hors d'oeuvres - HOBNOB Magazine

Posts Tagged ‘hors d’oeuvres’

Exotic Sausage Bites with Two Dijon Dips: Explore New Tastes

Posted on: May 4th, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

If you are a sausage lover, as I am, then these four exotic sausage varieties will be a tempting lot. We matched the four kinds: Venison, pheasant, wild boar, and rabbit with a couple of dipping sauces. Serve this at your next party to introduce new tastes to your friends.

The two sauces fall into very different categories, and are super simple to make. Tangy Dijon Beer Sauce infuses German reduced wheat beer into the dip, and the Creamy Old-Style Mustard Sauce is a lush, slightly sweet alternative, whose plump mustard seeds pop in your mouth. This dish can be made a day ahead. Reheat the sausage just before the party in a microwave. They’re great eaten at room temperature.

We’ve discovered a great source for healthy, and unusual, meats in Fossil Farms, located in NJ. Order this sausage sampler online, and be sure to check out their other offerings. Like this recipe? See other exotic recipes made with wild ingredients at this link.

MAKES 56 BITES OF EACH VARIETY (CUT EACH SAUSAGES INTO 14 SLICES, DISCARDING THE ENDS)

PREHEAT OVEN 350º… COOK THE SAUSAGE

12 oz Venison w Blueberries and Merlot
12 oz Wild Boar w Cranberries
12 oz Pheasant w Hazelnuts
12 oz Rabbit w White Wine & Dijon Mustard

Place each variety of sausage in a separate baking pan with a little water on the bottom. Bake 20 min (make sure there is space around each sausage so they cook thoroughly. Sausages should be firm to the touch).

In a cast iron pan, brown each sausage variety separately. Allow to rest before slicing.

TANGY DIJON BEER SAUCE

1 CUP Paulaner Hefe-Weizen Natural Wheat beer

1/4 CUP Maille Dijon mustard
1/4 CUP mayonnaise
2 tsp Breitsamer Honig Forest Honey

Reduce the wheat beer: simmer in a small pot for 15 min (the end result will be about 1/4 cup). Allow beer to cool, then whisk with rest of the ingredients in a small bowl.

CREAMY OLD-STYLE MUSTARD SAUCE

1/2 CUP sour cream
1/2 CUP Maille Dijon Old-Style mustard
4 TB Maille Dijon mustard
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp Breitsamer Honig Forest Honey

Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl.

TO SERVE

Slice the sausages and place in bowls. Serve with small bowls of the dipping sauces. Add labels, so guests know which is which (swipe image below and print).

hobnobmag exotic sausage ID tags

Mini BLT: Speck, Micro Greens, Cherry Tomato & Spicy Mayo

Posted on: March 1st, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

We took the winning flavors of a classic bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwich and turned it into a gourmet mini BLT, perfect for serving as a passed hors d’oeuvre at a party. Each of the ingredients got special consideration.

In this BLT, speck from northern Italy is substituted for the bacon. Its flavor is slightly more robust than prosciutto. Speck is cured, then lightly smoked over the course of a few months, allowing the smoke to penetrate the meat thoroughly. Make sure to lightly crisp the speck, it should still be pliable, so it can be folded to fit into the mini sandwich. The softness of this ingredient makes it ideal for these mini BLTs.

Instead of just mayo, we added a little spice to ratchet up the flavors. For the lettuce, micro arugula greens were the right size to go into these, and added a bit of extra bitterness and spice themselves. Of course, for the tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, which tend to be sweeter than most tomatoes, added their bit. For the bread, focaccia was sliced into cubes, then cut in half.

Tip: Buy your micro greens day of the party, they do not last more than two days, and you want them to be ultra fresh. To see more ideas on hosting a party with all dishes “mini” check out this link, Mini Party Theme.

MAKES 24 BITES

CRISP THE SPECK

spray oil
8 slices speck

Spray coat a heavy pan with oil. Fry strips briefly, about 1 min each side, to just crisp. Cut each slice into 3 pieces.

