Oysters

Appetizer Recipes

This is an eclectic, artistic collection of Appetizer recipes to start your seductive and romantic evening. Appetizers, hors d’oeuvres, finger foods, regardless of the phrase, they’re not just a treat to be enjoyed before dinner. They can carry the evening all by themselves and look magnificent while doing it. Nearly, every culture has some sort of hors d’oeuvre: Italians eat cured meats and marinated vegetables for their antipasto, Peruvians snack on tasty fried bocaditos. Russians put out a spread of zakuski to nibble while sharing vodka and the Spanish have made a mastery of sampling tapas.

Appetizer Recipes

Romantic Dinner

Starters, as hors d’oeuvres are more traditionally termed, can come stacked into tiny towers, rolled and stuffed, filled and folded; they include dips, spreads, salsas, and fondues. Know thy guest. Always consider those for whom you cook, and the rest will fall into place.

Fine Cooking Appetizers

200 Recipes for Small Bites with Big Flavor

Seduction and Romantic Dinner Appetizer Recipes

  1. Diva Avocado Cocktail with Sinful White Sauce
  2. Seductive and Sinful Cheese and Fruit Adventure
  3. French-Bread-Encrusted Brie with Brown Sugar and Almonds
  4. Jumbo Lump Crabmeat Pearl Parfait
  5. Whole Artichokes with Fire-Roasted Red Pepper Aioli
  6. Fire-Roasted Red Pepper Aioli
  7. Easy Melon and Prosciutto Gondola
  8. Escargot and Brie in Phyllo with Applejack Brandy
  9. The Art of Shucking Fresh Oysters
  10. Sinful Oysters on the Half Shell
  11. Key West Oyster Shooters
  12. Martini Éclairs with Smoked Salmon, Onions, and Vermouth

Seduction and Romantic Dinner “Appetizer Recipes”

Diva Avocado Cocktail with Sinful White Sauce

Yields two servings.
Let avocados sit at room temperature until ripe. For extra zest, you may add fresh, shredded horseradish to the sauce recipe.

  • 2 medium RIPE AVOCADOS
  • 2 cups ICEBERG LETTUCE, shredded
  • 2 LEMON WHEELS, garnish
  • 2 sprigs FRESH PARSLEY, garnish
  • Sinful White Sauce
  • ½ cup MAYONNAISE
  • 2 tablespoons RED WINE VINEGAR
  • 1 teaspoon FRESH SWEET BASIL
  • ½ tablespoon FRESH LEMON JUICE
  • 1 dash TABASCO® SAUCE
  • SALT and WHITE PEPPER, to taste

Cut avocados lengthwise in half, remove pit, and peel. Cut into cubes. Place shredded lettuce into two margarita glasses. Top lettuce with avocado cubes.

Preparing Sinful White Sauce: Combine imperial sauce ingredients in small bowl and mix well. Spoon evenly over avocados. Refrigerate for at least half an hour or until well chilled.

Embellish with lemon wheels and parsley sprigs. Light the candles, turn off the lights, play some romantic music, and place the hors d’oeuvres on a table. Snuggle up you’re your lover and enjoy your delicious meal.

Seduction and Romantic Dinner “Appetizer Recipes”

Seductive and Sinful Cheese and Fruit Adventure

Yields two servings.
Eating cheese can be an enchanting, gastronomical experience. One of the best ways for you to share the adventure is to host a party. A bottle of wine can always be perfectly paired with cheese. Serve with crackers and sliced party breads.

  • ¼ pound CHEDDAR CHEESE
  • ¼ pound SWISS CHEESE
  • 1 2.2-ounce INDIVIDUAL BRIE CHEESE
  • 6 large FRESH STRAWBERRIES, washed
  • 2 small BUNCHES of GRAPES, washed

Dice cheese into bite-sized cubes. Place cheese on a large plate; crackers and bread should be placed on a smaller one. For added elegance, place doilies on the plates. Arrange grapes around cheese and fill in gaps with strawberries. Serve immediately, or wrap and place in refrigerator to serve later. Snuggle up your lover and enjoy your delicious snack.

