Olympics Appetizer Board

We LOVE watching the Olympics and can’t wait for the opening ceremonies to kick off the long anticipated summer games. This year is particularly special for us because our Chief Tasting Officer, husband, brother-in-law and uncle extraordinaire Ryan is competing in baseball for team Israel. We were crushed that due to COVID fans couldn’t attend this year, so we are doing everything we can to make the games special from home. We are kicking things off with this Olympic themed appetizer board, which is a great appetizer/snack board for the Opening Ceremonies tonight!

We have used the Olympic rings as our inspiration for this board and had a fun time scouring the grocery store for black, red, blue, yellow and green foods. This board combines everything we love about sweet and savory snacks and can be put together quickly to share with family and friends. As with any of our board recipes, swap with your favorite foods and use what you have already! Our suggestion is to stick to white and neutral “background” foods so that the colors of the rings stand out on the board.

Olympic Themed Appetizer Board

  • Servings: 6
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We are celebrating the Olympic opening ceremonies in style with this fun snack board!

Ingredients

  • 1 yellow bell pepper
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1 heaping cup broccoli, cut into small segments
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 1 cup kalamata olives
  • white cheese of your choice, cut into cubes
  • 1 package of your favorite nuts- we love the Trader Joe’s rosemary marcona almonds
  • 2 dips, ideally white in color to help the rings stand out
  • crackers for dipping

Directions

  1. Chop the bell pepper and broccoli. Start to arrange the rings on the board in the style of the olympic rings. This will take some patience as you have to rearrange the ingredients so that the rings are intersecting. When they are loosely assembled, start to add the other ingredients.
  2. Pour the dips into two ramekins and place the ramekins in two of the ring centers. Fill two of the other rings with the white cheese cubes and the third with the marcona almonds. Adjust the rings as necessary and surround the rings with crackers. Serve immediately.


Caprese Bruschetta

Now that our social lives are getting back on track, we feel a little rusty in the dinner party/entertaining game. We find ourselves going back to the basics as we dust the rust off and have more people over for dinner. One of our simple hacks to make entertaining easy is to have an interactive appetizer as part of the menu. While our guests are having a drink they can also stay busy making their first bites of food. This way, we can be in the kitchen putting the finishing touches on dinner. We love this caprese bruschetta because the ingredients are so simple but the taste is so impressive. By swapping fresh tomatoes out for garlic roasted tomatoes, traditional fresh mozzarella for creamy burrata, and simple basil leaves for homemade pesto, we have made each ingredient feel more special with hardly any effort. This appetizer is bursting with flavor and perfect for any summer gathering.

Caprese Bruschetta

  • Servings: 4
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A simple appetizer featuring our favorite summer ingredients.

Ingredients

  • 1 baguette, sliced on a bias
  • 1 ball fresh burrata, drained
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 3 tbs olive oil, divided
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 batch homemade pesto
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Toss the tomatoes with the olive oil and the sliced garlic. Lay everything in a single layer on a cookie sheet and season well with salt and pepper. Cook for 15 minutes, or until the tomatoes are just bursting. Use a slotted spatula to remove the tomatoes and garlic from the pan and into a serving bowl, leaving any juices and oils behind. Toss the baguette slices with the oils from the pan and put in the oven. Toast for about 5 minutes, or until the baguette is crispy.
  3. While the tomatoes are cooking, make the pesto. Combine all of the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Place in a small bowl for serving.
  4. Drain the burrata and pat it dry with a paper towel. Carefully slice the burrata into segments and lay it in the serving platter. Season the burrata with a little salt and freshly cracked pepper. Assemble the serving tray with the tomatoes, pesto, and baguette slices. Serve immediately.


Watermelon & Halloumi Kabobs

We are approaching Memorial Day Weekend, which means that it is officially #WatermelonSeason. We love watermelon in the summer, and are particularly into mixing the sweet fruit with savory toppings for something unexpected. To prepare for this weekend’s barbecue festivities, we are making loads of these kabobs with watermelon, mint, and halloumi cheese. Halloumi is a firm, salty cheese found in Greek recipes, and often times it is fried to create a crispy exterior and soft, melty interior. The combination of the crispy salty cheese, sweet and juicy watermelon, and fresh mint doesn’t sound like it works together, but trust us… it is seriously delicious. To tie it all together we drizzle it with a spicy lemon olive oil for a perfect barbecue appetizer or side dish.

