All posts filed under: Appetizers & Snacks

Blackberry Mascarpone Crackers

Blackberry Mascarpone Crackers with Lemon Zest

My life changed during a baby shower in 1999.  No, I wasn’t celebrating a future sibling, I had a very specific cracker with mascarpone cheese and a tart blackberry.  That combo has been emblazoned in my mind and I’ve been enjoying it ever since. My mom was throwing the baby shower for her good friend who was celebrating her second son.  My mom had set out a tray of cheese, crackers, and fruit and I heard someone say, “You need to try the whole wheat cracker with mascarpone and a blackberry!” I think I ate about 20 of them that night.   The cracker is the critical part.  It HAS to be Carr’s Whole Wheat cracker.  It has a slightly sweet taste but is buttery and crumbly like a cookie.  It’s mandatory in this ensemble. It’s really a simple as it sounds–smear a cracker with mascarpone, top it with a blackberry, and lately I’ve been adding a little lemon zest. Crunchy, creamy, tart, and sweet.  Life changing, I tell ya!  






Palmiers with Serrano Ham, Fig, and Manchego Cheese // Peanut Butter & Dill Pickles Blog

Quick Holiday Appetizer: Spanish Ham & Fig Palmiers with Manchego Cheese

I love appetizers that you can make in advance and throw together at a moments notice.  Palmiers have a big WOW factor given their fun shape and puff pastry crust but are actually quite easy to make. I give a nod to Spanish flavors in this version by using serrano ham and manchego cheese.  Fig jam gives it a hint of sweetness to balance out the saltiness of the ham and cheese. These palmiers would be perfect at a holiday cocktail party or to ring in the New Year! PrintSpanish Ham & Fig Palmiers with Manchego Cheese Ingredients1 box of puff pastry, thawed 1/4 c. + 2 tbsp. fig jam 4 oz. pkg serrano ham 2 1/2 c. shredded manchego cheese (about 0.40 lb wedge) 1 egg slightly beaten with 1 tbsp. waterInstructionsRoll each sheet of puff pastry on a lightly floured surface into a 11.5″x13″ rectangle. Spread 3 tbsp. of fig jam onto each pastry sheet. Divide the ham and evenly lay the slices over the jam. Sprinkle 1 1/4 c. cheese onto each …






Holiday Cocktail Sausages--Peanut Butter & Dill Pickles Blog

Nigella Nosh: Sticky Holiday Cocktail Sausages with Maple Syrup & Whole Grain Mustard

My mother consistently rolled her eyes whenever she saw a bag of chips in our house.  My father and I had a bad habit of opening the bag from the BOTTOM in order to get to all the seasoning-coated chips first.  If you’re a lover of Tostitos lime chips like I am, open the bag from the bottom and it will make your day a whole lot better. I bet Nigella Lawson opens her bags from the bottom too.  If there is one thing Nigella does well and appreciates, it’s flavor.  I could tell she was a fellow bottom bag opener when I watched her make cocktail sausages in her holiday episode  a few years back.  After baking the little sausages in a sticky sweet and savory sauce, she poured the whole lot into a scooped out bread bowl.  The episode ended with her comfortably sitting in an armchair, her shoes kicked off, and her guests long gone.  She smirked at the screen as she picked away at the crusty bread bowl now lined with …






Apple, Honeycomb, & Brie Crostini…and a Giveaway!

The giveaway has ended!  Thanks to all those who entered.  Inger W., you’re the lucky winner!  I will be in touch over email.  Enjoy your Saturday, everyone! Happy Fall Folks! I’ve got an appetizer that was a cinch to throw together and will definitely be making the rounds with all of the parties and gatherings coming up this season. If you can assemble a few ingredients and throw them under the broiler until melty and gooey, you can knock this one out of the park.  Just take a baguette, slice it up, and place on a rimmed baking sheet. Top the baguette with a slice of green apple, and a chunk of brie cheese. Put under the broiler for 5-10 minutes until the cheese has melted and the edges of the crostini are toasted.  Once you pull the tray out of the oven, place a chunk of honeycomb onto each slice and sprinkle with chopped pecans, salt, and pepper.  Here’s a printable! PrintApple, Honeycomb, & Brie Crostini Makes about 20 appetizers, depending on how many …






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March Madness and How to Feed the Masses

Spring may still be a long ways off.  I feel like I haven’t seen the sun in weeks and the weather forecasters are using the words “grey” and “cold” far too often these days. But the shining spot this month has been, far and away, good ole’ March Madness. College basketball is a bit of a religion in my family.  I’m the first girl out of several male relatives to graduate from Marquette University and hold that honor proudly. Basketball games turn into family reunions as about half of my extended family have season tickets and congregate before, during, and after the action on the court. With the Sweet Sixteen decided, the excitement is ramping up even more and my blood pressure will be elevated for the next several days! Get togethers and parties are a given as we get closer and closer to the Final Four. Recently Bolzano,a great local artisan meat producer, contacted several local Milwaukee bloggers to try their line of hand crafted salamis and develop recipes to highlight their awesome flavors. …






