Friday, May 02, 2008

Psst! Wanna win a cookbook??

I love cookbooks. I think anyone who loves to cook does, even if you don't use them all the time. I rarely cook a recipe as written, but I love reading cookbooks, which are great for inspiration. I used to have well over 500 cookbooks, but a few years ago, I weeded through them, keeping only the ones I adored or used. Since then, I've amassed a few more, but it's nowhere near the amount I used to have.

DK Publishing partnered with the Culinary Institute of America to produce this book, Spain and the World Table, and let me just say 1 word - Wow! If you only get it for the pictures, it's well worth it.


Every year, the CIA selects a nation's cuisine to highlight during their "Worlds of Flavor" conference and festival. Spain was an obvious choice, and this book is full of all sorts of mouth-watering recipes. There's an entire chapter dedicated to tapas, which I absolutely adore. There are also notes throughout the book, providing information on pairing wine and sherry, selecting Spanish cheeses, and choosing Spanish olive oils. There's a few recipes I have my eye on, such as the Spanish Fig Cake, Hazelnut-crusted Halibut with Spicy Romesco, and Valencian Seafood Rice.

Wouldn't you love to add this book to your library?? Well now you can! Simply leave me a comment with your favorite appetizer recipe or idea, in honor of all the great tapas recipes in the book. It can be something you love to make or tell me your favorite appetizer you love to order at a restaurant. Leave your comment by midnight on Tuesday, May 6th. I'll be drawing the winner on Wednesday morning.

Good luck!


Anonymous said...

Hmm... picking a favorite appetizer is a tough one, so I'm going to cheat and pick two. Depending on what kind of food we'll be eating that evening, I love to prepare hummus & baba ghanoush with grilled pita or bruschetta. The former is good for lighter evening foods, since they're a bit heavier, and the bruschetta is great for Italian food or a heavier main course. Yum, now I'm hungry!

C said...

The wrapped-food format, style determined by what comes after -- samosas, summer rolls, dumplings, etc. Easy to divide among eaters, easy to serve, easy to eat.

Anonymous said...

My favorite appetizers is crostini spread with goat cheese, and then topped with sliced tiny heirloom tomatoes, basil chiffonade, sea salt, and a balsamic glaze. Delicious, especially when those items are in season.

Tom said...

Does Nutella bruschetta with fresh strawberries count as a appetizer or a dessert? Can I have it for both? ^_^

Anonymous said...

Mmm... we love tapas! We always start with roasted garlic and bread, to tide us over as we debate on the rest of the menu.

I'd have to say our favorite tapas are these little skewers with a piece of fried chorizo, Spanish green olive, fried potato cube, and a shrimp. We end up with a table full of dishes with these items individually, but it's fun to have them all on a skewer. Plus, isn't food better when it's on a fancy toothpick?

Maggie M. said...

Hmm... I would have to say vegetarian spring rolls. Not the fried kind, the fresh ones. With peanut dipping sauce.

Dori said...

My favorite appetizer is the Southwestern Eggrolls at Chili's... I love them so much I worked like crazy to make them at home and I did. Here is my recipe :D
Contests are so much fun!

Anonymous said...

Our favorite appetizer for home is sauteed mushrooms with one diced garlic clove poured over warmed brie. Served with french bread.

Our favorite at a restaurant are Rattlers at Saltgrass Steak House. They put a shrimp into a jalapeño cut in half, then put jack cheese on the top and fry them, sort of like poppers with a shrimp bonus. The dip that goes with it is ranch with chopped cucumbers to cool down the heat from the jalapeño. They made my eyes roll while eating them.

La Chipilina said...

my favourite apetizer is defenetly hummus with pita bread, raw vegetables strips etc... I like clasic humus, but i also love to re invent it with some original spices and ingredients: I love adding some cilantro, cumin or jalapenos... it gives humus a very nice latin american touch which drives me crazy!

Anonymous said...

Hmmm...I like to keep it simple--homemade hummus with lots of yummy fresh veggies for dipping. So simple and yet so good!


