Appetizers and First Courses

Great recipes to entice the palate!
Some of these also make great vegetarian main courses.


Recipe Index

Feel Free to browse the entire page of recipes or use these links to jump to a specific one.

Asparagus And Parmesan Puddings 
Asparagus Custard Tart 
Baked Oysters With Bacon And Leeks 
Baked Oysters With Crunchy Artichoke Topping 
Caramelized Onion And Goat Cheese Tarts 
Country Pate With Wild Mushrooms and Pistachios
Crab And Wild Mushroom Cheesecake (Emeril Lagasse) 
Deviled Crab Rutledge 
Goat Cheese Soufflé With Thyme
Grilled Peaches with Pecorino And Prosciutto 
Grilled Portabello Mushrooms With Tarragon-Parsley Butter 
Grilled Salmon Cakes With Lemon Mayonnaise 
Grilled Stuffed Portabello Mushrooms 
Grilled Stuffed Tomatoes With Goat Cheese And Sage 
Grilled Portabellas With Sopressata Stuffing 
Herb-Coated Crab Cakes 
Leeks Vinaigrette With Red Bell Pepper And Mint 
Lobster Cakes With Papaya Mayonnaise 
Mozzarella-Stuffed Grilled Portobellos With Balsamic Marinade 
Mussels With Smoked Ham, Lemon And Oregano 
New England Fish Cakes With Herbed Tartar Sauce 
Oysters Flambé  (Tom's 2013 National Oyster Cook-Off Winner)
Parmesan Stuffed Tomatoes 
Pheasant Terrine 
Roasted Mango With Vanilla Yogurt 
Scallops With Glazed Garlic And Champagne Sauce 
Scallops In Champagne Sauce With Port Glaze 
Seared Scallops With Lemon And Fennel Relish 
Seviche With Mint And Grapefruit 
Shrimp In Brandy Cream Sauce 
Smoked Salmon-Cucumber And Dill Mousse 
Spicy Crab Cakes With Mango Puree 
Spicy Lemon Marinated Shrimp 
Spinach Shitake Bread Puddings 
Stuffed Marinated Portabella Mushrooms 
Summer Vegetable Tart 
Sweet Potato Ravioli With Sage Butter Sauce  
Tomato, Red Onion And Basil Bruschetta 
Warm Lobster And Crab Pate
Wild Mushroom Timbales With Bacon And Arugula 
Wild Mushroom Tart 

8 Servings

1 cup sour cream
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons grated lime peel
1 ripe papaya, peeled, halved, seeded
1/2 ripe pineapple, peeled, cored
3 large bananas, peeled
8 12-inch-long bamboo skewers

Combine sour cream, 2 tablespoons lime juice, sugar and lime peel in small bowl.  Cover and refrigerate lime cream.  Cut papaya into twenty-four 1 inch pieces. Cut pineapple into twenty-four 1 inch pieces.  Cut each banana crosswise into 8 pieces and place in small bowl.Toss with remaining 1 tablespoon lime juice.  Alternate fruit on skewers.  Arrange on platter.  (Fruit skewers can be prepared 1 hour ahead. Cover and chill.)  Serve
with lime cream.

2 Servings

2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons dry white wine
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon anchovy paste
3 1/2 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
1 1/2 teaspoons thyme leaves
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 large eggs, separated, plus 3 large egg whites
1/4 cup grated sharp white Cheddar
Mixed Greens with sliced Papaya

Preheat the oven to 375F.  Butter a 1 quart soufflé dish. Add the Parmesan and turn the dish to coat it with the cheese.  In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over low heat.  Add the flour and cook, whisking, until blended. Whisk in the milk, wine, mustard and anchovy paste and cook, whisking, until the sauce is smooth and thick, about 8 minutes.  Remove from the heat and stir in the goat cheese and 1 teaspoon of the thyme leaves.  Season with salt and pepper and stir in the egg yolks.  Scrape the soufflé mixture into a large directly on the surface. In a large stainless steel bowl, beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt until soft peaks form. Using a rubber spatula, fold one-third of the beaten whites into the soufflé mixture; fold in the remaining whites until just a few streaks remain.  Gently scrape the mixture into the prepared dish.  Sprinkle the top with the Cheddar, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of thyme and some pepper.  Bake the soufflé in the middle of the oven for about 25 minutes, or until  nicely risen and browned on top. Serve at once with the mixed greens with papaya.   NOTE: You can also prepare this rich and comforting soufflé in two 2-cup ramekins.  Be sure to reduce the cooking time slightly.

10 Servings

For Terrine:
3 pounds red bell peppers
2 large garlic cloves (unpeeled)
1/2 teaspoon salt
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 1/2 envelopes unflavored gelatin
3/4 cup chilled whipping cream
For Asparagus Vinaigrette:
1 1/2 pounds asparagus trimmed
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar or 2 tablespoons red
wine vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons sliced fresh basil or 2 teaspoons dried,
crumbled finely chopped basil for garnish

Make Terrine:
Preheat broiler.  Line 4 to 5-cup loaf pan with plastic, overlapping sides by 3 inches. Line baking sheet with foil. Arrange peppers and garlic on baking sheet.  Broil until peppers are blackened on all sides, turning occasionally. Transfer peppers to paper bag and seal.  Transfer garlic to plate.  Let peppers stand 10 minutes.  Peel peppers.  Cut in half; remove stems and seeds.  Squeeze pulp from garlic cloves.  Transfer garlic to processor.  Add peppers and puree until smooth.  Mix in salt and cayenne. Transfer puree to heavy medium saucepan.  Cook over medium-low heat until puree is reduced to scant 2 cups, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.  Set bell pepper puree aside.  Pour water into heavy small saucepan.  Sprinkle gelatin over wine.  Let stand 10 minutes to soften.  Place saucepan over low heat and stir constantly until gelatin dissolves.  Stir gelatin mixture into puree.  Let stand at room temperature just until cool, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes.  Whip cram until soft peaks and fold into pepper puree.  Line loaf pan with plastic wrap that hangs over the sides.  Fill loaf pan with the puree mixture, cover with plastic wrap and chill at least 6 hours or overnight
Make Vinaigrette:
Trim asparagus and cook in salted boiling water until tender, about 8 minutes.  Puree in food processor or blender.  Strain through a sieve.  Put asparagus puree into blender.  Add vinegar, mustard and salt.  With blender running drizzle in olive oil until emulsified.  Add the basil and season to taste. 
Assemble Terrine:
Take plastic wrap off the top of the terrine.  Invert onto plate.  Discard the remaining plastic wrap.  Drizzle sauce on each plate.  Slice into 1/2 inch slices and place a slice on the top of the sauce.  Drizzle a bit of sauce on the terrine and garnish with chopped basil.

8 Servings

For Timbales:
1/2 cup hot water
1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
5 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
1/2 cup thinly sliced shallots
12 ounces button mushrooms, chopped
3 tablespoons dry white wine
1 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 1/2 cups whipping cream
4 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
For Sauce:
1 cup canned no fat low-salt chicken broth
1/4 cup whipping cream
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley

Make Timbales:
Combine 1/2 cup hot water and porcini mushrooms in bowl.  Let mushrooms soak until soft, about 20 minutes.  Strain porcini mushrooms and chop.  Chop half of shiitake mushrooms; slice remaining shiitake mushrooms. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add shallots and sauté 3 minutes.  Add button mushrooms.  Cook until mushrooms are brown and dry, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes.  Add wine and boil 1 minute. Transfer mushrooms to medium bowl.  Melt 1 tablespoon butter in same skillet over medium-low heat. Add porcini and chopped shiitake mushrooms. Cover and cook until tender, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.  Add porcini mixture to button mushrooms in bowl.  Stir in parsley. Season with salt and pepper. Melt remaining 1 tablespoon butter in same skillet over medium heat.  Add sliced shiitake mushrooms and sauté 5 minutes.  Set aside for garnish.  (Can be prepared 1 day ahead.  Cover mushrooms separately and refrigerate.)  Preheat oven to 350F.  Butter eight 3/4 cup ramekins.  Combine cream, eggs, egg yolks and nutmeg in large bowl.  Season with salt and pepper.  Place 1/3 cup mushroom mixture in each prepared ramekin. Pour 1/3 cup custard into each. Arrange ramekins in large roasting pan, spacing evenly.  Pour enough hot water into pan to come halfway up sides of ramekins.  Bake until custard is set, about 40 minutes. 
Prepare Sauce:
Boil broth and cream in heavy small saucepan until reduced to 1/3 cup, 15 minutes.  Gradually whisk in butter.  Stir in parsley.  Season with salt and pepper.  Rewarm sliced shiitake mushrooms in heavy large skillet over medium heat.  Run small sharp knife around sides of ramekins and invert timbales onto plates.  Spoon sauce over and garnish with sliced shiitake mushrooms.

Serves 8

6 ounces (about 8) shallots
3 large garlic cloves
3/4 pound boneless pork shoulder, cut into1 ½ inch pieces
3/4 pound boneless veal shoulder, cut into 1 ½ inch pieces
1/3 pound pork fat cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes
3/4 pound slab bacon, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
1 1/2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 1.2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1 1/2 ounces assorted dried wild mushrooms* such as
shiitake, chanterelle, and morel (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 cup Sercial Madeira
2 large eggs, beaten lightly
3/4 cup minced fresh parsley leaves
1/2 cup shelled natural pistachios
6 ounces smoked tongue or Black Forest ham, cut into
1/3 inch cubes

*See our Supplier Page for mushrooms

In a food processor chop shallots and garlic fine, pulsing motor, and transfer to a large bowl.  In food processor or meat grinder (preferably) grind separately pork, veal, pork fat and bacon, pulsing motor every 5 seconds, until meat is the texture of ground chuck, about 15 to 20 seconds, and add meats as they are ground to shallot mixture.  Add pepper, thyme, salt, and allspice and combine well. Marinate mixture, covered and chilled, overnight.  In a small saucepan simmer mushrooms in Madeira 5 minutes and let stand for 1 hour.  Preheat oven to 350 F. and butter a 2-quart terrine or loaf pan.  Drain mushrooms, reserving any liquid, and chop coarse. Strain reserved liquid through a sieve lined with rinsed and squeezed paper towels and add to pate mixture.  Add mushrooms, eggs, parsley, pistachios, and tongue to pate mixture, combining well. (You can test seasoning by cooking a tablespoon of pate in a small skillet until cooked through and tasting it.)  Spread pate mixture in terrine, smoothing top.  Bake pate, covered with a double thickness of foil, in middle of oven until juices are no longer pink and a meat thermometer registers 170F., about 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 hours.   Remove foil and cool pate on rack 30 minutes.  Cover surface of pate with double thickness of foil and weight with two 1 pound weights such as cans of soup.  Chill pate weighted, overnight.  Pate' may be made 1 week in advance and kept covered and chilled.  Serve pate at room temperature with cornichons, bread, and mustard. 

Serves 12
For The Pate:
1 1/2 pounds sea scallops
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 pounds cooked lobster meat, chopped coarse (from 
two 1 ½ pound lobsters)
I pound lump crab meat, picked over
For The Sauce:
1 cup white fish stock or bottled clam juice
1/2 cup Champagne
3 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
2 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
about 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter for sautéing the pate
parsley sprigs for garnish if desired
12 cooked prawns (available at some fishmongers) or 
jumbo shrimp for garnish if desired

Make the Pate:
In a food processor puree the scallops with the salt, with the motor running add the eggs, 1 at a time, and add the cream in a slow stream. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and fold in the lobster and the crabmeat gently but thoroughly.  Line a 9- by 5-inch loaf pan with saran wrap, leaving enough of an overhang to fold over the top, spoon the shellfish mixture into the pan, and fold the saran wrap over it.  Put the loaf pan into a larger baking pan, fill the baking pan with enough hot water to reach halfway up the sides of the loaf pan, and bake the pate in the middle of preheated 250 F. oven for 1 ½ hours.  Let the pate cool in the loaf pan on a rack or chill it overnight.
Make the Sauce:
In a saucepan combine the stock, the Champagne, the shallot, and the garlic and boil the mixture until it is reduced to about 1/4 cup.  Add the cream, boil the mixture until it is thickened, and stir in the parsley.Assemble:
Remove the pate from the loaf pan, discard the saran wrap, and with a sharp knife cut the pate into twelve slices.  Cut each slice diagonally into 2 triangles and in a large skillet sauté the triangles in batches in the butter over moderately high heat for 1 to 2 minutes on each side, or until they are browned.  Arrange 2 triangles decoratively on each of 12 plates, garnish each serving with a parsley sprig and a prawn, and spoon some of the sauce over each serving.

Serves 30 as an hors d'oeuvre
1 pound smoked salmon (preferably unsliced), skinned, 
pin bones removed, and fish cut into 1/4-inch dice 
(about 2 cups)
2 cups 1/4 inch dice seeded seedless cucumber
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill sprigs
1/3 cup chopped red onion (about 1 small), soaked in 
ice water to cover 5 minutes, drained, and patted dry
2 1/4 cups sour cream
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons cold water
2 1/2 teaspoons (1 envelope) unflavored gelatin
Garnish: thin cucumber ribbons made by cutting 1 large 
seedless cucumber lengthwise with a vegetable peeler
Accompaniment: assorted toasts and/or crackers
*available at fish markets and some specialty foods shops

Lightly oil an 8 by 2 inch round cake pan and line with plastic wrap.  Spread 1 1/4 cups salmon evenly in cake pan.  In a bowl stir together remaining salmon, cucumber, dill, onion, sour cream, lemon juice, and zest until combined well.  Put cold water in a small heatproof cup and sprinkle gelatin over it.  Set cup in a saucepan and add enough water to pan to reach halfway up side of cup.  Heat gelatin mixture over low heat until gelatin is dissolved and stir into salmon mixture. Season mixture with salt and pepper and spoon over salmon in cake pan. Chill mousse, covered with plastic wrap, at least 6 hours and up to 3 days.  To unmold mousse, invert a large plate over cake pan and invert mousse onto plate.  Lift off cake pan and peel off plastic wrap.  Garnish mousse with cucumber ribbons and serve with toasts. 

Serves 8 as a first course
1 onion, chopped fine
I green bell pepper, chopped fine
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
a 1 pound can whole tomatoes in puree, drained, 
reserving 2tablespoons puree, and chopped fine
1/2 cup water
1/4 teaspoon cayenne, or to taste
a 1 pound bag frozen crawfish tail meat* (preferably 
Louisiana), thawed
1/2 cup thinly sliced scallion greens
4 teaspoons white-wine vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil
8 cups mescaline (mixed baby greens, about 1/4 pound), 
rinsed and spun dry
8 puff pastry shells (I use frozen from grocery store)
*Craw fish tail meat is available from January through June purchased fresh
by mail order -see my Supplier Page for The Cajun Grocer

In a heavy skillet cook onion and bell pepper in butter, covered, over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until softened but not browned.  Sprinkle flour over onion and bell pepper and cook, stirring, 3 minutes.  Stir in tomatoes and reserved puree, water, and cayenne and simmer, stirring, until thickened slightly, about 1 minute.  Stir in crawfish and heat mixture over moderate heat until just hot.  Etouffee may be prepared up to this point 2 days ahead cooled completely, uncovered and chilled, covered. Reheat etouffee before proceeding.  Stir in scallions and salt to taste.  In a large bowl whisk together vinegar and salt and pepper to taste and whisk in oil in a stream until emulsified.  Add mescaline and toss well.  Spoon etouffee into warm pastry shells and arrange mescaline around shells.


For terrine:
1 pound red and yellow bell peppers (about 3 large),
seeded, cut into strips
2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
I tablespoon water
I tablespoon Armagnac or Cognac
3/4 cup crème fraiche* or whipping cream
For sauce:
1 cup dry white wine
1 bunch watercress, stems trimmed
2 teaspoons tarragon vinegar
1 1/2 cups whipping cream
2 fresh tarragon sprigs or 1/2 teaspoon dried, crumbled
Additional watercress sprigs

Make terrine:
Butter a 4 to 5 cup loaf pan. Cook peppers separately by color in heavy large saucepan of boiling water until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain well. Puree red and then yellow bell peppers in processor separately. Sprinkle 2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin over 1 tablespoon water in small metal bowl. Let stand 10 minutes to soften. Place bowl in saucepan of simmering water and stir until gelatin melts.  Mix 1/2 gelatin into red pepper puree and 1/2 into yellow puree. Blend in 1/2 tablespoon Armagnac or brandy into each. Transfer to large bowl. Let stand until cool but not set, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes. Using electric mixer, beat crème fraiche or heavy cream in medium bowl until stiff. Fold 1/2 into each puree. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour one mixture into prepared pan. Refrigerate until somewhat set; then pour 2nd mixture over top and refrigerate until firm. (Can be prepared 2 days ahead.)
Make sauce:
Boil wine in heavy small until reduced to 2 tablespoons into puree. Blanch watercress in large saucepan of boiling salted water for 45 seconds. Drain well. Transfer watercress to processor. Add reduced wine and vinegar and puree until smooth. Combine cream and 2 tarragon sprigs in heavy medium saucepan. Boil until reduced to 1 cup, about 5 minutes. Add puree and bring to simmer. Strain through sieve, pressing on solids with back of spoon. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate, sauce until well chilled. (Sauce can be prepared 3 hours ahead.)
Unmold terrine:
Dip loaf pan in hot water 5 seconds. Invert onto platter; Remove pan. Using a long thin knife, cut terrine into 8 slices. Arrange 1 slice on each plate. Spoon sauce around slices. Garnish with additional watercress and serve.

Serves 16 to 20
For crust:
1 1/2 cups fresh bread crumbs from French bread
1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese (about 3 ounces)
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter, melted
For filling:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
4 cups coarsely chopped assorted fresh wild mushrooms 
such as Cremini, oyster shitake)
28 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 large eggs
1/2 cup whipping cream
10 ounces crabmeat (about 2 cups), drained well, 
picked over
1 cup (about 4 ounces) grated smoked Gouda cheese
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 French bread baguette, sliced and toasted

Make crust:
Preheat oven to 350F. Mix all ingredients in medium bowl until well blended. Press mixture in bottom (not sides) of 9-inch-diameter spring-form pan with 2 3/4 inch-high sides. Bake crust until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Cool crust while preparing filling. Maintain oven temperature.
Make filling:
Heat 1 tablespoon oil In heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chopped onion and bell pepper and sauté 2 minutes; Add mushroom and sauté until liquid evaporates and mushrooms begin to brown, about 10 minutes. Cool. Using electric mixer, beat cream cheese, salt and pepper in large bowl until mixture is fluffy. Beat in eggs 1 at a time, then whipping cream. Mix in vegetable mixture, crabmeat, smoked gouda and chopped parsley. Pour filling over crust. Place cheesecake on baking sheet. Bake until cake puffs and browns on top but center moves slightly when pan is shaken, about 1 hour 30 minutes. Transfer pan to rack and cool. (Cheesecake can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.) Run small small sharp knife around pan sides to loosen cheesecake. Release pan sides. Transfer cheesecake to platter. Serve cold or at room temperature with baguette slices.

Serves 4

For sherry vinaigrette:
1/4 cup medium dry sherry
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced shallot
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 tablespoons finely chopped mixed flesh herbs such
as basil, parsley, thyme, sage, and chives
4 large portabella mushrooms (each 5 to 6 inches in
diameter; about 1 pound total)
For stuffing:
1 medium white onion
2 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
1 1/2 cups fine fresh bread crumbs
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan (about 3 ounces)
1/2 cup warm water
1/4 cup medium-dry Sherry
6 ounces mescaline (baby greens/about 2 quarts
loosely packed)
For garnish:
Parmesan curls, shaved with a vegetable peeler
from a piece of Parmesan at room temperature

Make vinaigrette:
In a very small saucepan boil Sherry until reduced by about half and let cool. In a bowl whisk together Sherry, balsamic vinegar, garlic, shallot, sugar, and salt and pepper to taste and add oils in a stream, whisking until emulsified. Whisk in herbs and reserve 1/4 cup vinaigrette for dressing mesclun. Transfer remaining vinaigrette to a large sealable plastic bag.  Discard stems from mushrooms. Add mushrooms to bag and seal, pressing out excess air. Put bag in a bowl. Marinate mushrooms, chilled, turning bag once or twice, at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours.  Preheat oven to 350F.
Make stuffing and finish mushrooms:
Finely chop onion and cut prosciutto into julienne strips. In a skillet cook onion in butter over moderately low heat, stirring, until soft and transfer to a bowl. Stir in prosciutto and remaining stuffing ingredients and salt and pepper to taste until combined well.
Remove mushrooms from bag, letting excess vinaigrette drip off, and arrange mushrooms, gill sides up, in a 13- by 9- by 2-inch baking pan. Divide stuffing among mushrooms and press gently and evenly into caps. Pour water and Sherry around mushrooms and bake in middle of oven 20 to 25 minutes, or until stuffing is golden brown. In a bowl toss mescaline with reserved vinaigrette and salt and pepper to taste and divide among 4 plates. Transfer mushrooms with a slotted spatula to a cutting board and cut each crosswise into 4 or 5 pieces. Transfer a sliced mushroom to each plate and garnish with Parmesan curls. Serves 4 as a hearty first course or light main course.

Makes 10 pieces
3 sheets frozen phyllo dough thawed according to 
package directions
1 tablespoon oil from the olives or sun-dried tomatoes
1 cup cubed feta
1/4 cup pitted and chopped imported olives, green, 
black or both
1 tablespoon minced, drained, oil packed, sun-dried 
Fresh black pepper to taste
Butter for baking sheet

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Unfold pastry sheets carefully. Place on a damp cloth. Using pastry brush, brush each sheet lightly with oil. Place sheets directly over each other. Cover remaining sheets of dough with a damp cloth.
Make filling:
Combine feta, olives and tomato in a bowl, with a couple grinds of pepper. Place filling in a single strip along the edge of the dough closest to you. Roll like a jelly roll. Place strudel on a buttered baking sheet and brush with a little more oil. Mark individual servings of the strudel with a sharp knife and cut on the diagonal into l-inch pieces. Bake for about 35 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool 5 minutes and serve.

Makes 8 Servings
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 small onion, peeled and chopped
4 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1 1/2 pounds portabella mushrooms, stemmed and 
cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/4 cup Italian parsley, finely chopped
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, finely chopped
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup whole milk
3 eggs
Vegetable oil spray
For the garnishes:
8strips thickly cut bacon
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 cup beef, veal or duck-and-veal demi-glace*
8 cups arugula, tough stems removed.

