Tag Archives: appetizers

Baked Tomatoes with Cheese

A quick and simple appetizer sure to please a crowd.

This time of year gardens are bursting with goodness and farmers markets are filled with fresh produce. The “fresh” tomato is in season, so let’s get in the kitchen!

*variations below

Baked Tomatoes with Cheese


  • 4 tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmasan cheese
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • Olive oil for drizzling
  • salt and pepper to taste

(to double this recipe, simply double the ingredients)


  1. Preheat oven to 400F
  2. Place tomato slices on a parchment lined baking sheet. cut side up
  3. On each tomato, sprinkle with a layer or parmesan and then a layer or mozzarella
  4. Sprinkle the chopped basil on top of each tomato
  5. Drizzle lightly with olive oil
  6. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly
  7. Turn off oven and broil quickly to “toast” the cheese. Keep your eyes on this, it happens quickly.
  8. Remove from oven, sprinkle lightly with fresh chives or anything your hearts desire. Enjoy!

There are many recipes and many ways to create this delicious appetizer.

  • Any type or size of tomato will work
  • If using small tomatoes slightly reduce your cook and broil time and use more tomatoes.
  • If using larger tomatoes slightly increase your cook time and use less tomatoes.
  • You can either slice your tomato utilizing several slices or slice just the top off, “fill” with cheese and herbs and replace top.
  • We used medium size tomato, sliced only the top, filled/topped with cheese and basil and lightly replaced the top before baking.

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tomato and cream cheese tulips

These delightful spring bites are sure to be an instant family favorite.

The Hotel Saugatuck in Saugatuck, Michigan, has a special recipe they offer each year to coincide with a nearby tulip festival and they are a perfect appetizer for every spring gathering.

The “flowers” only take a few minutes to whip up and there is plenty of room for improvisation for the filling.

The Hotel Saugatuck's Tomato Cream Cheese Tulips

Tomato TulipsIngredients

  • 1 pint grape tomatoes
  • 1 package (8oz) cream cheese
  • 2 bunches green onion
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • 10 chives
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • pinch kosher salt


1. Cut off the roots and ends of the green onion

2. Let cream cheese sit out for 1/2 hour to get to room temperature. Then chop chives and garlic together using an electric mixer. Next whip the cream cheese, chives, garlic, and salt until blended evenly. Add lemon juice and blend into mixture.

3. Using a skewer, poke a hole in the stem side of each tomato. Keeping the stem side down, make a cross (2 slices) 1/2 way down the tomato using a small spoon (or the tip of an old fruit peeler) scoop out the seeds from the inside of tomato.

4. Take a pastry bag and tip, fill the cut side of the tomato with cream cheese, and insert the green onion into the hole at the stem end of the tomato.

About The Hotel Saugatuck

The Hotel Saugatuck is an 18-room luxury bed and breakfast with stunning views of Lake Kalamazoo, offering modern amenities, mere blocks from the vintage reminiscent small-town of Saugatuck, Michigan, and minutes from Douglas. Built in 1865, The Hotel Saugatuck, formerly the Twin Gables Inn, is the only original mill in the area still standing from the busy lumbering era. It is now comprised of a dozen rooms in the historic hotel and three duplex cottages, each with two guest rooms. All rooms feature king sized beds, private bathrooms, Jason Hydrotherapy Tubs with Micro-silk Technology, in-room breakfast, in-room dessert, fireplaces, and individual climate control. Privacy and individual attention define The Hotel Saugatuck experience.

Hawaiian Nachos with Pineapple Avocado Relish and “Lava” Aioli

Savor the flavors of the islands in just one bite with these tasty gems.

It is evident that in today’s society food serves multiple purposes including entertainment and travel. Sometimes we do not need a photograph to relive a fun and vibrant memory of an exotic far off land; sometimes the memory can be brought back with just a taste, a bite. Certain flavor profiles and aromas and/or the arrangement of ingredients can bring us right back to where “it’s five o’clock somewhere.” Don’t forget to update your status to: Paradise Found.

Fresh, focused flavors for your spring and summer menus. Enjoy!

Hawaiian Nachos with Pineapple Avocado Relish and Lava Aioli

  • Difficulty: Sinfully delicious
  • Print

Serves 2 


  • 2 Corn Tortillas, Quartered, Fried Crispy
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon cilantro, minced
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 lb Blue Fin Tuna, fillet
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 cup Pineapple, chopped
  • 1/4 cup Hass Avocado, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon cilantro
  • Pinch kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon black sesame seeds
  • vcsPRAsset_3401665_60603_064b55a4-ab2d-4f0a-b45b-a2bfa6d9fb59_01 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon ketchup
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon horseradish
  • 1 teaspoon Tabasco hot sauce
  • Scallions for garnish


Preheat fryer to 375 degrees F.  Season Tuna fillet with brown sugar, garlic salt, and pepper.  In a hot skillet with a small amount of canola oil almost to the smoking point, sear tuna on all sides quickly, and set aside. Allow to cool for 10 minutes. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and place in the freezer for 15 minutes for easy slicing. Meanwhile, in a small mixing bowl whisk garlic, cilantro, lime juice, honey, and mayonnaise. Set aside. In another mixing bowl, combine Pineapple, Avocado, cilantro, salt, lime, and black sesame seeds. Set aside. In another mixing bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, ketchup, cayenne pepper, horseradish, and Tabasco. To assemble, slice Tuna 1/4 inch thick. Place a small dollop of garlic cilantro sauce on crispy tortilla, place Tuna on top. Add a spoonful of the Pineapple Avocado Relish and then top with lava aioli. Garnish with scallions.

vcsPRAsset_3401665_60602_373e1051-3894-41be-ab6a-a114a550830f_0About Chef Adrianne Calvo

Adrianne Calvo is the Executive Chef and owner of Chef Adrianne’s Vineyard Restaurant and Wine Bar, Host of Maximum Flavor Live on NBC’s 6 in the Mix, author of four cookbooks: Maximum Flavor (2005); Chef Adrianne: Driven by Flavor Fueled by Fire (2008); #MaximumFlavorSocial (2014); and Play with Fire (2015), and founder of the Make it Count Foundation.

