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Oscar Night Bites

15 Feb

Oscar night on the couch is looming. We’ve found our favourite bites through the years but super excited to take another crack at buttery beef crostini bites. We still love the look of egg-wash glossy puff pastry mini star cutouts topping crispy sausage slices.

Ultimate Oscar Night Crostini

Wolfgang Puck’s iconic Smoked Salmon Pizza With Dill Creme Fraiche and Caviar

Oscar-party-worthy hot dogs

Smoked Salmon Mousse

Mini prime burgers and Bubbling Leek, Cheddar and Bacon Dip

Crab Fondue, Cava’s Chipotle Caramel Corn

Star-shaped Cinnamon sugar tortilla chips with fruit salsa

Oscar Crunch

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Totally 80s

18 Jan

We have been on an unabashed 1980s food trend search as of late. No reason for the nostalgia.

WARM CHEVRE SPREAD WITH TOASTED BAGUETTE

A chunky spread, featuring sun-dried tomatoes, artichokes, olives and creamy chevre. Serve to a cosy group gathered round the fire or toss with cooked pasta.

Serves eight to 10

1 head garlic

3/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes

1/3 cup olive oil

1 medium onion, sliced

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

1/2 to 1 cup dry white wine

8 ounces/250g chevre

4 ounces/125g firm cream cheese

1 jar-14-ounces/398mL artichoke hearts, drained and cut into eights

2/3 cup Nicoise olives

1 tablespoon coarsely cracked pepper

Slices of toasted baguette or crusty French bread

Cut 1/4-inch/6mm off top of garlic head and rub entire head with olive oil. Place in a garlic roaster or wrap loosely in foil. Bake at 325F/160C for 45 minutes to one hour, depending on size of the garlic, or until cloves are soft and golden brown. When cool enough to handle, squeeze garlic pulp into a bowl and set aside.

Meanwhile, cut the tomatoes into a medium dice and soak in enough hot water to cover for about 15 minutes until softened. Drain and set aside.

Heat the oil in a saute pan. When the oil is hot, add the onions and cook for about three minutes until they begin to brown. Add the sugar and continue to cook for about 10 minutes or until the onions are dark brown and nicely caramelized. Pour in the wine and deglaze the pan, scraping up the flavorful brown bits from the bottom.

Add the chevre, cream cheese, tomatoes, artichokes, reserved garlic, olives and pepper. Stir until the cheese melts and the mixture is creamy and smooth. If it is too thick, simply adjust the consistency by adding more wine. Taste and adjust seasonings.

Transfer to a serving bowl and offer with slices of toasted baguette or crusty French bread.

 

 

Marinated Goat Cheese with Garlic, Basil, and Orange Zest

Fast Appetizers By Hugh Carpenter & Teri Sandison

Serves 6 to 10
It’s the infused olive oil that gives the goat cheese an intense and exciting flavor. You can vary the type of peppercorns used, or substitute mint or cilantro for the basil. This marinated goat cheese is also very good served in Belgian endive cups.

1 (12-ounce) log soft goat cheese, or
3 smaller logs, chilled
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon whole peppercorns,
preferably a mixture of white, red and black
1 teaspoon whole allspice berries
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 tablespoons finely minced fresh ginger
1/3 cup slivered fresh basil
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
Crackers as accompaniment

Using a thin-bladed vegetable knife or paring knife, cut the goat cheese into 1/2 inch-thick slices. (Dip the knife blade in hot tap water after each cut.) Arrange the slices in a single layer in a Pyrex pie plate or baking dish.

In a small saucepan, combine the olive oil, peppercorns, and allspice. In a small bowl, combine the garlic, ginger, basil and orange. Place the saucepan over medium-high heat and cook until the peppercorns begin to pop, about 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and immediately stir in the garlic mixture. After 5 seconds of stirring, pour the hot olive oil mixture over the goat cheese. Marinate in the refrigerator at least 3 hours, covered with plastic wrap. The recipe can be completed to this point up to 1 week before serving.

To serve, transfer the chilled cheese to a serving plate. Serve at room temperature or chilled with crackers

 

Tree Trimming Treats

24 Nov

Here’s a wee nosh perfect for the start of the holiday season. Kind of cocktail hour appropriate, and a perfect match for drinks while trimming the tree.