Watermelon & Halloumi Kabobs

  • Servings: 14 kabobs
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A little sweet, a little salty… these kabobs have a bit of everything for a simple yet insanely tasty summer side dish.

Ingredients

  • 14, 5 inch kabob skewers
  • 1 8 oz package halloumi cheese, cut into small bite sized pieces
  • 1/2 of a large watermelon, rind cut away and cut into bite sized, square pieces
  • 1 package fresh mint leaves, left whole
  • 1/3 cup + 1 tbs olive oil
  • zest and juice of one lemon
  • pinch of chili flakes, to taste
  • salt and pepper

Directions

  1. Whisk the 1/3 cup olive oil, lemon zest and juice, and chili flakes together in a small bowl. We like to be generous with the chili flakes for this dish, but use your best judgement based on who is eating the kabobs. Season to taste with salt and pepper and set aside.
  2. Heat a large saute pan with 1 tbs of olive oil over medium-high heat. Carefully place the halloumi into the pan in an even layer. Cook the halloumi for 2-3 minutes per side, flipping the halloumi as necessary so that most of the sides are browned and the cheese is starting to melt. Remove the cheese from the pan onto a dry surface to assemble the kabobs.
  3. Assemble the kabobs by alternating the watermelon, mint leaves, and halloumi onto each of the kabobs. We like to layer mint between the watermelon and the cheese so that the watermelon doesn’t make the cheese soggy. This helps keep the kabobs fresher, longer. When each of the kabobs is filled, lay onto a serving platter. Drizzle with the lemon and chili oil and serve immediately.


Spicy Chorizo Queso

Last week Justin Timberlake said “it’s gonna be May” and just like that, here we are rolling into Cinco de Mayo. Last year’s cinco celebrations were a bit bleak thanks to Covid quarantine and a general dismal state of mind. We are feeling much more festive this year and ready for any type of party (literally). We are starting off our menu with this Spicy Chorizo Queso and have to admit we are pretty obsessed with it. We use a variety of ingredients to bring the heat, including fresh jalapeños, pickled jalapeños, chorizo sausage, and chili powder. Unlike a lot of recipes you see out there, we add the chorizo into the queso (hence the red color). It might not be quite as photogenic but it is bursting with flavor. The final result is a complex combo of flavors that have us wanting to eat the entire bowl and calling it dinner. We won’t judge if you go that route as well.

Spicy Chorizo Queso

  • Servings: 8-10
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A queso that is perfect for your Cinco de Mayo celebrations or any gathering in need of a spicy dip.

Ingredients

  • 6 oz chorizo
  • 1 jalapeño, stem and seeds removed, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 1/2 cups half and half
  • 1 cup gently packed, shredded chihuahua cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend
  • pickled jalapenos, for garnish
  • cilantro, for garnish
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Heat a medium sized pot over medium-high heat. Add the chorizo (removing any casing) and cook until the chorizo is just cooked through. Remove the chorizo with a slotted spoon into a bowl and drain all but 1 tbs of the fat from the pot.
  2. Put the pot back on the heat and reduce to the heat to medium. Add the jalapeno, garlic, and onion to the pot. Cook 3-4 minutes, or until the onion starts to become translucent. Add the cumin, chili powder, and half and half to the pot.
  3. When the half and half starts to simmer, add about 1/3 of the cheese and stir well with a whisk to combine. When the first batch of cheese is melted, add another 1/3 and whisk to combine. Repeat with the remaining 1/3 of the cheese and again, whisk until the sauce is completely combined. Use a slotted spoon to add all but 2 tbs of the chorizo back to the pot. You want to leave behind any fat that drained while it was resting. Reduce the heat of the pot to low and let the sauce cook for 10 minutes. Whisk occasionally to make sure that nothing is sticking to the bottom of the pot. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  4. Transfer the queso to a large serving bowl. Garnish with the remaining 2 tbs of chorizo, lots of fresh cilantro, and pickled jalapenos. Serve with your favorite chips for dipping.


