Smoked Salmon And Herb Cheese Cucumber Bites…

Ok, I know I’ve said a lot of my recipes were over the top, but this one is really over the top! Not only does this appetizer have flavor that’s off the charts, but it looks equally impressive and it couldn’t be easier to make. And that’s what I like – something that’s pleasing to the eye and loaded with flavor.

If you’re anything like me you like to play with food. I loved all aspects of putting these bites together from making the cheese mixture, to rolling the salmon, to adding the little frawns of dill to smelling the aroma of cucumbers. Putting these appetizer bites together was a pleasure from start to finish!

So let’s talk smoked salmon cucumber bites…

Lesson Learned 1 – Peel stripes on the cucumber for some extra flair: If you take a peeler and peel 3-4 stripes lengthwise on an English cucumber you get a nice contrast in color along the peel. Make sure you use an English cucumber (or you can use baby cucumbers but they are more time consuming to handle) as the skin is edible in comparison to plain old regular cucumbers that have a thicker and less palatable skin. Adding the strips adds to the visual wow factor of the appetizer.

Lesson Learned 2 – Peel the smoked salmon into bite-sized chunks: The smoked salmon is sliced razor thin so all you need do is tear off a small piece, roll it and you’re ready to put it on top of the cheese. You only need a little bit for each appetizer.

Lesson Learned 3 – Pierce the salmon with the decorative pick first: You may need to push a little to get the salmon on the pick. You don’t want to do that at the same time you are putting the salmon on top of the cheese – the cheese will squirt out everywhere. Pierce the salmon first and then put the pick through the cheese and cucumber. That way it will all layer correctly.

Keep in mind you only need a small amount of the cheese mixture as well – I’d say about a well rounded teaspoon. I used the smaller side of a melon baller to scoop the cheese onto the cucumber. It worked perfectly.

This is an appetizer you’ll want to make and serve shortly afterwards. It tastes the best and freshest that way.  I know you’ll find these little bites not only delicious but also fun to make and of course, eat! Try them and let me know what you think.

Smoke Salmon And Herb Cheese Cucumber Bites...

  • Servings: 20-25
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

INGREDIENTS:

1 5.2 oz. Boursin garlic and fine herb gournay cheese (or any similar spreadable cheese)

1 English cucumber sliced in 1/2 inch rounds

8 oz. smoked salmon

3 Tbs. fresh dill, chopped

2 Tbs. creamy horseradish

1 tsp. onion powder

Small fresh dill frawns for garnish

Decorative picks

DIRECTIONS:

Mix together the cheese, onion powder, chopped dill and horseradish until well combined. Set aside.

Peel 3-4 stripes lengthwise down the sides of the cucumber. Slice the cucumber into 1/2 rounds. Place the cucumbers on a serving dish.

Put a teaspoon of the cheese mixture on top of each cucumber. Peel off bite sized pieces of the smoked salmon. Roll each piece and pierce it with the decorative pick. Place the pick through the cheese and cucumber.

Garnish with a small frawn of dill on top of each appetizer bite. Serve immediately.

The Ingredients

Smoked Salmon Bites…

Oh man… (yep that’s all I can say) oh man, this is a phenomenal appetizer! I served it at a recent get-together we had in our condo and it was gone in less than 20 minutes. To say it is out of this world is an understatement. I can’t tell you how many of my guests asked for the recipe.

But with all good things there is always a catch and this recipe is no exception. Although it is phenomenal, it is also expensive. You need 16 ounces of the key ingredient, the smoked salmon, and that comes at a cost. I was able to buy a 16 ounce package at my local grocery store and it was on sale at $19.95 from $22.95. That’s a pretty hefty price tag for about 35-40 appetizers. For 40 squares it amounts to approximately sixty cents per square – so definitely much more in the pricey range. But as an infrequent splurge you just can’t beat it. Everyone at my party raved over this. So on that special occasion when you want to make a significant impression, this is the recipe for you!

Smoked Salmon Bites Ingredients

So with that in mind, let’s talk smoked salmon bites…

Lesson Learned 1 – The process for making these bites is important to follow: The process for putting these together in itself is not difficult. It is very similar to making appetizer pinwheels. But there are a few variations that you need to keep in mind. This recipe calls for using 3 large tortillas. Within those tortillas you need to create a square of cream cheese mixture and smoked salmon in order to cut the bites into square pieces. That is not that difficult as you can see by the pictures below (not a perfect square by any means but that is still ok). The key is to make the largest square possible inside the round tortilla leaving only minimal areas at the rounded edges that will eventually be discarded.

