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Meal/Course - Appetizer/Hors d'oeuvre
These meatballs fall into a class of tapas called "cosas de picar." Named after the picks that the picadors use during a bull fight, the term refers to those tapas that are served with toothpicks. In Spain, they would be made with minced meat, but since ground meats are more readily available, I use a combination of ground pork and beef. Traditionally these are made with paprika, but since I like my foods a little more spicy, I also add ground cayenne.

This recipe features a 2011 Scovie Grand Prize Winner: Saucy Mama Creamy Horseradish by Barhyte Foods. Order it here.

Although new to many people, these colorful beans date back to the ancient, cliff-dwelling Anasazi Indians. Slightly sweeter than pinto beans, they also tend to hold their shape better when cooked. If not available, substitute pinto beans in this recipe.
Whisk together all ingredients and allow to sit, covered, at room temperature for thirty minutes to blend the flavors.

These quick snacks have a light and spicy Asian twist. You can easily omit the chicken for vegetarian guests.

This recipe features PAMA Pomegranate Liqueur in a vinaigrette that could be used on a variety of salads. For more recipes, visit www.pamaliqueur.com.

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I don't know about you, but I like to nibble on sweet, salty, and tangy vegetable pickles with my meals. They help digest food and provide balance during the meal, especially when you are eating starchy foods like noodles. They also whet the appetite, which is probably why they are served the minute you sit down in many Asian restaurants. I call for kirby, Persian, or Japanese cucumbers, all of which are slender when compared to regular cucumbers. Kirby and Persian pickles are 4 to 5 inches long, while Japanese cucumbers are a couple of inches longer. The pickling liquid here is traditionally used for pickling sliced cucumber, carrots, and daikon, so feel free to try these vegetables as well. The amount of pickling liquid may look inadequate, but there will be enough because the cucumbers give up some of their natural water while sitting in the brine.
This recipe is from the Inn at Loretto in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

This recipe from Chef V. Morin, who writes, "avocado is an awesome fruit. I like avocado for breakfast it is full of vitamin A. and it can be made into an incredible mousse as well, served with seared shrimp or scallops and your favorite chile. I like Chipotle. Check out one of my favorite recipes for Avocado Mousse. Enjoy !!!"

See more avocado recipes in the article Avocado Madness!

I just happened to have a bunch of baby bananas sitting on the counter one day when inspiration struck and now these are my absolute favorite tamales. The fun part is watching your guest's faces when they dig into the tamale and find a whole banana inside. Wrapping the tamales in banana leaves gives more flavor, but use corn husks if that's all you have.
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