Appetizer Recipes

Beet Caviar
Beet Caviar

Inspired by a loaf of 100% einkorn bread passed to me by a friend (and the cookbook by Silvena Rowe I had in my bag at the time) - a beet caviar. Perfect for slathering - sweet earthiness of roasted beets accented with toasted walnuts, chives, dates, and a swirl of creme fraiche.

Deviled Eggs
Deviled Eggs

We had some beautiful deviled eggs leftover from lunch on Friday - this particular deviled egg recipe had an herb-flecked filling made with Greek yogurt and was topped with chive flowers and toasted almonds. I packed them, along with a big pot of soup, for an overnight with friends in Bolinas.

Guacamole
Guacamole

To make great guacamole you have to go off-recipe. It's all about the in-between steps, decisions, and knowing when avocados are at their best.

Silverdollar Socca
Silverdollar Socca

Tiny socca-inspired pancakes made with buttermilk or keffir - golden, tender, and cooked in cold-pressed spicy mustard oil. Flat out delicious.

Gin-marinated Olives
Gin-marinated Olives

Hot, gin-marinated olives. I used big, green Castelvetranos tossed with a mixture of gin and olive oil, big swatches of lemon peel, lots of herbs. Feta cubes were the finishing touch.





Fennel Mushrooms
Fennel Mushrooms

A fennel mushroom recipe inspired by one of my vintage cookbooks, The Seasonal Kitchen by Perla Meyers. It's a simple, brilliant twist on everyday sauteed mushrooms with dill, chives, fresh fennel, and a kiss of creme fraiche.

Mast-o-Khiar Yogurt Dip
Mast-o-Khiar Yogurt Dip

The prettiest dip in my repertoire - my take on the Iranian preparation of Mast-o-Khiar (yogurt and cucumber). I use lots of fresh herbs, dried rose petals, toasted walnuts and a pop of added color and tartness from dried cranberries.

Parmesan Cheese Spread
Parmesan Cheese Spread

A Parmesan cheese spread made with grated cheese, olive oil, a splash of white wine, and any other accents you can think of.

Gougères
Gougères

Gougères - I have these little cheese puffs in my freezer, ready to bake, nearly always. This version, a favorite, is made with whole wheat flour, sharp white cheddar cheese, fennel, and ale.

Golden Potstickers
Golden Potstickers

Potstickers - For my flight to London, I made the filling with lots of caramelized shallots & pureed yellow split peas then pan-fried them until the bottoms were crisp and golden. They freeze like beautifully, perfect for quick dumpling-centric meals later on.

Liptauer Cheese Crostini
Liptauer Cheese Crostini

A couple book signing pics. And in an effort to expand my crostini repertoire, I made this flavor-packed liptauer cheese spread on black bread crostini - goat cheese, paprika, capers, pickles, onions.

Oatmeal Crackers
Oatmeal Crackers

Snappy, substantial, homemade oatmeal crackers - made with rolled oats and rye flour. Plus a little glimpse at some postcards I made.

Grilled Salt & Vinegar Potatoes
Grilled Salt & Vinegar Potatoes

Salt & vinegar chip enthusiasts, these are for you. You take slabs of sliced potatoes, boil them in vinegar, then grill them to a crisp. Not for the faint of heart, or anyone with particularly sensitive taste buds ;)...

Buckwheat Cheese Straws
Buckwheat Cheese Straws

These cheese straws look like wispy tree branches. Wayne calls them cheese twigs, and they never last very long around here. Crispy, cheddar-flecked, and rustic - it's the buckwheat flour that lends these slender creations their convincing shade of brownish gray.

Baked Sweet Potato Falafel
Baked Sweet Potato Falafel

Baked Sweet Potato Falafel recipe from the Leon cookbook -made from mashed sweet potatoes, chickpea flour, spices, a nice amount of garlic and plenty of chopped cilantro.

Monica Bhide's Chile Pea Puffs
Monica Bhide's Chile Pea Puffs

Monica Bhide's Chile Pea Puff recipe - crispy-skinned baked snacks stuffed with peas, paneer cheese, chiles, and garlic. From her new cookbook - Modern Spice: Inspired Indian Flavors for the Contemporary Kitchen.

Classic Cheese Fondue
Classic Cheese Fondue

A classic cheese fondue recipe. I've included dozens of my favorite things to dunk - don't limit yourself to just bread!

Caramelized Onion Dip
Caramelized Onion Dip

A grown-up remake of the onion dip I loved as a kid. This one features lots of deeply caramelized onions, sour cream and Greek yogurt.