*Demi-glace available through D'Artagnan Jersey City, NJ)

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Heat the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the mushrooms and cook for 10 minutes. Set aside to cool. Stir the salt, pepper, lemon zest, parsley, thyme and Parmesan into the mushrooms. In a large bowl, whisk together the cream, milk and eggs. Stir in the mushroom mixture. Spray 8 6-ounce ramekins with vegetable oil. Fill each with the custard and set in a large roasting pan. Pour enough hot water into the roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake until set, about 55 minutes. Meanwhile, cook the bacon in a heavy skillet over medium heat until crisp. Drain on paper towels, crumble and set aside. Pour the fat from the skillet. Add the vinegar and demi-glace and simmer over medium heat for 2 minutes, scraping up any bacon bits stuck to the pan. Run the tip of a small knife around the edge of the ramekins to loosen the custards. Spoon 2 tablespoons of the sauce onto the center of 8 plates. Mound 1 cup of arugula in the center of each plate. Unmold the timbales onto the center of the arugula. Scatter the bacon around the timbales and serve at once.

Serves 4

For lobster bread pudding:
a l1/2-pound live lobster
2 individual brioches (each about 3 inches in diameter)
1 medium leek
1/4 pound fresh Cremini mushrooms
1/4 pound fresh shiitake mushrooms
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup brandy
4 large egg yolks
1 large egg
2 cups heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
For vanilla chive sauce:
1 small carrot
1 small celery rib
1 small leek
1 tablespoon olive oil
reserved lobster shells and body from bread pudding
1 1/2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh tarragon sprigs
1/4 cup brandy
1/2 cup dry white wine
3 cups water
a 2-inch piece vanilla bean
2 teaspoons canned tomato puree
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh chives

Make bread pudding:
Fill an 8-quart kettle three fourths full with salted water and bring to a boil. Plunge lobster headfirst into boiling water and simmer, covered, 8 minutes. Immediately transfer lobster with tongs to a large bowl and cool. When lobster is cool enough to handle, remove meat in the following manner, reserving shells and body: Break off claws at body of lobster. Crack claws and remove meat. Twist tail off lobster body and with kitchen shears cut thin hard membrane on underside of tail to remove meat. Chop tail and claw meat and chill, covered, for bread pudding. Discard head sac from lobster body. With a sharp knife or kitchen shears chop or cut lobster body and reserved shells into pieces and chill, covered for sauce. Preheat oven to 300F. Cut enough of brioches into 1/4-inch dice to measure 2 packed cups and spread in one layer in a shallow baking pan. Bake brioche in middle of oven until dry but not golden, about 12 minutes. Finely chop white part of leek. Trim Cremini stems flush with caps and discard shiitake stems. Cut Cremini and shitake caps into 1/4-inch dice. In a 9-inch heavy skillet cook leek in oil, covered, over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 5 minutes. Add mushrooms and sauté over moderately high heat, stirring until tender and any liquid mushrooms give off is evaporated. Remove skillet from heat and add brandy. Carefully ignite brandy and cook over moderately high heat, shaking skillet, until flames die out. Continue to cook mixture, stirring, until any remaining liquid is evaporated and season with salt and pepper Transfer mixture to a bowl and stir in lobster meat. In a large bowl whisk together yolks, egg, cream cayenne and salt to taste and gently stir in brioche croutons lobster mixture. Chill bread pudding, covered, until brioche is soaked with custard, 2 to 3 hours. (Bread pudding may be made up to this point 1 day ahead and chilled, covered.)
Bake puddings:
Preheat oven to 300F and butter four 1-cup ramekins 4 by 2 inches). Divide bread pudding among ramekins and arrange in a roasting pan. Add enough hot water to roasting pan to reach one third up sides of ramekins and tent roasting pan with foil. Bake puddings in middle of oven 45 minutes. Carefully remove foil and bake puddings until knife inserted in centers comes out clean, 15 to 25 minutes more. Remove ramekins from roasting pan and let puddings stand 5 minutes.
Make sauce while bread pudding is chilling:
Finely chop carrot, celery, and white part of leek separately. In a 3- to 4-quart heavy saucepan cook leek in oil over moderate heat, stirring, until softened. Add carrot and celery and cook, stirring, until celery is slightly softened. Add lobster shells and body and sauté over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally,2 minutes. Stir in tarragon. Remove pan from heat and add brandy. Carefully ignite brandy and boil mixture, shaking pan, until flames die out and brandy is evaporated. Add wine and water and simmer mixture, uncovered, 1 hour. With a knife halve vanilla bean lengthwise.
Pour lobster stock through a fine sieve into a large bowl, pressing hard on solids, and transfer liquid to cleaned pan. Boil stock until reduced to about 1/2-cup. Stir in tomato puree and bring to a boil. Stir in vanilla bean and cream and simmer sauce until reduced to about 1 cup. Season sauce with salt and pour through a fine sieve into a small saucepan. Chill sauce, covered, while baking puddings. (Sauce may be made up to this point 1 day ahead and chilled covered.)
Assemble puddings:
Reheat sauce over moderate heat until hot and add chives. Run a thin knife around edge of each pudding and invert a plate over each ramekin. Invert puddings onto plates and turn right side up. Serve puddings
with sauce.

Makes 8
1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs made from crustless Italian bread
2 pounds asparagus, trimmed
1 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (about 3 ounces)
1/2 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese
1/4 cup all purpose flour
4 large eggs

Butter eight 3/4-cup custard cups or soufflé dishes. Coat with bread crumbs. Cut off asparagus tips. Cook tips in large saucepan of boiling salted water until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Drain; reserve tips and 1 cup cooking liquid. Coarsely chop asparagus stalks. Melt butter in large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion; sauté until tender, about 6 minutes. Add stalks; sauté until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Add reserved asparagus cooking liquid. Cover; simmer until stalks are tender, about 12 minutes. Uncover; cook until liquid is absorbed, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Transfer to food processor; puree. Add Parmesan, ricotta and flour. Using on/off turns, process just until blended. Season with salt and pepper. Whisk eggs in bowl to blend. Add asparagus puree; whisk to blend. Stir in all but 16 asparagus tips. Divide custard among cups. Place cups in roasting pan. (Can be made 6 hours ahead. Cover; chill puddings and remaining asparagus tips.) Preheat oven to 350F. Pour hot water into pan to come 1 inch up sides of cups. Bake puddings until set, about 35 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes. Invert onto plates. Garnish with asparagus tips.

4 Servings
12 large garlic cloves, each cut lengthwise in half
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
20 large sea scallops
1/4 cup pure maple syrup (preferably B grade)
1/4 cup apple cider
1/4 cup dry Champagne 
3 tablespoons chopped shallots
3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

Place garlic in a small saucepan with water.  Bring to boil. Drain. Return garlic to pan. Add fresh water and bring to boil again. Drain and set aside. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in heavy large skillet over high heat. Season scallops with salt and pepper. Add scallops to skillet; sauté until cooked through, about 3 minutes per side. Using tongs, transfer scallops to platter and tent with foil to keep warm (do not clean skillet). Add garlic, syrup and cider to skillet; boil until liquid is reduced to glaze, about 3 minutes. Add Champagne, shallots and 2 tablespoons chives to skillet; boil until liquid is reduced to sauce consistency, about 4 minutes. Add remaining 2 tablespoons butter; whisk until melted. Season with salt and pepper. Pour sauce over scallops. Sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon chives.

6 Servings
1 large garlic clove
1 5.5-ounce log soft fresh goat cheese (such as Montrachet)
2/3 cup fresh ricotta cheese
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
2 large egg yolks
24 egg roll or spring roll wrappers
1 egg, beaten to blend
Extra-virgin olive oil
Parmesan cheese, shaved
Fresh basil sprigs

Finely chop garlic in processor. Add goat cheese, ricotta and chopped basil and blend until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Blend in yolks. Using 4-inch round cookie cutter, cut out 1 round from each egg roll wrapper. Place scant 1 tablespoon filling in center of each round. Brush edge of wrappers with beaten egg. Fold in half; press edges to seal. (Can be made 6 hours ahead. Arrange on floured baking sheet. Cover with plastic; chill.) Working in batches, cook ravioli in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender, stirring occasionally, about 2 minutes per batch. Using slotted spoon, transfer ravioli to large shallow bowl. Drizzle oil over ravioli. Sprinkle with Parmesan. Garnish with basil sprigs.

Makes 20
For tomato Relish:
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon golden brown sugar
1/4 cup chopped shallots
1 cup diced seeded plum tomatoes
1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
1/4easpoon dried crushed red pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
For crab cakes:
4 1/2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 large egg
1 tablespoon grated orange peel
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 pound fresh crabmeat, picked over, drained
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
3 tablespoons finely chopped green onion
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1 tablespoon (or more) butter
1 tablespoon (or more) vegetable oil

Make tomato relish:
Whisk vinegar and sugar in medium skillet over medium heat until sugar dissolves.  Add shallots; stir just until tender, about 2 minutes. Add tomatoes, orange juice and red pepper; stir until heated through. Remove from heat. Mix in parsley. Season with salt and pepper. (Can be made 4 hours ahead. Chill. Bring to room temperature before using.)
Make crab cakes:
Blend mayonnaise, egg, orange peel, mustard, salt and cayenne in large bowl. Stir in crabmeat, breadcrumbs, green onion and parsley. Using 2 tablespoons of mixture for each cake, form. twenty 2-inch-diameter cakes. Place on baking sheet. Cover; chill 1 hour. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Keep chilled.) Place flour in small bowl. Lightly coat each crab cake with flour. Melt 1 tablespoon butter with 1 tablespoon oil in heavy large skillet over medium heat.  Add crab cakes in batches; cook until golden--about 5 minutes on each side.  Arrange 1 or 2 crab cake(s) on a plate.  Spoon some relish around each crab cake and garnish with chopped parsley.  Serve immediately.

Serves 6
1 1/4 pound beef fillet, about 2 1/2 inches thick, 
trimmed of all fat, rolled and tied
For the sauce:
1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons mustard
pinch of salt
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons heavy (double) cream
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon Cognac, Armagnac or other brandy

Place the meat in a plastic freezer bag and place the bag in the freezer for 1 hour. At the end of this time the meat will be very firm and easy to cut into paper-thin slices. Meanwhile, prepare the sauce. Combine the egg yolk and mustard in a blender or food processor fitted with a metal blade. Process briefly to blend. Add the salt and let rest for 1 minute. With the motor running, slowly pour the oil into the yolk mixture in a thin, steady stream. The mixture will be quite thick. Mix in the cream,
Worcestershire sauce and brandy. Cover and refrigerate. When the meat is chilled, remove it from the bag and place it on a board. Cut the bag open along one side and the closed end so that you have one large sheet. Spread the sheet over your work surface. Snip off the string and slice the meat 1/8 inch thick and place the slices in pairs, side-by-side, on half of the plastic sheet. Fold the uncovered portion of the sheet over the meat and, using a rolling pin, gently roll over the meat to flatten the slices. They will quickly become translucent. Cover a platter with the meat slices. With the aid of a spoon, drizzle the sauce over the meat in a zigzag pattern.

Serves 2 as a first course

1 large onion
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/4 cup water or dry white wine
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 puff pastry sheet (from a 17 1/4-ounce package frozen puff pastry sheets, thawed according to package instructions)
1 ounce soft mild goat cheese at room temperature
Garnish: fresh thyme sprigs

Preheat oven to 450F and butter a baking sheet. Cut onion into very thin slices. In a heavy skillet heat butter over moderately high heat until foam subsides and sauté onion, stirring occasionally, until golden. Add water or white wine and deglaze skillet, scraping up any brown bits and cooking until water is evaporated. Stir in thyme and cook mixture until onion is deep golden. While onion is cooking, cutting length-wise along a fold line, cut off one third of pastry sheet, about 10 by 3 inches, and reserve remaining pastry for another use. Waive pastry strip crosswise and transfer pieces to baking sheet. Prick pastry all over with a fork and bake in middle of oven until deep golden, about 12 minutes. Transfer a pastry piece with a spatula to each of 2 plates and immediately press down centers to form an indentation for goat cheese and onion. Spread goat cheese in middle of pastry pieces and top with caramelized onion. Garnish tarts with fresh thyme sprigs and serve immediately. Serves 2 as a first course.

