Category: <span>Appetizers and Starters</span>

Strawberry Salsa

Strawberry Salsa

The combination of tart, sweet, and spicy ingredients in this delicious salsa may surprise you, but somehow the flavors blend beautifully and taste great.

2 pints cherry tomatoes – quartered
1 pint strawberries – chopped
8 green onions chopped fine – white part only
½ cup fresh cilantro – minced
2 T balsamic vinegar
½ tsp salt
3 T olive oil
3 T canola oil
1 small jalapeno pepper – finely chopped

Mix together ingredients. Chill for 8 hours to let the flavors blend Serve chilled with toasted baguette slices.

Goat Cheese, Ricotta and Pesto Terrine

I love this appetizer! Make a day ahead so the flavors meld together. Impressive presentation. Perfect for a wine tasting party.  Enjoy!


  • 1 cup Ricotta cheese
  • 8 oz. soft goat cheese
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped chives
  • 1/4 cup basil pesto, purchased or homemade
  • 3 Tablespoons finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes
  • 20 Kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
  • 3 Tablespoons pine nuts, toasted and chopped
  • Fine sea salt and freshly ground white pepper
  • Accompaniments: fresh or toasted, sliced baguettes, crackers


  1. Combine the two cheeses in a bowl and stir to combine. Add the chives, salt and pepper and stir to blend.
  2. Line a 5-inch wide bowl with plastic wrap, leaving enough overhang to cover the terrine when finished.
  3. Put 1/2 of the cheese mixture in the bowl and smooth the top. Spread the top with half of the pesto.
  4. Scatter half of the tomatoes, olives and pine nuts over the pesto. Repeat using half of the remaining cheese, the rest of the pesto, then the rest of the olives, nuts and tomatoes.
  5. Top with the remaining cheese. Cover with the overhanging plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours. Better when left overnight.

 To serve:

Unwrap the top of the terrine and invert onto a serving platter. Remove the plastic wrap and serve with crackers surrounding it.

Hot Crab Spread

There are a lot of variations of this recipe. This was my Aunt Sally’s specialty and the one my Pittsburgh family loved best at our family dinners.

8 oz. block cream cheese – softened

1 Tbsp milk

1 6 oz can flaked crab – drained

2 Tbsp finely chopped onion

½ tsp horseradish

¼ tsp salt

Dash of white pepper

½ C sliced almonds


Mix all ingredients except almonds with hand mixer until blended.  Spoon into lightly buttered ovenproof pie plate.  Sprinkle almonds evenly on top.  Bake in 350 oven for 20 or so minutes until bubbly.  Can be baked in microwave, but the almonds don’t brown.  Serve hot with wheat thins. Wheat thins make a convenient scoop and taste great with this spread.

Emily’s Gazpacho

4 medium tomatoes, seeded and chopped

1 small cucumber, seeded and chopped

1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped

½ green bell pepper, chopped

½ red bell pepper, chopped

½ small red onion, chopped

½ tsp garlic powder or 1 clove fresh minced garlic

3 T flat leaf parsley, chopped

3 T fresh basil, chopped

2 cups tomato juice

2 teaspoons beef bouillon granules

½ tsp salt

¼ tsp ground pepper

2 T Worcestershire sauce

1 T vinegar

6 dashes Tabasco


In a food processor, puree tomatoes, cucumber, peppers, garlic, parsley, and basil about 30-60 seconds.


Add the rest of the ingredients. Pulse a few times to mix well.


Pour into a covered container, preferably glass, and chill several hours.


Serve with a dollop of sour cream on top. Stir it in and enjoy!


Makes 4 servings.

Hidden Valley Oyster Crackers

 Submitted By:
Hidden Valley ® Ranch

Prep Time:

10 Minutes

Cook Time:

20 Minutes

Ready In:

30 Minutes



“Oyster crackers are baked with a dusting of Hidden
Valley® Original Ranch® Seasoning Mix, dill, and other
optional spices until golden brown for an easy, crispy


1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 (16 ounce) box oyster crackers

1 (1 ounce) packet Hidden Valley®

Original Ranch® Salad Dressing &

Seasoning Mix

1/2 teaspoon dill weed

1/4 teaspoon lemon pepper or garlic

powder (optional)



Place crackers in a gallon-size Glad-Lock®
Zipper ™ Storage Bag. Pour oil over
crackers; seal bag and toss to coat.


Add dressing mix and spice; seal bag and
toss again until coated.


Bake on ungreased baking sheet at 250
degrees F for 15 to 20 minutes or until
golden brown.


Printed from 2/23/2013

Heavenly Homemade Onion Soup

I have yet to figure out how to eat onion soup in public without getting it all over me, so it’s a perfect dish to have at our home-based Josmo’s Cafe!

