Category: Appetizers


Italian Baked Clams

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ngredients:
3 (6 oz.) cans of minced clams in juice
3/4 cup bread crumbs
1 clove of garlic (chopped)
2 tsp. oregano (fresh preferred)
2 tsp. dried parsley
1/2 tsp. sea salt
2 tbs. parmesan cheese
2 tbs. of olive oil
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
1. In a large bowl, mix all ingredients.
2. Using premade (aluminum) clam shells, stuff each one. Depending on how much you stuff each one, you will need about 12 clam shells.
3. On a baking tray, put stuffed clam shells.
4. Bake in oven for 15-18 minutes or until tops of clams are slightly crispy.
Serve with lemon.

 

 

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Italian Rice Balls

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Ingredients:

1 large sweet onion (chopped)

2 lbs. ground beef (lean)

1 cup green peas

1 cup tomato sauce for the recipe ( extra sauce for guests to put on top) *See note on bottom.

sea salt & black pepper

olive oil

5 cups rice

10 cups of water

8 eggs

bread crumbs

2 cups mozzarella (grated)

1 cup parmesan cheese (grated)

Directions:

1. Boil a large pot of water and cook rice. Set rice to the side when done. (once water evaporates and rice is tender)

2. Heat sauté pan with 2 tbs. olive oil. Add onion and let brown lightly.

3. Add meat and brown over medium heat for 8-10 minutes. Then add tomato sauce (add a little more sauce if you like) and a pinch of sea salt and pepper.

4. Add peas and let tomato sauce reduce with pan uncovered.

5. Once mixture has thickened, put to the side and let cool.

6. In a large bowl, mix rice with 4 eggs, mozzarella and parmesan cheese.

7. Add meat mixture to the rice bowl. Mix well by hand. With hands, shape rice into a medium ball.

8. Once rice balls are molded tightly, put them on a sheet pan.

9. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

10. Beat remaining 4 eggs in a bowl.

11. Take rice balls from refrigerator, dip them into the eggs, and then roll in bread crumbs.
12. Return to refrigerator and allow to set for another 20 minutes.

13. Heat 1 quart of oil in large deep sauce pan. With a large slotted spoon, gently place rice balls in hot oil.
14. Cook until golden brown on all sides. Let drain on paper towels.

Makes approximately 15-17 large rice balls. (depends on size you prefer) About 45 -50 golf ball sizes ones can be made.

*Note: You can cut this recipe in half, for smaller amounts. With a regular recipe, I usually get 15-17 rice balls of a larger size. It is served as an appetizer on Christmas Eve. Guests also put tomato sauce and grated cheese on top. I usually make a small pot of sauce to have on hand.

 

Calamari Salad

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Ingredients:

1/4 cup red onion (sliced)
1 green bell pepper (sliced) *seeds removed
1 cup red pepper (sliced) *seeds removed
1/4 cup fresh parsley, minced (no stems)
1 clove garlic (chopped)
1 1/2 lemons
1 1/4 tsp red wine vinegar
sea salt and fresh pepper to taste
1 lb. fresh squid, tube and tentacles cleaned

Directions:

1. Rinse squid and slice tubes into 1/2 inch rings. Leave the tentacles whole.

2. In a bowl combine onion, garlic, red and green peppers, lemon juice, vinegar, sea salt and fresh pepper.

3. Bring a medium pot filled with water to a boil. Add calamari and cook until tender. (Do a taste test about 2 minutes into it.)

4. Quickly drain when cooked and add to a bowl of ice water, for about 5 minutes. Then drain.

5. Combine squid with the salad and toss well. Taste for sea salt and add additional seasoning if needed. Garnish with parsley.

6. Cover and refrigerate at least an hour or two.

*Occasionally I add cold shrimp to the salad.

Ingredients:

6 large portobello mushrooms  (stem and gills removed)
6 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups fresh bread crumbs
1 cup grated Parmesan
3 tbsp. freshly chopped parsley leaves
2 tbsp. freshly chopped basil leaves
6 slices of fresh mozzarella cheese

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

  1. Toss the portabellas in the balsamic vinegar, 1/4 cup of olive oil, sea salt and pepper, to taste. Arrange the mushrooms on a baking sheet and roast in the oven for about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool.

2. While the mushrooms are cooling mix together the bread crumbs, parmesan, parsley, basil and               the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil.

3. Stuff the bread crumb mixture into each mushroom. Return mushrooms to oven for 7 minutes. Remove from oven. Put a slice of mozzarella cheese on top. Return to oven for about 5 minutes. Cheese should be melted and bubbly.

*Optional: You can put some sauteed peppers on top, if you wish. (See photo.)