Makes 8

3 cups diced whole wheat bread, crusts trimmed
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh chives
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh parsley
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
3 tablespoons (or more) butter
1/4 cup finely chopped green onions
1/4 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon all purpose flour
6 tablespoons whipping cream
3 tablespoons minced fresh basil or 1 tablespoon dried
1 large egg yolk, beaten to blend
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons hot chili sauce (such as Sriracha)*
3/4 teaspoon salt
12 ounces crabmeat, well drained, picked over
*Available at Asian markets, specialty foods stores and some supermarkets.

Finely grind first 4 ingredients in processor. Set aside. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add green onions, bell pepper and garlic; sauté 1 minute. Add flour; stir 1 minute longer. Gradually whisk in cream. Increase heat to medium-high; whisk until mixture thickens slightly, about 1 minute. Remove from heat. Mix in basil, egg yolk, mustard, lemon juice, chili sauce and salt. Transfer to large bowl. Stir in crabmeat and 1/4 cup bread crumb mixture. Form crab mixture into 1/2-inch-thick cakes, using 1/4 cup for each. Place remaining bread crumb mixture into shallow bowl. Coat each crab cake with bread crumb mixture, pressing gently to adhere. (Can be prepared 2 hours ahead. Arrange crab cakes on baking sheet. Cover with plastic and refrigerate.) Melt 2 tablespoons butter in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches, add crab cakes to skillet and cook until golden brown, adding more butter to skillet as necessary, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer cakes to platter and serve.

Serves 4

2 small globe eggplants, trimmed and cut into 1/2 cubes
Kosher salt
4 red bell peppers
1 cup vegetable oil
1 ripe tomato, peeled, seeded, and chopped
6 anchovy filets, finely chopped
6 sprigs parsley, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
1 tablespoon capers chopped
1/8 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
4 tablespoons fresh bread crumbs
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Put eggplant in a colander set over a bowl. Sprinkle generously with salt, then set aside until bitter juices have drained, 30-60 minutes. Meanwhile, char skin of peppers over an open flame or under a broiler, Place in a ziplock bag until cool. Peel peppers without tearing flesh, then pull off stem and scoop out seeds with your finger, keeping pepper intact for stuffing. Preheat oven to 400F. Heat vegetable oil until hot in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Pat eggplant dry with paper towels, then fry in batches until deep golden, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl with a slotted spoon. Add tomatoes, anchovies, parsley, garlic, capers, oregano, 3 tablespoons of the bread crumbs, and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil to bowl; mix well. Stuff peppers arranging in a baking dish, sprinkle with the remaining one tablespoon bread crumbs and drizzle with remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Bake until golden, about 25 minutes. Serve at room temperature.

Makes 6 to 8 servings as a first course    

1/2 cup purchased tartar sauce
2 tablespoons plus 1/2 cup finely chopped green onions
2 teaspoons plus 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
1 teaspoon drained capers
4 slices good-quality firm white bread, torn into pieces
(1 1/2 cups)
1 celery stalk with leaves, cut into 2-inch lengths
1 1/4 pounds boneless cod, haddock, or other white fish
  fillets, cut into 2-inch chunks
1 large egg
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
Lemon wedges

Stir together tartar sauce, 2 tablespoons green onions, 2 teaspoons thyme, and capers in a small bowl. Place the white bread in a food processor using on/off turns, process until very coarse crumbs form. Transfer the breadcrumbs to a large bowl. Using on/off turns, finely chop the celery; add to the bowl with the breadcrumbs. Using on/off turns, coarsely puree fish; add to the bowl. Add remaining 1/2 cup chopped green onions, 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme, egg, salt, and ground black pepper to the bowl. Mix gently but thoroughly. Transfer fish mixture to a work surface and Shape into 6 to 8 l/2-inch-thick cakes (depending on the size portion you want to serve). Heat olive oil in a heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add the fish cakes and cook until brown on the bottom, about 5 minutes. Using a large spatula, carefully turn the fish cakes over and cook until the second sides are brown and centers are opaque, about 5 minutes longer. Divide the fish cakes among the plates and garnish with tartar sauce and lemon wedges.

Makes 20 servings    

For the sauce:
1 large garlic clove
2 cups mayonnaise
1 cup (packed) chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
1/4 cup chopped green onions white and pale green parts
3 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon
8 canned anchovy fillets
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
For the shrimp:
3/4 cup coarse kosher salt
4 pounds uncooked unpeeled jumbo shrimp (about 75/try to
  get the kind that has never been frozen if possible)

Make the sauce:
Finely chop garlic in a food processor. Add all remaining ingredients. Blend until smooth and pale green. Season the sauce to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer the sauce to a serving bowl. Cover and refrigerate until cold. (Can be prepared 2 days ahead. Keep refrigerated.)
Make the shrimp:
Fill 2 large bowls with ice water and set aside. Bring a very large pot of water to boil over high heat. Add 1/2 cup of coarse salt to the boiling water and return to a boil. Rub shrimp in another large bowl with the remaining 1/4 cup salt. Add the shrimp to boiling salted water and cook just until cooked through, about 3 minutes (the water will not return to a boil). Immediately drain the shrimp in a colander, then quickly divide them between prepared bowls of ice water and cool completely. Drain well. Peel and devein the shrimp, leaving the tails intact. Arrange the shrimp on a platter. (Can be made 4 hours ahead. Cover and refrigerate.) Serve the shrimp with the sauce.

Makes 6 to 8 as a first course    

For the papaya mayonnaise:
1 cup finely chopped peeled papaya (about 1 medium)
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
2 tablespoons finely chopped red bell pepper
2 tablespoons finely chopped green bell pepper
hot sauce to taste
For the lobster cakes:
2 cups cooked lobster meat, chopped fine
1/2 teaspoon salt
a pinch cayenne
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
2 teaspoons finely grated onion
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 large egg, beaten lightly
1/2 cup cracker crumbs (about 16 saltines)
1 large egg
I teaspoon water
vegetable oil for deep-frying (preferably canola or peanut)
lettuce leaves for lining plates

Make the papaya mayonnaise:
In a bowl, stir together the mayonnaise ingredients with salt to taste and chill covered
Make lobster cakes:
In a bowl stir together lobster, salt, cayenne, parsley, onion, flour, baking powder, and egg and form into 6 to 8 cakes. Put cracker crumbs in a shallow bowl and in another shallow bowl whisk together the egg and water. Dredge each lobster cake in cracker crumbs and dip in the egg mixture, letting excess drip off. Dredge the coated lobster cakes   a second time in the cracker crumbs and let stand at room temperature 30 minutes. In a heavy 5- to 6-quart saucepan heat 1 1/2 inches oil to 375F on a deep-fat thermometer and fry lobster cakes, turning them, until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the lobster cakes with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain. Serve the lobster cakes on lettuce with the mayonnaise.

Makes 4 servings  

1 medium red bell pepper
4 medium leeks (white and pale green parts only)
4 teaspoons red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/3 cup coarsely chopped walnuts, toasted
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint

Char a bell pepper over gas flame or under the broiler until blackened on all sides. Seal the pepper in a paper or plastic bag and let stand 10 minutes. Peel, seed and chop the roasted pepper. Cut the leaks in half lengthwise to within 1 inch of base, leaving the base intact. Rinse the leeks under running water. Add the leeks to a pot of boiling salted water; reduce the heat and simmer until leeks are tender when pierced with a knife, about 7 minutes. Drain and cool. Using paper towels, squeeze excess moisture from the leeks. Cut the leeks completely in half lengthwise. Cut off and discard the roots. Cut the leeks crosswise into 3-inch pieces. (The bell pepper and leeks can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover separately and chill.) Place the leeks on a platter. Whisk the vinegar and mustard in a bowl to blend. Gradually whisk in the oil. Mix in the bell pepper. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon the dressing over the leeks. Sprinkle cheese, walnuts and mint over.

Serves 4    

For the custard:
1 cup fresh corn kernels (from 2 ears) or thawed frozen
1/3 cup whole milk
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Rounded 1/4 teaspoon salt
For the crab topping:
1 (3/4-pound) king crab leg, thawed if frozen and shell discarded
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives

Make the custard:
Cook the corn in a 1-quart saucepan of boiling salted water until very tender, 3 to 5 minutes, and drain in a sieve. Puree the milk and hot corn in a blender until almost smooth, then force through a very fine sieve into a bowl, discarding the solids. Whisk in the egg and salt and divide the custard among ramekins. Steam the custards in a steamer set 1 inch above simmering water, covered with a lid, until centers are set and a thin knife inserted into the center of 1 custard comes out clean, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove the ramekins from the steamer with tongs and cool the custards slightly.
Make the crab topping while custards cool:
Coarsely chop 1/4 cup crabmeat and reserve remainder for another use. Heat the butter in a small heavy skillet over moderate heat until foam subsides, then cook crab, stirring constantly, until heated through, about 2 minutes. Stir in the chives. Serve the custards topped with crab. (The custard mixture can be prepared and poured into ramekins 1 day ahead and chilled, surfaces covered with plastic wrap. Bring to room temperature before steaming.

Makes 8 appetizer servings     

For the glaze:
2 cups ruby Port
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter
2 tablespoons sugar
For the scallops:
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped shallots
32 sea scallops
1 1/2 cups whipping or heavy cream
3/4 cups dry Champagne or sparkling wine
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

Make the glaze:
Bring 2 cups of the port to a boil in a heavy small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add 6 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons sugar and stir until the butter melts and the sugar dissolves. Boil until the mixture is syrupy and reduced to about 2/3 cup, about 14 minutes. Remove the glaze Season to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Before using, rewarm over low heat, whisking constantly.)
Make the scallops:
Melt the butter with the oil in a heavy large skillet over high heat. Add the shallots and sauté l minute. Sprinkle the scallops with salt and pepper. Add to the skillet and sautéed until just cooked through, about 2 minutes per side. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the scallops to a platter. Add the cream, Champagne and thyme to the skillet. Boil until the mixture is reduced to sauce consistency, about 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Return the scallops to the skillet. Stir until heated through, about 1 minute. Divide the sauce and scallops equally among the plates. Drizzle the Port glaze over the scallops.

Makes 6 servings    

2 1/2 cups (or more) all purpose flour
1 cup warm water (110F to 115F)
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
3/4 cup crème fraiche*
1/3 cup large-curd cottage cheese
1/3 cup sour cream
2 small white onions, very thinly sliced (about 1 1/2 cups)
12 ounces 1/4-inch-thick bacon slices cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-wide strips

Combine 1 cup flour, l cup warm water, and 1 teaspoon yeast in a large bowl and stir to blend well. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let stand until the mixture bubbles, about 30 minutes. Stir in the salt, then 1 1/4 cups flour. Mix until soft, slightly sticky dough forms, adding more flour by tablespoonfuls if very sticky. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise in warm a draft-free area until doubled in volume about 1 1/2 hours. Preheat oven to 500F. Lightly flour 2 large baking sheets. Lightly flour your hands; punch down dough and divide in half. Roll out each half on a lightly floured surface to thin 16xl0-inch rectangle. Transfer each rectangle to a prepared baking sheet. If the dough shrinks, roll or stretch each back to size. Puree the crème fraiche, cottage cheese , and sour cream in a processor until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Spread the cream mixture over the crusts. Sprinkle the onions and raw bacon over the cream mixture, dividing equally. Bake the tarts until the edges of the crusts are crisp and brown, about 14 minutes. Sprinkle generously with pepper. Cut into pieces and serve.

