Mountain chef: A world of appetizers |

Mountain chef: A world of appetizers

Ian T. Buchananspecial to the daily

The perfect Italian appetizer, fresh bruschetta with basil and olives.

Happy holidays and New Year to all of you! I hope the New Year brings happiness, health and a little snow wouldn’t hurt … or a lot for that matter. I want a vacation … but now is not the time so I think I will flee to another culture right here at home with some wonderful international appetizers. So many parts of the world and so many cultures have delicious food snacks available on every street. From the food stalls of Asia to the small cafes of Europe, a great variety of small bites are offered constantly to curb your appetite, tempt your taste buds and give you a reason to try something new. Each in their own way offering a glimpse into the culture and flavors of the region. Appetizers are typically served if there is a gap between when your guests arrive and the main course is to be presented. Sometimes they are hand passed or stationary and other times a more substantial portion is served at the table as in the form of an entree or tapa. Each culture with their own unique style.The market in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, was one of the most interesting … from fried tarantulas and bugs to any other item that crawled, slithered, flew etc … it was a delicacy. But do not fret, we don’t have most of these items available so I won’t worry about sharing those secret recipes! Rather I will offer some tasty, simple recipes for use with locally attainable ingredients. Enjoy some variety in your life!ian t. buchanan is the chef/owner of Open To The World Private Chef Services and lead instructor at CMC Breckenridge’s Center For Lifelong Learning Culinary Program. View Ian’s website at, contact him at (440) 376-0096 or swing by and sign up for a culinary class at CMC Breckenridge.

For the Meatballs:1 pound ground beef1/2 cup bread crumbs1 Tablespoon chopped parsleydash of nutmeg1 Tablespoon onion, mincedsalt and pepper to taste1 egg, slightly beatenFor the Sauce:1/2 cup chopped onion2 tomatoes, chopped1 Tablespoon chopped parsley1/2 teaspoon saltdash of saffrondash of cinnamondash of pepper3/4 cup tomato sauce1/2 cup stock————————————————Preheat broiler to high heat. Mix the meat, bread crumbs, parsley, nutmeg, onion, salt, pepper, egg and water. Form the mixture into meatballs and brown in broiler until golden brown. If broiler isn’t available, preheat oven to 500F and cook meatballs until browned.Preheat a medium-sized sauce pot and add enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Saute the tomatoes and onion until soft. Add the meatballs and all remaining seasonings into a pot along with the tomato sauce and stock. Stir gently then close tightly and simmer gently for 30 minutes. Remove meatballs and reduce sauce if necessary.

2 cups oil-cured olives, pitted1 large lemon, washed and sliced into tiny cubes (see below)2 cups diced fennel bulb (1 large or 2 small bulbs)2 Tablespoons olive oilJuice of an additional lemon————————————————Pit the olives if not already done (or just slice them all in half to make it easier), drain any brine that may discolor the salad, and add to a bowl. Using a very sharp, serrated knife, thinly slice the lemon, then stack two or three slices on top of each other and slice into thin strips. Finally, slice across the strips into tiny pieces, and add to the olives. Cut off the fennel stalks, peel the bulb, then quarter it. At this point, it should be easy to cut out the core. Discard any tough outer leaves, then dice what remains, and add to the bowl. Cover the salad with the olive oil and lemon juice, and toss to combine. Allow to marinate for at least 30 minutes for the flavors to marry and the lemon peel to soften.

1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened 2 Tablespoons fig preserves or jam 1 (24-inch) baguette, halved horizontally then cut into 2” slices6 ounces thinly sliced serrano ham or prosciutto 1/4 pound Manchego, thinly sliced with a vegetable peeler Extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling ————————————————Stir together butter and fig preserves. Lightly toast bread. Spread mixture on baguette, then make open-face sandwiches with ham and cheese. Drizzle with oil & season with pepper.