hors d'oeuvres - HOBNOB Magazine

Posts Tagged ‘hors d’oeuvres’

A Colorful and Festive Scallop Ceviche with Blood Orange Sauce

Posted on: February 12th, 2020 by Ellen Swandiak

A Valentine’s Day dish. Winter is the season for blood oranges, and the brightness of their juice makes for a festive scallop ceviche indeed. Add the sprinkling of jalapeño pepper bits and pomegranate for an extra happy touch.

I included this recipe in our Aphrodisiac party menu specifically to create a stir. The color red is purported to arouse passion. So I’ve included not only the blood orange juice, but a sprinkling of pomegranate arils—which also adds a nice crunch. Let’s get the night going! The goddess Aphrodite is credited with planting the first pomegranate tree which has since been associated with fertility.

If serving for a crowd, plate individually in clear plastic glasses, with diced ingredients as a topping.

MAKES ENOUGH FOR 4

PREPARE THE SCALLOPS

1/2 LB bay scallops
1/4 CUP lime juice, freshly squeezed (about 2 limes)
1/4 CUP pink grapefruit juice, freshly squeezed (about 1/2 grapefruit)

Cut scallops horizontally into 3 pieces. Toss ingredients together in a nonreactive bowl. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

HOBNOBMAG scallops CEVICHE marinade

MAKE THE BLOOD ORANGE SAUCE

1/2 CUP blood orange juice (about 1-2 oranges)
juice from 1/2 lime
juice from 1/2 lemon
1 TB EV olive oil
1/2 tsp soy sauce
squirt of sriracha
s +p

Mix the ingredients together in a small bowl or pitcher. Cover and refrigerate till ready to use.

PUT IT ALL TOGETHER

1 pink grapefruit, cut into supremes
2 TB cucumber, diced
1/2 jalapeño, diced
garnish:
1 TB fresh mint, cut into thin strips
pomegranate arils
1 watermelon radish, thinly sliced (optional)

Remove scallops from refrigerator, drain excess liquid. Set up your plating dishes. Arrange scallops, alternating citrus in between. Spoon the blood orange sauce over a little at a time, do not drown. Sprinkle cucumber and jalapeño. Garnish with mint, pomegranate, and radish.

Spicy Baked Buffalo Wings

Posted on: February 1st, 2020 by Ellen Swandiak

Touchdown this SuperBowl Sunday with these Spicy Baked Buffalo Wings that even the fittest athletes can’t say no to. This recipe is courtesy of Gozney, a company that makes the coolest and most powerful mini pizza ovens for your backyard (see more on the ovens at this link). Instead of deep-frying the wings, try Gozney’s technique for creating crispy skin while keeping the meat to remain incredibly moist inside. You can learn the tricks to crispy skin and more in this educational and entertaining step by step video here.

SERVES 4

See more recipes for watching the game, like Sirloin Steak Toasts with Zesty Crumbs, at Hobnob’s Party #18 Classy Sports: An Upscale Menu for Watching the Big Game

PREPARE CHICKEN A DAY AHEAD

2-3 TB plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 TB salt

12-16 chicken wings, a mix of wingettes and drumettes

This step allows for the chicken skin to get crisp, by removing all the moisture: Toss first three ingredients together in a bowl. Separate the wings from drumettes by cutting through the knuckle if they are still attached. First remove excess moisture from the skins by placing chicken between two paper towels and pressing down, then dredge in the flour mixture, shake. Set on a cooling rack and refrigerate overnight, uncovered.

MAKE THE BLUE CHEESE DIP

1 CUP sour cream
1/2 CUP buttermilk
4 oz blue cheese (gorgonzola or other soft blue)

Mix thoroughly in a bowl. Season to taste, if needed. This can be made a day ahead, and would allow the flavors to really meld.

MAKE THE SAUCE

6 TB Unsalted Butter
8 TB Franks Hot Sauce

While the chicken is cooking, melt ingredients together and keep warm.

PREHEAT OVEN 400ºF…COOK THE WINGS

Lightly heat a cast iron grill pan in the oven, about 5 min. Add chicken and cook for about 30-35 mins, rotating and flipping a few times. When skin in nice and browned, remove from oven and use tongs to dip the wings in warm hot sauce, transfer to a plate. Serve with blue cheese dip in a bowl alongside the wings.

North Wild Kitchen Features Traditional and Newfangled Dishes in this Norwegian Cookbook

Posted on: October 1st, 2018 by Ellen Swandiak

After years globetrotting, author Nevada Berg settled in Norway with her Norwegian husband and son. With a farm, and with the eyes of a newcomer, Berg learns the local traditions as she assimilates into the mountain-top lifestyle and creates her award-winning blog, North Wild Kitchen.

The cookbook breaks down those activities that are common to Norwegians: foraging, fishing, farming, hunting, harvesting, camping, baking, grilling, and frying. Each chapter begins with an explanation of Nordic culture, so you get a little lesson in the way things are done. For example, in the Foraging chapter Berg mentions “allemannsretten” a concept that everyone has the right to take from nature, whether or not they own the land. (how unlike American culture!) The idea is that you can take what you need, but make sure to leave something for others to enjoy.

HOBNOBMAG Norwegian Cookbook

Photography throughout the book showcases the simple, rustic recipes and scenes from the surrounding areas. You almost feel as if you were on a journey far away. Recipes follow the four seasons using local ingredients. Traditional foods like Meatballs with Creamed Cabbage alludes to a super-popular dish in Norway, as well as Milk Cakes, which get served up with jams, spreadable cheeses, sour cream, and butter. Hearty soups and stews using meats like venison, moose, reindeer, and hare are sure to entice.