Seductive Cheese Styles

Cheeses are available in soft, semisoft, blue-veined, hard, and very hard forms. Sharpness depends on the aging process. Bel Paese, Boursin, Brie, Camembert, Cheshire, Colby, Edam, Fontina, Gouda, Havarti, Jarlsberg, Monterey Jack, and Provolone are simply a few of the most renowned cheeses.

Appetizer Recipes

Seduction and Romantic Dinner “Appetizer Recipes”

French-Bread-Encrusted Brie with Brown Sugar and Almonds

Yields two servings.
The next time you are entertaining, serve this impressive and easy-to-make hors d’oeuvre. Acclaimed as one of the world’s greatest cheeses, Brie is characterized by an edible, downy white rind and a cream-colored, buttery-soft interior that should “ooze” when it reaches the peak of ripeness.

  • 1 8-ounce WHEEL BRIE CHEESE
  • 1 PILLSBURY FRENCH LOAF, store bought
  • ½ tablespoon BROWN SUGAR
  • ¼ cup ALMONDS, sliced
  • FRESH FRUIT, garnish

Preheat oven to 350°F. Place Brie on a lightly greased cookie sheet. Take Pillsbury French loaf and stretch out to double the length. Encircle the sides of the Brie cheese with the French bread. Next, tie a knot at connection point. Spread brown sugar on top of the Brie. Bake in the oven by following the directions on the bread’s packaging. Halfway through the baking process, sprinkle almonds evenly over the top of Brie. You need just enough time for almonds to toast. Remove from oven and let stand for ten minutes before serving.

When ready, use a large spatula to place cheese on a large plate. Serve with fresh raspberries, strawberries, apples, and/or kiwi arranged on top. Serve immediately. Snuggle up with your lover and enjoy your delicious meal.

Seduction and Romantic Dinner “Appetizer Recipes”

Jumbo Lump Crabmeat Pearl Parfait

Yields two servings.
Jumbo lump crabmeat is, without a doubt, the finest crabmeat in the world. Fill two long-stemmed margarita glasses with lettuce and crabmeat, and then embellish to create a delicious seafood parfait.

  • ½ cup SPICY MUSTARD SAUCE
  • ½ cup TANGY COCKTAIL SAUCE
  • 2 RADICCHIO LEAVES
  • 2 cups SHREDDED LETTUCE
  • ⅔ pound JUMBO LUMP CRABMEAT, checked for shells
  • 2 LEMON WHEELS, garnish
  • 2 BLACK OLIVES, garnish
  • 2 sprigs FRESH PARSLEY, garnish

Prepare both sauces and place each in a small ramekin. Set aside.

In two large margarita glasses, place leaves of radicchio upright. Fill glass halfway with shredded lettuce. Fill remainder of glass with crabmeat.

Embellish rim with lemon wheels and black olives. Top with parsley sprigs. Serve crabmeat parfaits on doily-covered plates, with sauces and cocktail forks placed on the side. Snuggle up with your lover and enjoy your delicious treat.

Seduction and Romantic Dinner “Appetizer Recipes”

Whole Artichokes with Fire-Roasted Red Pepper Aioli

Yields two servings.
A twelve-ounce artichoke contains approximately two ounces of plain, edible flesh. They are available in small, medium, and large sizes, and are fully mature at all sizes. Choose artichokes that are heavy for their size, and feel compact and firm. They are harvested throughout the year.

  • 1 recipe FIRE-ROASTED RED PEPPER AIOLI
  • 2 large WHOLE FRESH ARTICHOKES
  • 3 tablespoons EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL
  • 1 medium LEMON, squeezed for juice
  • SALT and WHITE PEPPER, to taste
  • 2 ORANGE SLICES, garnish
  • 2 sprigs FRESH PARSLEY or herbs, garnish

As you prepare whole artichokes, make sure you coordinate the preparation of fire-roasted red pepper aioli as an accompaniment. Reserve sauce until serving time.

Wash artichokes under running water. Pull off lower outer petals; cut stem so artichokes stand upright. Cut off the top of each artichoke. Using kitchen shears, snip off tips of petals. Rub all cut surfaces with fresh lemon juice immediately. Now, artichokes are ready to be boiled or steamed.

