Summer Appetizers – Here are some recipes and photos from a recent Summer Party at our condo in Milwaukee. We hosted a get-together for friends featuring heavy hors d’oeuvre and appetizers. What we served is listed below.
The explanation of each photo is listed with each plate,
Summer Appetizers #1
Roasted cherry tomatoes (on a crostini, topped with pesto)
- 1 loaf of Italian bread or French baguette
- 1.5 cups cherry tomatoes
- 3 tsp olive oil
- Salt & pepper to taste
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 jar pesto (or make your own fresh)
- Fresh basil for garnish (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 425˚F.
- Slice the bread into pieces 1/2 inch thick, drizzle some olive oil on each piece, and toast them on a baking sheet for a few minutes, until lightly browned and crisp.
- Place the tomatoes on a rimmed baking sheet lined with foil. Drizzle with 2 tsp olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and minced garlic. Toss to coat.
- Roast for 25-30 minutes.
- Top toasted bread with pesto, and roasted tomatoes, and sprinkle with fresh basil (optional).
- Drizzle with olive oil.
Summer Appetizers #2
Grilled eggplant dip, with chopped roasted red pepper & parsley topping.
Served with Homemade Baked Pita chips https://cookingsecretsformen.com/2020/07/30/grilled-eggplant-dip/
- 1 red bell pepper
- ¼ cup canola oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 large eggplant, unpeeled, ends trimmed, then sliced lengthwise 1-inch thick
- 2 cloves garlic chopped
- ¼ cup tahini
- ¼ cup Greek yogurt
- Zest of 1 lemon
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp oregano
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
- 6 pita breads cut for dipping
- Heat a grill to medium.
- Brush the red pepper with canola oil and season with salt and pepper.
- Brush the eggplant slices on both sides with more of the canola oil, and season with salt and pepper.
- Blister the red pepper, turning occasionally, until charred all over and tender, about 15 minutes.
- Grill the eggplant until charred on the first side, about 3-4 minutes. Turn and continue grilling until tender, another 3-4 minutes.
- Transfer red pepper to a bowl, then cover tightly with plastic wrap, and let steam while you make the eggplant dip.
- Remove the skin from the eggplant and put in a food processor.
- Add the chopped garlic, tahini, yogurt, lemon zest, oregano, and smoked paprika to the food processor. Pulse until smooth and thick.
- Transfer the eggplant mixture to a serving bowl and let sit for about 15 minutes to allow the flavors to meld. Add Salt & pepper to taste.
- Peel, seed, and dice the red pepper. (Skin should come off easily)
- Top Dip with the diced peppers and the chopped parsley.
- Drizzle the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil over the dip.
- Serve Grilled Eggplant Dip with warm pita.
Homemade Pita Chips
Perfectly crispy homemade pita chips baked with extra virgin olive oil and your choice of seasonings.
- 2 to 3 pita bread with pockets store-bought
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Kosher Salt, pepper, oregano
- Heat the oven to 425 degrees F.
- Prepare a large sheet pan.
- Split the pita pockets in half to make single rounds of pita.
- Place each pita flat on your cutting board and split them in half from the seam with a sharp knife or kitchen shears (you should end up with 2 single rounds of pita).
- Brush with extra virgin olive oil & sprinkle seasonings.
- Cut into triangles. Using a knife or a pair of kitchen shears again, cut each round of pita into 8 triangles.
- Arrange the pita triangles on the prepared sheet pan.
- Bake for 5 to 10 minutes, checking occasionally to turn over the pita triangles that have gained color, until you have pita chips that are crispy and golden brown to your liking.
Summer Appetizers #3
Grilled Pork Tenderloin, on a baguette, topped with chutney
This Grilled Pork Tenderloin cooks in just 15 minutes! This easy, healthy grilling recipe is fork-tender, full of flavor, and easy to prepare.
- 1-1/2lb pork tenderloin (NOT pork loin), trimmed extra virgin olive oil
- seasonings: salt, pepper, garlic powder, steak rub, etc.
1. Heat the grill on high until it reaches between 450-500 degrees then create two heat zones — a direct heat side, and an indirect heat side. If using a charcoal grill, scoot the charcoal over to one side of the grill. If using a gas grill, turn half or 1/3 of the burners to low.
