bite-size chicken and waffle appetizer


So you may be asking yourself, “chicken and waffles……. is this something I would like”? The answer is…….”absolutely, yes”! I know this dynamic duo may seem a little far fetched, but just think about a salty and sweet culinary masterpiece in one bite. I very seldom order this when I see it on a menu because it is just too much food. On occasion, I will meet my sister at The Blue Rooster in Sarasota, FL, and we will splurge and share this delicious showpiece of a meal.
This chicken and waffle recipe is sublime because you get the combination of salty, crunchy chicken with a sweet, warm waffle, but the chicken is baked instead of fried and is a much smaller portion. It is a unique appetizer for a dinner party or brunch gathering. I love to see people’s reactions when they spot it on my food table. There is much controversy over this dish and where it originated.  John Edge who is the director of the Southern Foodway Alliance and author of Fried Chicken: An American Story says, “it’s a dish most popular among expatriate African-American Southerners”. He adds, “a dish most popular among Southerners now living in urban areas whether that be the urban South or urban West, in the case of Los Angeles, or the urban North, in the case of New York”. Edge suspects this delicious pair probably has been a part of America’s culinary repertoire for a long time- since the nation’s earliest days when Thomas Jefferson brought a waffle iron back from France. He believes the recipe originated in multiple places including the South.
If you are like me and would like to know the history of a recipe, check out  Tori Avey explores the story behind the food we eat and how recipes of different cultures have evolved.
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12 chicken breast tenders, cut in half crosswise
3/4 cup nonfat buttermilk
1- 1/2 cups panko crumbs
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. smoked paprika
1/4 tsp. ground pepper
1/4 tsp. salt
Cooking spray
24 mini waffles
Maple Syrup

Stir together chicken and buttermilk in a medium size bowl. Chill 30 minutes. Place a large baking sheet in oven, and preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Place panko crumbs in a shallow bowl. Stir together garlic powder and next three ingredients. Remove chicken from buttermilk, and pat dry, discard buttermilk.

Sprinkle chicken evenly with spice mixture; dredge in panko. Remove baking sheet from oven; coat with cooking spray. Immediately place chicken on hot baking sheet; coat chicken with cooking spray.

Bake at 450 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until chicken is crisp and lightly browned.

Arrange toasted waffles on a large platter and top each waffle with a pice of chicken. Secure chicken to waffle with a decorative pick. Drizzle warm maple syrup over top. Serve immediately. Serves:24

Recipe compliments of The Slim Down South Cookbook.

shrimp scampi appetizer


Next week is Labor Day and who couldn’t use some great appetizer recipes? This appetizer is “shrimply delicious!” This week we are posting some great appetizer ideas that we hope will get you in the holiday spirit. This shrimp scampi appetizer pairs nicely with one of our favorites, Chalk Hill Chardonnay.

2 pounds (12 to 15 per pound) shrimp in the shell (we bought ours at Whole Foods)
3 Tb good olive oil
2 Tb dry white wine
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
12 Tb (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 tsp minced garlic (4 cloves)
1/4 cup minced shallots
3 Tb minced fresh parsley leaves
1 tsp minced fresh rosemary leaves
1/4 tsp  crushed red pepper flakes
1 tsp grated lemon zest
2 Tb freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 extra-large egg yolk
2/3 cup panko (Japanese dried bread flakes)
Lemon wedges, for serving

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Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Peel, devein, and butterfly the shrimp, leaving the tails on. Place the shrimp in a mixing bowl and toss gently with the olive oil, wine, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Allow to sit at room temperature while you make the butter and garlic mixture.

In a small bowl, mash the softened butter with the garlic, shallots, parsley, rosemary, red pepper flakes, lemon zest, lemon juice, egg yolk, panko, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper until combined.

Starting from the outer edge of a 14-inch oval gratin dish, arrange the shrimp in a single layer cut side down with the tails curling up and towards the center of the dish. Pour the remaining marinade over the shrimp. Spread the butter mixture evenly over the shrimp and if you like, sprinkle some dried panko all over the top.  Bake for 10 to 12 minutes until hot and bubbly. If you like the top browned, place under a broiler for 1 minute. Serve with lemon wedges. Serves 6. Compliments: Ina Garten



tomato, rosemary and white bean bruschetta


This is the perfect appetizer for a warm summer evening. Fire up the grill and serve this bruschetta poolside with a cool glass of chardonnay or our beautiful “Garden Bloom” cocktail (see above)

3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil; more as needed
4 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
2- 4 inch sprigs plus 1 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary
2 large ripe heirloom tomatoes cut into 1/2-inch dice (about three cups)
2 Tb chopped fresh mint
Kosher salt
1 15-ounce can cannellini beans, rinsed well and drained
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 to 2 Tb fresh lemon juice
Freshly ground black pepper
1 lb. baguette, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices


Heat the oil, garlic and rosemary sprigs in a small saucepan over medium heat until they start to sizzle steadily and become fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Let the oil cool to room temperature. Strain the oil into a measuring cup (if making ahead, store in the refrigerator and use within 3 days).


Put the tomatoes in a medium bowl and toss with 3 Tb of the garlic oil, the mint and 1 tsp. salt.


Put the beans in a food processor and add about 6 Tb of the garlic oil, the Parmigiano, 1 Tb of lemon juice, the chopped rosemary, and 1/2 tsp. each of salt and pepper; puree until smooth. Season to taste with more salt and pepper and lemon juice.


Heat gas grill to medium-high heat or prepare a medium-hot charcoal fire. Brush both sides of the bread with the remaining garlic oil (if you run out, use plain olive oil to finish). Sprinkle lightly with salt. Grill the bread until crisp, with nice grill marks on both sides, 1 to 2 minutes per side.

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Spread the grilled bread with the bean puree, top with a generous spoonful of the tomatoes and their juices, sprinkle lightly with pepper, and set out on a large platter for your guests to help themselves. Serves 10 to 12. Compliments:

Say a toast to your friends, enjoy the painted summer sky and watch the sun slip behind the ocean and out of sight.