Brown, in an episode called “Fromage Forte.” The direct translation in French is “Strong Cheese' and that's certainly correct. If you use a few strong cheeses, your spread will be extremely flavorful.

The concept is just so simple: different kinds of cheeses, butter, wine, garlic, herbs. Could there be anything better?

It's essential to use a food processor to mix the cheeses completely. You want to end up with a really smooth spread, and that will require a few minutes of processing.


1. Start off with gathering your different cheeses (for example, use bits of Parmesan, Sharp Cheddar, Provolone, Blue Cheese, Asiago, Mozarella, Camembert). You can use a combination of soft and hard-rind cheeses.

2. Let the cheese come up to room temperature, remove any hard rinds, and cut into small cubes.

3. Place the cheese in a food processor and add a few tablespoons of butter (depending on how much cheese you use). Add a garlic clove, and some dry white wine. Start processing, and possibly add more wine if it's too dry.

Tip! If you are planning to store the spread and save for later (it will be better if it rests forcheese_spread a few hours anyway), then make sure to add enough wine. You want the spread to be quite loose, as it will thicken up in once it cools.

Process for a few minutes, or until it reaches the consistency of whipped cream: nice, smooth and fluffy. Taste and possibly season with salt and pepper.


While this spread is very flavorful on its own, you might want to flavor it further, depending on what kind of cheese you use. If you are using relatively mild cheeses, then some additional flavor might be nice.

Possible flavorings: fresh herbs, sun dried tomatoes, olives, anchovies...

Either serve right away with crackers or vegetables, or store in an air-tight container. This spread can be stored about one week in the fridge.

Soft Flavored Butter with Olive Oil & Spices (Chili Powder, Cumin & Paprika)

Last Modified: 06/06/10
First Published: 06/06/10
Views: 478
Views: 478
Flavored butter with spices or herbs is such a versatile addition to many meals. It will turn an ordinary corn on the cob into something special, it will give that little extra something to a nice piece of steak or salmon, and it will of course make a piece of bread more exciting.

There are of course an endless amount of possibilities when you talk of flavored butter (you can use the whole spice spectrum, fresh herbs, citrus, garlic, ginger etc...), however here we have made a simple and straightforward version with chili, cumin and paprika.

We like to add a touch of olive oil to the softened butter, that way the butter will be more easy to spread and it won't harden as much if you keep it in the fridge for a couple of hours.

How To Make Flavored Butter:

4 servings

Use 4 tablespoons of butter. Either keep it out for a couple of hours to soften it or run it in the microwave for a few seconds at a time until it's slightly soft.

Mash the butter in a bowl. Add 1 teaspoon of chili powder, ½ teaspoon cumin, ½ teaspoon paprika and ½ teaspoon of salt if the butter was unsalted. Mix until combined. Add about 1 tablespoon of olive oil and incorporate it well.

Either serve right away or keep covered in the fridge until you're ready to eat.

How To Make Crostini - Different Topping Ideas

Last Modified: 05/28/10
First Published: 05/28/10
Views: 1212
Views: 1212

To make crostini from old bread is an easy and delicious way to create a tasty appetizer or snack. Basically a crostinicrostini is bread sliced very thinly, baked in the oven until crispy, then rubbed with a garlic clove and brushed with olive oil. It's perfect to make if you have bread going stale, or if you just want to serve bread in a different way.

However, it seems that when most people think of crostini, they get stuck on tomatoes, herbs and cheese. This combination is of course very flavorful and tasty, although there are so many other options to consider which would make for a more varied selection.

Here are a couple of ideas for different crostini.

Basic Crostini
garlic clove
olive oil
salt and pepper


Slice the baguette very thinly. Distribute on a baking sheet, then bake in 400 degrees for about 10 minutes. When the bread comes out of the oven, cut a garlic clove in half and rub the cut side against the bread. Brush the bread with olive oil and assemble the toppings.


