Tapas Night

It all started because I found a sheet of puff pastry dough in my freezer and wanted to make Jamaican Beef Patties. That’s where I got the idea to do a Tapas Night for dinner this past Saturday. I ran this by my wife who was more than thrilled with the idea, and she helped me hash out the various ideas.

I started with a Roasted Red Pepper…well, do I call it a salsa, a spread, a tapenade? I took a jar of roasted red peppers, drained it as well as I could. To that I add four whole cloves of garlic, about a quarter cup of olive oil, and a decent bunch of flat Italian parsley. I add a few pinches of coarse sea salt into the food processor. I’m still not certain what to call the result. I offered the new brown rice coarse salt and black pepper Triscuit and halved calamatta olives. It was a definite hit. We discussed how it could be used as a brucshetta topping and I actually put a substantial dollop on the following morning’s fried eggs.

Many people do bacon-wrapped cheese-stuffed jalapenos. I took it a step further. I cooked up four slices of bacon rather crisply and blended it into a container of whipped cream cheese. I then stuffed these into the jalapenos. I planned to use for the first time my wife’s Christmas present of a jalapeno grilling rack. This was my only incomplete success of the evening. Having never used the device before, I wound up purchasing jalapenos that were too big for the smaller holes. They did not stand upright in the holes, fell over, fell out onto the grill itself, making a mess. There was some good charring and good flavor from the cream cheese and bacon. Next time — smaller jalapenos.

I got around to the Jamaican beef patties. One pound of ground beef, browned and drained of grease. Cinnamon, ground glove, ground allspice, garlic powder, a couple of pinches of salt, lime juice, and one finely diced Habanero. A hefty teaspoon of beef onto a square of rolled out puff pastry, folded over into a ball. They were more like Jamaican beef poppers. An egg wash and baked at 425 degrees for 12 minutes. It tasted like jerked beef with enough of a bite to make them truly enjoyable.

The final tapa was a variation on one of my wife’s standard appetizers for the holidays. Dumpling wraps have alternative uses; her suggestion turned into a new classic. Finely sliced onion sautéed until nicely golden and a small block of Monterrey Jack. The dumplings were browned up on both sides. (In her standard meat or pork dumplings, they are only browned up on one side and steamed on the other.) These crispy creations exuded an amazing onion and cheese combo that could only be duplicated by a cheeseburger.

I recognize that the prep for this “dinner” took two and a half hours in the morning. However, this turned out to be a unique culinary event, on top of which we created new recipes which I am sure our family and friends will truly enjoy.



  1. Jennifer Stinger said,

    July 9, 2013 at 12:22 am

    It’s all about the food…sounds great!


  2. H.B. Berlow said,

    July 9, 2013 at 7:21 am

    Yes, it is, Jen. Yes, it is.


  3. RB Mayer said,

    July 9, 2013 at 10:15 am

    That all sounds so good, especially the beef patties. Yum!


  4. Sharyl Friebus said,

    July 9, 2013 at 12:33 pm

    Everything you described sounded delicious! I would gladly try any of the above!


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