MAKE THE SPICY MAYO

1/2 CUP mayonnaise
1 TB sriracha
1/2 tsp lime zest
1/4 tsp organic garlic salt

Whisk together ingredients in a small bowl.

HOBNOBMAG mini blt focaccia

CREATE THE BLTS

focaccia (12-inch square)
spicy mayo
arugula micro greens
cherry tomato, sliced into rounds
crisped speck
toothpicks

Cut focaccia into 1-inch squares, then slice in half horizontally to create the top and bottom. On each half slather the spicy mayo then top with arugula and a slice of tomato. Fold the speck to fit bread, fit in between the two halves and secure with a pick.

Small Bites: Baby Blue Potatoes with Caviar

Posted on: March 1st, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

Every time I am in the supermarket and see the bags of baby potatoes, I think, “ooh, how cute.” Well, these can come in really handy for creating small bites at your next gathering. And the blue ones add a bit of mystique to the dish, though the tri-color potatoes would be lovely as well. Tip: Monitor the potatoes when boiling, so they do not overcook, they should not be mushy. Pierce one with a knife, and when it can go through easily, they are done. To plate, cut a tiny bit off the bottom which creates a flat base.

To add more delight to hosting guests in your home, I created an entire party menu of little bites which you can view in my Mini Party theme.

MAKES ABOUT 30 BITES

COOK THE POTATOES

1 bag blue baby potatoes

Boil potatoes for 7-8 min. Run under cold water to cool, drain. Let cool.

PREPARE THE POTATOES FOR STUFFING

When cool enough to handle, cut a slice off the top and bottom, so potato will sit upright. With a sharp knife, core out the centers of each potato, maintaining the shape.

MAKE THE STUFFING

1/4 CUP Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese, room temp
3 slices lox, minced
1 TB dill, minced

Tofutti Better Than Sour Cream
dill, minced
John West Black Lumpfish Caviar

Mix the Tofutti cream cheese with lox, and dill. Using a small spoon, stuff each potato with the mixture. Top with a small dollop of Tofutti sour cream, a sprinkling of dill, and a little pile of the caviar.

Colorful Mini Stuffed Peppers with Spiced-Up Couscous

Posted on: March 1st, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

 These mini stuffed peppers will make an adorable bite at your gathering and the recipe is absolutely fool-proof. Couscous is one of the easiest grains to cook, just boil water, add in the couscous, and remove from the heat. Voila! To attain uniformity and a one-bite size, cut each pepper so it sits about 1 to 2 inches high, and save the trimmed pieces for future use.

If you like these mini peppers, you must see the  entire party menu with a mini ingredients theme in mind, at this link.

MAKES 40 POPPERS

COOK THE COUSCOUS

1/2 CUP water
1/2 CUP dried couscous

In a small saucepan, bring water to a boil, stir in couscous, cover. Remove from heat, let sit for 10 min. Fluff with fork.

FLAVOR THE COUSCOUS

2 TB EV olive oil
1/2 red onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 TB thyme, minced

2 CUPS cooked couscous
1/4 CUP pumpkin seeds, toasted, finely chopped
1/2 TB cumin
1 TB coriander seeds, crushed and toasted
3/4 CUP parmesan cheese, grated
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

1-2 TB EV olive oil (to moisten)

Heat oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, and thyme, sauté for 5 min. Turn off heat. Stir in the rest of the ingredients and combine well. Add the olive oil if it seems dry.

PREHEAT OVEN 350ºF… BAKE THE PEPPERS

2 bags mini bell peppers
couscous mixture

Tofutti Better Than Sour Cream

Cut tops off peppers, remove seeds. Stuff with couscous mixture and move to baking sheet lined with parchment. Bake 15 min. Remove from oven, allow to cool a little. Top with a small spoon of Tofutti sour cream.

Fresh Pea Pods Stuffed with Shrimp Dip

Posted on: March 1st, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

These are a refreshing mix to your party bites. The snap of the pea pods adds a nice contrast to the creamy shrimp dip. It’s a little bit fussy to plate, but worth it for the freshness of these flavors meld together. I used an Xacto blade to carefully cut a slit across the tops of the pea pods and a pastry bag with fancy tip to fill the pea pods and make them extra pretty.