PORK POT STICKERS
Ming Tsai

Makes 30 potstickers

1/4 small head Napa cabbage, finely chopped (about 2 cups; 7 ounces)

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus 1/8 teaspoon for seasoning

1/3 pound ground pork (not too lean)

1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced (from 1/2-inch knob)

1 small carrot, coarsely shredded (about 2 tablespoons)

2 scallions, thinly sliced (about 1/4 cup)

2 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 teaspoons)

1 tablespoon soy sauce

2 teaspoons Asian (toasted) sesame oil

1/2 egg, lightly beaten

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

30 gyoza (pot sticker) wrappers, from 1 (14-ounce) package*

1/4 cup canola oil

In large bowl, toss together cabbage and 3/4 teaspoon salt and set aside for 30 minutes. Transfer to clean dish towel or cheesecloth, gather ends together, and twist to squeeze out as much water as possible. Wipe bowl clean, then return cabbage to it. Add pork, ginger, carrots, scallions, and garlic and stir to combine.

In small bowl, whisk together soy sauce, sesame oil, and egg, then stir into cabbage-pork mixture. Stir in pepper and remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt.

On dry surface, lay out 1 gyoza wrapper, keeping remaining wrappers covered with dampened cloth or paper towel. Spoon 1 1/2 teaspoons filling into center, then moisten halfway around edge with wet finger. Fold moisture-free half of wrapper over moistened half to form open half-moon shape. To seal, using thumb and forefinger of one hand, form 6 tiny pleats along unmoistened edge of wrapper, pressing pleats against moistened border to enclose filling. Moistened border will stay smooth and will automatically curve in semicircle. Stand dumpling, seam-side up, on baking sheet and gently press to flatten bottom. Cover loosely with dampened cloth or paper towel. Form remaining dumplings in same manner.

In 10-inch, lidded, non-stick skillet over moderately high heat, heat oil until hot but not smoking, then remove from heat and arrange pot stickers in tight circular pattern standing up in oil (they should touch one another). Cook, uncovered, until bottoms are pale golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Add 1/2 cup water, tilting skillet to distribute, then cover tightly with lid and cook until liquid has evaporated and bottoms of dumplings are crisp and golden, 7 to 10 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons more water if skillet looks dry before bottoms are browned. Remove lid and cook, shaking skillet to loosen pot stickers, until steam dissipates, 1 to 2 minutes. Invert large plate with rim over skillet. Using pot holders, hold plate and skillet together and invert skillet. Remove skillet and serve pot stickers warm.

from Ming Tsai, Blue Ginger

CRANBERRY-TERIYAKI GLAZE

1/2 large red onion, sliced

1 1/2 teaspoons minced ginger

1/2 cup dried cranberries, such as Craisins

Zest and juice of 1/2 orange

1/2 cup naturally brewed soy sauce

1 cup cranberry juice

1/4 cup sugar

3 tablespoons grapeseed or canola oil for cooking

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

In a saucepan coated lightly with oil over high heat, sauté the onions, ginger and dried cranberries until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the orange zest and juice, naturally brewed soy sauce, cranberry juice, and sugar and bring to a simmer. Reduce by 50 percent over low heat, about 10 to 15 minutes. Check for flavor. Immediately, transfer to a blender and blend until almost smooth (with small bits is preferable), drizzling in oil. Do not blend until super smooth. Check for flavor and adjust seasonings. Let come to room temperature, then transfer to a glass jar, seal and store in fridge for up to two weeks.

TURKEY DUMPLINGS WITH CRANBERRY SOY DIP
1 tbsp (15 mL) vegetable oil
1/4 lb (125 g) lean ground turkey
1 1/2 tsp (7 mL) minced ginger
1 1/2 tsp (7 mL) sodium-reduced soy sauce
1/4 tsp (1 mL) each salt and pepper
3/4 cup (175 mL) shredded Savoy or Napa cabbage
1/2 cup (125 mL) shredded carrot
1/4 cup (50 mL) green onions

32 round dumpling or square wonton wrappers
Cornstarch for dusting
Sauce:
1 cup (250 mL) Ocean Spray® Jellied Cranberry Sauce
2 tbsp (30 mL) sodium-reduced soy sauce
1/2 tsp (2 mL) minced ginger
2 tbsp (30 mL) thinly sliced green onion

Heat 1 tsp (5 mL) vegetable oil in a large nonstick skillet set over medium-high heat. Crumble in turkey and brown well. Add the carrot, cabbage, green onions, ginger, soy sauce, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring for 3 to 4 minutes or until the cabbage is wilted. Remove from heat; cool to room temperature. Moisten two edges of each wonton wrapper with a little water. Place a rounded spoonful of the filling in the centre of each; fold to enclose, pressing to seal. Place on a baking sheet dusted with cornstarch to keep wontons from sticking. Cover with a damp towel.

