"People who love to eat are always the best people" - Julia Child
Food can bring people together. Food can help people start a conversation. Food can be comforting and healing. We believe food is one of the main keys to every gathering.
Impress your guests this holiday season with these effortless, mouth-watering recipes. Bon appetit!
This veggie fritto misto plate is easy to make and a great starter dish for any gathering.
Illustrated photo by Stefan Johnson
Vegetable oil for frying
Batter: mix the following ingredients together. Don’t over-mix; a lumpy batter is ok too.
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- A pinch of salt
- 2 cups chilled beer (or sparkling water)
- Vegetable: use any kind of vegetable of choice but a hardy ones hold the texture better after frying (like zucchini, green beans, broccoli heads, cauliflower, squash, sweet potatoes, even kale). If the vegetable is too big or too hard, they should be cut into ¼ inch thick.
Pour oil into a saucepan and heat over medium heat till it reaches 375°F. Dip the veggie into the batter and carefully drop them into the saucepan. Fry the vegetables until lightly browned, 1 to 3 minutes. Drain the vegetables on paper towels and immediately sprinkle with salt (optional), best served with lemon mayonnaise sauce.
This appetizer requires no cooking time. But it yields with such a delicate taste in your mouth, the sweetness of the ripen figs, mixed with the creamy texture of goat cheese. If goat cheese isn't your favorite, you can replace it with any other creamy cheese.
Illustrated photo by Robyn Randolph
- slices of fresh bread
- 6 fresh ripen figs, sliced ¼ inch thick
- 6 oz soft mild goat cheese, soften at room temperature
- 1 teaspoons black pepper, crushed
- 1 sprig of fresh thyme, chopped
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
Spread butter on the slice of bread, layer with a mixture of goat cheese, fresh thyme & peppers, put slices of ripen figs on top.
This 5-minute prep-time recipe got our vote for the top easy-entertaining appetizer.
Illustrated photo by Sasha Zvereva
You can use any kind of flatbread or even crackers.
If you use flatbread, drizzle extra virgin olive oil on the bread, heat the bread in the oven till the crush is crunchy.
Slice the flatbread & prosciutto to the size & shape you like.
Top the flatbread with shaved Parmesan cheese, prosciutto, chopped fresh thyme, crushed black peppers and arugula sprouts.
This tasty appetizer will be a crowd-pleasing dish at your dining party.
12 hard-boiled eggs, cut in half, separate the yolks into a food processor with
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon yellow mustard
- ½ tablespoon drained capers
- zest of a lemon
- a pinch of garlic salt & black pepper.
Mix all ingredients well; fill the yolk mixture back to the egg white halves.
Flour mixture: mix well all these dry ingredients together in a bowl
- ½ cup of all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup of finely ground cornmeal
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- a pinch of salt & grounded black pepper.
Soak the oysters in a bowl of buttermilk; then coat each of them with the flour mixture, deep fry at 375°F till golden brown, about 3 minutes.
Place fried oysters on top of each devil eggs, garnish with chopped leeks (optional).
This hearty pot will warm up your guests’ tummies on a chill winter night and load with all the flavors of a holiday season.
Illustrated photo by Cel Lisboa
- 1 pound large shrimps (21/25 count per pound), peeled & deveined
- 1 pound sausage (any kind, spicy would enhance the taste), sliced ½ inch thick
- 2 cups of uncooked rice
- 1 large-size onion, diced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 celery stalks, diced
- 1 yellow or red bell pepper, diced
- 4 cups of chicken broth
- 1 can (16 ounces) diced tomatoes
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (reduce the amount if spicy sausage is used)
- 1 pinch of saffron
- fresh parsley, chopped
In a heavy cast-iron pot, sauté onion & garlic, then add all the chopped vegetables, cook for about 10 minutes, stir occasionally. Set aside the vegetables. In the same pot, cook sausage at medium heat for about 15 minutes or till browned. Remove the sausages, add the shrimp and cook in high heat for about 4 minutes till all the shrimps turn pink (cooked), remove from the pot when they are done.
Cook the rice with chicken broth, the diced tomatoes, cayenne pepper, saffron and all the cooked vegetables & sausages in the same pot, lid covered, low heat till the rice is cooked. After 20 minutes or so, add the shrimps and chopped parsley, cook till all the liquid absorbed into the rice mixture. Keep warm in the oven before serving.
For a large gathering and a health-conscious crowd, this dish will be a hit of all the starters!
- 3 pounds fresh Brussel sprouts, washed and cut in half, length-wise
- ¾ cup of balsamic vinegar
- ½ cup sugar
- ½ cup olive oil
- 1 cup of dried cranberries
- Salt & grounded black pepper
Toss the cut Brussel sprouts in the olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Spread them on baking sheets and roast till golden brown, about 20 to 30 minutes depending on the size of the sprouts.
Pour balsamic vinegar in a saucepan, reduce it to a syrup stage, then add sugar, bring it to a boil just until the sugar melt.
Drizzle the reduced balsamic vinegar syrup over the roasted Brussel sprouts; then sprinkle with the cranberries.
This recipe is so simple and quick to make but always got thumps-up at any gathering.
Preheat the oven to 350 degree F.
Coat the scallops with extra virgin olive oil.
Season with salt and pepper.
Then wrap each scallop with a slice of prosciutto.
Butter a baking dish, place the wrapped scallops in. Top each scallop with ½ teaspoon of butter.
Bake till the scallops cooked through, about 10 to 15 minutes depending on the size of the scallops.
Garnish with fennels, roasted peach slices.
Seafood lovers, we want to see lots of thumbs-up for this recipe!
½ cup onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, chopped
¼ cup fresh basil, diced
1 celery stalk, washed and chopped
½ teaspoon fresh rosemary, minced
1 can (6 ounces) crab meat, drained
1 pound lobster tail, deshelled and chopped
1 cup breadcrumbs
½ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
½ cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
¼ cup mayonnaise
8 Portobello mushrooms, washed & pat-dried, stems removed
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Heat olive oil in a heavy large skillet in medium-high heat.
Sauté onion & celery for 5 minutes or till softens with basil, garlic, and rosemary.
In a bowl, mix in crabmeat, lobster, breadcrumbs, cheeses, and mayonnaise with the cooked veggie.
Season with salt and pepper (crab meat is already salty so go easy on the salt).
Arrange Portobello mushrooms, rounded side down on an oiled baking sheet.
Spoon into the mushroom caps with mixed filling.
Bake mushrooms in a baking dish until tender and filling begins to brown on top, about 15 minutes.
Sprinkle with the remaining shredded cheese on top, bake another 5 minutes. Serve hot.