(*Crème fraiche is sold at some supermarkets. If unavailable, heat 1 cup of whipping cream to lukewarm (85F). Remove from the heat and mix in 2 tablespoons buttermilk. Cover and let stand in a warm, draft-free area until slightly thickened, 24 to 48 hours, depending on the temperature of the room. Refrigerate until ready to use.)

Makes 6 Servings

Sautéed vegetables are piled atop a creamy goat cheese custard filling. would also make a great lunch or vegetarian main course

For Crust:
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
3 tablespoons chilled solid vegetable shortening, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (You can also use all butter if you want more buttery flavor)
4 tablespoons (about) ice water
For Filling and Topping:
5 ounces soft fresh goat cheese
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup sour cream
1/8 teaspoon salt
Generous pinch of cayenne pepper
3 large eggs
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, cut into 1/2-inch strips
1/2 medium fennel bulb, cored, cut lengthwise into 1/2-inch strips
1 small zucchini (about 5 ounces), halved lengthwise, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces
1 small yellow squash (about 5 ounces), halved lengthwise, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 cup fresh corn kernels
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil

Make the crust:
Blend flour and salt in processor. Using on/off turns, cut in butter and shortening until
pea-size pieces form. With machine running, add enough ice water by tablespoonfuls to form moist clumps. Gather dough into ball; flatten into disk. Wrap in plastic; refrigerate 1 hour. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Keep refrigerated. Soften dough at room temperature until pliable re before continuing.) Roll out dough on lightly floured surface to 12-inch round. Transfer to
9-inch-diameter tart pan with removable bottom. (Do not stretch dough.) Trim dough overhang to 1 inch. Fold overhang in; press to form double-thick sides. Pierce bottom of dough all over with fork. Refrigerate 1 hour. Preheat oven to 400F. Line the unbaked crust with foil and cover bottom with pie weights or beans. Bake crust for 10 minutes to set; remove foil and weights. Bake 10 more minutes or until golden, piercing with fork if bubbles form. Cool 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375F.
Make filling and topping:
Whisk cheese, cream, sour cream, salt, and cayenne in medium bowl to blend. Add eggs and whisk to blend. Pour into prepared crust. Bake until filling is set, about 20 minutes. Cool 15 minutes. Meanwhile, heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add bell pepper and fennel and sauté until beginning to soften, about 4 minutes. Add zucchini, yellow squash, and corn; sauté until all vegetables are tender, about 12 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Mound vegetables on top of tart and sprinkle with basil. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Makes 10 Servings

Use fresh oysters are preferable; but if not available, oysters packed in jars can also be used. If the oysters are very large, cut them in half.

1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon all purpose flour
1 cup whipping cream
8 ounces bacon (Preferably applewood-smoked), chopped
4 cups thinly sliced leeks (white and pale green parts only; from 4 large)
1 cup finely chopped celery
1 bay leaf
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons dry white wine
2 tablespoons grated Pecorino Romano cheese
20 medium oysters, shucked, or 4 8-ounce jars of shucked oysters
1 cup fresh bread crumbs made form crustless French bread

Melt butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Add flour; whisk 2 minutes. Add cream slowly and whisk until mixture thickens slightly. Remove from heat. Sauté bacon in heavy large skillet over medium heat until crisp, about 6 minutes. Transfer bacon to paper towels to drain. Discard all but 2 tablespoons drippings from skillet. Add leeks, celery, bay leaf, and cayenne to skillet and sauté over medium heat until vegetables are soft, about 12 minutes. Add wine and cook until absorbed, about 15 seconds. Add cream mixture and bring to simmer. Stir until leek mixture thickens slightly, about 3 minutes. Stir in bacon and cheese. Season generously with salt and pepper. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cool slightly. Cover and refrigerate.) Place 1 oyster on each of 20 oyster shells or place 2 oysters in each of 10 small ramekins. Top oyster in each shell with 2 tablespoons leek mixture, or top oysters in ramekins with 1/4 cup leek mixture. Place on rimmed baking sheet. (Can be made 4 hours ahead. Cover and chill.) Preheat oven to 500F. Divide breadcrumbs among shells or ramekins. Bake until leek mixture bubbles and crumbs are golden, about 8 minutes.

Serves 50

8 large lemons
1/4 cup coriander seeds
1 1/2 cups white-wine vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup dried Aleppo or New Mexican chili flakes or 1 tablespoon dried hot red pepper flakes
8 tablespoons kosher salt
1/4 cup pickling spices
10 pounds large (16/20 count per pound) shrimp, shelled and deveined

Remove zest from lemons with a vegetable peeler and remove any white pith from zest strips with a sharp knife. Squeeze 1 1/2 cups lemon juice. Finely grind coriander seeds in an electric coffee/spice grinder. Whisk together zest, juice, coriander, vinegar, oil, water, sugar, chili flakes, and 6 tablespoons kosher salt in a large bowl until sugar and salt are dissolved. Bring an 8-qt. pot of water to a boil with pickling spices and remaining 2 tablespoons salt and cook shrimp, 2 lb. at a time, 1 1/2 minutes, or until just cooked through. Return water to a boil between batches. Transfer cooked shrimp with a slotted spoon to a colander to drain and add warm shrimp to marinade, tossing to coat. Cool shrimp slightly and divide among about 8 large sealable plastic bags with marinade. Stack bags in a large roasting pan, keeping shrimp in single layers. Marinate, chilled, turning bags occasionally, at least 8 hours. Drain shrimp before serving. (Note: You can marinate the shrimp up to 2 days.)

Makes About 15 Slices

This is lovely with Red Currant or Apple jelly and cornichons (tiny French dill pickles).  This needs to be started 2 to 3 days in advance of serving.  this also makes a lovely lunch with a green salad.

1 teaspoon butter
1 1/2 very cold skinless lean salt pork (could also use smoked bacon here)
1 pound fresh pork belly, skinned and diced (could also use pancetta)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons brandy
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme or 1 teaspoon fresh chopped
2 teaspoons pink peppercorns (or multi color)
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 whole boneless pheasant breasts, skinned and sliced in thin strips (if small use the whole pheasant)*
2 bay leaves

*Fresh pheasant is available from D'Artagnan (Jersey City, NJ)

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 6-cup terrine with butter. Thinly slice 1 1/4 pounds of the salt pork (put in freezer to firm up if too soft to slice), then line bottom and sides of terrine with two-thirds of the salt pork slices. You could also use bacon for this. Pass pork belly (or pancetta) through a meat grinder fitted with the medium-hole disk into a large bowl. Cut the remaining unsliced salt pork into 1/4-inch cubes and add to bowl with ground pork belly. Add eggs, brandy, parsley, thyme, peppercorns, and pepper and mix well. Pack half the pork mixture into prepared terrine, cover with pheasant slices, then fill terrine with the remaining pork mixture. Tap bottom of terrine 2 or 3 times against a wooden surface to settle its contents. Cover pork mixture with the remaining slices of salt pork (or bacon) and arrange bay leaves on top. Tightly cover terrine with its lid or parchment paper and then foil, and set into a baking pan. Add enough boiling water to pan to reach halfway up sides of terrine and bake until internal temperature of meat mixture reaches 160F, 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours. Remove pan from oven, pour off water, then return terrine to pan. Uncover terrine and set aside to cool briefly. Cover terrine with plastic wrap and place a piece of heavy cardboard, cut to fit, on the top of the meatloaf just inside the terrine. Weight with heavy cans and refrigerate, still in pan, for 1-3 days. Unmold terrine, discard bay leaves, and slice into 1/2-inch thick pieces. Quarter each slice and serve on quartered toasted points with small spoonfuls of fruit jelly and cornichons, if you like.

Makes 12-13 First Course Servings or 8 Main Course Servings

Make the portions larger and this is also a wonderful main course or lunch

2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
2 large garlic cloves, chopped
2 pounds uncooked large shrimp, peeled, deveined
Fine sea salt
1/2 cup brandy
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup chopped fresh chives

Melt butter in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add shrimp; sprinkle lightly with sea salt. Sauté until half cooked, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat; add brandy to skillet. Ignite with long match. Return to heat and cook until flames burn out (flames will be high), about 1 minute. Using slotted spoon, transfer shrimp to bowl. Add whipping cream to skillet. Boil until sauce thickens, about 2 minutes. Return shrimp and any accumulated juices to skillet; add chives. Toss until shrimp are just opaque in center and sauce thickens enough to coat, about 2 minutes. Transfer shrimp and sauce to shallow bowl. Or plate individually for first course.

Makes 8 servings

These delicate warm puddings make a stunning first course.

The juice:
2 cups good-quality tomato juice
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil
The puddings:
2 shallots, peeled and minced
2 cups spinach, stemmed and washed but not dried
1 pound sea scallops
2 eggs
1 cup crème fraiche or sour cream
2 teaspoons salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
8 medium cooked shrimp
The spinach:
I teaspoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
12 cups spinach, stemmed and washed but not dried
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
5 fresh basil leaves, chopped

To make the juice, line a fine-mesh sieve with a paper towel and place over a bowl. Pour in the tomato juice and let drip; this will take about an hour. Add the basil and refrigerate until cold. To make the puddings, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Heat the oil in a medium-size nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and sauté for 30 seconds. Add the spinach and sauté until wilted. Let cool, Puree the scallops in a food processor. Add the eggs, crème fraiche (or sour cream), salt and pepper. Puree just until smooth. Remove half the mixture and set aside in a bowl. Add the spinach to the scallop mixture left in the food processor and puree. Grease 8 6-ounce ramekins. Place a small shrimp in each ramekin. Divide the white scallop mixture evenly among the ramekins, smoothing the tops of each. Top with the green scallop mixture and smooth the tops. Put the ramekins in a baking pan with boiling water 1/2 way up the sides and in the oven at 350 for 15 minutes or until set. Take out of the water bath to cool. For the spinach, sauté the garlic cloves in the olive oil (careful not to burn) and add the spinach to wilt. When wilted add the lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste and the chopped basil. Unmold the puddings on to the plate. Put some spinach around the pudding in a circle. Put some of the juice between the spinach and the pudding.

