Cucumber Sandwiches with Yuzu Citrus Chive Butter

10 tablespoons butter, softened
2 teaspoons yuzu juice
1-2 tablespoon finely chopped fresh chives
salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ large cucumber
2 teaspoons cider vinegar
8 slices white bread

Makes 24

Beat the butter until really soft and spreadable. Gradually add the yuzu , mix in and season with salt and black pepper. Add the chives and mix to combine.

Peel the cucumber and thinly slice into rounds. Place the slices into a bowl, add the cider vinegar and toss to coat.

Lay half of the bread slices out on the work surface and spread with half of the yuzu and chive butter.

Arrange the cucumber slices on top as neatly and evenly as possible and season with salt and pepper. Spread the remaining bread with the yuzu and chive butter and press on top of the cucumber-topped bread, butter-side down.

Gently press the sandwiches together and trim off the crusts using a serrated knife.

Cut the sandwiches into rectangles or triangles to serve.

Inspired by: Afternoon Tea at Home

Masaharu Morimoto Inspired Shrimp, Chicken and Fish Chawanmushi (茶碗蒸し)

3 cups Dashi (dried fish and kelp stock)
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon usukuchi (Japanese light-colored soy sauce), plus 1 tablespoon
2 teaspoons mirin (sweet rice wine)
½ teaspoon kosher salt
4 large eggs
8 thin, bite-size slices boneless skinless chicken thigh (from 1 small thigh)
One 3-ounce fillet delicate white-fleshed fish, such as fluke or flounder, cut into 8 thin bite-size slices
4 medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
8 drained canned gingko nuts or 4 jarred or vacuum-packed roasted chestnuts, halved
¼ cup loosely packed very roughly chopped mitsuba, thinly sliced scallions or thinly sliced shiitake mushrooms

Combine the dashi, 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon of the usukuchi, the mirin, and salt in a small pot, bring to a boil, then let cool completely.
Gently mix the eggs in a medium bowl so they’re well mixed but don’t develop bubbles. Pour in the dashi mixture, stir well, then strain into a measuring cup, discarding any solids.

Briefly toss the chicken, fish, and shrimp in a bowl with the remaining 1 tablespoon soy sauce, shake to let any excess drip off, and divide them among the 4 small bowls or ramekins. Divide the gingko nuts among the bowls or ramekins, then divide the egg mixture evenly among them and cover with foil.

Line a wide, shallow-lidded pot or a Dutch oven with a paper towel. Add 1 inch of water and bring to a boil over high heat. Carefully add the bowls to the pot and cover with the lid. Cook until the custard turns pale, 3 to 4 minutes, then carefully remove the bowls from the pot. Add the mitsuba, scallion or shiitake mushroom to the surface of the custard and re-cover with the foil.

Reduce the heat to maintain a gentle simmer, return the bowls to the water, and cover the pot with the lid so it’s slightly ajar. Cook until the custard is just set but still jiggles when you shake the bowls (or a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean), 12 to 15 minutes. Serve immediately.

Smoked Salmon, Rocket, Lemon and Capers Tea Sandwich

Smoked Salmon, Rocket, Lemon and Capers

2 cups cream cheese at room temperature

juice and zest of 1 lemon

2 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon white pepper

1 cup chopped baby capers

1 small Spanish onion, finely diced

1 bunch chives, chopped

11½ ounces.smoked salmon

1 bunch washed rocket

12 slices dark rye bread

Makes 6 sandwiches

In a bowl cream together with an electric or hand beater the cream cheese, lemon zest, juice, sea salt and pepper to a whipped cream consistency. Fold in the capers, onion and chives.

Spread each slice of bread with a generous amount of the cream cheese mixture, distributing evenly, then the smoked salmon and rocket. Sandwich bread together, cut off the crusts and then cut into triangles.

Tip: I like to use dark rye for this recipe, but sourdough is a good alternative.

Herbed Cream Cheese and Baby Cucumbers Open Sandwich

8 ounces cream cheese, softened

1 scallion, finely minced

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley

1 tablespoon snipped fresh chives

1 tablespoon finely snipped fresh dill, plus more for garnish

1 clove garlic, finely minced

1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

Pinch of table salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Crispbread crackers or thinly sliced rye bread, for serving

Baby cucumbers, for serving

In a medium bowl, combine the cream cheese, scallion, parsley, chives, dill, garlic, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Reserve a small amount of fresh dill for garnish. Mix until everything is evenly distributed. Cover and chill the mixture at least 1 hour before serving.

Spread 1 to 2 tablespoons of the cream cheese mixture on a crispbread cracker. Repeat until all of the cream cheese mixture has been used. Top with the baby cucumber slices, and sprinkle with the reserved fresh dill. Eat immediately.

Other ideas for open sandwiches:

• Instead of the baby cucumbers, top the herbed cream cheese mixture with smoked salmon and very thinly sliced red onions.

• For a heartier snack, use thin slices of European rye bread instead of the crispbread crackers. It can be found in the bread aisle of higher-end grocery stores, and is usually packaged in little bricks. It tastes best lightly toasted.

• Goat’s cheese, fresh herbs and shaved asparagus and cucumber.

• Rare roast beef with horseradish cream, quick-pickled onions and cornichons.