HOBNOBMAG Norwegian Cookbook

There are plenty of recipes for bakers too. Breads, pancakes, and lots of buns and cakes will have you wanting to curl up by a fireplace, and settle in. Sour Cream Wafers and Soft Potato Flatbread Veiled work in on the sides of many meals. For sweeter pursuits, Peasant Girls is an old-fashioned dessert that combines stewed apples, with sweetened breadcrumbs and whipped cream. Plums, a Norwegian staple for 300 years, are abundant, and the excess gets made into jam for use on Custard Buns or Aniseed Wafers.

I tend to like my desserts mixed with a little savory, and thought this recipe from the book would make a nice accompaniment on a cheese board, or as a atypical dessert.

recipe

Pan-Fried Pears Wrapped in Cured Pork with Honey and Pink Peppercorns

PÆRE MED SPEKESKINKE

Salty, rich cured meat and fresh sweet fruit are a natural and balanced pairing. When pan-fried together, the crispy texture of the meat against the warm, softened flesh of the fruit brings this pairing to a whole new level. I enjoy serving these special bundles, because they’re flavorful, fresh, and quick to pull together. If you prefer, you can substitute another cured meat, such as lamb (fenalår).

serves 4 to 6

4 large pears
8 to 16 pieces thinly sliced cured pork
2 tablespoons lightly salted butter, for frying
Flaky salt
Crushed pink peppercorns
Runny honey

Cut the pears lengthwise in half. Carefully remove the cores and seeds, but leave the stems. Wrap each pear half with 1 to 2 slices of the cured pork and press the fat of the meat together to keep from it from falling off the pear.

In a large, heavy frying pan, heat the butter over medium-high heat until foaming. Add the pears, flesh-side down, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until the pork is golden brown and crisp. Flip the pears and continue cooking for 2 to 3 minutes or until the other side is golden brown and crisp and the fruit is slightly soft.

Arrange the pears on a platter, sprinkle with flaky salt and crushed peppercorns, drizzle with honey, and serve immediately while still warm.

Reprinted with permission from Prestel Publishing.

North Wild Kitchen: Home Cooking from the Heart of Norway by Nevada Berg

Zucchini Falafel Balls with Yellow Tomato Dipping Sauce

Posted on: November 29th, 2017 by Ellen Swandiak

Zucchini falafel balls are a little lighter than what you might expect in a falafel. These mini bites are baked, and look great in tones of yellow, especially with the yellow cherry tomato dipping sauce which adds its fresh twist.

Making these from fresh chickpeas takes a little extra time, but the end result is worth it. I suggest starting the chickpeas the night before. Then the next steps are pretty straightforward. If you want to used canned chickpeas, you will need 4 cups. Note: if you freeze the balls, they will fall apart, so these are best cooked the day of the party. See more “ball” recipes in our party menu, Have a Ball, made with meat, fish, and more.

MAKES 62 BALLS (ABOUT 1 INCH)

DO AHEAD: SOAK THE CHICKPEAS

2 CUPS dried chickpeas

Pick through chickpeas to remove any debris. Rinse in a colander. Place in a large pot, topped with 4 inches of water. Cover. Soak overnight. OR bring the chickpeas to a boil for 5 min, then let them soak in the water for 1 hr.

COOK THE CHICKPEAS

soaked chickpeas, rinsed well
bay leaf
black peppercorns
2 cloves garlic

1 tsp salt

Add all ingredients, except salt, to a large pot with 4 qts of water. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 1.5 – 2 hrs. Check occasionally to make sure there is enough water in the pot. When chickpeas are nice and soft, turn off the heat, add salt, and allow them to sit in the water and cool, and soak up the salt. Drain, and mash with a potato masher or pulse in a food processor.

REMOVE MOISTURE FROM THE ZUCCHINI

2 CUPS zucchini, grated

Spread zucchini on a large plate or shallow bowl, sprinkle with salt and let it sit for an hour. Drain the liquid that has oozed out, move to a strainer, and press out any more remaining liquid.

PREHEAT OVEN 400ºF…GET OUT THE FOOD PROCESSOR… MAKE THE zucchini falafel BALLS

chickpeas
zucchini
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 CUP parsley, minced

1 1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

In batches, pulse chickpeas, zucchini, garlic, parsley. Transfer to a large bowl, add the spices and mix well. Roll into 1-inch balls. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment. Bake for 45 min.

HOBNOBMAG Recipe Zucchini Falafel Balls

MAKE THE DIPPING SAUCE

10.5 oz container yellow cherry tomatoes
1/4 CUP EV olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp sriracha sauce
s + p

Place all ingredients in a Blendtec blender, on soup mode, which heats and spins ingredients together. OR, place in a normal blender, then move to a small pot and heat gently for 5 min.

Party Potatoes: Roasted with Carrots and Cumin Coconut Yogurt Dip

Posted on: September 20th, 2017 by Ellen Swandiak

We love these party potatoes as much for their color, as for their cuteness and pop-ability. An all-natural treat, they are accompanied by a dip whose base is coconut yogurt, and is spiced up with cumin. Vegans and paleoists will salute your hosting finesse. This recipe is part of a paleo party planning theme.  Click on the link to see more recipes.