Boil Method: Place prepared artichokes upright in deep saucepan, with three-inches of boiling water. Add three tablespoons olive oil, juice of one lemon, and fresh herbs to the cooking water. Cover and boil gently for twenty-five to forty minutes, depending on the size of the artichokes. The artichokes are cooked when petals near their centers can be pulled out easily. Place the artichokes facing downward on paper towel, allowing them to drain.

When cool enough to handle, gently pull aside only the center petals, scrape out the purple-colored leaves and the fuzzy center (i.e. the choke), and discard. The artichokes are now ready to be either stuffed or drizzled with your favorite vinaigrette.

Steam Method: Place prepared artichokes on rack above boiling water. Cover and steam for twenty-five to forty minutes, depending on size. The artichokes are cooked when the petals near the centers can be pulled out easily. Let cool to room temperature and prepare as above.

When ready to serve, place whole artichokes on a silver tray. Spoon fire-roasted red pepper aioli sauce into the center of each artichoke, and put the remaining sauce on the silver tray in a small bowl. Embellish with orange slices and parsley, or fresh herb sprigs.

With the candlelight flickering and the romantic music playing softly, turn off the lights and place the silver platter on a table. Snuggle up and enjoy each other’s company.

Fire-Roasted Red Pepper Aioli

Yields one cup.
Aioli is a light mayonnaise-style sauce laden with fresh garlic. It is a favorite in many Mediterranean regions. You may also use it as a dip for simple crudités.

  • 2 cloves FRESH GARLIC
  • ½ large FIRE-ROASTED RED PEPPER
  • ¼ teaspoon SALT
  • ½ cup MAYONNAISE (egg-based Hellmann’s)
  • ½ teaspoon EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL
  • ½ medium LEMON, squeezed for juice

Skin the two cloves of garlic and pound with fire-roasted red pepper, salt, and mayonnaise in a mortar. Alternative, you may process in a blender. Mix remaining ingredients together. Voila! You now have a creamy, delicious dip. Serve as an accompaniment for whole artichokes with fire-roasted red pepper. Use for recipes as needed.

Seduction and Romantic Dinner “Appetizer Recipes”

Easy Melon and Prosciutto Gondola

Yields two servings.
Wedges of fresh exotic melon are cloaked in prosciutto ―true prosciutto―and fresh mint to make a fancy appetizer with very few ingredients.

  • ⅛ ripe CANTALOUPE MELON
  • 2 SLICES PROSCIUTTO, thinly sliced
  • ½ large LEMON, squeezed for juice
  • 1 pinch BLACK PEPPER
  • 2 LEMON WEDGES, garnish
  • 2 sprigs FRESH MINT, garnish

Chill the melon thoroughly. Cut it into two slim wedges, scoop out the seeds, and trim off the rind. Place one piece of melon on each slice of ham and wrap the prosciutto neatly over the melon. Pack each portion in cling film and place them in a rigid container, or wrap in foil in a freezer box just long enough to chill without freezing.

Sprinkle the melon and prosciutto with lemon juice and freshly ground black pepper just before serving.

When ready, serve the chilled melon gondola with the wedges of lemon on either two plates or a silver tray. Embellish with fresh mint sprigs. Snuggle up with your lover and enjoy taking turns feeding each other.

Seduction and Romantic Dinner “Appetizer Recipes”

Escargot and Brie in Phyllo with Applejack Brandy

Yields two servings.
This very special dish consists of escargot served with a creamy apple brandy sauce and enclosed in a phyllo dough shell. Helix snails can be found at specialty and gourmet grocery stores.

  • 2 sheets PHYLLO DOUGH
  • 2 teaspoons BUTTER or MARGARINE, melted
  • 16 HELIX SNAILS, without shells
  • 2 large EGG YOLKS
  • 1 cup HEAVY WHIPPING CREAM
  • 2 tablespoons FRESH CHIVES, finely chopped
  • 4 tablespoons BUTTER
  • 1 tablespoon FRESH GARLIC, peeled and minced
  • ¼ cup APPLEJACK BRANDY
  • 2 ounces BRIE CHEESE, cubed
  • SALT and WHITE PEPPER, to taste
  • 2 sprigs FRESH PARSLEY or HERBS, garnish

Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly spray a cupcake pan with nonstick cooking spray. Place the phyllo dough on a flat surface and brush each sheet with the melted butter. Layer the sheets on top of one another and cut the pile into fours. Push each piece of dough into a cupcake pan, forming cups with the dough. Bake the phyllo cups for ten to fifteen minutes or until golden.

