Archive for ‘Appetizers & Light Bites’

May 28, 2014

Buffalo Chicken Croquettes

Buffalo Chicken Croquette

This recipe is a twist on of one of my favorite dips of all time: the Buffalo Blue Cheese Dip from Macheesmo. It’s a dip so delicious and so positively bad for you that I’ve limited myself to only making it for big sporting events. Any more often and I’d have to give up beer or red meat to right the balance.

These croquettes use less cheese and don’t require any tortilla chips to eat, but they are also breaded and fried, so health-wise they are pretty much a wash. Being tiny croquettes, however, they are perfectly sized for grabbing and eating with one hand, which makes them ideal for a party, potluck or barbecue.

Maggie and made these for our apartment-warming recently and they were a huge hit. If you’re having guests over and you want an easy-to-(over)eat snack that will keep people happy, these croquettes are just the thing!

read more »

March 16, 2014

Lamb Kofta with Sweet Tahini Sauce

Lamb Kofta

And just like that, the legislative session is over!

As I mentioned in the last few posts, I have been working down in the state capitol since the beginning of the year. But on Thursday the legislature adjourned Sine Die (Latin for “without day”) and finished its work for the year. That means I’m back in Seattle – and catching up on blogging all the iron-chef style dinners that my coworkers and I did over the past few weeks!

I posted the first challenge of the year a few weeks back: a Moroccan eggplant wrap with chorizo and pickled mangoes. This time around the three ingredients were ground lamb, eggs, and sweet condensed milk – which resulted in this delicious fusion dish that incorporates a cuisines from across the Mediterranean.

The kofta is really the star of this recipe. These middle eastern-style meatballs are crispy on the outside but tender on the inside, and packed full of flavor throughout. The slightly gamey lamb is balanced with a rich gravy reduction and accented with Moroccan spices and pine nuts. Meanwhile the rest of the pita is full of earthy garbanzo beans, robust cherry tomatoes and a silky, slightly sweet tahini sauce.

These pitas are wonderfully bite sized, so you can serve them as heavy appetizers or in groups of two or three as an entree. Either way, they’ll impress friends, family, or simply your own stomach.

Look for more culinary challenges from the past few weeks coming soon!

read more »

February 25, 2014

Bruschetta Diabla


It’s my 100th post on Rosemary Renaissance!

When I first started this blog I never expected it would be anything more than an idle side project, but seeing readership rise steadily and hearing from you all about the recipes I put up here is what has pushed me to be a more adventurous chef. So whether this is the first post you’ve seen or you’ve been following my (mis)adventures in the kitchen since my first post back in 2011, I’d like to thank you all so much for reading.

Since good cooking should always be a labor of love, it’s fitting that my 100th post is one of the dishes that I made as part of a four-course Valentine’s Day dinner for my wonderful girlfriend, Maggie. It’s the second year I’ve cooked on Valentine’s Day and she hasn’t complained yet, so I must be doing something right!

The Bruschetta Diabla is a twist on the classic tomato-and-basil Italian appetizer. The tomatoes are burst using direct heat and then reduced into a sweet, tangy and spicy compote with garlic and red pepper flakes. They are paired with buttery, meaty mushrooms and aromatic basil atop crunchy baguette slices for a compact burst of flavor.

Whether you’re looking for an appetizer for a fancy dinner or want to host a swanky cocktail party, these little bite are the perfect fit!

read more »

September 25, 2013

Harissa Cauliflower Mushrooms with Romesco

Harissa Cauliflower Mushrooms

I know it’s been a while since I posted a new blog, but I’ve just been too darn busy enjoying the awesome coverage my Asian Steak Tartare got in the Bitten Word’s Cover to Cover Challenge.

But seriously, I was actually on vacation down in San Diego helping my sister (and occasional dessert recipe contributor) get moved into graduate school. It was a lovely break, but I feel bad for leaving you all hanging without any new dishes to try. So to make it up to you, I have a post adorned with tons of scrumptious looking pictures!

These Harissa Caulifower Mushrooms with Romesco Sauce were part of a big tapas night I did a few weeks back, and they were positively delicious! The union of classic Spanish ingredients with zesty Moroccan flavors is a great flavor combination. The filling is spicy, tangy, and salty while the mushrooms themselves provide a real meaty feel to the dish.

These stuffed mushrooms are great as an appetizer or alongside a few other tapas for dinner. If you wanted to make this dish more substantive, perhaps to serve as an entree, you could add or substitute Spanish chorizo to the stuffing. Either way, it’s going to be delicious!

Tapas Dinner

read more »

July 30, 2013

Watermelon Salsa

Watermelon Salsa

In case you missed my last post, earlier this month I had a lovely vacation in Southwest Colorado. It was a wonderful chance to catch up with family and get some much needed R&R – and to learn several new delicious recipes!

I sipped on a delicious and refreshing Bayfield Breeze the first day I was there, but it wasn’t until a few days later at our family reunion I tried another must-post recipe: Watermelon Salsa.

I’ll admit, I was a little skeptical about how well watermelon would work when my cousin-in-law first told me about this salsa – but I was a convert after my very first bite. The slight sugary-ness of the watermelon is actually a perfect substitute for the subtle sweetness of tomatoes, and actually does a better job of absorbing the other flavors of the salsa for a more cohesive whole.

This salsa is a simple and delicious seasonal substitute for your run-of-the-mill Pico de Gallo. Whip some up today!

read more »

May 31, 2013

Spicy Citrus Corn Fritters


I absolutely love when Spring roles around. Not because of the weather – in Seattle springtime is generally even more rainy than Winter, just warmer and punctuated by short burst of sunny days – but because of all the wonderful fresh vegetables that come into season.