Makes 6 (first-course) or 4 (main-course) servings
For The Ravioli:
2 1-pound red-skinned sweet potatoes (yams)
2 tablespoons (packed) golden brown sugar
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter, room temperature
1 12-ounce package wonton wrappers
1 large egg, beaten to blend
For The Fried Shallots And Sauce:
1 cup vegetable oil
4 large shallots, cut crosswise into thin rounds, separated into rings
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter
8 large fresh sage leaves, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted
Make The Ravioli:
Preheat oven to 400F. Oil rimmed baking sheet. Cut sweet potatoes in half lengthwise; place cut side down on baking sheet. Roast until tender, about 35 minutes; cool. Scoop potato pulp out of skins into small bowl. Spoon 11/3 cups pulp into medium bowl. (Reserve any remaining potato pulp for another use.) Add sugar and butter; mash well. Season filling with salt and pepper.  Line large baking sheet with parchment paper. Place wonton wrappers on work surface. Using pastry brush, brush wrappers with beaten egg. Place 1/2 tablespoon sweet-potato filling in center of each. Fold each wrapper diagonally over filling, forming triangle. Seal edges. Transfer to parchment-lined baking sheet. Let stand at room temperature while preparing fried shallots and sauce. (Can be made up to 5 days ahead. Freeze, then cover and keep frozen. Do not thaw before cooking.)
Make The Fried Shallots And Sauce: Heat vegetable oil in heavy small saucepan over medium-high heat. Working in 2 batches, fry shallots until crisp and dark brown, about 2 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer shallots to paper-towel-lined plate to drain. Cook butter in large pot over medium heat until beginning to brown, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Add sage and red pepper.
Cook the Ravioli:
Meanwhile, working in batches, cook ravioli in pot of boiling salted water until tender, about 3 minutes. Drain well. Add ravioli to pot with butter sauce; toss to coat. Transfer to plates, drizzling any sauce from pot over ravioli. Top with fried shallots and pine nuts; serve immediately.
Makes 8 first-course or 6 main-course servings
For Pastry Dough:
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
9 tablespoons chilled butter, cut into pieces
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons (or more) ice water
For Mushroom Filling:
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
3/4 lb mixed fresh wild mushrooms such as Cremini, oyster, and chanterelle, quartered lengthwise
2 tablespoons finely chopped shallot
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup crème fraiche or sour cream
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 whole large egg
1 large egg yolk
Make shell:
Combine flour, and salt in processor.  Using on/off turns, cut in chilled unsalted butter until mixture resembles coarse meal.  Add 3 tablespoons ice water and process until moist clumps form.  If dough is too dry, add more ice water by teaspoonfuls.  Gather dough into ball. Flatten into disk.  Wrap dough tightly in plastic and refrigerate 1 hour.  (Crust can be prepared 3 days ahead.  Keep refrigerated. Let come to room temperature before using.) Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface with a lightly floured rolling pin into an 11-inch round and fit into 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom, roll over sides to have a double side, and then trim the excess dough. Chill until firm, about 30 minutes.  Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 375F. Lightly prick bottom of shell all over with a fork, then line with foil and fill with pie weights. Bake until side is set and edge is pale golden, 18 to 20 minutes. Carefully remove foil and weights and bake shell until bottom is golden, 10 to 15 minutes more. Cool completely in pan on a rack, about 15 minutes. (Make Ahead: Tart shell can be baked 1 day ahead, cooled completely, and kept in pan, wrapped well in plastic wrap, at room temperature.)
Make filling while shell bakes:
Heat butter and oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until foam subsides, then sauté mushrooms, shallot, thyme, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, stirring frequently, until mushrooms are tender and any liquid given off is evaporated, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and cool to room temperature. Whisk together crème fraiche or sour cream, heavy cream, whole egg, yolk, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper in a medium bowl until combined.
Fill and bake tart:
Reduce oven temperature to 325F. Scatter mushrooms evenly in tart shell and pour custard over them. Bake tart in pan on a baking sheet until custard is just set and slightly puffed, 35 to 45 minutes. Cool tart in pan on rack at least 20 minutes, then remove side of pan. Serve tart warm or at room temperature. (Make Ahead: Baked tart can be made 2 hours ahead and kept, uncovered, at room temperature. Serve at room temperature.)
Serves 8

For The Pastry:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 large egg, lightly beaten
For the Filling:
1 medium leek (white and pale green parts only), quartered lengthwise, then cut crosswise into 1/3-inch pieces
1 lb medium asparagus, trimmed
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/3 cups heavy cream
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh tarragon
2 teaspoons water

Make pastry:
Blend together flour, salt, and butter in a bowl with your fingertips or a pastry blender (or pulse in a food processor) until most of mixture resembles coarse meal with some small (roughly pea-size) butter lumps. Drizzle evenly with egg and gently stir with a fork (or pulse in processor) just until a dough forms.  Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 4 portions. With heel of your hand, smear each portion once or twice in a forward motion to help distribute fat. Gather dough into a ball, then flatten into a 5-inch disk. Chill dough, wrapped in plastic wrap, until firm, at least 30 minutes. (Make Ahead: Pastry dough can be chilled up to 1 day. Let stand at room temperature until slightly softened before rolling out. )
Make filling while pastry chills:
Wash leek in a bowl of cold water, agitating water, then lift out leek and pat dry. Cook asparagus in a wide 4- to 5-quart pot of boiling salted water, uncovered, until just tender, about 5 minutes. Transfer asparagus with tongs to a bowl of ice and cold water to stop cooking, then drain and pat dry. Cut off and reserve tips (leave more stalk if asparagus is thin), then thinly slice stalks crosswise. Heat butter in a 10- to 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately low heat until foam subsides, then cook leek with 1/4 teaspoon salt, stirring, until softened, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in sliced asparagus and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and remove from heat.
Finish filling and assemble and bake tart:
Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 375F.  Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface with a floured rolling pin into an 11-inch round, then fit dough inside a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Fold over the dough to have a double side pressing dough against bottom edge and side of pan. Run rolling pin over top edge of ring to cut off excess dough. Whisk together cream, 2 eggs, tarragon, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Lightly beat remaining egg with water in a small bowl and brush tart shell all over with some egg wash. Spoon asparagus mixture into shell, spreading evenly, then pour cream mixture over asparagus. Bake tart on a baking sheet until filling is just beginning to set but still loose on top, 20 to 25 minutes. Scatter asparagus tips over top, pressing lightly if necessary to help them settle into filling, then continue to bake until custard is golden and just set but still slightly wobbly in center, about 30 minutes more (custard will continue to set as it cools). Cool tart on baking sheet on a rack until warm, about 30 minutes. Lift off tart pan bottom. Serve warm or at room temperature, cut into wedges. (Make Ahead: Tart can be baked 2 hours ahead and cooled completely, then kept, loosely covered with plastic wrap, at room temperature. If desired, reheat in a preheated 350°F oven until warm, 15 to 20 minutes. )
Serves 6

1 pound lump crab meat, picked over
1 1/2 cups cracker crumbs, such as saltines or oyster crackers
3/4 cup finely chopped celery
3/4 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
1 tablespoon finely chopped green bell pepper
1 teaspoon English-style dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 pinch of cayenne pepper
1 1/4 sticks (10 tablespoons) butter, melted
1/4 cup heavy cream
lemon wedges as an accompaniment if desired

Preheat the oven to 350F. In a large bowl toss together the crab meat, the cracker crumbs, the celery, the onion, the parsley, the bell pepper, the mustard, the salt, the cayenne, the butter, and the cream. Divide the mixture among six clean crab shells, large scallop shells or six 1-cup ramekins and bake it in the middle of the oven for 30 minutes, or until the top is golden. Serve the deviled crab with the lemon wedges.

Makes 6 First Course Servings
For Shrimp cakes:
16 uncooked large shrimp (about 1 pound), peeled, deveined
1 large egg
1 green onion, sliced
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro
1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
Pinch of ground black pepper
2 cups panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)*
2 tablespoons (or more) peanut oil
For chili-lime cream sauce:
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon chopped peeled fresh ginger
1 tablespoon minced shallot
1/3 cup whipping cream
2 tablespoons chili-garlic sauce**
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

*Unseasoned Japanese breadcrumbs called panko, give these shrimp cakes a light, crispy coating. Dry white breadcrumbs make a good substitute. Panko is available in the Asian foods section of some supermarkets and at Asian markets.
**Available in the Asian foods section of many supermarkets and at Asian markets

Make shrimp cakes:
Coarsely chop shrimp in processor. Add egg, green onion, lemon juice, mustard, cilantro, hot pepper sauce, salt, and pepper. Blend in using on/off turns. Add 1 cup panko and blend in using on/off turns. Form mixture into twelve 3-inch-diameter cakes. Roll cakes in remaining 1 cup panko; transfer to waxed-paper-lined baking sheet. Refrigerate 10 minutes. (Can be made up to 4 hours ahead. Cover and refrigerate.) Heat 2 tablespoons peanut oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches, fry cakes until cooked through and golden brown on both sides, adding more oil to skillet as needed, about 6 minutes. Spoon 3 tablespoons Chili-Lime Cream Sauce onto each of 6 plates. Place 2 shrimp cakes on each and serve immediately.
Make chili-lime cream sauce:
Combine first 4 ingredients in heavy small saucepan. Boil over high heat until reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Add cream and boil until reduced by half, about 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low. Mix in chili-garlic sauce. Add butter, 1 piece at a time, whisking just until melted before adding next piece.

Makes 4 First course Servings

1 small onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup dry white wine
2 lb mussels (preferably cultivated), scrubbed and beards removed
1/2 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Cook onion and garlic in butter in a 5- to 6-quart heavy pot over moderately low heat, stirring, until softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Add wine and mussels and cook, covered, over moderately high heat until mussels just open wide, 6 to 8 minutes. (Discard any mussels that have not opened after 8 minutes.) Transfer mussels with a slotted spoon to a serving bowl, then transfer cooking liquid to a blender along with cream, basil, and pepper and blend until smooth (use caution when blending hot liquids). Season sauce with salt and pour over mussels.

Makes 8 Servings

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for brushing
2 medium shallots, minced
1 leek, white and tender green, cut into 2-inch julienne strips
1/2 pound shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, caps coarsely chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper
One 5-ounce bag baby spinach
One 1-pound round loaf of sourdough bread, crusts removed, bread cut into 1-inch cubes
2 cups shredded Swiss cheese
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups heavy cream

In a medium skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter. Add the shallots and leek and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the mushrooms, season with salt and pepper and cook over moderately high heat until lightly browned, about 7 minutes; transfer to a large bowl.  Melt the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter in the skillet. Add the spinach and cook, tossing, until wilted, about 1 minute. Add the spinach to the mushrooms with the bread, Swiss cheese and 1/2 cup of the Parmesan and toss.  Beat the eggs in a small bowl. In a saucepan, bring the milk and cream to a boil, then gradually whisk into the eggs. Stir the custard into the bread and let stand, stirring occasionally, until absorbed, about 15 minutes.  Preheat the oven to 400F. Butter eight 3/4-cup ramekins and set them on a baking sheet. Spoon the pudding into the ramekins and bake for 20 minutes, or until browned. Let cool for 15 minutes.  Preheat the broiler. Turn the bread puddings out onto an ovenproof platter. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup of Parmesan and broil for about 30 seconds, or until golden. Serve hot.

Makes 6 Mushrooms

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup yellow onion, diced
1 cup yellow and red bell pepper, diced
4 cups fresh arugula or spinach
1 cup tomatoes, chopped
2 teaspoons garlic, minced
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Salt to taste
1 1/2 cups mozzarella (not fresh mozzarella), cubed
1/2 pound Italian sausage, cooked, minced
6 Portobello mushroom caps, (4" diameter) stemmed and gills removed
Grated Parmesan cheese

Sauté the onion and bell peppers in 1 tablespoon olive oil until soft and onion is translucent; about 5 minutes. Add the arugula or spinach, tomatoes, garlic and red pepper flakes. Sauté until wilted, about 1 more minute. Add salt to taste. Off the heat, add the mozzarella and Italian sausage and mix thoroughly. Fill mushroom caps with the stuffing. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Grill until the cheese melts and mushrooms cook through; about 5 minutes.

