Smoked Salmon Spread

 Appetizers, Dips and Spreads, Seafood  Comments Off on Smoked Salmon Spread
Sep 012015

Smoked salmon is a staple of our diet and is the primary food that I make in my smoker. This is a quick recipe for a delicious spread that can be used on crackers or thinly sliced french bread or probably even as a vegetable dip. I used smoked chunk salmon in this recipe as opposed to the thinly sliced Lox that you would put on a bagel, but that would probably work, too. I just haven’t tried it.

Smoked Salmon Spread
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Category: Appetizers, Dips and Spreads, Seafood


  • 8 oz. Smoked Salmon (Chopped fine)
  • 8 oz. Whipped Cream Cheese
  • 1 Large Jalapeno pepper (Chopped Fine)
  • 1 bunch of green onions (Slit and chopped fine) or equal amount chopped chives
  • 2 tsp. granulated garlic (to taste)
  • 1 tsp. sweet paprika (to taste)


  1. Blend all ingredients thoroughly with a spoon.
  2. Taste and adjust seasonings.
  3. Chill to let flavors blend.
  4. Serve on crackers or thin slices of baguette.


You can use mayonnaise instead of cream cheese in case you are avoiding dairy, or happen to like that flavor profile better. Add enough to hold the spread together, probably about 4 oz.

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Shrimp Spread

 Appetizers, Dips and Spreads  Comments Off on Shrimp Spread
Jan 252015

Shrimp has been getting a lot of bad press lately, mostly because of the questionable conditions under which it is farmed. When I saw that my  favorite grocery store, Heinan’s, carries sustainable, wild caught Oregon baby shrimp, I came up with this recipe for a quick appetizer spread.

Shrimp Spread
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Category: Appetizers, Dips and Spreads


  • 1 - 4 oz. can sustainable, wild caught Oregon baby shrimp
  • 2/3 cup green onions, chopped fine (1/4” dice)
  • 2/3 cup celery chopped fine (1/4” dice)
  • 1 - small bottle of pimentos (1 ½ oz.), chopped fine (1/4” dice)
  • ½ tsp. powdered garlic
  • ½ tsp. hot Hungarian Paprika (to taste)
  • Approx. 6 oz. whipped cream cheese


  1. Mix first six ingredients together well and then blend in cream cheese.
  2. Chill in refrigerator to let flavors blend.
  3. Serve on Original Triscuit, or other non-seasoned crackers.
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Mushroom Walnut Paté

 Appetizers, Dips and Spreads, Vegetarian  Comments Off on Mushroom Walnut Paté
Dec 072013

I found the basis for this recipe on the web and did my usual modifications to spice it up a bit. We served it for our Friday night group and it was an instant hit. It takes a little more effort than a typical simple spread, but is every bit worth the effort.

Mushroom Walnut Paté
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Prep Time: 45 minutes

Category: Appetizers, Dips and Spreads, Vegetarian

Servings: 2 cups


  • 2 oz. (4 Tbs.) unsalted butter
  • 1 large yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced into half moons
  • 4 fresh thyme sprigs or about 1 tsp. of dried thyme
  • 12 oz. cremini (baby bella) mushrooms, diced.
  • 8 oz. shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, diced (2 cups)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp.Porcini powder
  • 4 Tbsp. dry sherry
  • 1 cup walnuts, toasted
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. fresh lemon juice; more to taste
  • Cayenne pepper. (Add a little to taste if desired.)
  • 3 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and roughly chopped
  • Thinly sliced scallion greens or chives, for garnish


  1. Preheat oven to 375 F. Put the walnuts on a baking sheet and toast them in the oven until they become lightly browned and aromatic. Be careful not to burn them. Remove them from the heat and set aside to cool. (If you start with whole walnuts, rather than chopped, you'll be less likely to burn them.)
  2. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat and add the onions & thyme. Raise the heat and cook the onions, stirring frequently, until they are translucent.
  3. Lower the heat and continue cooking until the onions caramelize. Stir the onions frequently, you want them to caramelize to a deep rich brown, but not burn. This will take about 15 minutes.
  4. Add the mushrooms and thyme and stir them in to combine.
  5. Season with about 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. of black pepper. Raise the heat to medium to high, and continue cooking. Stir occasionally, until the mushrooms have released their liquid and the liquid has evaporated. This will take about 8 to 10 minutes.
  6. Stir in the sherry, scraping the pan to remove the browned bits of fond. Cook about a minute or two until most of the sherry has been reduced. Remove the pan from the heat and cool to room temperature.
  7. When cool, transfer about half of the mushroom and onion mixture to the food processor. Add the toasted walnuts, garlic, lemon juice, porcini powder, 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp black pepper and process until smooth, scraping down the sides of the container as needed.
  8. Taste and adjust seasonings adding salt, pepper, lemon juice and cayenne as desired.
  9. Add the remaining mushroom and onion mixture and the chopped eggs. Pulse until coarsely chopped and well combined. Again, adjust seasonings to taste.
  10. Serve with a sprinkling of chives or scallion greens if desired. This is especially good on dark rye bread.
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Jul 262013

I am always looking for ways to use up the summer bounty of produce and here’s another one. Benedictine is a Kentucky staple, but little known outside of the state. Now, this culinary creation has nothing to do with the good monks who make wine and bread in the basements of their monasteries, but was invented by Jenny Benedict (thus the name) around the turn of the 20th century. Jenny started a tearoom on downtown Louisville’s South Fourth Street in 1911. Her recipe was cream cheese, cucumber juice, onion juice and salt and pepper and a pinch of cayenne, and a couple of drops of green dye. It became and still is an institution in Louisville, where, I am told, they spread it on everything.

Lilly’s restaurant in Louisville serves an updated version of the recipe which features the crunch of cumbers and onions, rather than just the juice. Here is my version of the recipe with a couple modifications to bring out the flavor of the cucumbers, a feature of my summer garden.

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Prep Time: 15 minutes

Category: Appetizers, Dips and Spreads, Sauce & Condiment, Vegetable, Vegetarian


  • 1 large cucumber, peeled, deseeded
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 2 tsp. red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon fresh chopped dill
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • Dash cayenne pepper


  1. Chop cucumber and onion by hand or pulse in food processor. It needs to have some texture and not be mushy.
  2. Combine all ingredients and mix well by hand.
  3. It’s best to make this a few hours ahead to let the flavors blend in the refrigerator.


Benedictine has a delicate flavor and is best served on white bread rounds or water crackers. Herbed or flavored crackers will overwhelm the delicate flavors. You can also use it as a sandwich spread. or use it to create tea sandwiches.

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