• Smoked mackerel, crème fraîche, pickled rhubarb and watercress.

• Boiled eggs with dill and chive herb mayo, anchovies, capers, red onion and cress.

Smoked Salmon With Pickled Red Onion, Lemon And Dill Butter Open Sandwich

2 lemons, 1 zested and juiced, 1 halved

pinch each of sugar and sea salt

½ red onion, finely sliced

1 tsp caraway seeds

small handful of dill, finely chopped

1 Ounce butter, softened

3 ½ ounces smoked salmon

2 slices of rye bread

micro herbs [such as dill, amaranth, rocket (arugula)]

Mix the lemon juice with a pinch of sugar and salt. Add the red onion slices and set aside for 30 minutes.

Dry toast the caraway seeds until fragrant, be careful not to burn them. Allow to cool, then lightly bash using a mortar and pestle. Tip into a bowl along with the dill, lemon zest, a little juice from the halved lemon and the softened butter. Season with salt and white pepper and mix together.

Thinly slice the remaining half lemon. Spread the butter over the bread and top with the smoked salmon, pickled red onion, lemon slices and some of the micro herbs.

Salmon Log Appetizer

For an old school style potluck, party appetizer or snack this salmon log is a quick easy party pleaser.  There is nothing fancy about it, but tastes good.  Make sure you carefully pick through the canned salmon for bones and skin.  The higher quality salmon you buy the fewer bones you’ll have to pick from it.  I’ve taken this to a lot of parties when I do not have time for something more elegant and it has always been a crowd pleaser.

1 1 Lb. Can Salmon

12 Oz. Cream Cheese

1 Tbs. Lemon Juice

2 Tbs. Grated Onion

1 Tsp. Horseradish

¼ Tsp. Salt

¼ Tsp. Liquid Smoke

½ Cup Chopped Nuts

3 Tbs. Parsley

Drain Salmon.  Mix with next six ingredients.  Chill for several hours.  Combine nuts and parsley.  Shape salmon into loaf.  Roll in nut mixture.  Chill well. Serve with crackers.

Gambas de Ajillo (Garlicky Shrimp in Olive Oil) – Spanish

2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 small dried hot red chile or pinch dried red pepper flakes
12 ouncesshelled medium to large fresh shrimp with or without tails
Minced fresh parsley for garnishing

In a large, deep sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and chile and cook, stirring continually, until golden, 5 to 10 seconds. Add the shrimp and cook, stirring a few times, until pink throughout, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and season with salt.

Spoon the shrimp and some oil into individual bowls. Dust each bowl with parsley. Serve with small forks.

Israeli Style Hummus

** Tehina is the Israeli word for the Greek word tahini.  **

1 cup dried chickpeas
1 teaspoons baking soda
1½ cups Tehina Sauce
1 teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
Chopped fresh parsley
Olive oil, for drizzling

Tehina Sauce:

¾ cup lemon juice
1½ teaspoons kosher salt
2 generous cups tehina
½ teaspoon ground cumin

Add the tehina to the lemon juice in the bowl, along with the cumin and 1 teaspoon of the salt.  Whisk the mixture together until smooth adding water slowly to thin it out. Whish until you have a perfectly smooth, creamy, thick sauce.  Add more cumin and salt to taste.

Hummus Directions:

Place the chickpeas in a large bowl and cover with water. Soak the chickpeas overnight at room temperature. Drain the chickpeas and rinse.

Place the chickpeas in a large pot with 1 teaspoon of baking soda and add cold water to cover by at least a few inches. Bring the chickpeas to a boil over high heat, skimming off any impurities  that rises to the surface. Lower the heat to medium, cover the pot, and simmer for about 1 hour, until they are a bit overcooked and a little mushy.  Drain.

Combine the chickpeas, tehina sauce, salt, and cumin in a food processor. Puree the hummus for several minutes, until it is smooth and  creamy.

Serve with a drizzle of good olive oil, cumin and fresh parsley to taste.

Conch Fritters

1 quart vegetable oil, for frying
¾ cup all-purpose flour
1 sprig fresh thyme leaves
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup chopped conch meat
½ onion, chopped
½ green bell pepper, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 teaspoon tomato paste
1 cup water

Heat the oil in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan, Dutch oven, or deep fryer to 365 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, thyme, salt, and pepper. Mix in the conch meat, onion, bell pepper, celery, tomato paste, and water.

In batches, drop the batter by rounded tablespoons into the hot oil and fry until golden brown. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the fritters to a baking sheet lined with paper towels to absorb any excess oil.

Crab Hushpuppies

3 cups White Lily buttermilk cornmeal mix
1 cup White Lily self-rising flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons kosher salt
4 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 cup chopped scallions
2½ cups buttermilk
1 pound lump crab-meat
1 large egg, lightly beaten

Tartar sauce for dipping

Fill a deep-sided cast-iron skillet or Dutch oven with 1 inch of oil. Place over medium-high heat, and bring the oil to 375 degrees. Monitor and keep the temperature between 350 and 375 degrees while you are frying.

In a large bowl, whisk all the ingredients together. Working in batches, drop a tablespoons into the oil and fry until golden and crisp, usually 3 to 4 minutes, turning occasionally.  Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.

Serve with a bowl of tartar sauce for dipping