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Irish Nachos for St. Patrick’s Day

In anticipation of everyone turning Irish this weekend, I dug into the Peanut Butter + Dill Pickles archives to share my favorite Irish appetizer.  If you have a crowd to feed or just need a satisfying dish to balance out green beer, these nachos are sure to be a hit!  Celebrate responsibly and stay safe this weekend! Corned beef is like turkey. No seriously. Reasons for my argument: 1. I feel obligated to make it on it’s corresponding holiday. 2. I always make too much. 3. I keep trying creative ways to continue to consume all of the leftovers. Corned beef = turkey in this case.  Just go with it. I started thinking about foods my husband likes; trying to find one to substitute corned beef in.  While he is a software developer, his official job is really “Nacho Connoisseur–Southeastern Wisconsin Division”.  Everywhere we go the man orders nachos.  He prefers chicken over beef, jalapenos over no jalapenos, with forks optional. So how could I add a little “luck of the Irish” into this dish?  …






Irish Nachos with Guinness Cheddar Sauce

Corned beef is like turkey. No seriously. Reasons for my argument: 1. I feel obligated to make it on it’s corresponding holiday. 2. I always make too much. 3. I keep trying creative ways to continue to consume all of the leftovers. Corned beef = Turkey in this case.  Just go with it. I started thinking about foods my husband likes; trying to find one to substitute corned beef in.  While he is a software developer, his official job is really “Nacho Connoisseur–Southeastern Wisconsin Division”.  Everywhere we go the man orders nachos.  He prefers chicken over beef, jalapenos over no jalapenos, with forks optional. So how could I add a little “luck of the Irish” into this dish?  Potato chips instead of tortilla chips, corned beef instead of spicy chicken, and homemade Guinness cheddar sauce instead of that glowing orange, gelatinous cheese product. The sauce is so good. It goes so well with the beef, scallions, and crunchy chips.  Words just can’t do it justice. It’s also worth mentioning that these nachos are not only …






Smoked Salmon Cracker Bread with "Everything" Cream Cheese

I love “duh” moments when you sit and wonder why you never thought of something so ingenious and so simple. You like bagels?  I like bagels.  Especially “everything” bagels. You know what I don’t like about “everything” bagels?  Getting covered in assorted seeds while I’m trying to eat my breakfast. A few years ago, my husband and I were in the Chicago area and we had a wonderful breakfast at the Marion Street Cheese Market in Oak Park.  I ordered their smoked salmon plate and had a “duh” moment. Those geniuses put the “everything” toppings in the cream cheese instead of on the outside of the bagel! No fingers covered in poppy seeds.  No sesame seeds bouncing all over your plate and the table. You’re still going to be pulling seeds out of your teeth all day but let’s face it.  It’s worth it.  At least my cute top wasn’t bedazzled in poppy and sesame. I’m also a “thin crust” kinda girl.  We’ll save the details for another post but when I came across this recipe for cracker bread …






Pear & Brie Crostini with Spiced Honey

I wish I had a great, clever story for you about how this recipe came to be.  I don’t.  It’s just good…really good.  I had a baguette and brie in my shopping cart, pears looked wonderful at the market, and I’ve been waiting for something to strike me as a good vessel to try spiced honey. Plain old honey is great; don’t get me wrong.  Honey with a touch of spice, ginger, and a pop of citrus is even better.  Drizzle it over warm, gooey brie with a slightly sweet, crisp pear on a toasty baguette…it’s divine. Really, talk amongst yourselves. *Linda Richman really was one of Michael Myer’s best SNL characters!* I tried this with a few different varieties of pears and Bosc is the best in my opinion. PrintPear & Brie Crostini with Spiced Honey Feel free to reduce/increase the amounts based on how many servings you are trying to get. Each baguette is different but the one I sliced for this recipe could have easily have served 2 crostini to 12 people.Ingredients1 baguette loaf, …






Smoky Sweet Popcorn

I love popcorn…a lot.  I came up with this combination after I discovered smoked paprika a few years ago. Consider this fair warning that this recipe is highly addictive.  This recipe is for a lot so feel free to cut it down for just yourself or a few people…that is if you feel like sharing! PrintSmoky Sweet Popcorn 6 servings You could also pop a microwave bag of popcorn and make the same butter mixture for a shortcut versionIngredients3 tbsp. vegetable oil 1/2 c. popcorn kernels 1/2 stick butter (4 tbsp.) 2 tbsp. brown sugar 2 tsp. smoked paprika (gotta use smoked!) 1/2 tsp. chili powder 1 tsp. kosher salt InstructionsPlace oil and popcorn kernels in a large pot with a lid over medium high heat. Shake the pan to move the kernels and prevent burning. Once the popping slows and then stops, remove from the heat. In a separate bowl melt the butter and add the brown sugar, smoked paprika, chili powder, and salt. Mix together and drizzle over the popcorn. Toss to coat the kernels …