Drain the snails and rinse with running water until the liquid runs clear. Set aside. In a small bowl, mix the egg yolks, heavy cream, chives, and a pinch of black pepper.

Heat a sauté pan and add the butter, garlic, and snails. Sauté for a few minutes and then add the brandy. Afterward, sauté for two more minutes. Next, add the heavy cream mixture and Brie. Bring to a boil, season with the salt and pepper, and remove from heat. The sauce will thicken while cooling. Remove the phyllo cups from the muffin tins. Place a phyllo cup on a plate or bowl, and place eight escargots in the cups with a few flowing out of the cups. Pour the sauce into the cups and over the escargot.

Snuggle up with your lover and enjoy taking turns feeding each other these delicious delicacies.

Spicy-Jalapeno-Bacon-and-Cheese-Oysters_recipe

The Art of Shucking Fresh Oysters

Fresh oysters can be served baked, steamed, grilled, or raw on their shells. Fresh oysters need to be used quickly. To keep oysters alive until you are ready to cook with them, wrap them in a cool, moist towel and store them in the refrigerator.

Whenever shucking oysters you have to use a lot of pressure to open their shells, so use caution when handling the knife. Be careful! For added protection, you can wear a heavy-duty work glove on the hand holding the oyster.

Oyster Knife: You’ll need an oyster knife—a short, stubby blade with a bulbous handle for easy gripping.

  1. Wrap the oyster in a towel and place it securely on a flat cutting surface, with the hinge in the end of the oyster facing outward. You should place the tip of the knife on either side of the hinge. Using a good deal of pressure, push the knife into the hinge. Twist the knife from side to side in order to pry the shell open. Oyster shells are brittle and splinter easily; if the shell splinters and the knife isn’t pointing down toward the cutting board, it would be easy to lose control of the knife. Hold the oyster firmly on the cutting board to keep the oyster from sliding away.
  2. Once the knife has popped the hinge, pry the lid open wide enough to fit the top of your thumb inside. Insert your thumb into the oyster to hold the lid open. Do not plunge the knife into the oyster once the hinge has popped.
  3. At this point, slide the tip of the knife inside the oyster. It should slide along until it reaches the muscle that attaches the two shells. Slice through this connective muscle at the top of the shell without piercing the oyster itself. This will allow you to lift off the top shell, exposing the oyster. Carefully slip the tip of the oyster knife underneath the body of the oyster into the point at which the muscle meets the shell. Dislodge the oyster from shell.

Oyster shells are fragile, so small fragments of shell often break off in the process of shucking. These little bits of shell can resemble sand and are not very appetizing. Carefully scrape away any noticeable shell from the oyster.

When serving the oyster on the half shell, the appearance of the oyster is important. If the oyster has been damaged in the shucking process, flip the oyster over by slipping the knife under the oyster and gently turning it over. The bottom side of an oyster can be better looking than a damaged top.

The oyster should be plump and floating in liquid. This liquid is the natural juice from the oyster and is often referred to as liquor.

Seduction and Romantic Dinner “Appetizer Recipes”

Sinful Oysters on the Half Shell

Yields two servings.
This is a dish of fresh oysters with the top half of the shell removed, leaving the oyster on the “half shell.” They are typically served on a bed of crushed ice and garnished with fresh lemon wedges. Classic accompaniments include melted butter or cocktail sauce. Some people serve Worcestershire sauce, while others serve hot sauce. Considering the lucrative nature and subtle flavor of raw oysters, drowning the flavor in hot sauce is a questionable choice.

