Category Archives: Appetizer

BLT Sliders


Cheers to a fun pub type meal at home! I love any kind of mini food. For some reason it just tastes better and looks so good. Sliders have become very popular in pubs and restaurants so I tried to come up with my own version using a basil mayo recipe from one of my favorite sources, Cook’s Illustrated. The mayo comes from my new Menu Cookbook that has quickly become my new source for inspiration. I actually bought this book (and another) for Heather for her birthday and after thumbing through the pages I had to get a copy for myself. The recipes are great alone or a fun way to cook for a dinner party. It lays out everything you need to feed a crowd and how to plan it.

These mini BLTs are great for a quick meal served with a side of roasted mini potatoes or on their own as an appetizers for a party or get together. You can make as many or as few as you like.

For the basil mayo:

2 cups fresh basil leaves
2/3 cup mayo
4 tsps lemon juice
2 garlic cloves
salt and peper to taste

For the sliders:

slider rolls (I used Trader Joe’s mini burger buns)
cherry tomatoes
fresh basil leaves

1. Prepare the bacon. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the bacon in a single layer on a foil lined baking sheet (you may need more than one depending on how much you are planning to make). Bake for 17-20 minutes. Remove from the oven when the bacon is browned around the edges but not burnt. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate to cool.

2. While the bacon cooks prepare the basil mayo. Place all ingredients in a food process and pulse until smooth.

3. When the bacon is cooked and the mayo is finished, toast the slider rolls. Spread some basil mayo on each roll. top with bacon, tomato, and fresh basil. Serve with roasted herbed potatoes for a nice meal or as an appetizer.

*For roasted potatoes toss 1lb. small, halved, potatoes with olive oil and chopped fresh herbs. Place in a single layer on a baking sheet and cook in a 400 degree oven for about 20 minutes (more or less depending on the size) or until crispy.

Source: Basil mayo from America’s Test Kitchen Menu Cookbook

Baked Artichokes with Gorgonzola and Herbs

Spring is here, which means there are a lot of yummy things now in season. Gwenny and I were strolling through Stew Leonard’s working on overcoming her fear of the mooing cow head when we passed a very inviting mound of artichokes. I have had this recipe in the back of my mind ever since I originally bought the cookbook years ago, so I picked out the best looking artichokes and we were on our way.

Don’t be afraid of trimming the artichokes. It is very easy, and if you are like me and like to have a visual, I have attached a link to the Food Network video where Giada makes this recipe at the bottom of this post. I made these while Dan was traveling, so I cut the recipe in half and put one of the boiled artichokes in the fridge for another day.


  • 4 artichokes
  • 3 lemons
  • 10 ounces of mild Gorgonzola cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons of heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon, plus 2 teaspoons of chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 1 garlic clove, finely minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons of plain bread crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Trim the artichokes by cutting off the top inch or so. Cut the stem close to the base of the artichoke so the artichoke can stand upright, and remove some of the tough outer leaves. Using kitchen shears, trim the sharp points off of any remaining outer leaves. Drop the artichokes into the boiling water. Halve the lemons and squeeze the juice into the boiling water, then toss in the lemons. Cook the artichokes until tender, about 30 minutes. Drain the artichokes upside down on a clean kitchen towel and let cool.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, stir together the Gorgonzola cheese, cream, thyme, 2 teaspoons of the parsley, the garlic, salt, and pepper. In another small bowl, stir together the bread crumbs and the remaining tablespoon of parsley.

Preheat the oven to 400. Spread the artichokes open with your fingers and use a small spoon to scrape out the center choke. You want to get out all of the hairy looking part as well. Don’t be afraid. Stuff the cheese mixture into the artichokes and arrange them in a baking dish. Sprinkle the artichokes with the bread-crumb mixture, then drizzle them with the olive oil. Bake until the artichokes are heated through, the cheese is melted, and the bread crumbs are crisp and golden, about 25 minutes. Transfer the artichokes to a serving dish and serve.

Source: Giada’s Kitchen

Video from