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 4 sweet onions, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 tsp ground thyme
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 2-3 tablespoons flour
  • 2 quarts beef broth – store bought
  • 1 baguette, sliced
  • 1/2 pound Gruyere cheese

Melt the stick of butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions,  garlic, thyme, and salt and pepper and slowly cook until the onions are very soft and caramelized, about 25 minutes, watching carefully and stirring often.

Add the wine, bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer until the wine has evaporated and the onions are almost dry, about 5 minutes. Dust the onions with the flour and give them a stir. Turn the heat down to medium low so the flour doesn’t burn, and cook for 10 minutes to cook out the raw flour taste. Now add the beef broth, bring the soup back to a simmer, and cook for 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Cheese toast – here’s an easy way to make the cheese toast to float on top.  Using a cheese slicer for extra thin slices, slice the Gruyere cheese. Do not use a substitute cheese. Gruyere is what makes it so good. Place the thinly sliced cheese on the bread and toast it in a toaster oven or under the broiler until lightly brown and bubbly.

Ladle the soup in bowls and place the cheese toast on top. Serve extra cheese toast on the side, if desired.


Kathy’s Cowboy Salsa

Football season calls for healthy munchies to feed a crowd!

There are many variations of Cowboy Salsa, but when my cousin Kathy served this to us, John and I quickly deemed this our favorite.  There are no tomatoes so it’s not messy to eat and no cilantro which John doesn’t care for.  Enjoy!

Mix together:

1 can pinto beans – rinsed and drained
1 can black-eyed peas – rinsed and drained
1 can black beans – rinsed and drained
1 can shoe peg corn – drained
1 can regular corn – drained
1 jar small pimentos – drained and chopped


1/2 cup chopped red onion

1 large avocado – peeled and diced
2 tablespoons (or to taste) jalapeño peppers (optional)
4 chopped green onions
1/2 chopped yellow bell pepper
1/2 chopped red bell pepper
1/2 chopped green bell pepper
3 ribs chopped celery


3/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup rice vinegar
1/2 cup sugar (more or less to taste)
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

In a saucepan, bring dressing ingredients to a boil. Let it cool. Pour over all drained beans and vegetables. Mix well and chill.

Serve with Scoops chips.

Makes a ton and keeps well in the fridge for several days.

Dill Pickle Dip

When I read the recipe in the Charlotte Observer, I thought yuk!  Two days later, our friends Mary Beth and Rick came to dinner and brought the dip. MB is a southern gal and thought it sounded great. It was!!

FYI, MB modified the recipe using only 1 cup of dill pickles and added 1/4 tsp of fresh ground pepper.

From “The Southern Bite Cookbook,” by Stacey Little (Thomas Nelson, $24.99).

1 1/2 cups finely diced kosher dill pickles

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 to 4 tablespoons pickle juice

Crackers, potato chips or vegetables for serving

Combine the pickles, cream cheese, garlic powder and salt in a medium bowl. Gradually whisk in the pickle juice to get to a dipping consistency. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes. Serve chilled with crackers, chips or raw vegetables for dipping.

Yield: About 2 cups.

Cheese Pastry Hors D’Oeuvres

These rich and pretty hot hors d’oeuvres are always a hit!  Make them ahead and freeze unbaked. Directions below to defrost and bake.

2 1/2 cups flour

1 cup butter – softened

1 cup sour cream

Seasoned salt


3 cups shredded orange Cheddar cheese – best if shredded right before using



Combine flour, butter, and sour cream in bowl and mix. Divide into 4 portions. Wrap and chill for several hours or overnight.

Roll out one at a time on floured surface to 12″x6″ rectangle. Sprinkle surface with seasoned salt and pepper, then with 3/4 cup cheese.

Starting with 12″ side, roll up jelly-roll style. Seal edges and ends. (At this point, you can freeze by wrapping each roll separately in plastic wrap. To defrost, take out roll and let defrost in refrigerator. Proceed with recipe.)

Place seam down on ungreased cookie sheet. Cut each roll halfway through at 1″ intervals. Sprinkle with paprika.

Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes until light-golden brown.

Once out of the oven, cut each roll through at the 1″ intervals. Serve immediately.

Makes 48 pastries.


Recipe from Three Rivers Cookbook. 1973. Published by Child Health Association of Sewickley, Inc.

Rye Bread Spread

7 slices bacon, fried crisp, chopped fine
2 green onions with tops, chopped fine
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped fine
1/3 cup  shredded Parmesan cheese
3/4 cup mayonnaise
Small can chopped black olives
Couple of shakes Texas Pete (optional)

1 loaf party rye (baguette slices will work fine, too)

Mix all the spread ingredients together. Can be made one or two days ahead and refrigerated.

Just before serving, spread on bread.

Bake at 375 for 10 minutes or broil 2 minutes until light brown and hot.

Eat up!

Double the recipe. Leftover spread will keep in the fridge for a few days.