Hack Tip: If you don’t have the proper pastry bag, you can put the shrimp dip into a plastic sandwich bag and cut one of the corners off. You won’t get the pattern, but you can squiggle it in for the artistic effect.

Everybody loves mini ingredients, they are just extra cute. See my other MINI recipes and party plan at this link.

Makes about 40 bites

STEAM THE SHRIMP

24 shrimp (51-60 count)

Steam the shrimp for 2-3 min. Finely dice.

GET OUT THE FOOD PROCESSOR… MAKE THE SHRIMP DIP

1 container Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese
6 TB Tofutti Better Than Sour Cream
juice from 1 1/2 lemons
2 tsp lemon zest
2 TB dill, minced
1 tsp thyme, finely monced
1/2 tsp Sriracha
1 tsp coarse black pepper
diced shrimp

Pulse together all the ingredients. Move to a bowl, refrigerate covered for at least 2 hours.

STUFF THE PEAPODS

40 pea pods (on the large side)
shrimp dip
dill, cut into tiny fronds

With a sharp knife or xacto blade, slit open the pea pods on the top. Pipe in the dip. Garnish with dill fronds.

Andrea Montobbio of Asellina’s Addictive Bar Bite: Stuffed Olives

Posted on: March 1st, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

Here’s a mini appetizer that’s delivers big. Stuffed olives are delectable with a meaty-cheesy-truffle oil concoction that no one can eat just one of.

Our guest chef Andrea Montobbio developed a passion for cooking and all things culinary in the small town of Capriata d’Orba in Northern Italy, where he grew up in a family who made their own wine and grew bountiful produce in their garden. (ASELLINA HAS SINCE CLOSED, BUT YOU CAN CREATE A SPECTACULAR DISH BY CHEF ANDREA MONTOBBIO WITH RECIPE BELOW)

hobnobmag stuffed olives asellina

He landed his first job in picturesque Il Fattore, a Michelin restaurant known for its impressive selection of specialty wines. He learned pasta making at Il Archivolto, and at prestigious Albergo Ristorante de Corona, he became Head Chef after only six months. It was here he received the opportunity to travel to Atlanta where he honed his skills further, opening one fine restaurant after the other.

At Asellina at the Gansevoort Park Hotel on Park Avenue in New York City you can savor all that talent and experience. The fresh pastas on the menu are truly transcendent. The agnolotti with short ribs is a flavor-packed taste sensation, with meat juices and vegetables that mix together in a sauce reminiscent of a rich pot pie. Squid ink linguini is laden with a bounty of perfectly done lobster and shrimp. You will have trouble deciding what to order here, but, rest assured, every dish is stellar.

hobnobmag stuffed olives asellina

For the mini party, a plan featuring a menu of miniature bites, we were able to snag the recipe for stuffed cerignola olives from Andrea Montobbio, which may just be the most luxurious bar bite ever. A tangy, rich veal mixture gets stuffed into fresh cerignolas, which are then breaded and deep fried. Serve these at your next gig and I guarantee, people will go absolutely crazy. asellina

hobnobmag stuffed olives recipe

recipe

STUFFED CERIGNOLA OLIVES

makes 20 olives

START THE STUFFING

1/2 onion, minced
2 TB carrots, minced
2 TB celery, minced

1/2 LB ground veal shoulder
1/2 LB ground chicken breast
salt and pepper to taste

In a large skillet, caramelize onion, carrots, and celery. When golden brown, add the ground veal and chicken, and season with salt and pepper. Saute over medium-high heat for about 4 to 5 minutes, or till browned thoroughly.

FINISH STUFFING

1 slice mortadella, minced
1 1/2 TB parmesan, grated
3/4 CUP bread crumbs
1 egg
1 tsp truffle oil

Empty the pan into a large bowl and allow to cool. Add the mortadella, parmesan, breadcrumbs, egg, and the truffle oil. Mix well.