Once the three layers have been completed, it is also important to take something like a cutting board and place it on top of the tortillas and press down slightly to ensure that the filling is evenly distributed within the square before your refrigerate it. I also learned a tip from another very similar recipe. If you lightly butter (and I mean very lightly) the second and third tortilla before you place it on top of the smoked salmon it will help keep the tortillas in place when you cut them. The butter clings to the smoked salmon which in turn secures the tortilla.

It is also important that this appetizer be given sufficient time to chill so that it can be cut easily. I recommend at least 4 hours and preferably overnight. That’s another great aspect of this appetizer, it can easily be made the day ahead and cut right before you intend to serve it. So all the heavy lifting is done in advance. As a matter of fact you can even make it two days in advance but don’t go beyond that.

Lesson Learned 2 – Use a serrated knife to cut the bites: If you use a serrated knife to cut the bites and use a back and forth cutting motion less filling, if any,  will come out the sides. The cutting process will be a whole lot faster and easier.

First Layer Of Smoked Salmon Bites

Layer The Salmon On The Spread

Lightly Butter The Underside Of The Second And Third Tortilla

We had about 20 people over at the party when I served this and I was so happy with not only  how well it was received but also how easy it was to cut and serve the day of the party. Any host will appreciate not having to labor over a dish they are serving and rather spend more time with their guests and so the ability to make this ahead of time was very appealing to me. I certainly hope that you try this recipe at some point. I know I will be thoughtful about when to serve this, especially due to the cost, but I will definitely make this again.

Smoked Salmon Bites

  • Servings: 40
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

INGREDIENTS:

8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature

1/2 cup sour cream

2-3 scallions, chopped fine

1/2 tsp. garlic powder

1 medium to large lemon, zested

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 cup dill + sprigs for presentation (sprigs optional)

3 large soft tortillas

16 oz. of smoked salmon sliced thin

small amount of softened butter

Lemon slices for garnish (optional)

DIRECTIONS:

Mix cream cheese, sour cream, scallions, garlic powder, lemon zest, salt and dill. Lay out a tortilla and spread half of the cream cheese mixture into a large square inside the tortilla, making as large of a square as possible. Top with half of the smoked salmon.

Take the second tortilla and butter it lightly. Put the buttered side down on top of the smoked salmon. Spread the remaining cream cheese mixture in the shape of a large square on top of the tortilla. Top the cream cheese mixture with the remaining smoked salmon.

Take the third tortilla and butter it lightly. Place the buttered side on top of the smoke salmon and press down lightly. Using a cutting board or a frying pan, press down on the tortillas to ensure the filling is equally distributed. Keep the tortillas flat and wrap them tightly in plastic wrap. Chill for a minimum of 4 hours, overnight is preferable.

Remove the plastic wrap when ready to cut. Cut off all four rounded edges to create a square. Cut the tortillas into 1 inch strips lengthwise and then cut each strip into 1 inch squares. Place a toothpick in the center of each square and transfer to a serving plate. Garnish with dill sprigs and lemon slices if so desired. Serve.

 

 

Skewered Italian Appetizer Bites…

Sorry I’m a little off my game this week. I was waylaid by a bug bite that gave me an allergic reaction and I’ve been fighting this itching rash. Needless to say I’ve not been a happy camper. The meds I take for itching make me groggy and so it’s been hard to sit down at my computer and crank out my blog. But I’m thinking I’m on the mend, although still not itch free after almost 5 days. But I have noticed improvement and so that’s what I’m focusing on.

This weeks recipe is so darn simple and great for your backyard parties. In the warmer weather, the last thing you want to do is heat up the kitchen. Dishes that are cooler like potato salad and cole slaw seem to be more in demand. Also finger foods are more popular, especially when eating outdoors. You don’t have to mess around with a lot of utensils, just take the food and pop it in your mouth. Which is exactly what this recipe is all about.

So let’s talk skewered Italian bites…

Lesson Learned 1 – This is a great way to use some of the homemade pesto you’ve made from growing basil: pesto is what adds zip to this recipe and homemade pesto is the best. If you don’t have your favorite go-to pesto recipe feel free to use mine. But pesto gives these morsels just the kick they need.

Some things to keep in mind when dredging the mozzarella balls in pesto – my mozzarella balls were in a small plastic container stored in liquid. I bought a small container that had about 20 balls. I put the balls in a strainer and drained the liquid into another dish (just in case I had some balls leftover, I wanted to store them back in the same liquid). I then drained the balls on a paper towel.

This time I did not have fresh pesto on hand so I bought a small 6 oz. jar of traditional pesto. I spooned half to it into a small wide rimmed bowl and dropped some of the balls in the pesto. I rolled them around with a spoon and then skewered them on my decorative pics. Couldn’t be easier.