 

Homemade Eggplant Caponata

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Ingredients:

1 large eggplant

1 large sweet onion

1 large green pepper

1 cup fresh mushrooms

3 cloves of garlic (crushed)

1/2 cup stuffed (with pimentos) green olives

1 6 oz. can tomatoe paste

1/4 cup water

2 tbs. wine vinegar

1 1/2 tsp. sugar

1 tsp. oregano

1 tsp. salt

olive oil

Freshly ground pepper to taste

Directions:

1. Peel and cube eggplant. Cut pepper (remove seeds) and onion into small (bite size) pieces. Slice mushrooms.

2. In a skillet, put 3 tbs. of olive oil. Add garlic. Then add eggplant, peppers, onions and mushrooms. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes. Stir frequently.

3. Add all the remaining ingredients (green olives, tomato paste, water, wine vinegar, sugar, oregano and salt. (ground pepper to taste)

4. Stir everything together. On a low heat, simmer for 30 minutes until eggplant is tender.

Refrigerate overnight. Serve cold. Stays in refrigerator for 1 week. Serve on toasted bread or on your favorite cracker.

Shrimp and Feta Horderves

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A quick and easy horderve for any party.
Ingredients:
12 large shrimp (boiled, tails removed) *chopped
1/2 cup fresh arugula (chopped)
1/4 cup feta cheese (chopped)
1/2 cup grape tomatoes (chopped)
2 tbs. olive oil
1/2 tsp. sea salt
2 dozen mini filo shells (room temperature)
Directions:
1. In a large bowl, mix all ingredients except filo shells.
2. Fill shells with mixture. (see photo)

Braised Tomatoes

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Ingredients:

6 vine tomatoes

1 cup bread crumbs

3 cloves garlic (chopped)

1 tbs. parsley (chopped)

1/4 cup olive oil

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp. black pepper

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

1. Cut tomatoes in half. Remove seeds only.

2. In a skillet put 3 tbs. of olive oil. Heat oil and put tomatoes in pan. Cook on each side for 4 minutes.

3. In a bowl, mix bread crumbs, garlic, parsley, olive oil, salt and pepper. Mix well.

4. In a baking pan (coated with a tbs. of olive oil), place tomatoes (cut side up). Evenly put bread crumb mixture on top of each tomato.

5. Put tomatoes in oven for 12-15 minutes. Tomatoes should be tender.

Serve hot.

Homemade Bruschetta

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Ingredients:
2 ripe tomatoes (diced)
1/4 cup red onion (diced)
1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives (chopped)
1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp. olive oil
pinch of sea salt
Italian bread sliced thin or thin crispy toast crackers
Directions:
In a large bowl, put tomatoes, olives, red onion, vinegar, olive oil and sea salt. Stir gently.
If you’re using Italian bread, slice it thin.
Put bread on a baking tray and rub a little olive oil on top of each slice.
In a preheated oven, 350 degrees, let bread crisp in the oven. (about 5 minutes)
Let bread cool for 5 minutes and put bruschetta on each slice.

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Ingredients:
2 ripe avocados (sliced)
1/2 cup walnuts (chopped)
2 tsp. sesame seeds
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1 tbsp. olive oil
Directions:
!. Put sliced avocados on a platter. Put walnuts and sesame seeds on top.
2. Drizzle a little olive oil on top.
3. Sprinkle with sea salt.

New Year’s Shrimp and Scallop Pizza

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Ingredients:
Focaccia or Pizza Bread
1/2 lb. shrimp (uncooked)
1/2 lb. bay scallops (uncooked)
3 large red onions (sliced)
1 large vidalia onion (sliced)
2 cups fresh arugula
1 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
3 tbsp. balsamic oil
2 tsp. white sugar
olive oil
Directions:
1. In a skillet, put 1 tbsp. olive oil. Cook shrimp and scallops. Sprinkle with sea salt and black pepper. Turn shrimp and scallops while cooking. Should take no more than 5 minutes to cook. Set to the side.
2. In a skillet, put 2 tbsp. of olive oil. Cook sliced onions. Stir frequently. When they are tender, add balsamic vinegar and sugar. Stir together. Cook an additional 2 minutes. Set onions to the side. (If it’s to oily, drain some of the excess.)
3.Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brush a little olive oil of focaccia/pizza bread. Place on a baking sheet and place in oven, just for about 5 minutes. You want the bread to begin to get crisp.
4. Remove bread from oven. Spread cooked onions evenly on top Scatter fresh arugula on top. Place cooked shrimp and scallops evenly on top. (If the scallops are large, you can cut them into pieces.)
5.Return to the oven for about 6-8 minutes.
*Serve hot and crispy.