Classic Deviled Eggs

Whenever we think of creating an Easter menu, we always think of deviled eggs. We LOVE deviled eggs and rarely pass up an opportunity to make them or order them if we see them on a menu. We love all of the variations we see in recipes that really mix up the ingredients but to us, a good, classic recipe is hard to beat. Because we keep things simple when we make them at home, we are able to get more creative and add fun ingredients to our other brunch menu recipes without having overlap. We do include one surprise, however, and that is a dash of hot sauce in the bottom of each egg before we fill them. We took this note from Chrissy Teigan and love how we get that added kick from the hot sauce without discoloring the yellow of the egg yolks.

Classic Deviled Eggs

  • Servings: 24
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Our simple recipe for classic deviled eggs that are a crowd pleaser every time we make them.

Ingredients

  • 12 eggs
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tbs + 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • your favorite hot sauce
  • chives, finely chopped, for garnish
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Heat a large pot of water and bring it to a boil.
  2. Gently add the eggs into the water and cook the eggs for 10 minutes. Remove the eggs with a slotted spoon and put them into a bowl of ice water for 3-4 minutes. When they are cool enough to handle, remove them from the ice water.
  3. Carefully crack the eggs and peel away the shells. There is normally a small hollow section in each shell; we feel for that section and start peeling from there to make things easy.
  4. Cut each of the eggs in half lengthwise, cleaning the knife between each cut so that the whites of the eggs stay clean. Remove all of the yolks as best you can and place them into a mixing bowl.
  5. Add the mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, and cayenne to the yolks. Use a hand mixer to whip all of the ingredients together and make the mixture as smooth as possible. Season to taste with salt and pepper. If the yolks need a little more of a kick, you can add a dash of hot sauce to the yolk mixture. Pour the yolk mixture into a piping bag or ziplock bag.
  6. Lay each of the egg whites onto a serving tray. Carefully pour a dab of hot sauce into the bottom of each egg white. Use the piping bag to dollop the yolk mixture on top of the hot sauce in each egg. Garnish with the chives and serve immediately. The deviled eggs can also be chilled in the refrigerator for a few hours in advance of serving.


Labneh with Parsley & Pistachio Pesto

Passover is one of our favorite Jewish holidays because of the symbolism of the Seder. It’s always the holiday we bring non-Jewish friends to (pre-Covid) to learn about being Jewish. If you are not a member of the tribe and have been invited to a Sedar, you may have shown up starving and realized that you are in for a long night. (For a great rendition of this panic, watch this skit by Sebastian Maniscalco) To avoid the Sedar starvation panic, we usually start our Passover with a light appetizer before we begin. This recipe for Labneh with Parsley & Pistachio Pesto is perfect for any occasion and a great recipe to welcome in Spring. We use the term “pesto” loosely, as the topping for the labneh is everything we love in a pistachio pesto, but we haven’t blended the ingredients together. The result is lots of bright flavors on top of the creamy labneh with an extra crunch from the pistachios.

Labneh with Parsley & Pistachio Pesto

  • Servings: 6
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  The perfect appetizer for your Passover seder or any spring gathering.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups labneh (you can substitute whole milk Greek yogurt)
  • 2 cups packed parsley leaves
  • 3/4 cup pistachios
  • 2 large cloves garlic
  • zest of 2 lemons
  • 1 tsp red chili flakes
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Spread the labneh into an even layer in a shallow small serving bowl or a small salad plate. Set aside.
  2. Put the parsley leaves, pistachios, and garlic into a food processor. Pulse the blender to finely chop the ingredients. Do not over-blend the ingredients, you are just looking for a fine chop. Remove the parsley mixture from the blender into a small bowl. Add the lemon zest and chili flakes to the parsley, stir to combine.
  3. Start by adding about half of the recommended olive oil to the parsley mix. You want the mixture to have the consistency of wet sand, but not drowning in olive oil. Add up to the full amount of 1/3 cup if necessary. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Dollop the parsley mix on top of the labneh. Serve with a variety of fresh vegetable and matzah, if desired.


