from Jude’s Kitchen: ‘I do’ appies

Appies are wedding food, shower food, birthday food and get-together-with-friends-food, so it's always good to have more recipes.

melon cubes

melon cubes

Even though June is the traditional month for weddings, fall is a beautiful time of year in the Okanagan Valley, so I think more weddings should be held now.

Bringing wedding guests in from out of town wouldn’t be a problem either, once they realize the popular Fall Okanagan Wine Festival begins next week…

My favourite way of eating is in small, tasty bites, so an appetizer feast tops a sit-down dinner on my list of favourite meals.

So, why not offer wedding guests an opportunity to taste-test a selection of interesting appetizers after the ceremony, along with the celebratory wine that’s essential to accompany the many toasts that will be made to the happy bride and groom?

Generally, weddings bring together not only two families who may or may not know each other very well, but also members of each family who may not have seen other relations for many years, and they will have a lot to catch up on.

Offering appies in a stand-up and move-around type of feast also is an opportunity for more meeting and visiting than if you’re sat next to deaf Uncle George for the entire evening.

But, even if you go with the traditional sit-down wedding feast, a few appetizers either prior to guests being seated, or at the table where they will eat, would surely be most welcome after the ceremony.

Appetizers have many other welcome opportunities to make their entrance, from showers and receptions to anniversary parties and even birthdays.

Appealing appies are never amiss at an occasion.

For more recipes for great tried-and-true appetizers, pick up a copy of my book, Jude’s Kitchen, wherever books are sold.

Incidentally, the updated edition of my guide book, Okanagan Trips and Trails, co-authored with Murphy Shewchuk, is also now available, after being out of print the past few months.

Em’s Seafood-stuffed Mushroom Caps

You can vary the filling ingredients to your taste, depending on whether your crowd likes things spicy or less so…The number of caps you can fill with this depends on the size of the caps.

24 smallish mushroom caps

1 large garlic clove

2 green onions

16 oz. (454 g) cream cheese

1 tbsp. (15 ml) dry white wine

1/4 c. (60 ml) parmesan cheese

1 tsp. (5 ml) Sriracha hot sauce

1 tsp. (5 ml) Worcestershire sauce

1 tbsp. (15 ml) parsley

4 oz. (120 g) crab

4 oz. (100 g) shrimp

salt and pepper, to taste

Scrub mushrooms and remove the stem to provide a hollow for the filling.

Mince or grate the garlic and mince the green onions into a medium-sized bowl with the softened cream cheese, wine, grated parmesan cheese, hot sauce and Worcestershire and fresh, minced parsley and combine it all thoroughly.

Rinse and dry the seafood and gently fold into the cream cheese filling.

Divide amongst the mushroom caps.

Arrange on a rack in a sheet pan and bake in a hot oven (375 F) for about 20 minutes.

Makes 24.

Watermelon Cubes with Feta Filling

These look really festive and pretty, and they taste delicious with all the contrasting flavours inside. I didn’t use a seedless watermelon, which makes it difficult to get nice squared-off cubes, but it was locally-grown and really sweet and delicious. The combination of sweet and salty, crunchy and tart is wonderful in these little bites.

A pretty and tasty wedding wine to serve with these is the Intrigue Wines I Do, which is a riesling with a kiss of merlot to give it a light pink blush; crisp and refreshing, this lightly sparkling wine is both fruity and fresh so it goes with many different foods.

24 watermelon cubes

1/4 c. (60 ml) sweet onion

1/2 c. (125 ml) feta cheese

1/2 lime

coarsely-ground sea salt

1 tbsp. (15 ml) shredded basil

Carefully cut the red watermelon so you have cubes that are about an inch or so in diameter and remove a dimple in top for the filling, using a melon baller or the tip of a teaspoon.

Chop the sweet onion such as Vidalia or Walla Walla onions into small dice and crumble the feta cheese into a small bowl.

Drizzle it with the juice from about a half a lime and mix well.

Use a small spoon to fill the hollow in top of each watermelon cube with the feta mixture. A white plate makes a nice, contrasting background for these little appies.

Sprinkle or grate a little sea salt on each and top with a few bits of shredded, fresh basil.

Makes 24.


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