Archive for the 'Appetizers, Sides & Snacks' Category


Caesar Salad

  Though it is disputed, the Caesar salad was invented by Caesar Cardini at his restaurant in Tijuana, Mexico around 1924.  According to legend, Cardini was short on supplies so he quickly concocted a salad that could be prepared tableside with what he had on hand.  His original recipe used whole romaine leaves and was intended to be eaten with the fingers.  Soon the salad became the most requested item on the menu.  Anchovies are considered optional, but something is really missing from the final flavor when they are left out.

Topping the Caesar with grilled chicken or shrimp transforms it from a side salad into a main course.

Boil gently (coddle) for 1-2 minutes:

2 large eggs

Add coddled eggs to an ice water bath to halt cooking

Make a paste from smashing and finely chopping together:

4 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled

1 teaspoon kosher salt

2 anchovy fillets, rinsed and patted dry

Whisk in:

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

2 teaspoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed

2 large coddled eggs

Stream in, while whisking

½ cup extra-virgin olive oil

Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

In a salad bowl, toss the dressing with:

2 heads romaine lettuce, chopped

2 or more cups homemade croutons

Top salad with:

½ cup quality Parmesan cheese, shredded or shaved

Serve immediately on chilled plates




  (Pronounced: broo-SKEH-tah or broo-SHEH-tah)  This dish was first created to sample the freshly pressed olive oil that was produced in Rome at the end of  fall.  Originally this recipe was nothing more than bread toasted over a fire and soaked in oil.  There were no herbs or garlic and tomatoes were also absent, probably due to Romas being woefully out of season by the time olive oil is pressed.  As it spread across central Italy, and eventually the world, it picked up its additional ingredients that make it the delicious appetizer that it is today.

"Bruschetta" comes from the Latin verb "bruscare" which means to toast or roast.

"Bruschetta" comes from the Latin verb "bruscare" which means to toast or roast.

4 pieces of good, crusty bread, sliced ¾ of an inch thick

4 Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced

4 large basil leaves

2 garlic cloves, smashed, peeled, and halved

Extra virgin olive oil (of the best quality available)

Salt, to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste


•  Toast the bread under a broiler to a golden brown on both sides and remove.

•  While the bread is still hot, rub one side of each slice with a garlic half.

•  Put the bread on a plate, garlic-rubbed side up, and top with the chopped tomatoes.

•  Tear the basil into small pieces with your fingers and sprinkle over the tomato.

•  Season with the salt and pepper.

•  Drizzle each slice lightly with the olive oil and serve while still warm.



  This is what I always do with stale bread or heels.  Homemade croutons are cheap, easy to make and incredibly delicious.  They even make an excellent snack on their own.  Once you have the method down, the flavors and spices can be adjusted to your liking.  Put these in a salad and it will be lifted to a whole new level.

"Crouton" comes from the French word for "crust."

"Crouton" comes from the French word for "crust."

• 1 loaf worth of stale bread or heels

• 4 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled

• 4 tbsp. olive oil

• Salt, to taste


Cut the bread into ¾” pieces and arrange on a baking sheet. 

Bake in a 175° oven until dry and as crisp as you prefer, but not browned.

Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium heat and add the garlic cloves.

After the garlic is fragrant and browned, remove it from the pan and add the bread.

Toss the croutons in the oil until golden brown, remove from heat and season liberally with salt.


Oven-Roasted French fries

  When you don’t have a deep-fryer or don’t feel like dealing with the mess of all that oil, this is the method to go with.  If you don’t like your fries crispy just cut them a little thicker than what is described here.

France and Belgium both claim to have invented "French fries."

France and Belgium both claim to have invented "French fries."

Preheat oven to 450° F

Peel and cut lengthwise into ⅜” – wide strips

•  2 large baking potatoes (or 1 potato per person)

Let soak in cold water for 20 minutes, then drain and dry well.

Toss the potatoes with:

•  2 tbsp. olive oil or bacon fat

Spread on a baking sheet and bake, 40 minutes until golden, turning once halfway through cooking.

•  Sprinkle liberally with salt (pickling salt preferred)

•  Season with freshly ground black pepper to taste (optional)

Makes 2 servings.


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