Archive for the ‘appetizers’ Category

Mark Bittman’s Spicy Cheddar Shortbread Cookies

August 25, 2014 Leave a comment

Spicy cheese shortbread cookies


My cousin hosts a monthly potluck dinner party and this time, I volunteered for appetizers. I’ve made these once before and never documented but they’re too easy and good to forget about. The dough takes 3 minutes to pull together in the food processor, 20 minutes in the fridge to set, and then 12 minutes in the oven to bake. Very little effort for some super tasty cheese cookies that go well next to a plate of salami and olives. I like to sprinkle mine with some fresh cracked pepper and flaky Maldon sea salt before baking them in the oven. If you want a crispier cookie, make your balls a bit smaller. I was pressed for time (my nap lasted longer than anticipated) so my cookies were a little larger than usual. Read more…

Categories: appetizers, snacks

Zony’s Croquettas (Tuna Croquettes)

April 24, 2013 1 comment

Zony's Croquettas

Zon worked for my best friends’ family for over 30 years as their nanny/cook/auntie. I’ve known her since I was 13 and have eaten too many of her meals to count. Almost every photo I have of Zon is of her cooking. If she’s not cooking, she always has a huge smile and food is in the frame.  The last time I saw her was in 2008 the day I left for Chicago; she’s since retired and moved back to her native Philippines. Boohoo!


I first learned about Zon when my friend brought croquettas to school. Most of us had bagels, pb&j or mac n cheese…these fried balls stuffed with tuna and potato were something new but familiar…and delicious! Love at first bite. Read more…

Categories: appetizers, Asian, food, snacks Tags: ,


April 7, 2013 Leave a comment


Wow. I started this post in December…but travels to Cambodia and Thailand followed immediately by the start of a new job results in…this.

A friend’s parents host a party every year dubbed “Vodkas and Latkes.” As we are not close enough for an invite, we thought we’d make some latkes and chug some vodkas on our own. Except we don’t keep vodka around so it turned into latkes and whiskey, which just isn’t as fun to say.

Anyway, what’s not to like about potato pancakes? (and whiskey!) I was initially a bit worried about the amount of onions in the recipe, but they cook down to add sweetness to the pancake. Maybe a little taboo, but mine were fried in bacon fat (I didn’t have the traditional schmaltz) and topped with sour cream and herring roe from Ikea. I don’t recommend the roe from Ikea–I’d rather eat the Japanese version–but it made for a pretty picture.  Read more…

Smoked Whitefish Dip

October 28, 2012 Leave a comment

Smoked Trout Dip

I lived in NYC for a summer on the Upper West Side. At that time, I didn’t cook because I had ten short weeks to take in all that the city had to offer. I knew I wouldn’t be moving there long-term, so I had to take advantage of the time I had. One of my favorite snacks in my neighborhood was the whitefish dip from Zabar’s. I could finish the container with some pita chips in one sitting. Costco also sells a 1 lb tub that is a bit much, so when I got the craving today, I figured it out for myself.

You can use any smoked fish for this recipe, but I used trout. I was home alone for the weekend and ended up finishing the entire batch in about 24 hours. Read more…

Categories: appetizers, dip, food, seafood, snacks Tags: ,

Peach Salsa

September 9, 2012 Leave a comment

Peach Salsa

A few weeks ago, we had friends over for taco night. I made a batch of carnitas, tacos al pastor (which I’ll share with you in another post), pickled carrots & jalapenos, crunchy tomatillo-avocado salsa and peach salsa.

Peach salsa may sound a little weird but I wanted something different. I thought a fruity salsa would go well with the tacos al pastor (I was totally right) and it was prime peach season. Sadly, peach season is almost over but there’s always next year… Read more…

Meatballs w/Oven-Roasted Tomato Sauce & Pappardelle

July 15, 2012 1 comment

Ad Hoc Meatballs w/Oven Roasted Tomato Sauce & Papperdelle

The weekend he proposed, we cooked a lot. On Friday, he made lobster rolls and discovered his abilities in the kitchen. He had originally planned on serving  meatballs from the ad hoc at home cookbook on Friday night as an appetizer but ran out of time. So on Saturday, we made the meatballs together with oven-roasted tomato sauce and homemade pappardelle. On Sunday, I had coincidentally planned on making the ad hoc fried chicken (before I even knew he planned on attacking the cookbook himself) but ended up making Ruhlman’s fried chicken instead.

Thomas Keller’s recipes are pretty fussy but these meatballs were surprisingly simple. We ground the meat ourselves, stuffed each ball with some mozzarella and roasted them in the oven until they were done. The most time-consuming items were the oven-roasted tomato sauce, which I found a little sweet and won’t make again, and the homemade pappardelle. I didn’t use Keller’s recipe for the pasta but I probably should have. I found a random food processor-friendly version online which didn’t have enough egg for my tastes. I will definitely make the meatballs again but next time I’ll simplify significantly with a simple marinara and pre-made pasta. Read more…

Categories: appetizers, food, Italian, meat, pasta Tags: ,

Birthday Feast #1: Jalapeno Popper Dip

April 9, 2012 2 comments

Jalapeno Popper Dip

Last weekend was my boyfriend’s birthday. To celebrate, I thought he’d enjoy some comfort foods  that he doesn’t often get living with a Vietnamese Californian. Our standard weekday meals are kitchen sink salads, soups or noodles. Creamy dips are usually relegated to the Super Bowl or other milestone sporting events where I know other people will help us enjoy the gluttony. Potatoes almost never make it into the rotation unless I am thickening a soup in lieu of cream. Dessert? I definitely make bake but dessert around here is usually whatever fruit is in season.

In forthcoming posts, you will see a baked potato casserole, roast pork loin, a Roli Roti-style porchetta, caramelized onions, and a peanut butter pie. The food isn’t very well documented as we had friends and family over while I was finishing up. Much like I don’t like to spend too much time documenting food when I eat out, I would much rather spend time chatting with friends than taking the perfect photo (or any at all, in some cases). Read more…

Categories: appetizers, bacon, dip, food Tags: ,