Category Archives: Appetizers

Hawg Wings for Super Bowl!

What the heck’s a “hawg wing”? Well if pigs could fly, would they have wings?

This year, we’re offering up our delicious version of this recent invention from the food industry – that is a reshuffling of  the shank portion of the pig. The pork is wrapped around a sturdy bone, in a drumstick fashion which  allows you to eat the tender morsels with one hand. They taste like a cross between chicken wings and barbecued ribs. If you’re tired of chicken wings, or just want something meaty and different, come on in and check out our hawg wings!

Surprisingly, I asked Richard a few weeks ago if he had stocked up on chicken wings for the Super Bowl party weekend and he replied “no”! What? Sacrilege!  How could you NOT have chicken wings for the Super Bowl? Then he explained that the price of wings had skyrocketed out of sight and most of the big chains had bought up all the wings. He couldn’t even get ahold of wings, almost two weeks out from the Super Bowl.

This reminded me of the old days when we owned a restaurant and the liquor companies would jack up the cost of champagne a month or so ahead of the holidays. Unfair!! or just the American way?

Anyway, enter the hawg wing! And I have to admit – I tried my first one today and they ARE delicious! So if you want a special treat to take to your party tomorrow, stop on in and get a bunch!

Healthy Centerpieces

Looking for a healthy appetizer that also doubles as a fabulous centerpiece? Check out these cool Garden Vegetable Crudite centerpieces I made for a pool party last weekend! I used wheat grass as the base, and skewered a fun assortment of veggies and voila! There you go! Our chefs made a yummy yogurt-fresh dill dip as an accompaniment – I delivered to the party and they were immediately put on the tables. So fun, festive, and delicious!

Carciofi alla Giudia (fried artichoke hearts)

Ready for a mouth-watering delicious crispy treat? Try one of these tantalizing fried artichoke hearts! The Italians aren’t sure how old the recipe is, saying it could date back to Imperial times when the Roman Jewish community had upwards of 50,000 members.

We started by cleaning the artichokes, cutting off the bottom of the stem and the tough outer leaves. You will end up removing about half of the leaves to get to the tender inner section and may want to trim the sharp tips of the remaining leaves, as well. Cut the remaining heart section in half, dip in lemon water, then drain on a paper towel. Mix together in a bowl some matzoh meal, salt and pepper then coat the hearts on both sides.

Heat at least 1/2″ of olive oil in a saute pan and when hot, quickly saute some chopped garlic and then scoop out so it doesn’t burn. Now gently drop your artichoke hearts into the oil, turning them so they cook evenly ( about 3-4 minutes) until they’re golden brown. Set on a paper towel to remove excess oil and enjoy!!

Risotto Cakes with Italian Fontina & Black Truffles


Risotto Cakes with Italian Fontina and Black Truffles
Richard Erickson, chef Bistro-to-Go, Kingston, New York

The inspirations for this recipe are the savory rice balls of Sicily known as arancine, or “little oranges”, due to their golden crust.  Traditionally they are filled with meat or cheese and eaten as snacks in bars and cafes. Our version omits the filling and we serve the cakes as an appetizer or on top of an array of roasted, steamed, and grilled seasonal vegetables. This version is especially festive for holiday entertaining – we’re making the small ones for our New Year’s Eve party.

4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1/2 cup each finely diced onion, celery and carrot
2 T butter
1 T olive oil
1 1/4 cup arborio rice
Salt & pepper to taste
1 egg
1 cup grated Fontina
1 cup grated Caciotta al Tartufo (black truffle cheese)
1 cup fine dried bread crumbs
Vegetable or light olive oil for frying

1. Heat the stock. In a separate sauce pan heat the olive oil and butter, add the finely diced vegetables and cook over moderate heat until the onions are transluscent.

2. Add the rice, salt and pepper.  Stir to coat completely, then begin ladling in the warm stock.  Add 1/2 cup at a time stirring and making sure the liquid has been absorbed before adding more. Rice varies so you may need more or less liquid. Unlike a traditional risotto, cook until the rice is soft and creamy all the way through, about 25-30 minutes.

3. Put the cooked rice into a mixing bowl, add the cheese and the egg, mix well and chill.

4. Depending on whether you will be making an appetizer or an entree, you will choose a scoop that will give you either a small (2-3 bite morsel) or a dinner size portion. Form into a patty, roll in the bread crumbs and assemble on a cookie sheet, which can be kept refrigerated until ready to cook.

5. Heat oil in frying pan and cook on each side until golden brown. This can be done ahead and then reheated in the oven on a cookie sheet, which makes a very party friendly appetizer!