Lesson Learned 2 – If you want to serve these standing up versus lying down you will need to cut a flat surface on the bottom of each mozzarella ball: I learned this lesson the hard way. I started assembling the skewers and found that they would not stand straight. The round bottom of the ball prevented them from doing so. I tried pushing the bottom flat but that didn’t seem to work so I started cutting the bottoms off the balls and then figured out that I liked the presentation of the skewers better with the skewers lying on their sides. So I opted to serve them lying on one side versus standing up. There is no right way to serve these, but I found that serving them on their side created quite an impressive looking appetizer as you can see from the picture below…

And that’s it really. As I’ve said many times before sometimes the simplest of recipes are the most impressive. This will be a great recipe to use when you harvest your basil and cherry tomatoes. It’s an easy, pop in your mouth bite that will disappear off your party table in no time.

Skewered Italian Appetizer Bites...

  • Servings: Approx. 20
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

INGREDIENTS:

1 small container of cherry tomatoes

1 – 6 oz. jar of basil pesto (or make your own)

1 – 4 oz. package of sliced pepperoni (you will have some leftovers)

1 – 12 oz. container of mozzarella balls

Garlic infused olive oil

decorative picks for skewers

DIRECTIONS:

Put the basil pesto in a wide rimmed bowl. If using jarred pesto, start with half the jar and add more as needed to the bowl.

Strain the mozzarella balls making sure to save the liquid in case you need to store any leftover balls.  Place a few mozzarella balls in the pesto and roll them around with a spoon until they are covered with pesto (you will need to repeat this process a few times).

Assemble the skewers in the following manner – first skewer the tomatoes. Then add a pepperoni slice to each skewer. Lastly add the basil covered mozzarella ball and plate the skewers.

Store tightly wrapped in the refrigerator for a couple of hours or serve immediately. Drizzle with garlic infused olive oil right before serving.

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

Sour Cream Apple Bites…

I had a few apples lying around and I wanted to use them. This recipe is a great way to use “older” apples.  The bites come out so moist and tender you’ll be hard pressed to eat just one. You make this recipe in a 9 x 13  pan and that is way too much for me and my husband so I brought them to work the next day. I couldn’t believe how many compliments I got on them although my husband maintains you can put cardboard in a break room where you work and people will devour it. Part of me knows that’s true, but when people go out of their way to say how delicious it was you know you have something special.

Yes, something special, that’s how I would categorize this. And a great way to use apples that are not all that fresh anymore but still very good. So let’s talk sour cream apple bites…

Lesson Learned 1 – This is a pretty straightforward crumble-type recipe: The crust you make for the  base is the same crumble you put on top. This recipe gives you an ample amount for a nice crust and a substantive crumble. Use half of the mixture as the crust and the other half as the topping. Make sure you use all of it, don’t waste a bit.

Lesson Learned 2 – The food processor is your friend on this one: Make sure you use the food processor to shred the apples. If you’ve never used a food processor it’s worth your while to spend a little time familiarizing yourself with one and learning how to use it. It can be a great time saver. There are a plethora of videos on YouTube that can show you all you need to know about a food processor. Here is a handy little video about how to shred food using a food processor:

Remember when you shred the apples for this recipe, all you need do is cut out the core and seeds. You don’t need to peel them. I used gala apples for this recipe and you can see the little red fleck in the  shredded apples in the pictures below. You won’t even notice the peel when eating the bites and the red from the apples gives a nice little pop of color to the sour cream filling.

What I like about this recipe is not only is it insanely delicious but it also is simple to make. I guarantee you that when you make these bites they will disappear quickly. Enjoy this one!

Sour Cream Apple Bites...

  • Servings: Approximately 30 Bites
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

INGREDIENTS:

Crust and Topping:

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup brown sugar, packed

2 cups quick cooking oats

1 cup flour

1 cup chopped walnuts

1 tsp. baking soda

1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp. allspice

Filling:

1 cup sour cream

3/4 cup sugar

2 Tbs. flour

1 large egg

2 medium apples shredded

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Make the crust/topping first. Mix together butter and sugar until light and creamy. Add all of the remaining ingredients and mix well. Take half of the mixture and press it into the bottom of an ungreased 9 x 13 inch baking pan. Bake for 10 minutes or until the crust is a light golden brown.

While the crust is baking shred the apples in a food processor by removing the core and seeds but leaving on the skin. Combine all of the filling mixture ingredients together except the shredded apples until well blended. Fold in the shredded apples.

Pour the filling mixture over the crust (the crust can be still hot). Crumble the remaining crust/topping mixture over the filling and pat down lightly.

Bake for 40 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the center is set. Cool completely before cutting into bites. Store refrigerated.

Sour Cream and Apple Mixture

Ready To Go Into The Oven

Out Of The Oven

Sour Cream Apple Bites