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Memorable Appetizers

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Memorable Appetizers

By Karen Schulz

Chances are you are headed to one or more Memorial Day celebrations and are tasked with the job of bringing an appetizer. Have no fear, these recipes are foolproof and universally loved.

The BLT tomatoes are a tad bit high-maintenance, but nothing is more American than a BLT. So, leave yourself a little time to core the cherry tomatoes and everyone will be thrilled that you did because these bite-sized morsels are delicious.

Caprese skewers are always a crowd pleaser. However, I like to take them to the next level with a light drizzle of balsamic glaze (available at June & Ho or most markets) and a fun toothpick to make them more festive.

I am a little reluctant to share the shrimp recipe because, whenever I serve it or bring it to a party, people are so impressed, they ooh and ahh over its presentation and flavor, and now I will be outted for the scam that it is.

First and foremost, I have to credit my friend, Joanie, with this go-to summer appetizer recipe. This is her invention, and every time I make it, I think of her and wonder how many other potential creations are out there like this one that are delicious, nutritious and easy.

Whether you need to bring an appetizer to a picnic, or are having an elegant dinner party, this dish works for every occasion. If you work full time, it is the perfect dish to have in your arsenal, because you can make it the night before. As a matter of fact, it is even tastier if you make it the night before, so all you have to do is put it on some endive and you are ready to go.

The key to being party-ready with this dish is to make a quick trip to Costco for two essential ingredients. First, a bag of their frozen cooked shrimp (I always have several bags in the freezer) and second, the Organic Peach Mango Salsa from the refrigerated area by the escalators. Once you have those two items on hand, all there is to do is add a big bunch of freshly chopped cilantro and sprinkle with sea salt.

So, there you have it: a selection of summer appetizers that can be dressed up for a party or fit right in at a picnic or on a boat. Not only are they great for those watching their carbs, but even the kids will devour them.

BLT Tomatoes

Makes 30

<Ingredients>

30 cherry tomatoes

½ t. kosher salt

½ lb. bacon (8 slices)

4 T. thinly chopped scallions

½ cup finely chopped iceberg

2 T. mayonnaise

¼ t. pepper

<Directions>

Cook bacon until crisp. Let cool and chop.

While the bacon is cooking, slice the bottom of each tomato so it will stand without tipping over. Then carefully core the tomatos with a sharp paring knife and remove the seeds.

Combine the salt, bacon, scallions, iceberg, mayo, and pepper.

Gently stuff the tomatoes with the mixture.

<<Caprese Skewers>>

Makes 40

<Ingredients>

40 cherry tomatoes

1 bunch fresh basil, torn into 1/2–inch pieces

1-pound fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/4-inch squares

Balsamic glaze

<Directions>

Trim tops of tomatoes to a manageable size, so when skewered to the mozzarella each is one bite.

Skewer each tomato with one piece of mozzarella and one piece of basil.

Assemble on platter and lightly drizzle with balsamic glaze.

<<Cilantro Shrimp on Endive>>

<Ingredients>

1 2-pound bag frozen cooked shrimp

1-2 cups Organic Peach Mango Salsa

1½ cups chopped cilantro

Sea salt to taste

<Directions>

Defrost shrimp in a colander.

Chop shrimp into ¼-inch pieces and put in large bowl. Add 1 cup of salsa and cilantro and stir. Keep adding salsa until there is a nice balance of salsa to shrimp, and feel free to add more or less cilantro to taste.

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