STUFF THE OLIVES…SET UP BREADING STATION

20 large Cerignola olives
1/2 CUP all-purpose flour, in bowl
1 egg, whisked in a bowl
breadcrumbs (for coating the olives), in bowl

parmesan, for sprinkling
herbs, for garnish

With a very sharp knife, cut a slit down one down one side of the olive, cut around the pit, and remove. Open carefully and add stuffing. Once stuffed, close, then dust in flour, and soak in the egg. Lastly, roll them gently in breadcrumbs.

Heat 2 inches of olive oil in a large saucepan to fry. Once oil becomes hot, fry stuffed olives until golden brown. Make sure to cook both sides.

Remove from oil and transfer to a paper-towel-lined dish. To plate, sprinkle with more parmesan, add herbs and serve.

Check out our other recipes featuring mini ingredients in the PARTY OF MINI PROPORTIONS issue.

Aphrodisiac Recipe from Fork Me, Spoon Me: The Sensual Cookbook By Amy Reiley

Posted on: February 1st, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

Learn the basics of seduction in this informative cookbook. Amy shares an aphrodisiac recipe for Chocolate Smothered Brie to get things started.

Use the power of aphrodisiacs to seduce your loved one with this cookbook by leading aphrodisiac authority Amy Reiley. She’ll show you how to incorporate twelve ingredients for amorousness—almonds, vanilla, rosemary, mint, chocolate, chile, ginger, mango, peaches, saffron, and figs—to turn the night into a magical one.

Enjoy this recipe from the book for Chocolate Smothered Brie, and plan to serve for your next date. lifeofreiley.com

featured recipe

CHOCOLATE SMOTHERED BRIE

SERVES 2

2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 1/2 tsp butter

6 oz wedge of ripe brie
1 pint strawberries, washed with stems on

1 1/2 CUP dark chocolate chips
1/2 CUP heavy cream

1/2 French baguette

Put garlic on a baking tray and sprinkle chunks of butter on top. Toast under the broiler until just brown. (Adult supervision recommended.) Remove from broiler and toss the hard, golden chips in the melted butter and set aside to rest.

Arrange the brie and strawberries on a serving platter.

In a double boiler or a metal mixing bowl fitted onto a small pot of simmering water, gently melt the chocolate chips with the cream over low heat, stirring steadily with a gentle motion. When chocolate reaches a smooth, creamy texture, remove from heat and fold in the hard garlic chips.

Smother the cheese with the hot chocolate and allow the sweet topping to drench a few berries. Serve immediately with a hunk of French bread and a total lack of inhibition.

—from Fork Me, Spoon Me: The Sensual Cookbook by Amy Reiley

Feed Each Other: Sexy Steamed Artichokes with Two Dipping Sauces

Posted on: February 1st, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

Steamed artichokes provide a unique eating ritual. No other vegetable comes close to the interaction you get here. That’s why I thought this recipe would be a fantastic part of our Aphrodisiac theme. Ancient Greeks and Romans considered artichokes a delicacy and an aphrodisiac. I envision this dish shared by 2 people romantically connected. Choose which sauce works for your lover—or serve both—sultry & buttery or creamy & spicy. The idea: dip and feed each other individual leaves.

MAKES 2

PREPARE THE ARTICHOKES

2 large artichokes

Peel off the leaves near the stem. Cut off the thorns at the top of each leaf with scissors (2 rows). Chop an inch off the top. Wash artichoke thoroughly, get in between the leaves to remove any hidden dirt. Trim the stem.

HOBNOBMAG artichokes trimmed

COOK THE ARTICHOKES

prepared artichokes
bay leaf
juice from 1 lemon

Set up a pot for steaming, toss in bay leaf. Position artichokes, squeeze lemon juice over them. Bring to a boil, lower heat and cover. Steam for 45 min, flipping the artichoke at 20 min. The artichoke is done when leaves pull off easily. While artichokes steam, make the sauce.

recipe

Herbed Butter Dipping Sauce

Serve this sauce to the person who likes rich things.

