Fig and Onion Bruschetta

~Not such a trendy appetizer…bruschetta actually dates back to the 15th century!

2 tbsp Butter Olive Oil
1 red onion, sliced very thinly
2 tbsp Fig Balsamic Vinegar
8 oz cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup blue cheese, crumbled
1 French baguette, sliced in 1/2” rounds and lightly toasted
1 cup fig jam

Heat the olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat.
Add the onion and sauté until softened, stirring occasionally…about 5 minutes.
Reduce the heat to low...add the vinegar and stir for 2 minutes.
Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.
Combine the cream cheese and blue cheese in a bowl and mix until smooth.
Spread the cheese mixture on the baguette rounds.
Top with a spoonful of jam and then a spoonful of the onion mixture.

Recipe from: "Warm Hearth: Comforting Love-filled Recipes for Family, Friends and Cozy Fireplace Afternoons," by Mango Dragonfly.

12 sun-dried tomatoes
2 cups tomatoes, seeded and chopped small
1 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
2 tbsp Italian parsley, chopped
2-3 anchovy fillets, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp capers
1 tsp rosemary, minced

3 tbsp. Tuscan Herb Olive Oil

1 tbsp. Sicilian Lemon Balsamic Vinegar

Place sun-dried tomatoes in a small bowl and cover with boiling water.
Let stand until the tomatoes have softened up, about 10 minutes.
Drain the tomatoes and chop finely.
Combine with the fresh tomatoes, olives, parsley, anchovies, garlic, capers rosemary, olive oil and balsamic vinegar  in a medium bowl and toss until well mixed.
Thinly slice a baguette, grab a bottle of wine and find a good spot to watch the sunset.

Recipe from: "Branch and Vine: Love and Deliciousness from the Olive oil Store," by Mango Dragonfly.

Bloody Mary Gazpacho

It is hot and muggy here in Southwest Florida...really hot and muggy...even the birds seem sluggish and lazy this morning. It is the perfect time for something cold, spicy and crunchy that does not does not involve a stove, oven or sweltering over a heat source of any kind. 

We are a family divided when it comes to cilantro. Some love it and some think it tastes exactly like Ivory soap. If you share cilantro issues...serve it as garni on the side or feel free to replace it with Italian parsley. Serve in martini glasses, jars or shot glasses with celery and a shrimp or two on the side.
Of course, the vodka is optional.

1 jalapeno, seeds and membranes removed
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 red onion
4 cups Bloody Mary mix
1 bunch cilantro
2 English cucumbers, chopped into large chunks
6 large, ripe tomatoes
4 tbsp lime juice
2 cups vodka
1/4 cup Garlic Olive Oil
2 tbsp Worchester sauce
sea salt
black pepper
Place the jalapeno, garlic, red onion and 1 cup bloody Mary mix into a blender or food processor, process until smooth…transfer to a large bowl.
Next process the cilantro, cucumber and tomatoes until smooth and transfer to the bowl.
Add the lime juice, vodka, olive oil, Worchester sauce and remaining Bloody Mary mix…stir well.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Recipe from: "Garden Table: A Celebration of Bare Feet, Fresh Picked Tomatoes and Not Waiting Until Sunday Night to Grill," by Mango Dragonfly.

Siena Sunset Salsa
~An easy and delicious Italian-style salsa...perfect for picnics and pre-concert snacks. Serve with pita chips or a thinly sliced baguette. Add some fresh mozzarella, sliced cheeses, grilled sausages, a bottle of wine and a beautiful sunset and the world is a wonderful place to be.

​​​​​​​​​nacks and Starters