MAKES 60-70 BITES

PREHEAT OVEN 425ºF…ROAST THE POTATOES AND CARROTS

1 LB mixed color baby potatoes, cut in half (keep small ones whole for variety)
5 large carrot bottoms, cut into 1-inch chunks (match potato size)
5 mini peppers (yellow, red, orange), cut and use bottoms
1 TB olive oil
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper

In a bowl, toss ingredients in oil to coat sprinkle with s + p. Move to a baking sheet lined with parchment. Bake for 30 min, till tender and browned.

HOBNOBMAG baby potatoes tricolor

MAKE THE CUMIN COCONUT YOGURT DIP

1/2 CUP coconut yogurt
1/4 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp white pepper

Place all ingredients into a blender, and emulsify.

TO SERVE

Put roasted mix in a nice bowl with a side of dip, add some toothpicks.

Turkey Patties Topped with Cucumber Basil Pesto

Posted on: September 20th, 2017 by Ellen Swandiak

For those following a paleo diet, there are lots of options for party fare. These turkey patties have a nice crunchiness via onion and jalapeño bits, which adds a bit of texture and flavor to the meat. Tip: When cooking the patties, take note. They are a little fragile, so make sure oil covers the bottom of the pan to ensure they don’t stick. Patties should be white halfway up the side before flipping. Run a spatula or fork under the patties while cooking for extra insurance.

As for the pesto, prepare the cucumbers ahead of time, but don’t make the pesto till ready to serve. I made mine the night before and it did not keep its pretty green color, though it still tasted mighty fine.

These turkey patties are just one of the recipes from my paleo party theme. Click the link to see more veg and meat dishes. 

MAKES 24 BITES

MAKE THE TURKEY PATTIES

1 LB ground turkey breast
1 egg
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 small red onion, minced
1/2 jalapeño, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 TB parsley, minced
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
2 TB nutritional yeast

almond oil

With a fork combine all ingredients, except oil, in a large bowl. With wet hands (the mix may be kind of sticky) take a small amount that fits in the palm of your hand, make a ball, then flatten. Size should be roughly 2 inches x 1/2-inch thick (two bites). Get a big skillet hot, add 1/8-inch oil to the pan, then add patties. Cook for 2 1/2 min, till nice and brown, then flip and brown other side. Let drain on a paper towel.

hobnobmag recipe Turkey Patties Topped with Cucumber Basil Pesto

GET OUT THE FOOD PROCESSOR… PREPARE THE CUCUMBER

2 cucumbers, peeled
1 tsp salt

Cut cucumbers in half lengthwise and remove seeds with a spoon. Cut these in half and grate in the food processor. Move to a platter, sprinkle with salt and let it sit for about one hour. Transfer to a strainer and squeeze out as much liquid as possible, then place in a bowl. (If doing this part ahead of time, place cucumbers in an airtight container in the fridge till ready to use)

MAKE THE PESTO

3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 1/2 CUPS basil leaves
3/4 CUP mint leaves
1/2 CUP pine nuts, toasted on a hot skillet
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
1/2 CUP EV olive oil

cucumbers

Pulse together in a food processor. Add to the cucumbers and mix thoroughly.

Duck Breast Hors d’oeuvre with Pomegranate Cranberry Sauce on Endive

Posted on: September 20th, 2017 by Ellen Swandiak

I love a rich and savory duck breast, nothing compares to its luscious, game-y decadence. That’s why I wanted to include this duck breast hors d’oeuvre in a party menu. Set on endive and topped with a semi-sweet sauce, you have the makings of something special to offer at your next gathering.

This recipe was developed to work with our paleo party theme, which focuses on meats and vegetables. As for the paleo part, there’s a tiny bit of cheating here, in reference to the pomegranate molasses in the sauce, which does contain sugar, but oh-so-worth the combo with the duck. Substitute a high-end balsamic vinegar if you don’t want the sugar.

Let the duck breast sit out at room temp for 20 min to 1 hour before cooking. I was inspired by the recipe from Honest Food for cooking the duck breast, read up if this is your first time cooking it. It’s really quite simple.

MAKES 30 BITES

SEAR THE DUCK BREAST

1 1/2 TB almond oil
duck breast

To a cold skillet, add oil, then place duck breast fat side down, cook for 7 min. Flip over and cook another 4 min. Remove from pan and let sit for 5 min. Slice into thin strips, then cut those in thirds to fit on the endive.

MAKE THE CRANBERRY POMEGRANATE SAUCE

1/4 CUP pine nuts
1/4 CUP dried cranberries, soaked for 15 min to soften, then chopped
1/4 CUP pomegranate arils
1 TB red onion, finely chopped
2 TB mint, chopped
1 TB orange zest
1 1/2 TB pomegranate molasses
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper

In a bowl combine all ingredients.

 

PUT IT ALL TOGETHER

2-3 heads endive
sliced duck
cranberry pomegranate sauce

garnish: mint, finely chopped

Cut the stem of the endive and pull off leaves in sections. Place one slice of duck on each leaf, top with sauce, then sprinkle chopped mint.

Roasted Carrots with Creamy Kale Dip: A Tricolor Harvest Splendor

Posted on: October 9th, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

When coming up with recipes for entertaining, I always like to include the idea of healthy ingredients. So, during the fall, when carrots are at their peak, a tricolor of roasted carrots could be the sweetest dish on the table. They make a nice match to the Creamy Kale dip, whose base is ricotta and yogurt, with added blend of spices in the mix.