MAKES ABOUT 3/4 CUP

MAKE THE SAUCE

5 TB butter
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp thyme
pinch of cayenne

Add ingredients to a small bowl. Melt butter in the microwave (start with 11 seconds). When butter is mostly melted, stir to finish. Serve immediately.

recipe

Spicy Mayo Dipping Sauce

Serve this sauce to the person who likes things spicy.

MAKES ABOUT 3/4 CUP

MAKE THE DIP

1/2 CUP mayonnaise
1 TB dijon mustard
2 tsp sriracha
juice from 1/2 lime
1 tsp curry powder
1 tsp sugar

Mix everything together in a bowl.

Mini Tarts with Beets, Ricotta and Pine Nuts

Posted on: February 1st, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

Looking for a sweet idea to surprise your romantic interest? I plated these mini tarts in heart-shaped dishes just in time for Valentine’s Day. The beets tie into a red theme, and truly send a message of love—with some extra benefits.

Truth be told: when I started planning this dish, I envisioned this tart with fresh figs, whose appearance and flavor would also be splendid. But, unfortunately, they were not in season (February). So then I thought beets would make a nice substitution, and lend their celebrated bright red hue to boot. In researching aphrodisiacs, I  also found out they promote feelings of euphoria, and increase the level of sex hormones and blood flow. So the aphrodisiac recipe is complete.  Add a drizzle of NUDO Rosmarino olive oil before serving to add to the experience.

To serve: A dear friend gave me a set of heart-shaped dishes, and I always wondered what I could serve in them. Dilemma solved! These tarts send a statement of love and house a super tart at the same time. As luck would have it, the 4 pastry squares fit each 5-inch heart exactly. ‘Twas meant to be part of my plan for Valentine’s Day eating, see my other aphrodisiac recipes at this link.

MAKES 4 TARTS

THAW PUFF PASTRY

1/2 pkg Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry

Remove one pasty from package. Securely wrap remaining pastry and return to freezer immediately. Let pastry thaw for 40 min.

PREHEAT OVEN 400ºF… BAKE THE BEETS

3 beets

Remove greens, scrub beets. Bake about 40 min, till tender. Remove from oven, let cool for 5 min. Peel off the skins. (shortcut: buy pre-cooked beets)

HOBNOBMAG Recipe HOBNOBMAG Recipe Mini Tarts Beet Ricotta2

PREPARE PASTRY

thawed pastry

Cut pastry into 4 squares. If using heart-shaped dishes, place one square of the pastry on the diagonal, trim the points, and fill in the missing areas on the top of the heart. OR, you can just bake the squares without any dishes instead.

PREPARE THE TARTS

4 oz ricotta cheese, at room temp
1 orange, zested

cooked beets, cut into 1/8-inch slices
Nudo Rosmarino EV Olive Oil
3 TB pine nuts, toasted
2 tsp thyme, minced
s + p

Mix ricotta and zest together. Spread an even layer over the pastry, leaving a border. Space out the sliced beets around the tart. Drizzle the olive oil, then sprinkle pine nuts and thyme. Lightly season with s + p.

BAKE THE TARTS

Transfer the tarts to a baking sheet (line with parchment if not using dishes). Bake for 25-30 min till edges of the tart are golden brown. Allow the tart to cool, about 5 min, and serve.

A Dish for Lovers: Cajun Tuna Tataki by Brian Tsao of Mira Sushi

Posted on: February 1st, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

Tuna Tataki provides a light, almost raw tuna, doused in cajun spices and served with a spoon of tangy mango salsa. Make it even prettier with edible blossoms, to entice your lover.

Mira Sushi might be the perfect rendezvous spot for lovers. With sexy dim lighting, a graphic setting, and happy hour that begins at four, you could slip away and delight in feeding each other small bites from the innovative menu.

You may have seen Chef Brian Tsao compete with Bobby Flay, and one-up him, with his Beef Bulgogi Tacos—an exciting mix of crispy wonton shells, bulgogi-marinated beef, kimchi and Asian pear. (Tsao was the only chef to beat Bobby Flay that season.) mirasushi.com

hobnobmag TUNA TATAKI recipe

recipe

Cajun Tuna Tataki with Mango Salsa

For this Valentine’s Day party, Chef Brian Tsao of Mira Sushi & Izakaya, NYC, shares his recipe for a flavor-packed Cajun Tuna Tataki with Mango Salsa—it has a bit of spice, a touch of sweet, and barely cooked tuna, matched with crunchy daikon. Head to Mira Sushi and share an order with one you hold dear, or be daring and serve it at home.

MAKES A LIGHT BITE FOR TWO

MAKE THE MANGO SALSA

1 mango, diced
2 shallots, diced
1/2 CUP pineapple juice
1 TB lemon juice
2 TB EV olive oil
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ichimi chili powder

Mix all ingredients in a bowl and reserve, allowing to sit at room temperature.

MAKE THE CAJUN TUNA TATAKI

2 LB tuna saku
1/4 CUP Cajun spice
high-temp cooking oil

Rub tuna saku well with Cajun spice on all sides. Preheat a large sauté pan with cooking oil, filling it slightly less than 1/4-inch high. Once the oil in the pan is smoking slightly, quickly sear all sides of the tuna evenly. Once seared, place the tuna on a pre-cooled cooking tray to rest.

MAKE THE PARSLEY OIL

1/3 cup EV olive oil
1/2 bunch parsley, leaves picked

Place blender pitcher into your freezer with olive oil. Bring a pot of water to a boil and place the parsley leaves into a strainer with handle. Slowly dip the strainer into the boiling water and allow the leaves to wilt and become a vibrant green color. Once the leaves are vibrant green, move the parsley into the pre-cooled blender pitcher and blend on high speed for 10-12 seconds or until completely smooth.

TO PLATE

3 TB Tobiko Black
daikon radish, in fine strips
edible flowers (optional)

Slice the tuna into 1/4-inch strips and place onto a plate decoratively. Place 1/2 TB mango salsa on top of each slice. Dress plate with salsa juices and parsley oil. Top each slice of tuna with tobiko and serve.

Get in the mood with more recipes from the APHRODISIAC issue.

Vegetarian Meatballs with Mushroom Onion & Lentils

Posted on: December 1st, 2014 by Ellen Swandiak

These vegetarian meatballs are much lighter and less dense than a typical meatball, so handle them with care when cooking. I suggest tongs for turning. Once they are cooked they hold together much better. And will be a welcome treat at your party.

I’ve got more recipes in the shape of a ball on our Black Tie party theme, which mimics the idea of a traditional ball. See recipes made with fish, pork, cheese, and even a dessert rendition.

MAKES 50 BALLS (ABOUT 1 INCH)

START THE MIX… COOK THE ONIONS & MUSHROOMS

1 tsp EV olive oil
4 TB butter
1 large red onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, diced
1 LB cremini mushrooms, diced
3 TB oregano, diced
s + p

In a heated skillet, add oil, butter and onions; saute 5 min over med heat. Add the rest of the ingredients, lower heat and saute 7 min more. Transfer to large bowl.

MIX IT ALL UP

1 can Westbrae Natural Vegetarian Lentils, rinsed
1 tsp tamari
2 tsp thyme, chopped
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp salt
3 TB chia seeds
1 CUP panko bread crumbs
2 large eggs, lightly beaten

Add all the ingredients to the cooked onions/mushrooms and mix well. Roll into 1-inch balls.

COOK THE BALLS

canola-coconut oil

Heat about 1/2 inch of oil in a large skillet. Drop balls in carefully, do not overcrowd. Fry on med-high flame till nice and crispy on the outside. These are kind of fragile, so turn gently and fry on all sides to help hold it together. Drain on paper towels.

Pork Meatballs Banh Mi: An Asian-Inspired Treat

Posted on: December 1st, 2014 by Ellen Swandiak

If you’ve ever had a Bahn Mi sandwich, then you will totally understand the flavor profile of this small bite version. Pickled vegetables and pork really go hand-in-hand.

This recipe is just one from my party theme which focuses on food in the shape of a ball. If you are looking for more party recipes, then click here.

