Tag: Appetizer

Scallop Bhaji

Scallop Bhaji 1

A little over years ago, I posted a little appetizer recipe for something I called Scallop Clusters. It was a Japanese inspired dish featuring bits of scallop deep-fried Kakiage style and I like it very much. For today’s post, I have used that appetizer as a starting point and created something along the lines of the Indian style fritter called a ‘Bhaji’. The recipe isn’t an actual Indian recipe but seasonings are definitely Indian in spirit … Continue reading “Scallop Bhaji”

Lemon-Stuffed Olives

Lemon-Stuffed Olives 1

A few months ago, I had an appetizer in a Greek restaurant that featured olives stuffed with a number of different ingredients, one of which was lemon. In following up, with a view to trying something similar at home, I discovered that most recipes for lemon stuffed olives tend to use the zest for the stuffing. The ones I had at the restaurant were quite mild when It came to the lemon flavor and I am not sure whether they used the zest or the flesh. In any event, for today’s recipe, I went with the latter… Continue reading “Lemon-Stuffed Olives”

Octopus Banchan

Octopus Banchan 1

Today, I have used the tentacle tips and other scraps from a recent Octopus Purchase to make a little Korean style Banchan, or side-dish. This style of Banchan involves cooking the main ingredient with the Korean Chili Paste known as Gochujang, and a sweetener, usually a syrup such corn, or rice syrup, or even honey. The presence of the latter allows for such dishes to keep a long time in the fridge.

There is a very similar dish to the one that I am making called Nakji bokkeum in which additional vegetable are added during stir-frying. Typically, the result is served hot, often over rice, but the simple, banchan-style type is served cold… Continue reading “Octopus Banchan”

Scallop Appetizer

Scallop Appetizer 1

Back when I was a kid growing up in Maritime Canada, Clams and Chips were nearly as popular is Fish and Chips and, if you were in a restaurant that served both of these, it was generally a safe bet that you could get Scallops and Chips as well. That dish generally used the larger variety usually of scallop referred to as ‘Sea Scallops’, and even a half-dozen of these, along with chips and cole-slaw, made for a very filling meal. For today’s appetizer version, I am using the smaller ‘Bay Scallops’… as with the old-standby of Scallops and Chips, the scallops are battered but, here, I have jazzed things up a bit … Continue reading “Scallop Appetizer”

Shrimp with Pesto

Shrimp with Pesto 1

This dish is just something I put together using my Pesto Piccante, although you could probably just use a more traditional Pesto Genovese, either home-made or commercially prepared.

Basically, I just sautéed some nice shrimp in butter then deglazed the pan with a little white wine before adding back the shrimp with a generous dollop of pesto. I served them immediately with lightly grilled slices of baguette. The latter could be spread with butter, or drizzled with oil, I suppose, but there was enough sauce under the shrimp that it was nice to just dip the bread in it. I conceived of this as an antipasto sort of dish, but it made for a nice light lunch all by itself….

Pesto Bites

Pesto Bites 1

When I first conceived of this idea, it struck me that what I had in my mind was very similar to the Provencal specialty known as Pissaladière, except that the traditional topping of caramelized onion is replaced with Pesto (in this case my own homemade Pesto Piccante)

Initially, I thought of doing a single, large, rectangular ‘bread’, but then I decided to make individual, round ‘bites’ as you see pictured above … [ Continue reading “Pesto Bites”

Notable Nosh: Pakora Shrimp

Pakora Shrimp

I had this interesting little appetizer at an Indian restaurant in Ottawa not long ago. Normally, when I order a Pakora, I expect a small fritter type affair where the main ingredient is chopped into small pieces along with other things (onion, etc.), and then mixed into batter before being deep-fried by the spoon full to make small ‘bites’.

Here however, the shrimp was cooked whole with a batter coating and this might have been boring except that the batter (made with ‘Besan’, or chick pea flour), was nicely spiced. I am not sure of the blend, but I believe I could detect paprika, some chili, and possibly a bit of ground coriander seed).

The shrimp were served with a Tamarind based sweet sauce (very nice) and a mint chutney (which might have been nice but was a bit stale) and overall, I thought the preparation was very good except for the fact that the batter ‘shell’ tended to slip away from the meat as one bit into it. If I try this at home (and I will), I think I will butterfly the shrimp, make the batter thinner, and likely try some other dipping sauces than the ones given here ….

Ratatouille Bruschetta

Ratatouille Bruschetta

Today, I am illustrating a use for home-made Ratatouille that is a something of an Italian-Provencal fusion. Quite simply, it is little more than the delicious Provencal relish piled atop Italian Bruschetta.

Usually, Bruschetta is drizzled with olive oil (and it can be delicious with nothing more than this other than ‘scrubbing’ the grilled bread with a piece of raw garlic). Here, though, after grilling my slices of Baguette style bread in a ridged grill pan, I spread them with butter and it allowed it to melt before adding the Ratatouille. This made for a lovely snack and would also be a terrific Antipasto as part of a larger meal…

Dim Sum- Mushroom Dumpling (素粉果)

Mushroom Dumpling 1

These little dumpling preparations are ‘Fun Gor’ (or  fěnguǒ  in Mandarin) as is indicated by the last two characters in the Chinese name. This type of dumpling is characterized by the semi-translucent wrapper that is made using a combination of starches like cornstarch, or tapioca starch, and non-glutinous Wheat flour. The English name on the menu just calls them ‘mushroom dumplings’, but the first character does not translate as ‘mushroom’ but rather, in this context, as ‘vegetarian’.

One of the classic Fun Gor is the Teochew Fun Gor, which contains ground pork and peanuts. These, however, appear to have been called ‘vegetarian’ as the filling rather mimics the Teochow variety by replacing the ground pork with mushrooms, chopped to leave a texture like ground meat, plus water chestnut in place of peanuts. There was also some celery in the mix along with, I am fairly sure, just a little bit of cilantro.

The size of the dumplings could have been a little smaller as these were a little unwieldy with chopsticks, but the taste and texture were excellent. I am still not very proficient at making the dough for this type of dumpling (as opposed to the basic wheat flour type), but I should very much like to give these a try at home…

Dim Sum: 台灣泡菜

Taiwan Pickle 1

I had this pickled Cucumber in Ottawa recently. I have had Chinese pickled cucumber many times before, but generally Sichuan style versions which generally use chili, or chili oil. I recognized the last two characters in the Chinese same as meaning ‘pickled, or steeped, vegetable’ but the first two characters had me stymied for a bit … it was only once I realized that the first character was a phonetic that I guessed that the combination is rendered as ‘Taiwan’ (which proved to be right)… so, it seems that this little dish is a Taiwanese pickle.

Anyway, the cucumber were nicely macerated (using a little salt, I imagine). The result is not salty, though, but a good bit of sugar was added quite obviously, as the pickle is really quite sweet. The red strips are red bell pepper but there was a slight spicy heat coming through so I think just a touch of ground chili must have been included as well. The other addition was ginger cut into very large, thin slivers. This added a lovely flavor and another layer of sweetness. I really enjoyed these and I will make them myself this coming week … I am thinking that just a drop or two of rice wine might go nicely in it too…