All posts tagged appetizers

Caprese Salad with Burrata

Tasty Tip

Caprese Salad with Burrata

Contributing Chef- Abby Reibman- Author of  The Desk and The Stove

This classic Italian summer salad gets a facelift with the substitution of Burrata. Made from a mixture of mozzarella and cream, this cheese is a staple from Apulia.  If you can’t find it, use buffalo mozzarella for a smoky and creamy flavor that will enhance the tomatoes.  The Hostess Handbook suggests you pair the salad with a light-bodied Chianti or crisp Sauvignon Blanc.


4-5 ripe tomatoes on the vine, sliced
1 large ball of burrata or 2 balls of buffalo mozzarella
8 basil leaves, chiffonade
balsamic glaze
olive oil
salt and pepper



1-    Drizzle the balsamic glaze on a large white plate. Arrange the tomato slices on top and season them with salt and pepper and a dash of olive oil.  Sprinkle the basil chiffonade all over the tomatoes.

2-    Place the large ball of Burrata in the middle of the tomatoes and season with salt, pepper and olive oil.  Or, if using buffalo mozzarella, cut into slices and place on top of the tomatoes.

Lady Bug Cheese Crackers and Flower Cheese Crackers

Picture 3

The Hostess Handbook is buzzing over these Lady Bug Cheese Crackers and Flower Cheese Crackers! We came upon the Lady Bug Cheese Crackers on Taste of Home and are fully obsessed! What an amazing twist on the old cheese and cracker display for dinner parties. These are also super cute for spring and summer BBQs. Here’s the secret!  The “spots” on the “wings” can be made by dyeing spreadable cheese black and applying with a toothpick!


Spreadable Cheese
Cherry Tomatoes
Black Olives

The Hostess Handbook branched out a bit and designed a flower cheese cracker for all your garden parties this summer! Super cute, super easy and super cheap! Halve cherry tomatoes  and take five pieces for the petals. Use a cracker and spreadable cheese for the base! We love the Athenos garlic variety! Place the “petals” to create the flower and use a black olive for the center! Voila! The Hostess Handbook suggest you  make both the lady bug cheese crackers and flower cheese crackers! Yumazing party food made easy and cute to boot!

Thai Chicken Satay with Spiced Peanut Sauce Recipe

Tasty Tip

Thai Chicken Satay with Spiced Peanut Sauce Recipe

Contributing Chef- Abby Reibman- Author of  The Desk and The Stove

 Originating in Indonesia, this yummy chicken satay dish is thai-die for with this amazing spiced peanut dipping sauce. The marinade not only keeps the chicken moist while cooking, but it also infuses a ton of flavor into the meat.  If you’re lucky enough to live in a warm climate, throw ‘em on the BBQ for a fantastic addition to your backyard bash, or if you’re feeling the chill, just broil them in the oven – still delicious enough for this London girl! The Hostess Handbook suggests preparing both the marinade (with the chicken) and the peanut sauce the night before your party – that way you’ll have loads of time to get ready for your soirée! This is one tasty treat your guests will be sure to love – ours couldn’t resist finishing off the rest of the peanut sauce on its own.


For the spiced peanut sauce…

1 cup dry roasted peanuts, unsalted

1/3 cup water

2 garlic cloves, unpeeled and crushed

½ tsp dark soy sauce

2 tbl light soy sauce

2 tsp sesame oil

2 tbl brown sugar

2 tbl thai fish sauce

½ tsp tamarind paste

½ tsp. cayenne pepper

1/3 cup coconut milk

squeeze of lime juice


1- Blend together all of the ingredients in a food processor and adjust seasonings.  Serve at room temperature but can be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks and frozen thereafter.  *It tends to thicken once refrigerated, so add a bit of water or coconut milk if you prefer a looser sauce.


For the marinade…

8-12 skinless chicken thighs or breasts, cut into small strips

1 package wooden skewers

¼ cup minced lemongrass

2 shallots, thinly sliced

3 cloves garlic, de-peeled and crushed

2 fresh red chilies, seeds removed and sliced

1 thumb-size piece of ginger, de-peeled and thinly sliced

1 tsp tumeric

2 tbl coriander

2 tsp cumin

3 tbl dark soy sauce

3 tbl thai fish sauce

5 tbl brown sugar

2 tbl vegetable oil


1-    Blend together all the marinade ingredients in a food processor.

2-    Put the chicken in a medium bowl and pour the marinade over it. Stir well to coat all over the meat. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours (overnight is best!) If using wooden skewers, soak them in water to prevent them from burning.

3-    When the meat is ready, thread it onto the skewers ¾ of the way and grill on a BBQ or, broil in the oven on an aluminum foil covered baking tray for 15 min (turning over every 5 minutes).

4-    Serve with rice and the spiced peanut sauce.