Like corn. Seriously, who doesn’t like corn?

It’s sweet and savory, crunchy and soft. It’s good grilled on the cob or cooked in with other foods. It pairs well with so many different things. And that’s why it’s the star ingredient in this recipe.

Fresh corn is grilled to perfection, then sliced off the cob and tossed with just enough flour to bind it together into a delicious fritter. It’s complimented with a touch of jalapenos to add a little kick as well as two subtle citrus flavors: lime zest and lemongrass. The zest provides the scent and essence of lime without any of the sour or tart flavors, while lemongrass brings a softer, more complex citrus flavor than it’s namesake.

These fritters are great as single serving appetizers or served as a side dish or in groups of two or three. Perfect for a nice summer barbecue!

read more »

April 3, 2013

Rosemary, Goat Cheese and Honey Crostini

(Recipe developed by light-bites wizard Maggie Humphreys)

Rosemary Goat Cheese Bruschetta

I had an unfortunate realization the other day. For a blog entitled Rosemary Renaissance, there is an astonishing lack of recipes that actually involve rosemary.

Luckily these crostinis are just what this blog needs to start living up to it’s name. Goat cheese and honey are a classic sweet and salty pairing that work wonders on top of a crusty baguette. Combined with a little rosemary to imbue a spark of piney zest, these two-bite morsels are packed with simple but robust flavors.

This crostini dish is super easy to make – it’s even filed it under my slightly dusty “cheat dish” tag – but it’ll be a big hit at your next party!

(Protip: when eating, turn the bread sideways before taking a bite. That way you’re not shaking your head back and forth trying to tear through the crust – like I did.)

Rosemary, Goat Cheese and Honey Crostini


  • 1 baguette, cut into slices
  • 1 1/2 cups creamy goat cheese
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 4 rosemary sprigs, destemmed


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. On each slice, spread a generous pat of goat cheese, a drizzle of honey, and 3-4 pieces of rosemary.
  2. Place all the slices onto a baking tray and cook for about 15 minutes, until the edges start to brown and the goat cheese is starting to melt. Remove from the oven and let cool for 3 minutes.
  3. Eat!
November 24, 2012

Butternut Squash and Pomegranate Croquettes

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, plain and simple. Nothing against all the other holidays, but Thanksgiving has the perfect combination of football, food, and family that just can’t be beat.

And did I mention the food?

I love everything that’s on the Thanksgiving table, from the turkey to the mashed potatoes to the green beans to the cranberries. But every year I can’t help but long for a surprise in the mix. Some dish that comes along and turns the whole dinner on it’s head (in a good way!)

That’s what inspired these croquettes, which combine some classic Thanksgiving flavors with some not-so-traditional ingredients. The inspiration also came from one of my favorite food bloggers, Nick Evans over at Macheesmo, who recently crafted a Kabocha squash risotto topped with pomegranate and sage. It’s a damn good risotto, but I wanted to make something that emphasized the traditional Thanksgiving flavors of squash and sage.

These croquettes definitely hit the mark. The squash, along with the sweet potato that provides enough hold for frying, shine through in every bite of croquette, perfectly seasoned with sage, onion and a hint of parmesan. The pomegranate is a great twist, each a burst of tart, sweet juice.

When I made this I let it chill for 15 minutes the in freezer to really solidify it in preparation for frying it. Although it retained its shape well, the first one I fried was still cool in the center when I pulled it from the pan. Leaving it for only ten minutes in a refrigerator will mean the croquettes aren’t as firm –  making them a bit more finicky – but the end result is definitely worth it.

I think it’s going to be a new Thanksgiving tradition in the Rosemary Renaissance kitchen!

read more »

April 8, 2012


Patrick and Quinn present to you: The All-Star Lineup of SliderPalooza!

We know, we know, this post is long overdue. After all, we previewed this post with our Mashed Potato Slider with Apple-Fennel Slaw over four months ago.

read more »

March 29, 2012

Mushroom and Leek Grilled Cheese on Rosemary Bread

Last time I took on a grilled cheese was early on in this blog, when I made a Plum, Blue Cheese and Balsamic version that combined sweet, salty and tangy flavors into each bite. This recipe goes the opposite direction, creating a rustic, umami-focused dish.

This grilled cheese is delightful because of its simplicity, which allows each of the delicate ingredients to shine through. Gouda has great flavor but can often be overwhelmed by more prominent flavors. Leeks, less aggressive than their onion relatives, actually have a more nuanced and balanced taste.

Too often these daintier flavors get lost, but by pairing them together they combine into a gooey, cheesy mass of goodness. The mushrooms in the middle wind up lightly cooked with a little raw crunch in the center, providing pleasant textural contrast. Everything is tied together, aesthetically and physically, by the rosemary bread.

This is a great dish for brunch or lunch dish for a lazy Sunday. Serve with tomato soup if it’s hot outside – gazpacho if it’s cold – and enjoy!

Mushroom and Leek Grilled Cheese on Rosemary Bread

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 slices of rosemary bread
  • 1 crimini mushroom, thinly sliced
  • 4-5 ounces gouda cheese
  • 1/4 cup leeks, finely chopped


  1. Using a tablespoon of butter for each slide, butter the outsides of the bread. Assemble the sandwich by layering the mushrooms, cheese and leeks. Heat a skillet to medium and melt the remaining tablespoon of butter.
  2. Place the sandwich in the skillet. Place a smaller skillet on top of the sandwich and weigh it down using a moderately heavy object. Cook for 3-5 minutes, until the bread is golden brown, then flip and repeat for the other side.
  3. To serve, cut in half and accompany with a bowl soup
%d bloggers like this: