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Easy Appetizers From The Pro


One of Beacon Pantry’s early goals was to make food, cooking and entertaining easy, fun and approachable. While a beautiful cheese plate is always welcome, sometimes you want something different.

Halloumi is a great example of a delicious and lesser-known cheese that is perfect for company. It’s a Cypriot sheep’s milk cheese that doesn’t really melt. Most people think of it as a cheese for grilling, but when company is coming and you aren’t firing up the grill, a frying pan yields great results.

We like to get a frying pan quite hot, add a generous amount of olive oil and throw in the sliced or cubed halloumi. Sear it well on all sides to a nice brown color (don’t move it around too much). When it is golden brown and has crispy edges, add some dried or fresh herbs like thyme or oregano. Remove the pan from the heat, squeeze on some lemon juice and transfer the mixture to a nice serving plate. Pour on any pan drippings (don’t waste that good oil and the liquid from the cheese), more olive oil (be generous with your best, full-flavored olive oil). Place crusty bread around the cheese and serve with toothpicks.

One easy, bite-sized jewel for entertaining is a goat cheese-stuffed date. We make a small slit in the date, fill it with high-quality goat cheese and sprinkle chopped pistachios, pomegranate seeds and zest a little orange rind on top. These are colorful, bite sized, easy to prepare and easy for guests to eat.

If you have access to good-quality seafood, nothing could be easier than searing tail-on shrimp with lots of chopped garlic, olive oil and parsley, and cooking until just seared through. This is a Spanish tapas-style preparation that every seafood lover will enjoy (serving any type of seafood at a party always seems special to guests).

Hudson Valley Restaurant Week is back this April 8-21!