Tag Archives: appetizer recipe

Holiday Appetizers To Wow Your Guests

We’re feeling jolly at this month’s Local Life. The holidays are practically here, the temperatures are crisp, the Mayor’s Christmas Tree was lit tonight in Downtown Overland Park, and we’re starting to plan menus for entertaining.  In that spirit, Chef prepared some of our favorite appetizers. Try these at your next gathering – your guests will love them!

Chocolate HummusChocolate Hummus

  • 2 cans chickpeas, drained
  • ½ cup maple syrup
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup chocolate chips, high quality such as 60%

Combine the chickpeas, maple syrup, brown sugar, cocoa powder, and vanilla and blend in a food processor to desired consistency.  Add the chocolate chips toward the end of the processing.  Serve with sliced apples or cinnamon-sugar pita crisps.  Makes 2½ cups

Blue Cheese, Bacon & Onion Savory Cheesecake

savory cheesecakeCrust

  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • 2 tablespoons butter, unsalted, melted


  • 2 pounds cream cheese, room temperature
  • 4 large eggs
  • ½ cup cream
  • ½ cup bacon, cooked, crumbled
  • 2 tablespoons butter, unsalted, melted
  • 1 onion, diced
  • ½ pound blue cheese, crumbled
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 to 4 drops hot pepper sauce
  • ¼ cup scallions, finely chopped, for garnish

Preheat oven to 260 degrees. 

For the crust, line a 10-inch springform pan with aluminum foil.  In a mixing bowl add bread crumbs, cheese, and butter and stir to combine.  Transfer to pan.  Using hands (or back of spoon) press crust into the bottom of pan.  Set aside.

For the filling, in a large mixing bowl add cream cheese, eggs, and cream and mix thoroughly.  Add bacon, butter, onion, blue cheese, salt, pepper, and hot sauce and stir to incorporate all ingredients well.  Using a spatula, transfer cheese mixture to prepared springform pan, scraping sides to remove all of the mixture and smooth to cover entire pan.  Place in oven and bake for 90 minutes or until puffed and golden.  Turn oven off and allow cheesecake to sit in oven an additional 30 minutes.  Remove from oven and place in refrigerator overnight or until thoroughly chilled and set.  (Cheesecake can be made up to 3 days ahead of time.)

To serve, remove cheesecake from refrigerator.  Top with scallions, for garnish.  Serve with crackers.   Makes 20 to 40 appetizer servings

Serve with salted rice crackers which are usually packaged in tubes and can be found in the deli section of most grocery stores.  The combination of the salted crispiness of the cracker with the smooth and tangy texture of the cheesecake is perfect! 

Sweet Potato Empanadas with Beef Picadillo Filling and Harissa Sauce

Sweet Potato EmpanadasHarissa Sauce

  • 2 large red bell peppers, roasted
  • 2 cloves garlic, whole, peeled
  • 2 whole jalapeno peppers washed, stem removed (or other hot pepper)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground caraway seeds
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ cup mayonnaise


  • 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • ½ large onion, peeled, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled, minced
  • 2 tablespoons dried cranberries (or raisins)
  • 2 tablespoons almonds, unsalted, roasted, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons green olives, chopped (or capers)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • ¼ cup cilantro, fresh, washed, chopped (or parsley)
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten


  • 4 cups all-purpose flour plus more for rolling
  • 2 cups cornmeal
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 pound butter, unsalted, cold
  • 2 cups sweet potato puree, chilled
  • 1 large egg white, beaten

For the sauce, in a food processor add red peppers, garlic, hot peppers, cumin coriander, caraway seeds, and salt.  Pulse until mixture is consistency of paste.  While processor is running, slowly add oil and continue to blend until mixture is smooth.   Turn off processor and add mayonnaise.  Pulse mixture until smooth.  Set aside.

For the filling, in a skillet heat oil.  Add beef, onion and garlic. Sauté until beef is no longer pink, stirring occasionally to prevent burning.  Remove from heat and set aside to cool.  Add cranberries, almonds, olives, salt, pepper, cumin, coriander, and cilantro. Stir to combine well.  Set aside.

For the pastry, in a food processor add flour, cornmeal, salt, and butter.  Pulse until pieces of dough form to the size of a pea.  Add puree and egg white.  Continue to pulse until dough is moistened throughout.  Transfer dough to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Place in refrigerator to chill for an hour.  Remove from refrigerator and set aside until dough is pliable and able to be rolled out. Transfer dough to a lightly floured countertop (or pastry cloth).  Using a rolling pin dusted with flour, roll dough out to 1/8-inch thickness. Using a round cookie cutter, cut dough into 3-inch rounds and transfer to a baking sheet. 

To assemble empanadas, preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Place 1 tablespoon of the filling into the center of each dough round. Using a pastry brush (or your fingers), paint edges with beaten egg.  Fold dough over filling and pinch (or press with the tines of a fork) to seal edges.  (Make sure that edges are completely sealed so that the filling doesn’t bubble out when baking.)  Place in oven and bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove from oven and transfer to a serving platter.  Serve warm with Harissa Sauce for dipping.  Makes 16 to 20 empanadas.