Heat 1 tsp (5 mL) vegetable oil in a large nonstick skillet set over medium heat. Add a single layer of the wontons. Cook, without turning, for 2 minutes or until just golden on the bottom. Add 1/2 cup (125 mL) of water to the skillet. Cover and steam for 6 minutes or until all the water is evaporated and dumplings are tender throughout. Repeat with remaining dumplings, adding more oil to the pan as needed.

Sauce: Meanwhile, whisk the cranberry sauce with the soy sauce in a small saucepan; set over medium heat. Cook, stirring often until the sauce comes to a boil and is smooth and glossy. Cool slightly; stir in the ginger and green onions.

Makes 32 wontons.

Jennifer 8 Lee’s version here involves ground turkey, half a head of shredded lettuce, 1/2 cup soy sauce, some chopped scallions, sesame oil, vinegar, shredded veggies, a bit of salt and sugar. She adds egg but you don’t have to.

Hooray for Hollwood 7.0

15 Jan

oscar burger The Oscar Night Burger is going to happen. On Oscar night, we drool thinhilary_burger2king about chef Wolfgang Puck’s famous wagu beef sliders with remoulade because they seem like a delicious riff on the In’n’Out burgers stars will be wolfing down at after parties. For our own couch potato pleasure, we are thinking of baked mini cheeseburger canapes based on two tantalizing recipes we’ve been hoarding forever. Here’s the plan: meat seasoned according to this, but patties (not meatballs) formed to cover baguette slices like this. Love the description of the baguette turning out like a warm crouton, love the smaller size (those Puck sliders look like a yummy but awkward mouthful) and we’re swooning over the buttery, beefy broiled topping.

UPDATE: They worked perfectly! We’ll use a smaller, pea-sized bit of butter next time, as these babies were really rich.

IMG_5247

starsalad

1 lb extra lean ground beef
Ace baguette slices (or any good, toothsome bread)
2 tbsp Worchestershire
1-2 tsp garlic salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Butter
Cheese

Divide the beef into 12 portions (to match baguette slices)
Top bread slices with beef to cover (important so the exposed bread doesn’t  burn)
Score the beef and drizzle with Worchestershire, garlic salt and pepper. Top each with a pea-sized knob of butter.

Preheat oven to broil. When heated, place baking sheet with beef/baguette slices on middle rack. Broil for 8-10 minutes. Top with cheese slice and return to oven just to melt.
Serve right away.

Perhaps a drizzle of Puck’s ethereal remoulade (¾ cup of store-bought or homemade Thousand Island dressing, 2 T bottled barbecue sauce , 1 T diced red onion) or In’n’Out clone:
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon ketchup
2 teaspoons sweet pickle relish
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon distilled white vinegar/or shot of wooster

or 1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoon sweet pickle relish
1/2 teaspoon white vinegar
Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchens/almost-famous-animal-style-burgers-recipe.html?oc=linkback

Manly Meatballs
The 150 Best American Recipes

Ace baguette (or other toothsome bread), sliced into 1 cm thickeness

1 lb. Lean ground beef

1/4 cup soy sauce

2 tsp packed dark brown sugar

4 minced green onions

Shake of garlic salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 450F.

Mix ground beef, soy sauce, brown sugar, green onion salt and pepper.

Arrange baguette slices on baking sheet.

Form 36 meatballs and press into each slice of bread.  On middle rack, cook for 10 minutes, or until centre of each meatball reaches 160 degrees. Serve immediately.

Crabbies

27 Dec

img_5289.jpg

Here’s another retro appie for the holidays.

Luscious little crab puffs. Or crab canape. Or crab toasties. Or crabby snacks. Officially known as Old English Crab Hors d’Oeuvre off the back of a jar of Kraft Old English Spread jar. Sweet Jesus, what is this jarred cheez, we ask? Processed, yes, but not Cheez Whiz. It is hard to source and has a cult following. We will try to reverse engineer for something more natural and gourmet. Stay tuned.