Olive Tapenade & Whipped Goat Cheese Bruschetta

If you know us personally, you know that we go a bit overboard for awards season. We love television and movies, and use the award shows as an excuse to make a fun and often punny themed menu for us to enjoy while we watch. This years Golden Globes is no exception. We are kicking things off for the award season with this Olive Tapenade & Whipped Goat Cheese Bruchetta. This is a perfect appetizer to make in advance so that you can have a plate ready to serve when your friends and family arrive. We love doing a homemade olive tapenade so that we can include the olives that we love the most – castelvetrano and kalamata. You can easily swap for other olives of your preference or substitute with what you have on hand. The whipped goat cheese adds a touch of creaminess and helps temper the salty tapenade for a great way to kick off the show.

Olive and Whipped Goat Cheese Bruchetta

  • Servings: 16 pieces of bruchetta
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Ingredients

  • 8 oz castelvetrano olives, pitted
  • 8 oz kalamata olives, pitted
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup parsley, stems removed
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 8 oz goat cheese
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 french baguette

Directions

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 300 degrees.
  2. Cut the baguette into one inch slides. Drizzle a bit of olive oil on each side of the cut bread and place on a baking sheet in the oven for 5 minutes so the bread is nice and toasted. Remove when the slices are crunchy.
  3. In a blender, combine the olives, olive oil, parsley and lemon juice. Blend until the olives are ground or until the consistency of the tapenade is your desired texture. If the mixture is too thick, add additional olive oil. Set the mixture aside and clean out the blender.
  4. In the same blender, add the goat cheese and water and blend until the goat cheese is a creamy texture. Use your judgement on the consistency and add water as needed. It should be creamy but not runny.
  5. Assemble. Spread a layer of the goat cheese on one side of the bread and top with a generous dollop of the olive tapenade. Serve immediately.


Valentine’s Day Cheese Board For Two

When coming up with our 2021 Valentine’s Day Menu, we admit , we were feeling a bit indulgent. We know that most couples will be spending Valentine’s Day in their own homes this year, so we wanted a meal that felt decadent and different than just an average weeknight dinner. We are starting our menu with the appetizer course, a cheese board for two. The best part of this cheese board is that the ingredients fit seamlessly to be an appetizer or a dessert board depending on your preferences. As with all cheese boards, you can mix this up however you like, and we encourage you to use ingredients you already have at home. As an appetizer, we recommend more savory ingredients like bacon jam and mixed nuts. For dessert, you can incorporate chocolate, candies and any other sweet treats you crave.

Valentine's Day Cheese Board

  • Servings: 2
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The perfect appetizer or dessert cheese board for two!

Ingredients

  • 1 small brie wheel
  • 1 brick sharp white cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup raspberry or strawberry jelly
  • grapes
  • strawberries
  • raspberries
  • blueberries
  • peanuts
  • chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Prepare the cheese. Using a heart shaped cookie cutter, cut out a heart in the center of the brie wheel. Discard the heart (by eating in while you prepare the board) and place the brie in the center of your cheese board. Cut out “I” and “U” shaped letters from the cheddar cheese brick. Place them on each side of the brie wheel.
  2. Assemble the cheese board. Surround the I ❤ U with the grapes, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, peanuts and chocolate. We like to have a mix of the foods all over the board to have a range of color and texture throughout. Be sure to incorporate the snacks you like and enjoy with your loved ones!


Seven Layer Dip Nachos

We have arrived at Super Bowl week! We have always loved celebrating the Super Bowl with huge food spreads, lots of friends, and family, but this year is most exciting for Kidd because the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be playing. Kidd has been a Bucs fan through thick and thin, so this year we have set out to make a menu that is extra special. While our gathering may be a bit smaller, we fully plan to indulge in an epic Super Bowl spread.

Jamie hates seven layer dip. Let’s just put that out there into the world and get it off our chests. The layering of all of these different ingredients- some of which should be hot, some of which should be cold- is just a huge no no. The only problem with her dislike of seven layer dip is that everyone else in the family loves it. Can’t get enough. When brainstorming recipes for this year’s Super Bowl, we knew we had to form some sort of compromise so that the seven layer fans get their fix, but make sure that Jamie wouldn’t be repulsed by the idea of eating cold refried beans. Enter Seven Layer Dip Nachos. A recipe to make all of the people happy. We have baked the chips, cheese, refried beans, and chiles before topping them with all of the ingredients we prefer to have cold. To spice things up, we have made a chipotle lime sour cream and added our homemade guacamole. If you’re not in the mood to cook any more than you have to, you can easily purchase sour cream and guacamole at the grocery store and call it a win. These nachos are a gorgeous heap of cheesy goodness and the perfect game day appetizer for hungry football fans.