Makes 6 First Course Servings

For the soufflés:
Fine dry bread crumbs, for the ramekins
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
3 large egg yolks
2 teaspoons minced lemon thyme
1/2 pound fresh crabmeat, picked over to remove cartilage and any shell fragments
Freshly ground pepper
6 large egg whites, at room temperature
For the Chervil Butter Sauce:
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into six pieces
2 tablespoons finely diced shallot (1 medium shallot)
1/4 cup dry white vermouth or dry white wine
1/4 cup finely chopped chervil
1/4 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Make the soufflés:
Butter six 6-ounce ramekins and coat with bread crumbs, tapping out any excess. Set the prepared ramekins in a large shallow roasting pan. Melt the butter in a medium sauce pan. Add the flour and whisk over moderate heat until bubbling, about 1 minute. Add the milk and 1/4 teaspoon of salt and whisk until the mixture boils and thickens. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the egg yolks, then whisk vigorously over moderate heat until the mixture boils again. Whisk in the lemon thyme. Transfer the soufflé base to a large bowl, press a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface and let cool. Preheat the oven to 375F. Whisk the soufflé base until smooth, then fold in the crabmeat. Season with salt and pepper. Beat the egg whites until they hold firm peaks. Stir one-third of the beaten whites into the base to lighten it, then fold in the remaining whites. Spoon the batter into the ramekins, filling them to within 1/2 inch of the rims. Wipe the rims clean. Pour enough hot water into the roasting pan to reach halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake the soufflés for 30 minutes, or until lightly browned. Serve immediately with the Chervil Butter Sauce. (Make Ahead: The soufflé base can be prepared through the point of letting it cool and refrigerated for up to 2 days. Bring to room temperature before proceeding.
Make the chervil butter sauce:
Warm a sauce pan to medium heat. Add a piece of the butter (1/2 tablespoon) and the shallots and sauté until the shallots begin to soften, about 1 minute. Add the vermouth or wine and simmer until reduced by about half, another 1 to 2 minutes. Add the chervil and lemon zest. Reduce the heat to low, add the remaining butter, and whisk constantly until the butter melts into the sauce. Keep the sauce lightly warm, but do not overheat so it doesn't break.

Serve as a first course on a bed of arugula or as a side dish with grilled beef or chicken.   Make this in the summer when you can get really fine home grown tomatoes.

2 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons chopped fresh sage (about 1 ounce), divided
1/2 cup soft fresh goat cheese
2 teaspoons sliced green onions
1 shallot, minced
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 medium heirloom or fine home grown tomatoes

Heat oil in medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add 3 tablespoons fresh sage and fry 30 seconds. Using slotted spoon, transfer fried sage to paper towel. Combine cheese, onions, shallot, salt, and remaining 1 tablespoon fresh sage in bowl. Season with pepper. Using small sharp knife, remove cone-shaped piece 2 inches wide and 1 inch deep from top of each tomato. Divide cheese mixture among tomatoes; top with fried sage. Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Place tomatoes on grill rack; cover barbecue with lid. Cook until tomatoes are soft, about 5 minutes.

Makes 4 Servings

Grapefruit and mint enhance the refreshing tang of the citrus marinade, while slivers of onion and chile impart a subtle heat to this chilled appetizer.

1 Ruby Red grapefruit
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced (1/2 cup)
1/2 Serrano chile, thinly sliced
1 cup fresh mint, thinly sliced
1/4 cup fresh lime juice (from 2 to 3 limes)
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 pound sea scallops, tough muscles removed, cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds, or 1/2 pound sushi-grade yellowtail tuna (Hamachi), cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
Fresh mint, for garnish

Cut away peel and pith from grapefruit. Cut along membranes, releasing segments into a medium nonreactive bowl; reserve juice in bowl. Using a slotted spoon, transfer 1/2 of the segments to a cutting board; dice. (Reserve remaining segments for another use.) Transfer diced segments to a large nonreactive bowl. Strain reserved juice into a glass measuring cup. Pour 1/4 cup of the juice into the large bowl, reserving remaining juice for another use. Add onion, chile, mint, lime juice, salt, and scallops or yellowtail to grapefruit mixture. Gently stir until well combined. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 2 hours. (Do not refrigerate for more than 2 hours; the scallops and yellowtail will become tough.) Drain mixture, reserving liquid. Divide onion, chile, mint, and scallops or yellowtail among 4 serving plates. Garnish with micro mint, and drizzle with reserved liquid. Serve immediately.

Makes 2 Servings

Also great for breakfast or brunch

1 mango
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons vanilla yogurt
1-1/2 tablespoons mint, chiffonade cut (fine strips)

Preheat oven to BROIL. Slice wide sides of unpeeled mango away from pit. Score flesh with knife in 1/2-inch cubes, gently invert to separate cubes. Place scored mango halves, skin-side-down, in shallow casserole or on cookie sheet. Drizzle with olive oil; sprinkle with brown sugar. Add pepper to taste. Roast on upper rack of oven 3-5 min or until lightly brown. Top with yogurt; garnish with mint.
Makes 4 Servings

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 small shallot, very finely chopped
1/4 cup diced fennel bulb
Large pinch of ground fennel
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 pound large sea scallops
1 bunch arugula, tough stems discarded
Lemon wedges, for serving

In a small bowl, whisk 3 tablespoons of the olive oil with the lemon zest, lemon juice, parsley, shallot, diced fennel bulb and ground fennel. Season with salt and pepper. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a medium skillet. Season the scallops with salt and pepper and cook over moderately high heat until golden brown and opaque throughout, about 3 minutes per side. Mound the arugula on plates and top with the scallops. Spoon the fennel and lemon relish on the scallops and serve with lemon wedges.

Makes 4 Servings

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
One 3-ounce piece of smoked, cured ham, cut into 1/4-inch dice
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 pounds mussels, scrubbed
3/4 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 teaspoons finely chopped oregano
Freshly ground pepper

In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil. Add the speck and garlic and cook over moderate heat until the garlic is tender, about 4 minutes. Add the mussels and wine and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook over moderately high heat until the mussels have opened, about 5 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the lemon juice, parsley and oregano and season with pepper. Spoon the mussels and their broth into warm bowls and serve. Serve with warm crusty bread.

1 cup plus 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
6 green onions (2 minced, 4 cut into 4-inch lengths)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
1/4 cup (packed) chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 1/4 pounds skinless salmon fillets, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard1/2 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs) or fresh breadcrumbs made from crustless French bread
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
Olive oil

Whisk 1 cup mayonnaise, 2 minced green onions, lemon juice, and grated lemon peel in small bowl to blend. Season lemon mayonnaise to taste with salt and pepper and set aside. Combine remaining 4 green onions and chopped parsley in food processor; blend until finely chopped. Add cubed salmon, Dijon mustard, and remaining 1 tablespoon mayonnaise. Using on/off turns, blend until salmon is coarsely chopped. Transfer salmon mixture to large bowl. Mix in breadcrumbs, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper. With moistened hands and using about 1/3 cupful for each, shape salmon mixture into 8 patties, each about 1/2 inch thick. Brush both sides of salmon cakes with olive oil. Prepare barbecue (medium heat). Grill salmon cakes to desired doneness, about 3 minutes per side for medium. Divide patties among 4 plates. Serve lemon mayonnaise alongside

Makes 8 Servings

1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs made form crustless Italian or French bread
1 cup green Italian or Greek olives, pitted and coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 tablespoon drained capers
3 tablespoons plus additional extra-virgin olive oil
10 large plum tomatoes

Brush rimmed baking sheet with oil.  Combine first five ingredients in bowl.  Mix in 3 tablespoons oil.  Season filling to taste with salt and pepper. Cut just enough off each end of each tomato to flatten ends.  cut tomatoes in half crosswise.  Using a small spoon, scoop out the pulp and the seeds from halves.  Stand each half on the flat end of the prepared sheet.  Pack with cheese filling.  Make Ahead: Can be made one day ahead. Cover and chill. Preheat oven to 350F. Sprinkle tomatoes with additional olive oil. Bake uncovered until heated through and beginning to brown, about 25 minutes.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

Makes 4 Servings

Use small heirloom tomatoes in different colors for a pretty presentation

2 cups assorted cherry, grape, and teardrop tomatoes, halved (or quartered if large)
1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil plus additional for brushing
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 large loaf focaccia, halved horizontally (reserve half for another use/can also use ciabatta bread)
1 garlic clove, peeled, halved

Combine halved tomatoes, finely chopped onion, 3 tablespoons olive oil, chopped fresh basil, and balsamic vinegar in medium bowl; season tomato topping with salt and pepper. Make Ahead: Topping can be made 2 hours ahead. Cover and let stand at room temperature, tossing occasionally. Preheat broiler. (Can also be done on a grill.) Place focaccia half, cut side up, on baking sheet; brush bread with olive oil. Toast bread in broiler until top is golden brown, watching closely to avoid burning, about 2 minutes. Immediately rub cut side of bread all over with halved garlic, then cut focaccia crosswise into 4 equal pieces. Top toasted focaccia with tomato mixture and serve.

Makes 16 Crab Cakes
Sometimes jalapeño chiles are almost sweet, while at other times they’re rather fiery. If you think yours are a bit too tame and want more heat, don’t remove the veins and seeds. For an attractive presentation, serve the crab cakes on a bed of julienned lettuce.
For the crab cakes:
1 lb. lump crabmeat
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup finely diced red bell pepper
1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons panko, divided*
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1 jalapeño chile, finely chopped**
1 tablespoon lime juice
1/2 teaspoon grated lime peel
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
2 tablespoons butter, divided
For the salsa:
2 avocados, diced
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 tablespoon water
1/8 teaspoon salt

*Panko are coarse Japanese-style bread crumbs usually found next to other bread crumbs in the supermarket.
**For less heat, remove veins and seeds from chile

Make the crab cakes:
In large bowl, stir together crabmeat, green onions, bell pepper, 3 tablespoons of the panko, 2 tablespoons cilantro, chile, 1 tablespoon lime juice, lime peel, 1/8 teaspoon salt and pepper, breaking up any large pieces of crab. Gently stir in egg and egg yolk. Form 16 (2 1/2-inch-wide) crab cakes, using 1/4 cup loosely packed crab mixture per cake. In small shallow dish, stir together cornmeal and remaining 1/2 cup panko. Dip crab cakes in cornmeal mixture to coat completely; press to adhere. Place on wire rack set over rimmed baking sheet. Refrigerate, uncovered, 1 to 2 hours or until set.  Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil and 1 tablespoon of the butter in heavy large nonstick skillet over medium heat until hot and butter is melted. Add half of the crab cakes; cook 6 minutes or until golden brown, turning once. Repeat with remaining 1 tablespoon oil, 1 tablespoon butter and crab cakes. Make Ahead: Crab cakes can be made up to 8 hours ahead. Cover and refrigerate. To reheat, place on rack set over baking sheet. Bake at 350F for 10 to 15 minutes or until warm.
Make the salsa:
Meanwhile, place all salsa ingredients in medium bowl; toss gently to combine. Do not overmix or mixture will become mushy. Serve crab cakes topped with salsa.

Makes 4 Servings

Also a great vegetarian main course!

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 tablespoon chopped tarragon leaves
1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
Salt and freshly ground pepper
8 medium portobello mushrooms, stemmed
Extra-virgin olive oil, for brushing

Light a grill. In a small bowl, blend the butter with the tarragon and parsley and season with salt and pepper. Brush the portobello caps with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Set the mushrooms on the grill, gills down, and cook over moderate heat, turning once, until tender and nicely charred, about 8 minutes. Dollop the tarragon-parsley butter over the gills and cook for about 1 minute longer, until the butter is melted. Transfer the grilled mushrooms to plates and serve right away. Make Ahead: The herb butter can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. Bring to room temperature before proceeding.