Anonymous said...

I love crab rangoon. I finally broke down and found a recipe for it and made a batch. It was wonderful!

Unknown said...

I do love hummus; however, I think I am more partial to Tex-Mex, bean-based dips or purees. Maybe a smoky chipotle black bean dip with a ton of cilantro and topped off with sour cream and a spritz of lime. Serve with some blue corn tortilla chips...delicious.

test it comm said...

My favorite appetizer to order is a warm crab and spinach dip with tortilla chips.

Nick said...

I love calamari frites, both in restaurants and homemade. I don't make it myself nearly often enough, considering how easy it is. All you need to do is take some thinly sliced squid rings and tentacles, dredge them in some seasoned flour (or corn flour/meal as I prefer) and drop them into some 375-400 degree canola oil for a few minutes. Drain on some newspaper, and add a few drops of lemon juice. Yum.

Vicki said...

Nick beat me to it - I love fried calamari!

Joel said...

Since I've only ever had ham before in sandwich form, I thought of this grilled cheese and tomato soup amuse for our Easter ham dinner with Amy's dad:

Melody said...

We love tapas. We often make our own meals on the tapa style and of course love to have tapas parties.

There are so many to choose from but I have to fall back on one we love and love to serve.

Prosciutto and Parmesan Pinwheels

1 (17.5 ounce) package frozen puff pastry sheets, thawed
5 ounces prosciutto, thinly sliced
5 ounces Parmesan cheese, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons prepared mustard

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Spray a baking sheet with nonstick oil spray.
Roll the thawed pastry out onto a flat surface. Spread Dijon mustard to taste on the pastry sheets. Cover pastry with a layer of prosciutto, then cheese. Roll the sheets, beginning at the long side. Cut into 1 inch thick sections. Arrange the sections on the prepared baking sheet.
Bake 10 to 12 minutes.

grace said...

good googa mooga, 500 cookbooks? i can't even imagine!

my favorite appetizers are dips. mostly, i like hummus and pita chips or guacamole and salsa with tortilla chips. in fact, that could make up my entire dinner and i'd be satisfied. :)

Anonymous said...

I can be seduced by just about any smoked seafood, smoked salmon or smoked oysters (all fresh home smoked, of course)leading the pack or when faced with laziness or summer inertia I am happy to drag vegetables through a nice snappy blue cheese dressing.

Anonymous said...

my favorite appetizers are either summer rolls or fresh pita bread with hummus. yum!

Anonymous said...

Without absolute favorite appetizer to serve (and eat) is the Italian Bagna Cauda (friend from NorItaly recently told me it's pronounced 'bag-na cow-da'). I adapt the Epicurious recipe to my liking: ... at least doubling the anchovies and parsley. Veges/dippers I typically use: endive leaves, mushrooms (always disappears first), green/red/yellow peppers, asparagus, crusty bread, etc. Rarely do I tell guests what is in the dip (served in warmer/fondue pot) until they've tried it first...too many 'turn their noses' up at the anchovies before even trying. Inevitably, everyone fights over the crunchies at the bottom within no time :) Incidentally, having lived both in Madrid and Barcelona...and this post peaking my interest...would be interesting to add finely diced bits of drized (or wet?) chorizo perhaps? Although, what's particularly 'easy' about serving traditional Bagna Cauda is that it satisfies vegetarians and meat-eaters alike.

Anonymous said...

It is so hard to pick a favourite appetizer! right now it is some cold crab dish, or maybe baked oysters :D~

Peggasus said...

I like to make an Blue cheese and asparagus appetizer pizza:

I make mine on homemade foccacia, but you could use a Boboli too.

First, lightly roast some asparagus spears. Spread a jar of diced tomatoes (Muir Glen Fire Roasted are good, or any Italian-style type) over the crust, then arrange the asparagus in a pinwheel shape coming out from the center. Heat in a 350 oven for 15 minutes or so. When it comes out, sprinkle crumbled blue cheese over the top.