The deep purple and orange tones of the carrots mimic an orange and black color duo, perfect for Halloween or Day of the Dead parties. Check the link to see the whole menu, which celebrates the harvest in a party-friendly way.

MAKES ABOUT 60 CARROT STICKS AND ABOUT 2 CUPS OF CREAMY KALE DIP

ROAST THE CARROTS…PREHEAT OVEN 400ºF

1 LB tricolor carrots, with green tops
2 TB EV olive oil
1 tsp honey
1 TB thyme, minced

Place carrots in a row on a baking sheet lined with parchment, drizzle with olive oil and honey, then sprinkle with thyme. Roast for 1 hour.

MAKE THE CREAMY KALE DIP

2 TB EV olive oil
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 bunch curly kale, sliced into thin ribbons (about 6 cups)
1/2 tsp salt

1 CUP fresh ricotta cheese
1/2 CUP Greek yogurt
1 TB thyme, chopped
juice from 1/2 lemon
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp black pepper

In large pan, heat olive oil. Add red pepper flakes, garlic, saute 30 sec. Add kale, salt, and cook covered, stirring occasionally, for 3-4 min till cooked through. Allow to cool.
Transfer to food processor. Add rest of the ingredients and pulse until smooth.

TO SERVE

thyme, minced, for garnish (optional)

Present carrots on a serving platter with a bowl of the creamy kale dip, sprinkle with more thyme.

Health-Conscious Party: Sesame-Crusted Tuna in Miso Ginger Sauce

Posted on: September 6th, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

Not every party dish needs to be corruptive to your normal focus on nutrition. Health-conscious party fare can be just as delicious as the junk. These barely-cooked tuna bites will provide a gourmet bit. Tip: Make sure to buy sushi-grade tuna, (here’s a great source) since it will be only seared. Your health-conscious and dieting sports fan friends will be duly impressed when they see this on the roster. The lettuce leaf not only makes a pretty wrap, it makes it easy to pick up and eat.

If you love to entertain in style, I’ve come up with a whole menu for impressing your favorite sports fans, see it all here. Forget hotdogs and chili.

MAKES 10-12 BITES + ABOUT 3/4 CUP OF SAUCE

MAKE THE MISO GINGER SAUCE

2-inch pc fresh ginger, chopped
3 TB brown rice miso
juice of 1 lime
1 TB tamari
1 TB grape seed oil
2 TB brown sugar
3 TB sesame oil
3 TB white balsamic vinegar

In a food processor, blend all ingredients until creamy. Refrigerate overnight for more intense flavors.

PREPARE THE TUNA

10 oz sushi-grade ahi tuna steak (if frozen, defrost overnight in the fridge)

Pat dry. Cut tuna into elongated cubes (about 1 1/2 inches square).

COAT THE TUNA

2 TB black sesame seeds
2 TB white sesame seeds
salt

In a flat bowl, add the sesame seeds and salt. Coat tuna on all four sides.

COOK THE TUNA

1 TB grape seed oil
tuna

In a warm skillet, heat oil. Sear tuna about 30 sec each side, using tongs to turn.

MAKE THE BITES

seared tuna
baby bibb lettuce leaves
miso ginger sauce

Cut tuna into 1/2 -inch slices. Place each slice on a leaf of bibb lettuce, top with sauce.

Beef & Veal Meatballs & Port Reduction: Rich and Decadent

Posted on: September 6th, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

If you are hosting the gang to come over and watch the game, these beef and veal meatballs will show off your culinary style. Super easy to throw together, just mix the ingredients and bake in the oven for 25 min. Though they can be eaten at room temperature, but if you put them in a half hour before half time, you can enjoy them hot out of the oven. The port reduction adds another upscale element. See our entire menu featuring high-end nibbles to serve while watching sports  at this link.

As an alternate serving  idea, make sliders out of these, and add sauteed onions as a topping. Guests will love them.

MAKES 62 BALLS (ABOUT 1 INCH)

PREHEAT OVEN 375ºF… MAKE THE MEATBALLS

1 LB ground beef
1 LB ground veal
2 oz prosciutto, minced and cooked till crispy
1 1/2 CUPS parsley, minced
1/2 CUP pignoli nuts, toasted, crushed
s + p
3 eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 CUP panko bread crumbs

Mix all ingredients together, and roll into 1-inch balls. Place on a parchment-lined baking tray. Bake for 25 min, turning once for even cooking.

MAKE THE PORT REDUCTION

1/2 CUP prunes, pitted, chopped
1/2 orange, chopped
1 TB orange zest
3 CUPS port wine

In a small saucepan, bring ingredients to a boil, then simmer about 40 min till reduced and syrupy. Push through a fine mesh strainer, and discard the prunes.

TO SERVE

parsley, broken into individual leaves or finely chopped

Put a pick into each ball, drizzle with sauce, and garnish with parsley. Set a bowl of the sauce for dipping alongside.

Halloumi Appetizer with Honey-Lime Syrup: Grilled Cheese Greek Style

Posted on: August 3rd, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

Cheese is always welcome in a party setting. I’ve put a little more thought, though, in creating this halloumi appetizer. Paired with a crisped salty ham and a drizzle of honey-lime syrup, you combine creamy, salty, and sweet in one bite. This recipe was inspired by Greek foods, which seem extra delicious in the summer heat.

In keeping with the Greek theme for this party menu, I searched NYC shops for pastourma (aka pastirma), a type of Greek charcuterie, but could not find any in time for recipe testing. What I did have on hand was Surryano, a dry cured ham from Virginia that was featured on pizza in our Lazy Pizza Party. The saltiness and perfect fry-ability of the ham worked perfectly with the halloumi grilling cheese.