Mozzarella-Stuffed Grilled Portobello Mushrooms With Balsamic Marinade
Makes 6 Servings

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar3 garlic cloves, minced, divided
6 large portobello mushrooms, stemmed
1 1/2 cups panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (about 5 ounces)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (about 2 ounces)
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
1/4 cup ( 1/2 stick) butter, melted

Whisk oil, 2 tablespoons vinegar, and 1 garlic clove in small bowl for marinade. Using spoon, scrape out gills from mushrooms and place mushrooms on rimmed baking sheet. Brush marinade over both sides of mushrooms, arrange hollow side up, and let stand at room temperature 30 minutes. Prepare barbecue (medium heat). Mix panko, next 5 ingredients, and remaining 2 garlic cloves in medium bowl. Drizzle butter and remaining teaspoon vinegar over panko mixture and toss. Divide panko mixture among mushrooms, leaving 1/2-inch border around edges and packing down slightly. Place mushrooms on grill, stuffing side up; cover grill and cook until cheese melts and juices bubble at edges of mushrooms, rearranging mushrooms occasionally for even cooking (do not turn over), about 6 minutes.

Makes 4 Servings

1 pound lump crabmeat, well drained and picked over
1/4 cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons minced chives
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon honey
4 teaspoons Asian red chili sauce, such as sambal oelek
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 ripe mango, peeled and cut into chunks
1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
All purpose flour, for dredging
3 large eggs, beaten
2 cups panko (Japanese bread crumbs) or other dry bread crumbs
1 cup packed micro greens or mesclun

In a large bowl, combine the crabmeat with the mayonnaise, chives, lime juice, honey and 1 tablespoon of the chili sauce; season with salt and pepper. Stir well to break up some of the crabmeat. Form the mixture into 8 crab cakes, packing them firmly. Put the crab cakes on a baking sheet and refrigerate until firm, about 25 minutes. Meanwhile, in a blender, puree the mango with 1 tablespoon of the oil and the remaining 1 teaspoon of chili sauce until smooth. Scrape the mango puree into a small bowl and season with salt and pepper. Put a handful of flour into a medium, shallow bowl. Put the eggs in another shallow bowl and the panko in a third bowl. Take a crab cake in your hand and carefully dust it all over with flour, shaking off any excess. Dip the crab cake in the beaten egg and then coat it well with the panko. Repeat with the remaining crab cakes. In a medium skillet, heat 3 tablespoons of the vegetable oil until shimmering. Add 4 of the crab cakes to the skillet and cook them over moderately high heat until they are browned and crisp, about 3 minutes per side. Drain the crab cakes on a wire rack set over a baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil and 4 crab cakes. Drizzle 4 plates with the mango puree and set 2 crab cakes on each plate. Mound the micro greens alongside and serve right away. Make Ahead: The formed crab cakes and the mango puree can be refrigerated overnight. Bring the mango puree to room temperature before serving.

The slight, peppery bite of a radish goes surprisingly well with the crunch of a juicy apple. Bring the two together in a light, lemony dressing, and sprinkle with goat cheese.

12 radishes, thinly sliced
1 large apple, peeled and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
4 Bibb or Boston lettuce leaves
1 package (4 ounces) herbed fresh goat cheese, crumbled

In a small bowl, combine radishes and apple. In another bowl, whisk the oil, lemon juice, lemon peel, salt and pepper. Add to radish mixture; toss to coat. Just before serving, place radish mixture in lettuce leaves; top with cheese.

12 oysters
2 artichoke hearts, trimmed of outer leaves and stems, diced (You can also use defrosted frozen artichoke hearts)
2 ounces pancetta, diced 
2 slices bread, ground to a fine powder in a food processor 
1 shallot, minced 
1/4 cup coarse sea salt 
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil 
1 tablespoon dry white wine 
Salt and pepper to taste

Shuck the oysters using an oyster knife. (You can also ask you fishmonger to shuck the oysters for you and give you the shells.)  Place the oysters in a bowl with their juices; add the wine and let the oysters marinate for 1 hour in the refrigerator. Select the 12 deepest oyster half-shells and arrange them in a roasting pan or rimmed baking sheet over a bed of coarse salt. Preheat the oven to 450F. In a skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, add the artichoke hearts, pancetta, and shallot, and sauté over high heat for 5 minutes, or until the mixture is crunchy. Stir in the bread, salt, and freshly ground pepper, and remove from the heat. Place the oysters in the half-shells, spoon the marinade over them, and top with the artichoke mixture. Drizzle with the remaining olive oil and bake until a golden crust has formed on top, about 12 minutes. Serve immediately.

Makes 6 Servings
2 oz thinly sliced soppressata or other cured Italian salami, finely chopped
(1/2 cup)
1 large garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup fine fresh bread crumbs (from 3 slices firm white sandwich bread)
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh oregano
3/4 oz finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (1/3 cup)
1/4 cup mayonnaise
6 portabella mushrooms (3 to 3 1/2 inches wide; 1 1/4 lb total), stems discarded
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Cook sopressata and garlic in 2 tablespoons oil in a 10-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, 3 minutes. Add bread crumbs and oregano and cook, stirring, until sopressata begins to brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer stuffing to a bowl and cool to room temperature, about 10 minutes. Reserve 2 tablespoons cheese, then add remaining cheese, mayonnaise, and salt and pepper to taste to stuffing and stir to combine.

While stuffing cools, prepare grill for cooking over low-heat charcoal (moderate heat for gas). (If using a charcoal grill, open vents on bottom of grill, then light charcoal. When charcoal turns grayish white (about 15 minutes from lighting), hold your hand 5 inches above grill rack to determine heat for charcoal as follows: Hot: When you can hold your hand there for 1 to 2 seconds; Medium-hot: 3 to 4 seconds; Low: 5 to 6 seconds. If using a gas grill, preheat burners on high, covered, 10 minutes, then, if necessary, reduce to heat specified in recipe.) While coals are lighting, brush mushrooms on both sides with remaining 1/4 cup oil, then sprinkle with salt and pepper on stemmed sides only. Grill mushrooms, stemmed sides down, on lightly oiled grill rack, covered only if using a gas grill, 5 minutes. Turn mushrooms over and grill 2 minutes more, then transfer with tongs to a tray, keeping mushrooms stemmed sides up. Divide stuffing among mushrooms and sprinkle with reserved cheese. Carefully return mushrooms (stuffing sides up) with a large metal spatula to grill rack and grill until mushrooms are tender, 4 to 7 minutes.

If you aren't able to grill outdoors, mushrooms can be grilled in a hot lightly oiled well-seasoned large (2-burner) ridged grill pan over moderate heat.

Makes 10-12 first Course Servings
This could also make a nice brunch or lunch selection served with a nice salad of mixed greens

1 sheet frozen puff pastry (half of 17.3-ounce package), thawed (You can also use a regular pie crust like a refrigerator dough to make this super easy)
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 small leeks (white and pale green parts only), halved, thinly sliced crosswise
1 cup whipping cream
1 5.2-ounce package garlic and herb Boursin cheese, room temperature
1 3.5-ounce package soft fresh goat cheese, room temperature
4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
2 large eggs
4 ounces thinly sliced smoked salmon
2 tablespoons plain dried breadcrumbs

Preheat oven to 350F. Roll out puff pastry (or pie dough) on lightly floured surface to 12-inch square (or round if pie cough). Line 9-inch-diameter tart pan with removable bottom with pastry, cutting off excess at edge. Using fork, pierce dough all over. Freeze pastry 5 minutes. Cover pastry with aluminum foil. Fill with dried beans or pie weights. Bake pastry 15 minutes. Remove weights and foil. Bake crust until golden, about 5 minutes longer. Cool completely on rack. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover with plastic wrap. Let stand at room temperature.) Preheat oven to 425F. Heat olive oil in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add sliced leeks and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Add whipping cream and simmer until leek mixture is reduced to 1 1/4 cups, about 5 minutes. Let mixture cool. Using wooden spoon, beat herb cheese, goat cheese, and cream cheese in large bowl until well blended. Stir in leek mixture, then lemon juice and thyme. Season mixture to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in eggs 1 at a time, blending well after each addition. Spread half of filling over bottom of crust. Top with smoked salmon. Top salmon with remaining filling. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs. Bake tart until filling is set, about 30 minutes. Transfer to platter. Let tart cool to room temperature. Cut tart into wedges and serve.

TOMATOES STUFFED WITH CORN AND CRABMEAT (Tom's recipe from the July 10, 2012 NJ Home News And Tribune)
Makes 4 Servings

4 New Jersey beefsteak tomatoes
4 New Jersey ears of corn
1 cucumber, peeled and diced
1 small red onion, diced
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
8 ounces lump crab meat, picked over so that shells and cartilage are removed
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley, minced
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Cut a half-inch off the top of each tomato.  Scrape out the insides.  Place tomatoes on serving platter.  Boil corn, remove from the water and let them cool.  Stand up the ears — if necessary, cut one end to make a flat surface — and use a knife to cut down the sides to remove numerous rows of kernels at the same time.  Combine all ingredients, except tomatoes, in bowl. Mix well. Stuff tomatoes with mixture.  Wrap platter in plastic wrap and chill 20 minutes before serving.

This is a grilled variation of the classic oven-baked Brie that's served on garlic toast with apples.

For the garlic bread:
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1 tablespoon minced garlic
Salt and black pepper to taste
1/2 thin baguette or 1 demi-baguette,halved lengthwise
For the cheese:
1 small wheel Camembert or Brie cheese (8 ounces)
2 tablespoons slivered almonds, toasted
2 Honeycrisp apples, cut into 8 wedges each

Prepare grill for indirect grilling,heating one side to high and the other side to low. Combine butter, parsley, and garlic in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Spread cut side of bread with garlic butter  and set aside. Remove cheese from packaging and wrap with foil. Grill foil packet, covered, over low heat until cheese is soft to the touch, about 8 minutes. Slide packet to the hot side of the grill, while grilling bread. Grill bread, cut side up, covered, over low heat until butter melts and crust crisps, 2 minutes. Flip bread, cut side down, onto hot side of the grill. Grill until lightly toasted, about 1 minute. Remove toast and foil-wrapped cheese packet from the grill. To remove cheese from foil, carefully invert onto a serving dish. Top with almonds. Slice the garlic toast into 8 pieces and serve with cheese, almonds, and apple wedges.

Nonstick vegetable oil spray
4 firm but ripe large peaches, halved, pitted
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
8 very thin slices pecorino cheese (each about 2x2 inches, shaved with vegetable peeler from large wedge)
4 thin slices prosciutto, halved lengthwise

Spray grill rack with nonstick spray; prepare barbecue (high heat). Brush peach halves with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill peaches until lightly charred, about 2 minutes per side. Place on large plate, skin side down; top each with cheese slice and drape with prosciutto. Serve immediately.

OYSTERS FLAMBÉ (Tom's 2014 National Oyster Cook-Off winner)
Makes 12 Servings

12 oysters and their shells
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons butter melted
4 tablespoons capers  drained rinsed chopped
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
12 teaspoons brandy
minced chives for garnish

Place oyster shells on serving platter. Combine heavy cream, butter, capers and black pepper in small sauce pan simmer 5 minutes add oysters simmer 5 minutes. Heat brandy in small frying pan and ignite. When flames die down, add to oysters. Place oysters and sauce in shells. Garnish  with chives and serve.

Makes 12 Servings
What are your favorite appetizer recipes? 

Updated June 14, 2014