Avory said...

Mm! My favourite appetiser is very, very simple. Cut thick slices of French bread. Slather with good olive oil, rub with garlic or sprinkle with herbs. Sautee mushrooms with wine and fresh thyme, as well as a pinch of sea salt. Spoon onto the bread. Add a few dabs of fresh goat cheese if desired.

Andrea said...

My favorite is from the NY Times via The Best American Recipes 2004-2005. It's totally ghetto, but maybe that's part of its charm: 2 10oz. packages frozen chopped spinach, 9 tbl butter, melted, 8oz package cream cheese, 1 teasp. lemon juice, 14oz can artichoke hearts drained and quartered, 1/2 cup Ritz crumbs. Preheat oven to 350, butter a casserole dish, cook the spinach and put it in a bowl. Add all but 1 tbl melted butter, the cream cheese, and lemon juice. Put the artichoke hearts around the bottom of the dish, cover with spinach mixture, sprinkle with cracker crumbs and drizzle with butter and bake until bubbling - 25 mins. Delicious!

Anonymous said...

My fav appetizer has got to be a simple bruschetta - Crostini brushed with olive oil(chargrilled in a hot grill pan) and then topped with chopped tomatoes and basil with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and salt - YUM!

Anonymous said...

This is a favorite whenever I serve it - guests spend lots of time trying to guess the ingredients. It's from the web somewhere - was originally to be served with curry. i just serve it with tortilla chips.

3/4 cup shredded sweetened or unsweetened coconut
1 tsp. cumin
1 # granny smith apples (3-4 med.), chunked, but not peeled
2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped and stemmed
1 jalapeno chili, seeded
1 garlic clove, cut in pieces
3/4 tsp. salt

Put apples and lemon juice in the processor first, chop a little then add everything else. Might have to scrape down sides once or twice. Will keep several days in the fridge.

And why would I love the Spanish cookbook? i just returned from a trip to Spain and I loved the food!

Courtney said...

Hey are giving away so many cookbooks lately!
My favorite appetizer to serve at home is here:
Artichoke Toasts...and they are very good.

Nope said...

My favorite appetizer is mouhammara (the Arabs once ruled Andalusia!). Roast some red peppers, and combine with walnuts, garlic, smoked salt and red pepper, some fresh lemon juice, cumin, and the secret ingredient: pomegranate molasses. Serve up with blue chips, fresh flat bread, or crispy fresh vegetables. Tart, sweet, delicious!

sterling said...

I think one of the tastiest and no fuss appetizers/tapas that I like to make is baked brie.

I make two versions. One is savoury, and one is sweet. This is the savoury:
Fry up a sundried tomatoes/ diced onion/ garlic compote, top off the full wheel, throw into the oven at 375 for about 15-20 minutes. Serve it with toasted sliced baguettes and other crackers.

Love reading your blog your photos are always stunning!

yumsinger said...

I just found your blog, so it must be fate that I had to enter this contest.

As a yuppie who has to entertain with limited time, but desire to impress, I tend to make savory strudels for appies. I just fill puff pastries with combos like: blue cheese and fig jam, or chopped scallop with ricotta cheese.

But my latest hit is this: I get this very thin green onion cracker from the Garden brand (widely available in Asian supermarkets) and serve it with blood orange marmalade (any fancy marmalade will do) and slices of smoked duck breast. People will assemble the lot themselves at the serving table because early assembly will just lead to a soggy cracker.

Unknown said...

One of my favorite appetizers are Greek-inspired "Quesadillas".
I chop up some red onion and saute it with a few handfuls of baby spinach, some garlic and olive oil until the onions are softer and the spinach is wilted. Remove it to a bowl and mix in feta cheese, chopped tomatoes and Kalamata olives. Spoon the filling on some tortillas, fold and return them to the pan to melt the feta.