To give it a slightly sweet and citrus-y bent, I then matched it with Greek honey infused with lime and lemon verbena. These are great just off the skillet, and may get a little chewy when cooled, but the flavors are absolutely perfect together.

MAKES ABOUT 25 BITES

MAKE THE HONEY-LIME SYRUP

1/4 CUP Ariston Greek Wildflower Honey
juice of 1/2 lime
1 tsp lemon verbena, minced

Pour honey into a microwave-safe bowl. Heat on high for about 15 secs, till honey is warmed through and thinner in consistency. Whisk in lime juice and lemon verbena. Remove lemon verbena leaves. Funnel into a plastic squeeze bottle. Refrigerate if not using right away.

GRILL THE HALLOUMI

11 oz halloumi cheese
10 slices Surryano Dry Cured Ham
bamboo picks

Cut brick of halloumi through the center lengthwise, then each half into 1/4-inch thick slices, then cut those into 3/4-inch slices. You should end up with slices approx 3/4-inch wide by 1.5-inches long by 1/4-inch thick. Next, cut the ham into 1/2-inch strips to wrap around the halloumi. (It should slightly overlap, ideally) Spear the halloumi onto bamboo picks carefully, driving the stick directly through the center. Heat a skillet. Brown about 1 to 2 min each side. Fan out on a plate.

TO SERVE

halloumi-ham bites
10 lemon verbena leaves, cut into thin ribbons
honey lime syrup

Sprinkle lemon verbena ribbons over the bites and drizzle syrup liberally.

Grilled Eggplant Slices Stuffed with Herbed Feta

Posted on: August 2nd, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

Make sure to get high quality feta, one that has a bit of a kick to it, preferably whole, not crumbled. Fresh herbs are mandatory to add new dimension. I grew some lemon basil this year and cannot get enough of it, it really takes basil up to another level. If you can’t find any, go for regular basil or even lemon verbena.

Get your eggplants from your local greenmarket—now is the time. And make sure not to cut them too thin, 1/4-inch is ideal, any thinner and they will not hold the feta, any thicker and you will not be able to fold then over. We have more recipes with a Greek bent in our party theme that showcases the best in Greek ingredients,.

MAKES ABOUT 25 BITES

GRILL THE EGGPLANT

2 eggplants, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
pastry brush
1-2 CUPS EV olive oil
s + p
2 TB dried oregano

Brush one side of eggplant slice with oil and season with s + p and oregano. Heat a grill pan or bbq, and place eggplant seasoned side down. Oil and season other side. Grill about 2 to 3 min each side, till cooked through. Allow to cool slightly before assembling bites.

MAKE THE HERBED FETA

16 oz feta cheese, room temperature
1 TB lemon basil, minced
1 TB oregano, minced
1 tsp black pepper

Combine ingredients together in a large bowl. Spread the mix onto half of the grilled eggplant and fold over.

Party Food for a Scorcher: Cod with Greek Yogurt in Lettuce Wraps

Posted on: August 2nd, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

When thinking about party food for a scorcher, the idea is choosing food that is not too heavy and filling. The fish has a refreshing, lemony bent that goes well with the cool yogurt. Make more of the yogurt mix to serve on the side or put it out for dipping thick slices of cucumber.

We developed this dish with Greek cuisine in mind, and developed a whole menu for entertaining. See more Greek recipes for a hot summer party at this link.

MAKES 28 BITES

MAKE THE ZESTY GREEK YOGURT

1 CUP Greek yogurt
2 TB mint, minced
1 TB oregano, minced
1 TB basil, cut into thin ribbons
1 TB lemon zest
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 clove garlic, crushed in a garlic press
1/2 tsp salt

Whisk ingredients together in a small bowl.

PREHEAT OVEN 375ºF… MAKE THE COD

1 1/2 LB cod fillet, 1-inch thick
salt
zesty greek yogurt

EV olive oil

1 lemon
bibb lettuce, leaves separated

Cut fillets into bite-sized pieces that will fit on the lettuce leaves. Season with salt. Cover the tops with a smear of the yogurt. Place in pyrex baking dish, lightly greased with EV olive oil, do not crowd. Bake for about 18 min, till cooked through. Remove from oven and squeeze lemon over the fillets. Add a dollop of the yogurt and place in a lettuce wrap.

Vegan Appetizer: Artichoke Hearts with Black Pepper-Lemon Dip

Posted on: August 2nd, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

Something light and easy for summer entertaining, this vegan appetizer packs a lot of flavors in its small bites. Lemon, herbs, and a touch of sour cream bring it all together. I found myself loving the flavors in the dip and think it could work well in many dishes. Think about pairing it with all sorts of things: pouring it over broiled fish, tossed as a salad dressing, or dousing string beans with slivered almonds.

Hints of oregano and thyme in the breading of the artichokes allude to the tastes of Greece. Check out our other recipes from the Greek party theme, if you like that idea, we have a whole menu of Greek dishes that you can serve at a party to great applause.

MAKES 50 BITES

MAKE THE DIPPING SAUCE

zest of 1 lemon
juice from 2 lemons
2 TB brown sugar
2 cloves garlic, crushed in a garlic press
1 TB Tofutti Better Than Sour Cream
1/2 CUP EV olive oil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp salt

Whisk ingredients together.