Hummus en Fuego
Hummus en Fuego

A beautiful, spicy hummus recipe made from pureed garbanzo beans, toasted walnuts, and spicy crushed red pepper oil finished with a few chopped olives and a bit of cilantro.

Apple Zucchini Crostini
Apple Zucchini Crostini

Inspired by a trip to Argentina, small crackers topped with an apple-zucchini relish, a tiny kiss of goat cheese, and a couple flecks of black pepper.

Grilled Pizza
Grilled Pizza

Grilled pizza recipe with an outline of techniques and considerations about the technique it takes to get grilled pizzas right - with topping ideas.

Plump Pea Dumplings
Plump Pea Dumplings

A vegetarian dumpling recipe featuring a simple pea, lemon, ricotta filling. Bright flavors and delicious steamed or pan-fried.

Olive Oil Crackers
Olive Oil Crackers

This cracker recipe makes thin, snappy, rustic crackers - sturdy enough to stand up to a hearty dip. The technique is simple and straightforward (utilizing just a few ingredients) and the dough is a welcoming canvas to all manner of seeds, salts, cheeses, spices, or flavored oils that you might want to use as accents.

Baked Artichoke Dip
Baked Artichoke Dip

An updated, healthier version of my favorite artichoke dip recipe. Artichokes pureed with yogurt, tofu, Parmesan cheese, and garlic and baked until golden.

Spicy Polenta-Cheese Crackers
Spicy Polenta-Cheese Crackers

Made from polenta, buttermilk, cayenne pepper, and Parmesan cheese, this is a perfect party cracker recipe.

My Dad's Garlic Bread
My Dad's Garlic Bread

My dad's garlic bread recipe - garlic, lots of butter, chives, and lemon zest slathered on a wide baguette. A garlic-studded, golden crusted masterpiece.

Toasted Pumpkin Seeds: Three Ways
Toasted Pumpkin Seeds: Three Ways

Don't let all those pumpkin seeds go to waste, toasting pumpkin seeds is easy! This year I tried some different flavor combinations: Sweet & Spicy Toasted Pumpkin Seeds, Black Tea & Butter Toasted Pumpkin Seeds, and Curried Toasted Pumpkin Seeds.

Baked Polenta Fries
Baked Polenta Fries

Great party finger food. A thick slab of polenta is sliced into the shape of a french fry and baked off.

Cheesy, Heirloom, Panini Batons
Cheesy, Heirloom, Panini Batons

One-inch wide slabs of toasted, cheesy, heirloom tomato filled deliciousness slathered with a basil-chive ricotta spread.

Animal Crackers
Animal Crackers

Make crispy crackers from wonton wrappers. The great thing about this cracker recipe is the way the wrappers provide a quick and easy blank canvas to experiment with - sweet or savory, spicy or seedy - there are countless directions to explore.

Dukkah
Dukkah

Great for dipping with olive oil, this dukkah recipe is a crumbly nut and spice blend typically associated with Egypt - hazelnuts, cariander seeds, sesame seeds, cumin seeds, black peppercorns, fennel seeds, dried mint leaves, and salt.

Whipped Chickpea Hummus
Whipped Chickpea Hummus

Actually two different takes on hummus. One with an Italian twist, and one a lovely shade of green from the incorporation of a bit of sauteed spinach.

Spiced Candied Walnuts
Spiced Candied Walnuts

This candied walnut recipe was is the perfect solution to a New Years Eve hors d'oeuvres dilemma. Made with walnuts, sea salt, black pepper, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, and powdered sugar.

Heirloom Tomato Tart in a Parmesan Crust
Heirloom Tomato Tart in a Parmesan Crust

A knock-out tomato tart recipe - it highlights the flavor and vibrancy of the tomatoes while remaining mush-free.

Beluga Lentil Crostini
Beluga Lentil Crostini

This has become one of my favorite crostini recipes - goat cheese, black beluga lentils, and chives on garlic-rubbed crostini.

Fresh Shelling Peas: Four Ways
Fresh Shelling Peas: Four Ways

I went to the market and came back with fresh peas - here's how I cooked them. Pea recipes, time four.

Herb Jam with Olives and Lemon
Herb Jam with Olives and Lemon

A Paula Wolfert recipe - this is a fantastic Moroccan spread made of a thick mash of herbs and greens, accented with smokey spices, chopped olives, and lemon.

Herbed Buttermilk Popcorn
Herbed Buttermilk Popcorn

The seasoning from this popcorn recipe hits you in waves - the smell of the dill, the tang of the buttermilk powder, a bit of kick from the onion and garlic powder. You'll never go back to the movie theatre variety.