Make ahead and freeze. They only take 10 minutes to bake, so they’re perfect for unexpected guests.

As they cook, the butter in the spread melts into the English muffin so it toasts to a crispy golden brown.

We’re thinking these could benefit from a wee splash of sherry, Worchestershire or dash of Old Bay?

CRABBIES

1 can crab meat (also check seafood counter for backfin or “special” crab meat which is smaller and perfect for this.)
1 5 oz. jar of Kraft Old English Cheese
1 stick (1/4 lb) softened butter
1 1/2 Tbsp mayonnaise
1/2 Tbsp lemon juice
1/2 Tbsp Lawrys Seasoned Salt
2 tsp. garlic powder (I also see onion powder in some recipes)
chopped parsley

8-10 English muffins

Drain crabmeat and combine with the ingredients. Spread mixture on halved English muffins, spreading all the way to edges. Cut into quarters. Freeze. When ready to cook, bake at 400 for 10 or so minutes until bubbling and browned. (Or broil)

Mousse on the loose

5 Dec

Let’s all hope the photo quality improves around here soon. Ghetto bberry shot of shrimp mousse.

To complete this WASPish gastronomical feat, serve with Ritz crackers.

SHRIMP MOUSSE

1 pkg. Knox gelatin (mixed as per directions)
1 can tomato soup (undilluted)
1 (8 oz.) cream cheese
1 c. mayonnaise
1 can tiny shrimp, drained
3/4 c. celery, chopped fine
3/4 c. green onion (white up to a bit of the green), chopped fine

Bring soup to boil. Take off heat. Stir in cream cheese beat til smooth (can use immersion blender). Add gelatin/water mix and cool.
Add remaining ingredients and place in a greased mold or glass dish and chill until firm. Chill overnight or until set. Serve with crackers.
(This recipe fills our glass chip’n’dipper, plus two lidded ramekins)

Petal Pusher

22 May

We swooned after trying this tasty hors d’oeuvre at a gallery party.

A mille feuille flour tortilla cake of portobella mushroom duxelles and asiago stayed with us. And we finally found the recipe in the newspaper archive from the 1990s.

The steamy tortillas became wondefully noodle like, soft but not floppy.

The finished portobello mushroom tortilla cake with asiago cheese was served sliced into diamonds, arranged on platters like flower petals. Perfect party finger food.

Polkadots of smokey red pepper coulis topped each piece. Beautiful.

The same caterer also served mini duck confit-like tourtiere, topped with sweet spiced pomegranite sauce.

PORTOBELLO TORTILLA CAKE

At Florentine, this many-layered savory is sandwiched together with the most delicious, aromatic mix of portobello mushrooms, asiago cheese and aioli. Serve in a pool of sweet bell pepper sauce.

Serves 8

1    package flour tortillas (about 12 burrito-size)

1 small red onion

300 g (or a bit more) portabella mushrooms

3/4    cup grated Asiago cheese

1/4    cup grated Parmesan

1/4    cup chopped fresh herbs (basil, oregano, thyme, parsley)

1/4    cup mayonnaise (preferably home-made)

Separate tortillas and set aside so you’re ready for quick assembly. In a food processor, chop red onion and mushrooms into a fine dice; Add fresh chopped herbs.

To assemble, spread one tortilla with a light coating of mayonnaise and sprinkle with mushroom mixture. Cover with another tortilla and sprinkle this layer with grated cheese and more mushroom mixture.

Repeat alternating layers until all tortillas are used up. Weight between two plates, with something heavy on top and refrigerate for at least one hour.

Cut into 8 wedges and bake on a cookie sheet at 400F/200C for 15 minutes or until edges are bubbly and outside, browns.

Red Pepper Reduction

This ”reduction” technique yields a low-fat sauce that’s rich in flavor with more texture than some because one fresh bell pepper is pureed with the cooked mixture at the end.

3    fresh red bell peppers, washed and seeded

1    small onion, chopped (or half a medium onion)

1    cup chicken stock (or more if needed)

1/2 cup white wine

Chop two of the peppers and the onion into small dice. Add to wide saucepan with chicken stock and wine. Simmer, uncovered, about 20 minutes or until thoroughly tender and some of liquid has evaporated.

Toss into blender or food processor with remaining pepper, chopped roughly, and puree until smooth.

Season with salt and pepper. Return to heat to warm to serving temperature. If too liquid, simmer until reduced a bit more.