  • 1 recipe CLARIFIED BUTTER
  • 1 recipe TANGY COCKTAIL SAUCE
  • 20 large FRESH OYSTERS, shucked
  • CRACKED ICE or ROCK SALT
  • 1 large LEMON, cut in wedges
  • 2 tablespoons PREPARED HORSERADISH
  • 20 SALTINE CRACKERS or GOURMET CRACKERS
  • 1 bottle HOT SAUCE
  • 2 sprigs FRESH PARSLEY, garnish

Prepare clarified butter and cocktail sauce. Set aside. Shuck oysters as described above.

Serve oysters on the half shell on a bed of cracked ice or rock salt with lemon wedges, prepared horseradish, crackers, and bottled hot sauce as accompaniments, along with the clarified butter and cocktail sauce in small dishes on the side.

Embellish with parsley sprigs. The act of feeding each other oysters is adoring and unspeakably sensual.

Seduction and Romantic Dinner “Appetizer Recipes”

Key West Oyster Shooters

Yields two servings.
An old Key West bartender friend got me hooked on these shooters. Throughout history, food has enjoyed epicurean tales of life’s greatest pleasures: seduction and romance.

  • 2 ounces TOMATO JUICE
  • 2 pinches PREPARED HORSERADISH
  • 2 pinches BLACK PEPPER
  • 2 medium RAW OYSTERS (Shucking Fresh Oysters)
  • 2 jigger’s VODKA
  • 2 small LEMON WEDGES, garnish

In a small bowl, combine tomato juice, horseradish, and black pepper. Mix thoroughly.

Divide the tomato juice mixture between two small shooter glasses. Add a shot of vodka to each glass. Place one raw oyster in each glass and garnish with lemon wedges. Make a toast and belly up. This is definitely a pure, aphrodisiac blast.

Seduction and Romantic Dinner “Appetizer Recipes”

Martini Éclairs with Smoked Salmon, Onions, and Vermouth

Yields two servings.
A special treat for almost any evening, this unique hors d’oeuvre combines rich, savory flavors that will satisfy even the most discriminating palate. It would perfectly complement a refreshing martini.

  • 1 recipe YOGURT and PAPAYA DRESSING
  • 2 ÉCLAIR SHELLS, see recipe below
  • ¼ cup CREAM CHEESE, room temperature
  • ¼ pound SMOKED SALMON, sliced thin
  • 12 small COCKTAIL ONIONS, drained
  • 2 tablespoons CAPERS
  • 2 ounces DRY VERMOUTH
  • 1 tablespoon LEMON JUICE
  • 2 LEMON CROWNS, garnish
  • 2 sprigs FRESH PARSLEY, garnish

Prepare the yogurt and papaya dressing, and set aside.

Prepare the éclair shells. Split shells in half. Fill éclair shell bottoms with cream cheese. Place filled shells on one side of two plates. Top cream cheese with salmon slices, letting some of the salmon hang over the edge onto the plate. Place shell tops back on. Place cocktail onions and capers on top of salmon. Drizzle vermouth and lemon juice over top. Serve the yogurt and papaya dressing on the side in a small dish. Embellish with lemon crowns and parsley sprigs, and serve. Snuggle up with your lover and enjoy this introduction to a wonderful evening.

  • Preparing Éclair Shells
  • ¼ cup BOILING WATER
  • 2 tablespoons SALTED BUTTER
  • ¼ cup ALL-PURPOSE FLOUR, sifted
  • 1 large EGG, unbeaten

Preheat oven to 350°F. In a saucepan, bring water to full, rolling boil. Add butter and stir vigorously until it melts. Next, add flour all at once. Stir vigorously until mixture forms a ball in the center, away from the edges of the pan. Remove from heat and let cool for five minutes. Place dough in electric mixer, add egg, and beat until mixture is very stiff. Fill pastry bag with the batter. Press out into oblong shape, 4-½-inches long and 1-inch wide. Bake for forty to fifty minutes or until well risen and crisp. Cool on a wire rack.

Quick Tip: You can purchase empty éclair shells from your local bakery.

“My kitchen is a mystical place, a kind of temple for me. It is a place where the surfaces seem to have significance, where the sounds and odors carry meaning that transfers from the past and bridges to the future.”
– Pearl Bailey
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