To prepare the sweet potato puree, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Wash outside of 2 small sweet potatoes. Using a fork (or sharp knife), pierce each potato 2 to 3 times so that steam can escape during cooking.  Place directly on rack in oven and bake for about 40 minutes or until potatoes are soft and sharp knife can be inserted easily.  Remove from oven and set aside to cool to the touch.  Remove peels and place flesh in a food processor.  Puree just until mixture is smooth.  Transfer to a covered dish and refrigerator until chilled. (Puree may be made up to one day in advance and stored refrigerator.)


Happy Birthday, America!

It’s a long holiday weekend for Independence Day 2017, and hopefully you’ll be heading to some celebrations – whether you host dinner at your house, take a picnic to a park or enjoy snacks at a lake or pool. There will be food involved. It’s what we Americans do when we celebrate, am I right?!

Well, here’s an idea to wake up your holiday celebration with a bang! These appetizers are an explosion of flavor with turkey and crisp cabbage and carrots, ignited by the zest of chili paste. We borrow flavors of the Orient in this tasty recipe. Enjoy!

fireworksChinese Firecrackers

  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 pound ground turkey breast
  • 1 cup chopped cabbage
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrots
  • 2 green onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chile paste
  • 1 tablespoon white wine
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 14 sheets phyllo dough
  • 4 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup sweet and sour sauce

Heat 1 teaspoon oil in 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat. Cook turkey, cabbage, carrot and onions in oil about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until turkey is no longer pink and vegetables are crisp-tender. Stir in chili paste. Mix wine and cornstarch; stir into turkey mixture. Cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened.

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Cut stack of phyllo sheets crosswise in half. Cover with waxed paper, then with damp towel to prevent them from drying out. Place 1 half-sheet of phyllo on flat surface. Brush with small amount of oil. Top with second half-sheet of phyllo.

Place about 2 tablespoons turkey mixture on short end of phyllo; shape mixture into about 4-inch log. Roll up phyllo and turkey mixture. Twist phyllo 1 inch from each end to make firecracker shape. Place on ungreased cookie sheet. Repeat with remaining phyllo and turkey mixture.   

Brush firecrackers with remaining oil. Bake about 20 minutes or until phyllo is crisp and golden brown. Serve with sweet-and-sour sauce.  (recipe below)

Sweet and Sour Sauce

  • 2 T. cornstarch
  • ½ c. sugar
  • ¼ c. white vinegar
  • ¼ c. pineapple juice
  • 2 t. soy sauce
  • ¼ c. water

Combine ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Simmer gently 5 minutes, then remove from heat.  Store in refrigerator and serve cold.




Enjoy Your Crab Rangoon ‘Inside Out’

You love Crab Rangoon right?  Try this dip that is based on that creamy crab filling that’s on the inside of those tasty Asian treats.    A real crowd pleaser at our Chinese New Year Celebration at Tuesday Lunch. Enjoy!

‘Inside Out’ Crab Rangoon Dip with Wonton Chips


  • 1 pound cream cheese
  • 4 ounces crab meat, fresh, shredded (or imitation crab meat)
  • ¼ teaspoon Chinese 5-spice
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ bunch green onions, washed, peeled, thinly sliced, for garnish 


  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • 1 package wonton skins, thawed

Inside Out Rangoon DipFor the dip, preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In an electric mixer bowl add cream cheese whip on high for 3 minutes or until fluffy.  Add crab and both spices.  Mix on medium until well combined. Transfer to an oven-safe baking dish.  Cover tightly with aluminum foil and place in oven and bake for 30 minutes.  Remove cover and bake a bit longer until top is browned and bubbly.  Remove from oven. Set aside to cool slightly.  Top with green onions, for garnish.  

For the chips, preheat a deep fryer (or large pot of oil) until an instant-read thermometer reads 350 degrees.   Place wonton skins on a clean cutting board.  Using a sharp knife, cut from corner to corner to form triangle shapes.  Carefully drop the wonton skins in hot oil, in small batches.  Fry for 10 to 15 seconds.  With a large slotted spoon, skim chips out of oil and transfer to a plate lined with paper towels to drain.  Repeat process until all chips are cooked.  Serve warm with warm crab dip.  

Makes 6 to 8 servings

ETC: Wonton wrappers are usually found in square packages in the product section of the grocery store.  They also make quick work of homemade ravioli.  Just dollop your favorite filling, brush the edges with egg white to seal, then boil as you would pasta.  Tip: When they float, they are done.  

Find this and other CCKC favorite recipes in our cookbook –|
“The Culinary Center of Kansas City’s BEST RECIPES – SECOND EDITION.” ™
Available for purchase online at www.kcculinary.com and in our retail store – “The Kitchen Shop.”™


Not Yo Momma’s Edamame Hummus Dip!

