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It seems like we keep really busy late in the year attending events and activities that involve food. Whether it’s a company party or a family get together, a welcome addition to any gathering is an appetizer. The term “appetizer” usually refers to a small plate or single bite of food served before the meal to stimulate the appetite. The same food item might be served as an hors d’oeuvres at cocktail parties and receptions, where no dinner is served afterward. There are many recipes freely available, and here are a few of our own.

Texican Street Corn Scoops
Texican Street Corn ScoopsThis is a delicious treat that accents the freshness of corn on the cob with butter, cheese and homemade Emeril’s Essence! Texican Street Corn Scoops are a terrific way to deliver wonderful flavors in a bite size finger food. We cook the ears of corn in the microwave for our Texican Street Corn to retain all the flavor and sweetness which other methods often cook out, and we show you how to create this flavorful bite size version that will bring them back for more. Get the recipe here.

Twice Baked Potato Skins
Twice Baked Potato Skins Treat the family to an oven baked potato recipe dish that has the ideal texture and taste. Load these twice backed potatoes with butter, sour cream, cheese, chives, and top with crumbled bacon. They boast the ultimate level of silky creaminess, cheesiness, and buttery goodness . . . then top it with bacon! The perfect recipe for your memorable Christmas meal! Many folks also enjoy smaller versions as finger food, whether served hot or cold. Get the recipe here.

Shrimp Boats
Shrimp In A BoatThe original recipe for this appetizer was a shrimp salad that dates back to the early 1970s when our next door neighbor, Karen Flessner, introduced this. She served the salad in a large bowl with a dipping spoon and snack crackers on the side so we could fix our own. This deliciousness can also be elevated to bite-size morsels served in tortilla cups, as we show here, or on crackers, croutons, or any other vessel that is available. Get the recipe here.

Curried Carrot and Pear Bites
Curried Carrot and Pear Bites with RaisinsAdapted from our Carrot and Pear Salad, this tasty morsel on a stick is a party of flavors in an attractive burst of colors. Combining a zesty marinade with the pallet-pleasing tastes of fresh pears and raisins is counterbalanced by the earthy tones of the carrot ribbons. This eye catcher is a favorite, and they are easy to assemble, so be sure to make plenty. Get the recipe here.

Fingerling Hasselback Potato Bites
Roasted cheddar potato fanThe Hasselback potato is clearly the most eye-catching spud to ever call itself a side dish. Elevate the baked potato into an eye-catching side dish or appetizer with these potatoes roasted in a hot oven to produce a crispy skin and creamy interior. Adding seasoning and cheese, these appetizers will leap off the serving tray. These are called “Hasselback” potatoes, which refers to the luxurious Hasselbacken hotel and restaurant in Stockholm, which originated this technique. Get the recipe here.

Rye Bread with Dill Dip
Dill Dip in Rye Bread LoafLarry’s mother got this dill dip recipe from a St. Louis grocery store that made it fresh daily. We have served it many times over the years, and it eventually found its way into a hollowed out loaf of rye bread. Break the center of the loaf into pieces and place around the loaf. When the broken pieces are gone you break bread from the loaf itself. Enjoy! Get the recipe here.

Roasted Cheddar and Bacon Jalapeno Poppers
Cheddar and Bacon Jalapeno PopperStems sliced down the middle give these jalapeno poppers additional eye appeal. Poppers are fun to experiment with and we like making these a variety of ways. This recipe uses flavored thick cut bacon, and a little bread or cracker crumbs to add a tiny bit of texture to the filling, to complement the crunchiness of the exterior. Get the recipe here.

Easy to assemble appetizers and hors d’oeuvres are fun to make, and even more fun when they become the hit of the party. Try putting together one or more of these for your next get together, and let us know how it went. Have a favorite you’d like to tell us about? We always enjoy hearing from you!

All those wonderfully eye-pleasing entrees we prepare, whether roasted, braised, or sauteed, are made better by the sauces that bring that extra measure of flavor and moistness to the plate. From savory to sweet, the sauce often is the jewel in the crown of your starring dish.

French “Mother” Sauces
Lea ladles sauce There are five basic sauces from which hundreds of other derivative sauces can be developed. Sauces are liquids that are usually thickened in some way, and are used to 1) add moistness, 2) provide a finishing flavor, 3) add richness, or, 4) enhance the attractiveness of the dish. At the foundation of every sauce is usually a flavored or seasoned liquid with a thickening agent added in. You can find the recipes for these essential basic sauces here.

Red Wine Reduction (Pan Sauce)
Pan Sauce on Pork Loin Medallions When you turn the steak or chop you’re searing, or roast you’re browning, you’ll see some cooked seasoning and brown bits left in the bottom of the pan and floating in the liquid. This is called fond, and it delivers great goodness in a pan sauce to go over your steak or chop, or to finish your roast. You can find the technique for creating a delicious pan sauce from the fond right here.

Shrimp Cocktail Sauce
Classic Shrimp CocktailHardly anything excites the pallet upon first sight more than the classic shrimp cocktail, which is elegant by its very nature. Our simple recipe will help you serve an outstanding, flavorful, sauce that is robust without being overly hot. Buy your prepared horseradish the way you want to serve it: Very hot, hot, medium, or mild. By letting the manufacturer prepare it, you eliminate the guess work. Get the recipe https://morecooking.net/misc/shrimp-cocktail-sauce/

Raisin Sauces
Apple Pie with Rum Raisin SauceClassic raisin sauces have been around for as long as anyone can remember. Leaving grapes out to dry in the sun and air is one of the oldest methods of preserving them by turning them into raisins. Raisins and dried fruits are simple, wholesome foods, grown by nature and used basically the same way for thousands of years. We have some raisin sauces to spice up that fruit pie, baked ham, or to turn ice cream into something extraordinary. Here is the Rum Raisin Sauce, Raisin Sauce (No Rum), and the classic Raisin Sauce for Ham.

Sauces really elevate many dishes to a whole new level of eye appeal and flavor. Stir some up, and enjoy the comments of your diners.

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