Makes a great appetizer when cut into sections, but I usually would rather eat it by myself for dinner!

gray la gran said...

what a great list! i will have to come back after the contest is over to jot down some more 'recipes' and ideas.
i love food, but i am not the most adventurous cook. i need recipes.

i'm pretty good at making hummus (thanks to your recipes here!).

when i go out, i want something i am not going to make at home. ie: calamari, stuffed jalapenos, or some kind of mushroom medley.

but, after reading some of the comments here, perhaps i will try to make my own calamari =)

juststudying said...

Recently a friend brought an appy to my house that was so delicious and simple. She cooked up some frozen edamame beans (in their shells) on the stove and then added sweet chilli sauce on top of them - so simple and tasty!

Trisha said...

I love the Cheesecake Factorys Thai Chicken Lettuce Wraps! One of my all time favorites. I seriously need to learn how to make that ginger sauce.

jeremypb said...

My favorite appitizer and sometimes meal is Shrimp Ceviche

1 lb. Shrimp
1/2 onion, (usually white sometimes red)
1 tomato diced
1-2 serrano chiles, minced
3-4 limes juiced
1-2 lemons juiced
1 bunch cilantro, chopped

1 bag tortilla chips or 1 head iceberg lettuce:
If using chips, dice the onion and shrimp. If using lettuce leave the shrimp whole and slice the onion

Cook shrimp almost all the way in salted, boiling water. (about a minute) Drain. (Dice or leave whole)

Mix all the ingredients except cilantro.

Marinade for an hour.

Add the cilantro and serve.

Unknown said...

Definitely the Indian Hara Bara Kebab!

Dorothy said...

The most amazing tapas I've ever had was goat cheese with honey.... I'll never forget how wonderful it was... and then soon after discovering it, the restaurant that I found it at, closed.... so sad.

snarkygurl said...

My favorite appetizer is crostini with a bleu cheese spread (melted bleu cheese and a little cream) and green apple slice. A variation of that would be one of those slightly sweet whole-wheat crackers with white cheddar and a sweeter variety of apple (I sometimes throw this one together on road trips).

When I'm trying to show off, I cut a wedge of brie, wrap it in phyllo dough, fry it in butter until the phyllo is light brown and the brie is all melty. Serve on a spring green salad and top with a lemon basil vinaigrette. I don't make this one very often because I will eat way too much of the cheese and not enough of the greens.

I think almost every appetizer I love has some form of cheese in it.

Anonymous said...

I love to make easy sliced/toasted baguette rounds topped with oven roasted (~2 hours on 200) plum tomatoes (they get so nice and sweet and intense!) topped with goat cheese and herbs. YUM!

Sharona May said...

I really enjoy cooking appetizers. I could eat a dinner of just little appetizers. My favorite is a nice fresh tomato, cucumeber , black olive brushetta with crusty bread.

Sharona May

K said...

My definite favorite is vegetable pizza, which is rolled out crescent rolls layered with cream cheese, ranch dressing mix, cheddar cheese, and chopped veggies. YUM!

Rogue Cook said...

My favorite appetizer is anything fried. In particular, I have a weakness for french fries, but since I shouldn't eat those too often, I came up with this recipe that's not quite a French fry, potato wedge, or chip. It's something inbetween but just as delicious! In honor of tapas, how about crispy potato slices with garlic lemon aioli? Garlic, lemon, olive oil, and crispy potatoes, can't beat that!

3 large unpeeled and thickly sliced potatoes (about 1/4")
1 c. fresh bread crumbs or panko
1/2 c. grated parmesan
1 1/2 tsp. chili powder
2 eggs, beaten

Mix bread crumbs, cheese, and chili powder. Dip the potato slices in egg mixture and roll in the bread crumb mixture to coat completely. Bake the potato slices single layer on a lightly greased baking sheet at 450 degrees for about 20 mins. or until crispy and golden brown. Serve plain or with your favorite garlic lemon aioli or other sauce.

Anonymous said...

...please where can I buy a unicorn?

Anonymous said...

...please where can I buy a unicorn?