One final Tailgate Recipe in honor of our Boys in Blue…
Switch up your ‘regular’ hummus appetizer with this awesome one made with edamame! Zig when they think you’ll zag. Keep ’em on their proverbial toes.  Your guests will enjoy it with pita or veggies… #TookTheCrown

Edamame HummusEdamame Hummus

  • 8 ounces edamame, frozen, shelled
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon ginger, fresh, peeled, grated
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon tahini paste
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Sriracha hot sauce to taste

CCKC Loves BaseballCook edamame according to package directions and drain through a colander. In a food processor, add the cooke4d edamame, water, soy sauce, ginger, vinegar, tahini, garlic, salt, and sriracha sauce. Puree until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and cover with a sheet of plastic wrap. Place in the refrigerator to chill for 1 hour before serving.

Makes 6 (1/4 cup) servings.

Devilishly Good Tailgate Fare!

Eggs and truffle oil.  A perfect match.  Done.  Enjoy them at your next dinner party or tailgate… Go Royals!

Deviled EggsDevilishly Good Deviled Eggs

  • 7 large eggs, hard boiled, peeled, sliced in half lengthwise, divided
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons sweet pickle relish
  • ½ teaspoon white truffle oil
  • 2 tablespoons whole grain mustard
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Paprika, for garnish
  • Pimentos, for garnish

Remove yolks from the egg halves, reserving the whites, and transfer to a small bowl.  Using a fork, mash the yolks.  Add mayonnaise, relish, oil, mustard, salt, and pepper.  Stir to combine well.  Transfer the egg yolk mixture to a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip. Pipe the egg filling into the egg white halves, dividing evenly.  Sprinkle paprika and pimentos over the tops, for garnish.  Cover with a sheet of plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator until ready to serve.  Serve cold.

Makes 14 servinCCKC Loves Baseballgs.

Truffle oil has become a popular ingredient in the recipes of some of the most famous chefs but can be too expensive for the average home chef. Because of this growing popularity, a less expensive version of truffle oil is now showing up on store shelves in local grocery stores and specialty markets. 

Find this and other CCKC favorite recipes in our cookbook “The Culinary Center of Kansas City’s BEST RECIPES –SECOND EDITION.” ™
Available for purchase on-line at www.kcculinary.com and in our retail store – “The Kitchen Shop.”™

Spread Some Royals Love At Your Party

This warm and wonderful dip would be a great starter to serve at your World Series party – just sayin’.  Enjoy and… Go Royals!

ArticCCKC Loves Baseballhoke and Asiago Dip

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • ¼ cup garlic, chopped
  • 1 pound cream cheese
  • 2 cups sour cream
  • 3 cups artichoke hearts, canned, drained, chopped
  • ¼ cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • ½ pound asiago cheese, shredded
  • 1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
  • 3 tablespoons hot pepper sauce
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat a dry skillet over medium. Add oil and heat.  Add onion and garlic and cook until soft, stirring occasionally. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In an electric mixing bowl add cream cheese and mix on medium speed for 2 minutes.  Add sour cream, artichokes, juice, cheese, mustard, pepper sauce, salt, and pepper.  Continue to mix on medium speed until mixed thoroughly, scraping sides of bowl often.  Transfer mixture into a baking dish and cover with aluminum foil.  Bake for 15 minutes or until top is brown and bubbly.  Remove from oven, uncover, and transfer dip to a serving bowl.  Serve warm with crostini or crackers on the side.

Makes about 6 cups.

Artichoke & Asiago Dip



Scary to Pronounce, Delish to Eat

Yes, we know it’s hard to say it without sounding silly.  But this great dip will make you look far from silly when you serve it at your game watch party. Great with  pita bread or cucumber slices for maximum impact.  Enjoy it at your World Series tailgate and… Go Royals!

BCCKC Loves Baseballeet Tzatziki

  • 4 cups Greek yogurt, plain, non-fat (preferably Chobani)
  • 12 medium red beets, washed, trimmed
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste, divided
  • 12 sprigs thyme, fresh
  • 6 tablespoons dill, freshly chopped
  • ½ cup mint, freshly chopped
  • ¾ cup chives, freshly chopped
  • Pita bread, for serving (or cucumber slices)

Set a fine-mesh sieve over a bowl. Add yogurt. Cover with a sheet of plastic wrap and place in refrigerator overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl add beets, 1 tablespoon oil, salt, and pepper. Toss to coat beets well. Wrap 1 beet and 1 sprig of thyme in a sheet of aluminum foil and place on a baking sheet. Repeat process with remaining beets and thyme. Place in oven and roast for 30 minutes to 1 hour or until tender, depending on size. Remove from oven and set aside to cool in the foil.   Remove the foil and trim the stems and skin off of the beets and mince.

Remove yogurt from refrigerator and discard the liquid. In a bowl add strained yogurt, remaining oil, dill, mint, and chives. Mix well to combine and season with salt and pepper. Serve with pita bread (or cucumber slices).

Makes 24 servings.

p.s. According to Wikipedia, tzatziki is pronounced  tstˈski.

Beet Tzatziki