Appetizers

Patacones with ceviche

Patacoñes

For my first meal upon our return to Costa Rica, I ordered shrimp ceviche at Kukula, a restaurant in Quepos. The dish came with patacoñes, twice-fried green plantain chips that are golden brown and crisp on the outside, soft on the inside, and lightly salted. They were so good I tried to […]

 
Shrimp Ceviche

Shrimp Ceviche

The sign claiming “Best Shrimp Ceviche in Quepos” enticed us into Kukula, a restaurant in a small town on Costa Rica’s central Pacific coast on the first day of our 10-day vacation. We tried ceviche at several other places during our stay, but we all agreed that Kukula’s made the […]

 
Carnitas poppers

Carnitas Poppers

Carnitas poppers pack a lot of flavor with five ingredients: carnitas, cheddar cheese, cream cheese, peppers (sweet minis, jalapeños or poblanos) and bacon. When I’m looking for a quick meal, Del Real Carnitas hit the spot. This slow-cooked Mexican pork can be purchased at most grocery stores, including Walmart, King […]

 
Bacon candy

Bacon Candy

Bacon candy is sweet, salty, spicy and crispy. When I first heard of it, I wondered if it was an appetizer or a dessert. That just shows how limited my thinking was. It can also be crumpled in a salad, placed on a hamburger, or used to garnish a Bloody […]

 
turkey nachos with cranberry salsa

Turkey Nachos with Cranberry Salsa

What do you do with all that leftover turkey after Thanksgiving? Turkey Nachos with Cranberry Salsa, that’s what! I found this recipe in a Whole Foods flier years ago. I changed a few ingredients, then down-sized it for my one-butt kitchen.  I’ve never attempted to cook a turkey in our […]

 
Guacamole with Pomegranate and Sprouted Pumpkin Seeds

Guacamole with Pomegranate and Sprouted Pumpkin Seeds

Oh, happy day! Pomegranates are in season. When I made this for the first time during the holidays, I called it Christmas Guacamole because of the colors. I like it enough that it’s not just for Christmas anymore. Peeled pomegranate arils (fancy name for the seeds) are available in the produce […]

 
hummus and smoked salmon canapés

Smoked Salmon Hummus Canapés 

Smoked salmon hummus canapés are easy to make with only four delicious ingredients. With store-bought hummus, these can be assembled in just a few minutes. Plan on 1 to 3 per person, depending on what else you are serving.  Active time: 5 minutes               […]

 
Carnitas Nachos

Carnitas Nachos

Carnitas nachos! Imagine Mexican slow-cooked pork over tortilla chips and topped with jalapeños, avocados, tomatoes, cheese and sour cream. Doesn’t that make your mouth water? Not long ago I saw that on the appetizer menu in a barbecue restaurant. I didn’t order them, but didn’t forget about them either.  One […]

 
parmesan zucchini rounds

Parmesan Zucchini Rounds

  Parmesan Zucchini Rounds are one of my current favorite appetizers for two reasons. First, they are very simple to make with only three ingredients: zucchini, parmesan cheese and freshly ground black pepper. Second, they are delicious. Crispy, golden brown parmesan covers the soft zucchini for a tasty treat.   […]

 

Grape Balls

Grape balls are tasty morsels that will delight your guests.  No one anticipates the surprising grape and ginger flavors beneath the nutty brown exterior. When I first started making grape balls in my two-butt kitchen at home, I used an electric mixer to blend the cream cheese and ginger, and a toaster oven […]