PREHEAT OVEN 375ºF…MAKE THE ARTICHOKES

2 cans artichoke hearts (14 oz), quartered


2 eggs, beaten

1/4 CUP nutritional yeast
1 CUP breadcrumbs
2 TB thyme, minced
1/2 TB dried oregano
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
pinch of cayenne

Rinse artichokes, allow to dry on paper towels. Prepare dipping stations in two bowls: one with eggs, the other with dry ingredients combined. Drench each heart in the eggs then cover with the breadcrumbs and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 25-30 min, flipping halfway through.

Cucumber Cup with Healthy, Refreshing Raita

Posted on: July 20th, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

Nothing like a tasty raita in the summertime, which the chilled yogurt and fresh cucumbers offering a cool, refreshing bite. We’ve taken the traditional recipe and served it party-style: in a little cucumber cup you make by slicing up a cucumber and scooping out the middle. Also, would look cute as a side dish.

These cucumber cups make a nice statement plated in rows. See our other recipes for summer entertaining at this link.  We love the idea of plating in stripes, and using striped patterns on the table. So orderly.

MAKES ABOUT 20 MINI CUPS

MAKE THE RAITA

2 cucumbers, peeled, seeded, grated
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 red onion, minced
1 jalapeño, cut into thin strips
1 1/2 TB dill, chopped
1 CUP Greek yogurt

Toss grated cucumbers with rest of ingredients. To get rid of the excess liquid, push through a mesh strainer in batches.

 

MAKE THE CUPS

2 english cucumbers

Peel cucumbers and slice into 1-inch rounds. To create the hollows: insert a small knife at an angle into the top of the slice, and spin with the other hand. Discard the center.

TO SERVE

dill, for garnish

With a small spoon, fill each cavity of the cucumber cups first. Then add a small dollop on top of each, and garnish with a small sprig of dill.

Shirlei’s Addictive Brazilian Potato Salad

Posted on: July 6th, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

My Brazilian friend Shirlei is a fantastic cook, and has taught me a trick or two. When she lived in NYC we hosted many a gathering together. Whenever she made this potato salad I loved it so much, I prayed there would be leftovers—which I would eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I could not get enough of Shirlei’s Addictive Brazilian Potato Salad.

It might seem like an odd combination of things, but it totally works, and is almost a meal in itself. The parsley is essential for the proper flavor, as is regular mayonnaise. As for the things you boil, to simplify things when cooking, I saved the boiling water from the potatoes, then cooked the string beans in it, then cooked the carrots in it.

See more recipes that are great for summer entertaining in the Stripes party theme.

MAKES ONE VERY LARGE BOWL

START CHOPPING

5 large russet potatoes, peeled

Cut the potatoes into half-inch slices, then cubes. Bring to a boil in covered pot. Boil 7 to 8 min. Monitor the pot, as the bits cook quickly and you do not want them to overcook. The texture should be firm, keeping its cubed shape. Remove potatoes with a slotted spoon—save the water for boiling the veggies. Place potatoes in cool spot or refrigerator.

MORE CHOPPING

1/2 LB string beans, cut into 1/4-inch bits
5 carrots, cut into 1/4-inch bits (about 2 1/2 CUPS)

In the water used to boil potatoes, boil each for roughly 5 min, till they are soft but not mushy.

GET A REALLY BIG BOWL…CREATE THE POTATO SALAD

cooked potatoes, string beans, carrots
3/4 CUP golden raisins
20 green olives, cut into tiny bits
1 apple, diced
1 CUP mayonnaise
1 CUP parsley, minced
1-2 TB salt
freshly ground black pepper

potato sticks (optional)

Mix together all the ingredients, except the potato sticks. Refrigerate at least a few hours to allow flavors to meld. Cover the top with the potato sticks when ready to serve.

Sweet Paul Eat & Make: Charming Recipes + Kitchen Crafts You Will Love by Paul Lowe

Posted on: June 20th, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

Hobnob gets their hands on Paul Lowe’s cookbook/craftsbook Sweet Paul Eat and Make and finds lots to admire. Especially a quick and easy recipe for bruschetta that looks like a party on a plate.

Raised in Oslo, Norway by his great-aunt Auntie Gunnvor and grandmother Mormor, Paul Lowe, otherwise known as Sweet Paul, wasn’t your average child. Obsessed with cooking, crafting, and decorating since he was a wee one, Paul’s bewitching sense of whimsy and fun has stayed with him through his successful career as a food and craft stylist and has certainly made his blog, magazine, and now book, irresistible to millions.

MORE THAN JUST A COOKBOOK

Part cookbook, part craftbook, Sweet Paul Eat & Make bursts with sheer joy and love of life. With handwritten typography and bright watercolors splashed across its pages, it’s hard not to be taken in by its simple yet stylish recipes and projects. You’ll very quickly find yourself imagining inviting your own friends over for easy entertaining recipes like Bruschetta with Peas Pancetta and Ricotta, Fish Tacos with Salsa and Red Cabbage, and Lemon Tarts with Almond Crust.

hobnobmag book review Sweet Paul Eat and Make

Paul has adopted his grandmother’s motto “perfection is boring,” which imbues his work with an easy, breezy simplicity while remaining impressive and chic. Sweet Paul, full of lovable charm and affection for all that surrounds him, makes you feel like you can conjure this domestic magic too—and with this book, now you can. Please enjoy this recipe from the book next time you have guests over. Especially in Spring, when you can get fresh peas.

recipe

BRUSCHETTA WITH PEAS, PANCETTA & RICOTTA

I love making bruschetta and often try out new topping combinations on my partner and guests. Other possibilities are prosciutto and figs; blue cheese and nuts; cream cheese and roasted vegetables; and, for dessert, Nutella with baked strawberries.

