We’re Cooking: Three Easy Appetizers for The Holidays

I wish it was easy for me to follow my favorite Food Network girl, Ina Garten, who always says for a big party just buy a few pre-made appetizer options and focus on the main course, but I just can’t.  Though I do occasionally put store bought pate out with olives in pretty bowls and blocks of my favorite cheese, just like Ina, I still like to do something special on my own to show my guests how much I care, as to me cooking for my friends is the ultimate way to show them how much you care.  Here are a few ideas for quick appetizers that you can make yourself but won’t take time away from the main meal at hand.


Three Easy Appetizers – Crab and Cucumber & Prosciutto and Melon & Endive, Avocado and Lobster

Crab and Cucumber
1 large English Cucumber – Cut into 1/2 inch rounds
5 ounces fresh lump crab meat – picked clean to remove any shells
1 lemon – zest and juice
1 tablespoon fat free Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon low fat mayonnaise
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1 garlic clove – minced
1 teaspoon wasabi paste (or to your taste)
1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon fresh mint – chopped
1 teaspoon fresh cilantro – chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Combine all ingredients except the cucumber in a large bowl and mix well.  Reserve half the zest for garnish.  Scoop about 1 1/2 teaspoons of crab on to each cucumber round.  Garnish with the remaining lemon zest and a bit of additional freshly cracked pepper.  Serve.

Prosciutto and Melon
1 honeydew or cantaloupe melon – rind removed, seeds removed and cut into 2 inch x 1 inch cubes
6 slices of prosciutto – cut each slice into 3 strips lengthwise
Salt and pepper

Season the melon with salt and pepper.  Wrap each piece of melon with a strip of prosciutto.  Serve.

Endive, Avocado and Lobster
3 heads of green and red endive – cleaned, with each leaf separated and patted dry
2 avocados – cut in half, de-seeded and scooped out of the peel
1 lemon – juice and zest, divided
1 tablespoon fresh mint – chopped
1 tablespoon fresh basil – chopped
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro – chopped
1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon wasabi paste
1/2 teaspoon fresh ginger
1 1-pound lobster tail – steamed and removed from the shell, chopped into bite size pieces
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon each salt and pepper – divided
2 tablespoons chopped chives, for garnish

Add the avocado, half the lemon juice and zest, half the salt and pepper, the fresh herbs, wasabi, ginger and soy sauce to a bowl.  Using a whisk or an electric mixer whip into a smooth paste.  If too thick add a bit of water.  Adjust the seasonings to your taste.  Season the lobster with the remaining lemon juice and zest, paprika, remaining salt and pepper.  Using a knife or the back of a spoon spread some of the avocado paste into each endive leaf.  Top with the lobster.  Garnish with chopped fresh chives. Serve.


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