Healthy Appetizers and Food Styling Tips with Nancy Waldeck at Cooks Warehouse Merchants Walk

appetizers, stuffed peppers, vegan appetizers, quinoa, vegan
Sweet peppers stuffed with Quinoa presented in a deviled egg plate=brilliant

I’m usually on the other side of the chef’s jacket, but not this night.  This time instead of teaching a cooking class I got to take one from fantastic chef and food stylist Nancy Waldeck ( )  at COOKS WAREHOUSE Merchants Walk  Nancy had great ideas about using unusual items to present your food. She told us a story about how once she and her assistant bought tons on mushrooms from the grocery store just for the cute boxes they were in ( I’m sure she did something wonderful with all those mushrooms).  Her recipes were lovely, light and healthy appetizers great for any party.

The assistants at Cooks Warehouse had the mise en place prepped and ready to go
The assistants at Cooks Warehouse had the mise en place prepped and ready to go
pork sliders, appetizers, sliders
Adorable presentation for pork sliders with red pepper jelly
mini stuffed potato, Cajun crab salad, appetizer
This was the dish my “lab partner” and I chose to make. Teeny potatoes filled with Cajun crab salad. Also pictured, delicious Spanish paprika chicken bites with Romesco sauce.


potato cake, appetizer, kale, broccoli, bacon, Chinese soup spoons
 I created this little app out of the potato scraps from the stuffed mini potato recipe and some stuff I found when I raided the fridge at Cooks Warehouse. Waste not want not…and eat well. This is a kale, broccoli and potato cake with bacon.

Mini Potato Cakes with Kale, Broccoli and Bacon ( makes about 15 potato cakes)

1 and  1/4 cups diced Yukon gold potatoes boiled and mashed

1/4 cup finely chopped kale

1/4 cup finely chopped broccoli

1/4 cup diced cooked bacon ( save a few pieces of bacon for garnish if you like)

2 garlic cloves grated

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup mayonnaise (or light mayonnaise)

2 tablespoons butter or canola oil

2 tablespoons sour cream or plain Greek yogurt

Mix mashed potato, kale, broccoli, bacon, garlic mayonnaise and salt together in a bowl.  Scoop about a tablespoon of the mixture and form into a small scallop shaped disk.

Heat a skillet on medium with butter or canola oil.  Brown the potato cakes on both sides, about 2 minutes per side. Serve on spoons (Chinese soup spoons or regular tablespoons)

Garnish with a dollop or sour cream or Greek yogurt and top with a piece of bacon

Chinese soup spoon, appetizers
Inexpensive Stainless Steel Chinese Soup Spoons are a great way to serve appetizers


chocolate dipped strawberries
Strawberries dipped in chocolate, peanuts and Dukkah (an African spice blend) DELICIOUS
shrimp, tomato soup, appetizers, cocktail
I love this presentation of tomato soup and shrimp skewers in shot glasses on top of a pedestal and gorgeous detailed wooden mat
Sweet Savant
The fabulous Nancy Waldeck and me at Cooks Warehouse Merchants Walk

pickled Shrimp for a party

Pickled Shrimp, a great make-ahead dish
Pickled Shrimp, a great make-ahead dish

It was our turn to host movie night last weekend and I wanted to make an appetizer that could be done ahead (it’s even better done the day before) and still taste and look great.  I made this pickled shrimp dish on Friday and served it on Saturday in a large bowl, but it would have been equally as good served in individual glasses.

A different king of shrimp cocktail
A different king of shrimp cocktail

Pickled shrimp

2# medium or large shrimp, peeled and deveined

1 ½ teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon paprika

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

½ teaspoon garlic powder

Vegetable oil for sautéing

2 cloves chopped garlic

½ of a red onion, sliced thin (about ½ a cup)

1 yellow or orange sweet bell pepper, sliced thin

1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, cut into halves

¾ cup olive oil

¼ cup fresh lemon juice, peel in long strips and reserve the rind (no pith please)

½ cup of red wine vinegar

1/2 cup  Worcestershire sauce

½ teaspoon dried oregano

2 teaspoons fresh parsley, chopped

2 teaspoons fresh chives, chopped

Pat the shrimp dry and season with salt, paprika, cayenne and garlic powder.  Add 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a large sauté pan and heat over medium/high heat.

Sautee the shrimp with garlic in batches until they turn pink and curl.  Cool the shrimp in the refrigerator, then, layer the shrimp with onions, peppers and lemon rind.

Mix the olive oil, lemon juice, red wine vinegar Worcestershire sauce and oregano and pour over the shrimp mixture.

Marinate the shrimp in the refrigerator overnight up to 2 days. Add fresh chopped parsley and chives when ready to serve.

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