- Tomatoes & Goat Cheese

- Cannellini beans with lemon and garlic

- Fresh Mozzarella and pest

- Hummus, roasted red peppers, lemon

- Tuna with capers, oil, lemon and parsley

- Ricotta, honey, pinenuts

- Parmesan, artichokes

Different Party Dips: Olive, Pesto, Onion, Feta

Last Modified: 05/28/10
First Published: 05/28/10
Views: 865
Views: 865
To make a few different party dips and serve either with old fashioned potato chips or crisp vegetable crudites is a great way to get a party going, or brighten up a regular weeknight. It's rather unnecessary to buy prepacked lemondip mixes when it's so easy to make yourself. These party dips are quite interesting and certainly different from your regular onion dip mix. Of course you could experiment and come up with other combinations, mix it up a bit and make something unique and suitable to your family's preferences. In the meantime though, try these different flavoring options: they are quite delicious and would be a nice treat to serve whether for guests, friends or family.

Dip Base
¾ cup sour cream
¾ cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon lemon juice
salt & pepper


Mix everything well. Preferably cover the bowl with plastic and let rest in the fridge for at least an hour before serving.

Different flavoring options:

¼ cup black olives (preferably Kalamata), pitted & chopped
2 tablespoons rinsed capers
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced

Basic Sun Dried Tomatoes
2 tablespoons fresh basil, minced
¼ cup sun dried tomatoes, chopped fine

4 cloves roasted garlic
½ cup pesto

Caramelized Onion & Garlic

2 garlic cloves, minced
½ cup caramelized onions, chopped fine

Feta & Lemon

1 tablespoon lemon juice
½ teaspoon lemon zest
½ cup crumbled feta cheese
1 tablespoon fresh mint or basil, minced

Cheesy Classic Nachos

Last Modified: 05/14/10
First Published: 02/04/08
Views: 3203
Views: 3203
Sometimes nothing beats classic nachos with lots of cheese, spicyclassic nachos peppers and lots of tasty toppings such as homemade guacamole, salsa and sour cream. This kind of food is perfect to serve with buffalo chicken wings, twice-baked potatoes and a nice crisp beer during a game or a movie.

Nachos happen to be really simple to make. You need some good quality chips, about 2 cups of cheddar cheese and habero peppers as well as tasty toppings.
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measurement conversions
General Info
Servings: 6
Total Cost: $7.23
Cost Per Serving: $1.20
Total Calories: 3,170
Calories/Serving: 528
Tortilla Chips * 10.00 Ounces $1.43 1,400
Cheddar Cheese (shredded) 2 Cups 264.00 Grams $2.05 1,064
Peppers, Jalapeno (perferably use habanero peppers) * 30.00 Grams $0.09 9
Onions, Spring Or Scallions, Green (2 scallions, sliced) 1/4 Cup 21.33 Grams $0.27 7
Cilantro, Leaves (2 tablespoons) * 5.00 Grams $0.02 1
Salsa 1 Cup 259.00 Grams $1.71 73
Guacamole, Homemade 1 Cup 8.00 Ounces $1.37 376
Sour Cream 1/2 Cup 120.00 Grams $0.30 240

Ingredients:cheese nachos

10 ounces tortilla chips
2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
2 habero peppers
2 fresh scallions
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro
1 cup salsa
1 cup guacamole
1/2 cup sour cream


Slice the peppers quite thinly. Don’t remove the seeds. Using a pyrex, or other large baking pan, evenly distribute the tortilla chips on the bottom of the pan. Spread about half of the shredded cheese on top of the chips and half of the sliced peppers. Top with an other layer of chips, then the rest of the cheese and peppers.

Bake in a 400 degree oven for about 8 – 10 minutes, or until the cheese have melted and is nice and bubbly. Once out of the oven, sprinkle fresh, sliced scallions and chopped cilantro. Serve with salsa, guacamole and sour cream.

cheese nachos
nachos with toppings