Serves 4

4 oz pancetta, cubed
1/2 CUP peas, fresh or frozen, thawed
Salt
1/2 CUP whole-milk ricotta
12 baguette slices, toasted
Fresh basil leaves (torn if large)
About 2 TB extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground pepper

[1] Heat a skillet over medium heat and cook the pancetta until golden, about 4 minutes. Drain on paper towels. Set aside.
[2] Have ready a bowl of ice water. In a small saucepan, cook the fresh peas in boiling salted water for 2 minutes, then dunk them into the ice water. Drain on paper towels. (If using frozen peas, cook for 30 seconds, rinse under cold water, and drain on paper towels.)
[3] Spread a layer of ricotta on the baguette slices and top evenly with the pancetta, peas, and basil.
[4] Drizzle with a little olive oil, sprinkle with some salt and pepper, and serve.

Photos © Alexandra Grablewski; Excerpted from SWEET PAUL EAT & MAKE, © 2014 by Paul Lowe Einlyng. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.

Elegant Rainbow Party Food: Sushi at Home + Edible Spoons

Posted on: June 20th, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

Here are a couple of party-worthy ingredients that will be sure to impress your guests. In keeping with Hobnob’s theme for menu in the colors of the rainbow, see edible taco shells/spoons in surprising colors, plus a sushi-grade tuna.

When I started to develop the idea of turning the colors of the rainbow into a lively party spread I knew I had to find quality natural ingredients to make it happen healthfully. I love the idea of introducing pops of color to a party in a totally natural way—which includes fresh flowers, fruits and vegetables that are inherently colorful. In addition to that, here are some fun and delicious items that will help take your party to new technicolor heights.

hobnobmag Elegant Rainbow Party Food

[1] Foodie Spoon

Made with nutritious, all-natural ingredients (no artificial food coloring in sight!), Foodie Spoon’s edible vessels are a novel and delicious way to present your cocktail bites—plus add a mighty pop of both color and flavor.

For the rainbow party, HOBNOB used Foodie Spoon’s bright Green Veggie Mini Taco Shells in our chicken tacos and flaming orange Chili Pepper & Lime Edible Spoons to create a one-bite sensation with a cube of pork and mango nectarine salsa.

If you are looking for other colors in the spectrum, there’s much more! Go for the vibrant Red Tomato Mini Taco Shells or the deep purple-hued Blue Corn Edible Spoons. There are whole grain and gluten-free options to boot. Serve your edible vessels within 14 days, freeze extras for up to 6 months. And the best part? No plastic waste! foodiespoon.com

[2] Sushi at Home Yellowfin Tuna

The most intimidating part about making sushi at home is finding high quality fish to give you the confidence to serve it raw. Here’s how to get that confidence. Try the fish from Sushi at home. Upon catching the fish, tuna from Sushi At Home are “superfrozen.” This means they are chilled to an ultra-low temperature (-76ºF), at its “eutectic point” so that natural decay is stopped in its tracks.

This highly technical freezing process is actually similar to a method used in the medical field to preserve blood at blood banks. Your tuna, super frozen within hours of being caught and gutted, is essentially frozen in time, making your at-home sushi as fresh as can be. Serve raw fish in small portions throughout the night to keep your offering fresh. I found this product in the freezer section at Whole Foods, next to the fresh fish counter in NYC’s 14th street location. See the recipe for Tuna Poke on Red Tortilla Chips in this party’s menu. The tuna requires a short time defrosting in a water bath before being able to use. sushiathome.co

hobnobmag Elegant Rainbow Party Food sushi

The Ultimate Guide to Serving Oysters at Your Party

Posted on: June 16th, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

Here’s a triple strategy into the art of serving oysters at your party. The whole thought might seem intimidating, but, rest assured, I found a sure-fire method for shucking and a spot to order oysters in bulk, and if that doesn’t convince you, a service that takes care of everything.

You may have noticed an abundance of Happy-Hour Oyster-ing in NYC and beyond—and I am such a fan. However, setting an oyster station at your home gathering might be extremely intimidating. Let HOBNOB give you the know how for setting up a delightfully-fresh raw bar at your party. It’s not as difficult as it may seem.

You could say oyster-mania (for me) was ignited on a weekend trip to Montreal where I had the pleasure of meeting Daniel Notkin, who accompanied the dozen oysters my friend Bob and I ordered. This guy went above and beyond, singing the praises of each species. His knowledge was astounding, and personality quite charming, and thus we dubbed him the Oyster Meister. I couldn’t think of a better person to get shucking tips from, read on.

[1] The Secrets to Shucking Like a Pro from Daniel Notkin

When I interviewed Daniel Notkin, he did not hold back on his oyster passions, history,  and expertise. I’ll let you hear it  in his words:

Ah, the lovely oyster! Jonathan Swift said it was a brave man that once ate an oyster but I profess it was an even braver one that tried to open one. While our ancestors and many of our other vertebrate and invertebrate cousins each have their own methods of cracking and otherwise detaching the lovely meat from the oyster shell, we—our species—have spent the better part of 2000 years mastering the tools to do so

For starters, know your oyster terminology.

Cup. The “bottom” or more curved part of the oyster shell. The oyster nestles in the cup while the top shell—the lid—covers the oyster’s top half.

