Sunday, March 25, 2012

Crave: Appetizers & Tapas

Bahn Mi Bruschetta from
Fried Deviled-Brie from

Asian Tuna Tartar from

I've come to the conclusion recently that my eyes are often bigger than my stomach.  True to form, I'm unwilling to compromise on the food that I want to try.  However, I've come up with a solution to this: Appetizers and Tapas!  Trying multiple small-bites allows you to sample more flavors than having to choose just one main entree.  Whoever invented this concept is a GENIUS.

Asparagus Fritters w/ Dill Mustard Sauce, Better Homes & Gardens

Chili Powder Chicken w/ Cilantro Cream,
from Better House & Gardens

**Side note**: The Athenians invented Appetizers back in third century B.C., but back then it looked more like sea urchins, sturgeon, and garlic served on tiny plates buffet-style.  Obviously, the Greeks decided that this new style of dining wasn't complete without lots of wine.  Highly debated, Tapas is said to be Spanish in origin.  Rumor has it that it all started when this guy (King Alfonso the 5th) got very sick back in the thirteenth century.   As a result of his illness, King Alfonso was only able to eat small bites throughout the day---usually followed with small sips of wine.  Hence the birth of Tapas.  (Also hence the reason why wine usually accompanies both things.)
Bacon-topped Deviled Eggs
Sante Fe dip
Balsamic & Honey Pork Sliders

Artichoke & Feta Tortilla cups
Edame & Tomato Bruschetta from

Grilled Zucchini and Cheese Canapes
Mini Reubens from

I love appetizers and tapas so much that it's what I chose to serve at my wedding in lieu of a traditional "plated dinner".  Every time my husband and I go out to eat, our goal is to try as many things as possible; this usually results in us ordering 6-7 appetizers/tapas and sharing.  There are so many great new places where we live that are condusive to the tapas & apps crowd that we seldom run out of fun dining options.  But even eating out can get old after a while (not to mention budget un-friendly), so I've been trying to figure out ways to satisfy my crazy food cravings at home.
Corn Dog Muffins, from
Smoked Salmon Potato Skins
Garlicky Asparagus Flatbread
Better Homes & Gardens

Edamame and Mint Garlic Dip with Ricotta Toasts
courtesy of

My favorite appetizers that I've tried are usually the ones that are easiest to make.  I try to keep it to a 6-ingredient limit at most, because the more ingredients you add, the more complicated it gets.  In my opinion, the best part of the whole Tapas & Apps thing is the fact that it's FUN!  If you start getting stressed out over how to make it, then it defeats the whole purpose. Cutting down on complex cooking methods and ingredients doesn't mean that you have to compromise on flavor though.  In fact, it often means the opposite.  Using fewer ingredients let things like fresh produce and local meats shine through.  Prime example: I got some awesome avocados, aspargus, cherry tomatoes, and spring onions at the farmers market this weekend, and I swear, they were so good that they didn't NEED seasoning.
Goat Cheese and Sundried Tomato Skewers
Crab and Horseradish Havarti Dip

Curried Chicken Satays with Peanut Sauce


Cranberry Salsa with Cream Cheese
I haven't tried all of the yummy options that I featured on this post yet, but the ones that I have tried are fantastic. Very user-friendly, and highly customizable.  Thanks to my cooking training from my wonderful Italian Dad, I'm usually pretty anti-recipe.  I like to wing it when it comes to cooking, and use the recipes as the main inspiration.  A lot of my favorites are from the Better Homes & Gardens website,, and  My favorite thing about All Recipes is that they have an App for iPhone.  The App is set up like a spinner on a gameboard, which makes it really fun and easy to use.  All you have to do is pick an ingredient from your fridge that you want to use, tell the App what kind of meal you want to use the ingredient for (ie; breakfast, appetizers, etc), and *voila!*---it gives you several recipe choices.  I also recommend checking out product websites (like,, etc), as they can also be a good place to find appetizer/tapas recipes and ideas.

I'll post more options sometime in the near future:) Happy eating!!
Burger Potato Skins

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