Seven Layer Dip Nachos

  • Servings: 8-10
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Our version of Seven Layer Dip made into nachos!

Ingredients for the Nachos

  • 1 bag of your favorite tortilla chips
  • 8 oz shredded Mexican cheese blend
  • 1 can (16 oz) refried beans
  • 1 can (4 oz) green chiles, drained
  • 2-3 tbs sliced black olives
  • 1/2 cup pico de gallo, drained well
  • 1/2 recipe of our homemade guacamole

Ingredients for the Chipotle Lime Sour Cream

  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 chipotle in adobo, minced
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • juice from one lime
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lay half of the chips onto a small cookie sheet in an even layer. We like the nachos to be piled high, so if it looks like the sheet tray is getting little crowded, that’s okay! Just make sure the chips are in an even layer so they don’t spill in the oven.
  2. Use a spoon to dollop half of the refried beans, green chiles, and shredded cheese over the first layer of nachos. Add the remaining tortilla chips on top of the first layer and repeat the dollops of refried beans, green chiles, and cheese. Bake the nachos in the oven for 10 minutes, or until the cheese is nice and melted.
  3. While the chips are baking, make the sour cream. Whisk the sour cream, chipotle in adobo, cumin, and lime juice in a small bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  4. When the cheese is melted onto the chips, remove from the oven and let the topping games begin! Dollop the sour cream, pico de gallo, and guacamole around the chips, trying to get the toppings into all of the nooks and crannies. Sprinkle with the olives and serve immediately.


Roasted Vegetable Platter

We know that Thanksgiving 2020 is probably going to look a little different for most of us this year. If you are used to having a large gathering, downsizing your menu and vision can seem a little sad. Our tip for enjoying the holiday to the fullest is to prepare your menu as you would any other year. If Thanksgiving doesn’t feel like Thanksgiving without 10 side dishes, go ahead and make your traditional full menu! We suggest that this year you downsize the quantity but not the scale of your traditional Thanksgiving menu. We all need a little holiday cheer after the strangest year of history, plus, who doesn’t love Thanksgiving leftovers?

Even with a small gathering, we love to have an appetizer out and ready for our guests to arrive. Because a traditional Thanksgiving menu is loaded with carby side dishes, we like to keep appetizers light. Save the baked brie for other winter gatherings. We love this roasted vegetable platter because all of the components can be made the day before. We love the addition of the romesco sauce and the lemon aioli to provide a zesty punch, but you can serve the vegetables with any dipping sauce you enjoy. All it takes is some quick assembly on Thanksgiving Day and you will have a gorgeous appetizer to set the tone for a festive holiday dinner. We have gone ahead and listed out every vegetable and dip on the platter that we used in the recipe below, but we encourage you to plan out your platter so that you do not have any repeating vegetables in your main dinner menu.

Roasted Vegetable Platter

  • Servings: 6-8
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A healthy and robust appetizer platter to have waiting for your Thanksgiving guests!

Ingredients

  • 1 head of cauliflower, stem removed and cut into florets
  • 1 acorn squash, seeds removed and sliced into wedges
  • 1 package petite rainbow carrots
  • 3 beets, rinsed, peeled, and sliced into wedges
  • 1 can of artichoke hearts, rinsed and drained
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • romesco sauce, or dip of your choice
  • lemon & garlic aioli, or dip of your choice

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Prep the vegetables that need roasting (cauliflower, squash, carrots and beets) so that all of them are peeled, have their seeds removed, and are chopped into large bite sized pieces. Lay the vegetables on a cookie sheet or two so that they are in a single layer. Drizzle with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Roast the vegetables until they are fork tender, anywhere from 30 – 40 minutes. Remove the vegetables from the oven and let cool so that they are warm or room temperature. If you are making the vegetables the day before, refrigerate and bring out to room temperature at least 30 minutes before serving.
  4. Serve the vegetables on a platter with romesco sauce and lemon aioli, or any dips of your choice. Serve with small forks and/or toothpicks to allow your guests to help themselves.