◊ Choose your tool: The first, and most important part in opening an oyster shell is, as stated—your tool. Get a good oyster knife. Though any knife will do, choose one that feels good in your hand, and with a good “blade.” I say blade but the knife itself does not need to be too sharp. A good point is more important.

The “point,” you say! But won’t this point go through my hand? Alas, it’s possible. Many if not all who have handled an oyster have felt the pain of the oyster, both literally and more “pointedly”. The second most important thing when opening an oyster is to cover your hand.

◊ Protect your hand: Position a small towel on the table. Place the oyster in the middle with the hinge facing the hand with oyster knife. Fold the towel over the oyster. Place your hand on top of the oyster, holding it in place, then fold the towel back over your hand.

◊ Find the sweet spot: Now, take your oyster knife and, at a 45º angle, insert it into a spot 1/10-inch from the hinge on the side closest to you. Rock your knife a-quarter-turn-and-back with pressure, to wedge into the “sweet spot” of the oyster. If you get it right, that knife will be wedged in.

◊ Pop oyster open: Roll your wrist and “pop” the shell open (which you will hear). Hold the oyster open with your index finger and ride the ridge of the farthest side of the oyster shell to sever the top adductor mussel. Scrape the adductor from the top of the shell (as if scraping old paint). Once accomplished, the “lid” should fall away.

Turn the oyster towards you, and with your knife at 45º, in one dipping motion, run along the bottom of the shell, away from you. This will sever the “cup” from the oyster.

◊ inspect: Check for grit, make sure the oyster is presentable. Serve on ice. —by Daniel Notkin, The Old Port Fishing Co, theoldportfishingcompany.com, and owner of NOTKINS, a restaurant in Montreal focused on the freshest seafood available. 

[2] A&B American Style’s Pepper Sauce

Place this sauce adjacent to the oyster serving area to accomodate those who demand a lovely spiciness with their slurping. Made with Red Fresno chili peppers, A&B American Style’s Pepper Sauce, made in small batches—sans sugar—will add an extra kick to oysters, and most other dishes, animal, vegetable or mineral—even cocktails, especially  of the Bloody Mary variety. Feel free to sprinkle it on burgers or barbecued meats for a taste profile no one will confuse with oh-so traditional mesquite. Check out their entire line of hot sauces, you may want to offer more than one. $12 abamerican.com

[3] Island Creek Oysters

From humble beginnings, Island Creek Oysters sells over 100,000 oysters a week. Top restaurants, French Laundry, Next, and even the White House have sampled the goods.

What are the best picks for parties? The 100-count bag should have you covered. Cool fact: the bag they come in is the same one the oysters come out of the water in. How fresh is that? $150.

Too many? Get 3 dozen oysters in the Damn Yankee Sampler, with some of the best bivalves from New England: Flavor profile: Island Creeks have a mossy, buttery flavor of seaweed, Spring Creeks are delicate and mild, and Peter Points have a salty, grassy flavor with a hint of sweetness. $84. shop.islandcreekoysters.com

[4] Brooklyn Oyster Party

Shucking not for you? Have the gang at Brooklyn Oyster Party do it for you. They provide the freshest east coast oysters (mostly), and shuck at blinding speeds. They will set up a complete raw bar station with all the accoutrements and take care of cleanup, leaving no trace. All you have to do is make your oyster selection and customize your mignonette. Includes 1 to 2 shuckers for 3 hours, starting at 200 oysters for $700 brooklynoysterparty.com

Tuna Poke on Red Tortilla Chips: A Red-Hot Sensation

Posted on: June 1st, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

This bite will make you look like a top chef, yet is so simple to create. Tip: For the tuna poke, of course, you need to make sure to get the freshest sushi-grade tuna, by buying superfrozen—just remember you will need to start defrosting at least 5 hours before the party.

To add an interesting finish to the tuna, sprinkle hibicus salt from Junior Merino’s line designed for rimming cocktails, it adds even more red tones, and super flavor to the tuna. This recipe is part of our strategy for creating a buffet in the colors of the rainbow. We came up with this idea as a way to celebrate Gay Pride, but these recipes make for a beautiful display on a buffet, so anytime or reason is OK by me.

Rainbow Shortcut for the RED category: If you are nervous about making sushi yourself, order tuna sashimi from your local Japanese spot, chop and doctor with the spices in the recipe below.

Other red foods to consider for the rainbow effect: watermelon, apples, raspberries, rhubarb, strawberries, beets, red bell peppers, cocktail sauce, tomato chutney. See our picks on PINTEREST for more fantastic rainbow party ideas and recipes.

MAKES 30 BITES

DEFROST THE TUNA

3/4 LB Sushi at Home Yellowfin Tuna
2 TB kosher salt

Set the tuna in a bowl with 1 quart of water and salt for 5 min. Rinse. Pat dry with a paper towel, then wrap in a fresh paper towel. Allow to defrost in the refrigerator for at least 5 hours.

MAKE THE TUNA POKE

1/4 tsp harissa
1 LB sushi–grade ahi tuna, finely chopped
1 tsp sesame oil
2 red chili peppers, small dice

Toss ingredients together. Refrigerate for 1 hour so tastes merge.

ASSEMBLE THE BITE

tuna poke
red tortilla chips
Junior Merino red hibiscus salt, for garnish (optional)

Place a small spoonful of the tuna mix on top of a tortilla chip. Finish with a sprinkling of hibiscus salt, if using.