2. Rub or brush the pork tenderloin all over with oil then season with desired seasonings. Add pork to the direct heat side of the grill then grill for 1-1/2 minutes on all four sides (envision the pork tenderloin as being rectangular vs circular) for a total of 6 minutes. Keep the lid closed between flipping.
3. Move the pork tenderloin to the indirect heat side of the grill then grill for 4 minutes on each of the two larger sides, for a total of 8 more minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer or meat thermometer reads 145 degrees. Keep the lid closed between flipping.
4. Let pork rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.
Summer Appetizers #4
Baked salmon, using Lucious “The King’s” BBQ Seasoning
- 1.5 lbs salmon fillet, one whole piece
- Lucious “The King’s” BBQ Seasoning
- Put salmon on the counter and allow it to come to room temperature, about 20-30 minutes. Pat with a paper towel.
- Sheet Pan with Aluminum Foil: Line a sheet pan with aluminum foil, lightly spray with non-stick cooking spray, and place salmon on top, skin side down.
- Sprinkle a thin, even layer of Lucious “The King’s” BBQ Seasoning all over the top of the fillet.
- Bake at 400 degrees F for 15-20 minutes depending on the thickness. Using an instant-read thermometer, test to make sure the salmon is at 140º F. The salmon will continue to cook after removing it from the oven.
- Garnish with water crackers, lemon wedges, and thinly sliced cucumbers.
Veggie Tray with Curry Dip – Summer Appetizers
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- ½ cup plain yogurt or sour cream
- 1 tablespoon curry powder
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- Mix the ingredients together in a medium-sized bowl.
- Let the dip rest for a half-hour in the fridge before serving.
- Serve with assorted fresh vegetables such as carrots, snow peas, radishes, broccoli, cauliflower, cherry tomatoes, etc.
Lemon bars, brownies, & shortbread caramel with a crumble top
Easy Lemon Bars – Ingredients
For the Crust:
- 1 cup butter, cold (cut into tiny pieces)
- 6 tbsp brown sugar
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 large egg
- 1 tsp lemon juice
For the Filling:
- 6 large eggs
- 3 cups sugar
- 2 tbsp lemon zest
- 1 cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
Topping: Powdered sugar
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Line a 9×13″ pan with parchment paper or tinfoil, making it easier to remove the bars once cooled.
For the Crust:
- Combine the ingredients into your food processor and pulse until the mixture becomes crumbly.
- Press the mixture into an even layer in the prepared 9×13″ pan.
- Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until a pale golden brown.
For the Filling:
- While the crust is baking, combine the ingredients for the filling in a large bowl and whisk until smooth.
- Pour mixture over the crust and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the center is set.
- Let the bars cool completely and then lift out of the pan by holding the sides of the paper and lifting straight up.
- Cut into bars and dust with powdered sugar.
- 1 (18.4 oz) box chocolate brownie mix no mix-ins
- 2/3 cup canola oil or other neutral-flavored oil
- 1/4 cup water or milk
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 – 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips/chunks plus more for topping
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Grease an 8×8 square pan with cooking spray, then line with parchment. Set aside.
- Place brownie mix, oil, milk/water, eggs, and salt into a large bowl.
- Stir until well combined.
- Fold in chocolate chips/chunks.
- Pour batter into prepared pan, then top with additional chocolate chips/chunks, if desired.
- Bake in preheated oven for 40-45 minutes (an inserted toothpick should come gooey).
- Let cool in the pan for 30 minutes, then remove, cut into squares, and enjoy!
Cooking Secrets for Men
We were featured in “Milwaukee Magazine” May 2023 edition, called “Civic Gastronomy”. Here is the link – https://www.milwaukeemag.com/this-cooking-show-features-milwaukee-community-leaders/
Then a few days later, they were discussing me on the radio. It is a local Foodie show – “This Bites”, where my series “Cooking with Milwaukee Community Leaders” is discussed (it’s in the first few minutes of the show) https://radiomilwaukee.org/podcast/this-bites/2023-05-26/milwaukee-celebrity-cooking-show.
If you like these recipes for Summer Appetizers, then you should try our recipe for Blueberry Pie Bars
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