quick northwest appetizers

I like to have a few little nibbles on hand, to enjoy with friends as they drop by, even unannounced! This shortbread recipe, made with rosemary from my garden, works well, I can store it in my pantry and plate up in no time flat if I’m caught off guard! And, they make great gifts!

lemon rosemary shortbreadLemon Zesting

just a note –these have a habit of disappearing rapidly!

3-1/2 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary
1/2 cup cake flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
plus extra red pepper, coarse salt and finely chopped rosemary for edges

 Place cream cheese, butter, lemon zest and rosemary in food processor work bowl; process until creamy. Add flour cornstarch, salt and pepper. Using on/off turns, pulse process until clumps begin to form. Gather dough into a ball; then form into a log about 1-1/4 inches in diameter. Roll log in extra red pepper, coarse salt and finely chopped rosemary, then wrap in plastic or parchment. Refrigerate until firm, about 1hour.

Preheat oven to 325°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Slice dough in 3/8-inch thick rounds. Transfer to prepared baking sheets. Bake until golden, about 16 minutes. Transfer shortbreads to rack to cool. (May be prepared 3 days in advance. Store in airtight container at room temperature.)

If you happen to have crab in the freezer, from summer, or if not, just pickle up a can at the market. these are super easy, and SO delicious.

crab puffs

8 ounces cream cheese
1 can crab meat
2 tablespoons soft bread crumbs
2 drops sesame oil
¼ teaspoon salt
1 package wonton skins
oil, for frying (I like peanut oil, but corn oil will work well here, too)
hot mustard or soy dipping sauce, for serving

 Combine first 5 ingredients for filling. Put 1 teaspoon of the filling in wonton wrapper; fold over one corner, to center. Repeat with rest of corners, wetting each so they stick to the others.

In a deep skillet or wok, pour oil in to a depth of 1 inch. Heat over medium-high heat until a small bit of wonton skin sizzles in the oil. Add puffs to the hot oil, a few at a time so as to not over-crowd the pan. Deep fry the puffs for 3 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve with hot mustard, or soy dipping sauce (combine together):

 1 teaspoon Chinese hot mustard
6 tablespoons soy sauce


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