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Two Bodacious Appetizers

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Manchego Cheese and Dried Fruit Salami
“If more of us valued food and cheer above hoarded gold, it would be a much merrier world.”
J.R.R. Tolkien
It is already Thursday and I am can’t wait for the weekend. My sister in law is coming to visit and we are heading for the mountains to see my son and have a nonstop talkathon for a few days. Hopefully the weather will be good but if not I know the company will be. Though I won’t have much of an opportunity to cook we do plan to do a lot of eating and solve the world’s problems. Of course we will also have to have a few cocktails, which makes the world a more peaceful place, and cocktails only work with really bodacious ( definition- remarkable and noteworthy) appetizers. Therefore today’s subject class is Bodacious Appetizers. Get your pencils out!
What makes a good get together? Well, for starters it is the people that get together. And what helps them to have a good time? Of course. The food, the music, the drink, the candles, the flowers, etc. Give them something they will remember. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve run into someone that I haven’t seen in ages and they say that they ate such and such at my house and I have no idea what they are talking about but they remembered. My theory is the more special you make someone feel, the better your time will be. Many of my friends may not consider themselves great cooks but they know how to shop the grocery to pick out a great cheese or they’ll buy your favorite wine because they want to make you feel special. And we all need that once in awhile, don’t we? Anyone can put together a great salsa and find some good tortilla chips. Add in a pitcher of thirst quenching  margaritas made with fresh lime juice and now you have a better than average get together.
But how to be different? Unusual? How to make something that shows someone you thought about this with forethought? That you didn’t just run to the grocery at the last minute. Well, it helps to keep a few things on hand. It also helps to have things that will keep awhile in the refrigerator.  So, let’s cut to the chase. Let me give you a few ideas.
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Dried Fruit Salami
Dried Fruit Salami
(I saw several dried date and walnut confections at Whole Foods recently that are made to serve with cheese. This is better.)
12 pitted dates
1/4c dried cherries
1/2c walnuts
1/2t smoked paprika
1/2t black pepper
Throw into food processor. Mix until nuts are finely chopped. Turn out onto plastic wrap. Roll into a 6” log. Wrap tightly. Refrigerate. Slice into thin slices and serve with a wedge of manchego cheese. (Don’t worry if the slices aren’t perfect. Just use your hands to mush them back together!)
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Pate sounds fancy, doesn’t it?
 Smoked Trout Pate 
1 smoked trout fillet with the skin peeled off (These can be found next to the smoked salmon near the seafood case. There are two to a package. Eat the other one on a salad.)
4oz cream cheese
2 green onions
1/2t Dijon mustard
1T capers drained
1/4t smoke in a bottle (if you have it)
Throw all ingredients except  peeled trout into food processor. When onions are chopped well and cream cheese is somewhat fluffy, add your trout. Do a few quick on/offs in the processor and you are finito!
Garnish with thinly sliced radishes and finely chopped green onions. Serve with crostini toasts. Leftovers taste great on an everything bagel on Sunday morning!
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P.S. Just a word to everyone out there. I consider anyone who cooks for me a great cook.  I love to be cooked for and I don’t care if it’s just hotdogs, though I do prefer kosher!


Thursday 2nd of August 2012

You are very welcome AND it is the way a margarita should be made! I totally agree about appetizers for dinner and especially in the summer when it is HOT!

Kitchen Riffs

Thursday 2nd of August 2012

Wow, thanks for the margarita link - that's very nice of you. Bodacious is a good word, and not one heard very often. Both of these appetizers looks super, particularly the trout pate. We haven't done it for awhile, but it's nice to make several appetizers and have them as the entire dinner. Good post - thanks.