Chef Adrianne’s Vineyard Restaurant and Wine Bar opened in 2007 and offers a varied and rotating menu with something for everyone. Monthly, the restaurant holds its signature event, Dark Dining, where guests are blindfolded for a sensual experience eliminating one sense in order to enhance another, providing maximum flavor.

Chefadriannes.com    Instagram.com/chefadrianne    Facebook.com/chefadriannecalvo


Game Day Finger Foods: Bacon-Wrapped Alaska Scallop Sliders

Are you ready for game day? Northwest flavors are on the menu! If you are whipping up appetizers and finger foods for a hungry crew, add some Alaska Seafood to your shopping list. Your guests will love these little beauties.

Bacon-Wrapped Alaska Scallop Sliders

  • Servings: 16
  • Difficulty: simple
  • Print


  • 2 cups mayonnaise
  • 4 teaspoons pimenton (smoked paprika)
  • 1/8 cup olive oil
  • 5 medium or 3 cups sliced red onion
  • 1/8 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 16 large Alaska Weathervane Scallops, patted dry
  • 16 bacon slices, fully-cooked but not crisp
  • 16 mini-hamburger buns, split
  • 16 small (3-inch) lettuce leaves


  1. Blend mayonnaise and pimenton in a bowl; set aside.
  2. Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large pan. Stir in onions; cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add balsamic vinegar and simmer one minute. Remove from heat and keep warm.
  3. Wrap each Alaska Scallop with a cooked bacon slice. Grill or sauté scallops for 2 to 3 minutes per side, cooking just until scallops are opaque and bacon is crisp.
  4. Place buns on grill and lightly toast. To serve, spread about 1 tablespoon mayonnaise on cut side of each bun. Place about 2 tablespoons onions on the bun bottoms, top with a bacon-wrapped scallop and lettuce leaf, then close with bun tops.

Mia Russo Stern’s Fish Tacos

Eating healthy and January seem to go hand in hand, but when game day approaches we want bold flavorful foods that we can eat with our hands.

One of the best features of this recipe is that it can be cooked on the grill while your oven and stove top are filled with the rest of the menu you’re cooking up for your hungry crew. Grab a cold one and start chopping.


Fish Tacos

8 Organic non-gmo corn tortillas
(wrap in foil and warm in a hot oven for about 5-10 minutes)

Fish TacosFor the Fish

  • 1 lb atlantic cod
  • 2 – 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of organic grass-fed butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • pinch of sea salt and black pepper
  • juice from 1/2 lime or yuzu and the zest

The Accoutrement: 

  • 1 small box of kale (or any)
  • Microgreen/sprouts (about 1 cup)
  • 1 small box of sunflower sprouts  (about 1 cup)
  • 1 cup purple cabbage sliced thin

Fish TacosThe Cabbage

  • 1/2 cup  of cilantro, chopped fine
  • 1 jalapeño, diced fine
  • 1/2 red onion sliced into very thin shreds
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 lime, juiced and zested
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • pinch of sea salt
  • black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp granulated garlic

Compound Mayo

  • 1/2 cup mayo
  • 1/2 avocado
  • juice from 1/2 lime and the zest
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ancho chili powder

Cabbage Slaw / Fish TacosFruit Salsa

  • 1 cup diced pineapple
  • 1 cup diced mango
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 shallot chopped fine
  • 1/4 cup diced red onion
  • juice from 1 lime and the zest
  • pinch of sea salt
  • black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp granulated garlic

Preheat your oven to about 400°.  It was hot, so we cooked the fish on a baking sheet lined with foil and covered with foil on our BBQ.  This worked very well.  Wash your fish and check for bones.  Pat dry.  Lay fish down on lined baking sheet.  Drizzle with about 3 tablespoons of olive oil, spread it around with your hands.  Cut up about 1-2 tablespoons of grass-fed butter and spread that around.  Season fish with fresh garlic (minced) salt and pepper, Squeeze citrus juice and zest. Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes depending on thickness. Check often for doneness. I like to start my washing all of my sprouts and cilantro. Dry them well.

THE SLAW:  In a small bowl add 1 cup of shredded cabbage with 1/2 cup chopped cilantro, shallot, jalapeño and red onion.  Season with salt and pepper, maple syrup garlic. Toss and let sit until you are ready to assemble. Chill in fridge

FRUIT SALSA: Add all the ingredients to a bowl and toss, chill in fridge.

MAYO: Add all of the ingredients to a blender or food processor and process until smooth.  I like to then transfer to a squeeze bottle so that it’s pretty when I add to my tacos.

Once the fish is cooked, let it cool down for just about 5 minutes. Warm your store-bought organic tortillas wrapped in foil for about 5 minutes on the BBQ.  Start assembling.

Taco. Fish. Fruit salsa. Cabbage slaw. Kale sprouts. Sunflower Sprouts. (Raw fresh organic corn if you like.) Generous squeeze of compound mayo, maybe a little lime zest and a squeeze and you  are off!