» Archive for the 'Appetizers' Category

Mushroom Pastry

Thursday, April 24th, 2014 by Gabi
Purchase this image at http://www.stocksy.com/190728

Purchase this image at http://www.stocksy.com/190728

It all started with the ridiculous amounts of mushroom I usually buy from the grocery store. I always over estimate the quantity for mushroom consumption in our family. So, as it is with all those brilliant ideas, when stars align and you have just the right ingredients (and heaps of mushroom) in your kitchen, I found a tasty combination of mushroom and puff pastry – the Mushroom Pastry!

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Salame di Brianza

Thursday, June 3rd, 2010 by Gabi

Salame di Brianza

I agree, lately my blog’s flavor leans on the meaty side (sorry vegetarians). This all has to do with my latest fascination with cured meats, and the craft of Charcuterie I consider an art in itself. After some (failed) attempts at curing sausage, some of which grew beards (literally), I finally got a grip on some of the key rules, so here is the the first successful result – Salame di Brianza!

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Bacon Wrapped Dates

Friday, February 6th, 2009 by Gabi
Bacon Wrapped Dates

Bacon Wrapped Dates

First I’d like to thank all of you for the messages of concern you sent regarding my mysterious disappearance that left some of you wondering what is going on with me. It is good to know that I have friends out there in the Blogosphere! Thank you!
It was all because of an intense period of preparation and practice for a Broadway musical called The Wedding Singer, where I was hired to play (loud) guitars in the orchestra (band) pit. Although it was a fun experience, sounded extremely well, it was a strenuous time for me because I had to learn about 23 songs by sight reading which proved me to be a little rusty since I am more of a guitar player that plays ‘by ear’ than after a score, etc. But hey, I pulled it off, and here I am ready to do some cooking!

This brings me to my second point and more relevant for this blog:

Blanket For Dates!

Remember last year’s 40st B-Day present from my wife, the class for Irresistible Hors d’ oeuvres at Chicago’s Chopping Block cooking school? Well it turned out to be a blast. It was a nice night, we prepared interesting Hors d’ Oeuvres, but one of them really irresistible me. They were the bacon wrapped dates.

A delicious finger food appetizer that’s very easy to prepare. Here is the recipe with simple tips.

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40 and Chicago’s Chopping Block

Monday, December 1st, 2008 by Gabi

On the event of turning the first digit in my age on Nov 25 to (4)0, and still not knowing what I want to be when I grow up, my sweet wife Steph got me a surprise gift of attending one of the cooking classes at the Chicago Chopping Block cooking school. How cool is that! Or maybe she meant that my cooking sucks so bad that I am in desperate need of some classes. Heh!

The place has a vast schedule of classes from learning how to bake bread and pastries, prepare sauces, knife skillz, to making the well known Chicago style pizza, pasta workshop, hands on sushi, wine tasting,  French Bistro, and so on. I’m still unsure which classes to attend. The “Irresistible Hors d’Oeuvres” looks interesting so far. They will teach you (me) some interesting appetizers like:

  • Mushroom, Onion and Gruyere Cheese Puff Pastry Tart
  • Crab and Spinach Dip
  • Chorizo and Phyllo Cigars
  • Candied Nuts
  • Bacon Wrapped Dates (who wouldn’t like THAT !?!)

I debated between the Italian Comfort food and the Hors d’Oeuvres class and I feel myself drawn more to the latest since we have plenty of authentic Italian cooking going on in our family that I could learn from without paying the $75/class tuition.

I am curious to know if any of you attended any of these classes and if you have a strong opinion what to take and what not, etc.
It looks like a nice downtown experience, specially for my, the suburb boy who only needs to take the commuter train from the Northwest suburbs into Chicago where the class takes place (Merchandise Mart building). And if they taste good I’ll post the recipes and techniques! Might even smack some pics!

Eggplant Dip

Monday, September 22nd, 2008 by Gabi

One of the recipes I recall from early childhood in Romania was one that my Grandmother, Mom and virtually everyone would make on a warm summer afternoon – as an enchanting snack, the eggplant dip.
A remarkable eggplant recipe, this simple eggplant dip can be eaten with fresh bread, chips, pita bread.

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