MAKES ABOUT 50 BALLS

MAKE THE PICKLED VEGGIES

2 CUPS carrots, shredded
2 CUPS daikon, shredded
1/2 CUP white wine vinegar
2 scallion tops, chopped
1/4 CUP honey
1 tsp salt

Toss ingredients together in med bowl. Marinate for 1 hour, tossing occasionally. Drain before putting into assembled bites.

START THE PORK BALLS

1 TB coconut-canola oil
1 med onion, finely chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced
1 TB coconut-canola oil

1 jalapeño, diced
2 tsp lemongrass, smashed, finely chopped
1/2 CUP pineapple, diced
1/4 CUP basil, finely chopped
1 TB fish sauce
1 TB hot sauce
1 TB sugar

In a hot skillet, add oil/onions. Sauté for 5 min. Add garlic, more oil and cook 3 min more. Add the rest of the ingredients, and sauté for 3 min more. Move to a large bowl, let cool a bit.

PREHEAT OVEN TO 450°F… FINISH THE PORK BALLS

1/2 CUP breadcrumbs
2 TB cornstarch
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp salt
1 LB ground pork

Add ingredients to the cooked onion mix. Mix with your hands. Wet hands, roll into 1-inch balls. Arrange on baking sheet lined with parchment. Bake meatballs for about 18 min.

MAKE THE HOT SAUCE

1/4 CUP mayonnaise
1/2 TB Thai red curry paste
1/8 CUP white wine vinegar
1 TB honey

Mix everything together in a small bowl.

TO SERVE

hot sauce
5-inch tortillas, toasted
pickled veggies
pork balls
toothpicks

Smear a little of the hot sauce on the tortilla. Place a couple dollops of the pickled veggies into the tortilla, leaving the ends clear. Roll tightly, trim off uneven ends. Cut into 1-inch wheels. Place one meatball on top of the wheel, and stab with toothpick to hold together.

Fresh Mozzarella Cheese Board: Marinated Bocconcini & Cherry Tomatoes

Posted on: December 1st, 2014 by Ellen Swandiak

I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like fresh mozzarella. In this fresh mozzarella cheese board there is no cooking involved—all you have to do is dress up cherry tomatoes and bocconcini using a flurry of fresh basil, pretty lemon curls, and a sprinkling of red pepper flakes. It’s the definition of a creative cheese plate.

We created this recipe to include in our party theme that highlights food in the shape of a ball. These bocconcini, or mini fresh mozzarella balls, do their best to get livened up dressed up for a party. A super simple and quick way to entertain in style. The link points to our other recipes using meats and vegetarian ingredients.

MAKES ABOUT 32 BOCCONCINI & 20 TOMATOES

GET IT FLAVORED

1 LB bocconcini, drained
10.5 oz pack cherry tomatoes
3 TB basil, cut into ribbons
1 TB red pepper flakes
curls from 2 lemons
2 TB EV olive oil


Maldon sea salt flakes

Optional: add a drizzle of high-end olive oil

Toss everything together in a bowl. Transfer to plate and drizzle with a little more olive oil and toss on some sea salt.

Cod Fish Balls Appetizer with Sweet and Sour Dipping Sauce

Posted on: December 1st, 2014 by Ellen Swandiak

We came up with these fish balls as part of our Have a Ball party theme, where all the offerings are in the shape of a ball. How cool is that? These are wonderful to serve along with traditional meat-based versions, as well as a couple of vegetarian variations. Just make sure to label each one.

If you can’t find cod, you can substitute with sole, halibut, catfish or tilapia—just see what looks best at the fish monger.

See the other recipes to cover all the bases: meaty versions, some for vegetarians, one using pork with a Vietnamese twist, and even a dessert.

MAKES 26 BALLS (ABOUT 1 INCH)

COOK THE FISH

1 LB fresh cod fillets

Steam the fish in a steamer. Or, in a large pan, cover fillets with water, and boil until the water is all gone, up to 5 min. Let cool. Transfer to a large bowl and break into pieces.

FLAVOR THE FISH

2 cloves garlic, crushed in a press
1 TB parsley, finely chopped
3 scallions, sliced thinly
1/2 carrot, grated
1 jalapeño, diced
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 eggs
3/4 CUP panko bread crumbs

1 CUP spelt flour, set in a bowl

Add all the ingredients, except flour, to the pieces of fish, and mix well. (I used a potato masher to work the fish into tiny bits.) To make 1-inch balls, take a small amount in the middle of your palm and really squeeze the mixture, passing it back and forth, then roll lightly to create the ball. Lastly, roll the balls in the spelt flour.

FRY THE BALLS

canola-coconut oil

Heat about 1/4 inch of oil in a large skillet. Drop balls in carefully, do not overcrowd. Fry until golden brown, this cooks quickly, so turn frequently with tongs. Drain on paper towels.

recipe

SWEET AND SOUR SAUCE

If you have any leftover sauce, save it to use on sandwiches, or as part of a tangy salad dressing.

MAKES ABOUT 1.5 CUPS

IN A SAUCEPAN

1/2 CUP peach preserves
1 tsp ginger, grated
2 TB cognac
4 TB First Field Jersey ketchup
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1 TB tamari
1 clove garlic, crushed in a press
1 tsp cornstarch
1/4 tsp cayenne
1 tsp Thai red curry powder

1 TB sesame seeds, for garnish

Add all ingredients except sesame seeds to a saucepan and simmer until thick, about 10 min. Let cool a bit. Transfer to a blender to smooth it out. Move to a bowl and sprinkle the top with sesame seeds.

 

Lighter Pâté with Mushrooms & Cognac: Spreadable Joy

Posted on: November 1st, 2014 by Ellen Swandiak

Here are a few tricks to creating a lighter pâté which tastes just as good as a more decadent recipe. Though in no way can it be considered low-cal! I cut out some of the butter and substituted cream cheese instead. It will need a day to set, so plan ahead. If you want to really make it ahead—the pâté can be frozen for a week or so, without losing quality. Super simple to make, just cook the chicken livers and blend with rest of the ingredients.

This recipe is part of the plan for hosting a party with foods that have a touch of alcohol in them, hence the addition of cognac. See my other creative ideas for hosting in my Alcohol Infusion party theme.

MAKES ENOUGH FOR 2 BAGUETTES, SLICED THINLY

COOK THE CHICKEN LIVERS

4 TB butter
4 scallions, cut into thin rings
4 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
6 shiitake mushrooms, sliced thinly
6 button mushrooms, sliced thinly

1 LB chicken livers, trimmed
1 bay leaf
1 tsp fresh thyme
1 tsp salt

Over low heat, melt butter in a medium saucepan, add scallions, garlic, mushrooms and saute for 3 min. Add the rest of ingredients. Cook gently, stirring to ensure even cooking, about 10 min. Remove from the heat and cover for 2 min. Remove bay leaf.

GET OUT THE FOOD PROCESSOR

cooked livers
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
2 tsp Coleman’s mustard
Freshly ground pepper

8 TB butter, softened
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/4 CUP Cognac

Toasted baguette slices, for serving

Transfer cooked livers to a food processor, add spices. Puree until smooth, about 2 min.

Pulse butter and cream cheese a little at a time, alternating with cognac, till well mixed. Transfer to serving bowl, cover and refrigerate about 24 hrs, until firm. Serve with toasted baguette slices.

Chicken Skewers with Wow: Tikka Kebabs & Ginger Chutney

Posted on: October 1st, 2014 by Ellen Swandiak

Want to add another level of flavor to chicken skewers? This ginger chutney takes the dish to a new level.  The chutney is super versatile and can add zing to lots of other dishes as well. Try it with lamb, pork, or mahi-mahi-type fish. Alternate plating idea: place 2 chicken tikka bites onto long picks, place inside a small glass with the chutney at the bottom. (seen in the photo at the bottom of this post)

If you love the flavors in Indian food, check out the other recipes in the party theme: India Calling.

MAKES 66 BITES

PREPARE THE CHICKEN

2 1/2 LB chicken breasts

Trim chicken, and cut into bite-size cubes.

MAKE THE MARINADE

1 CUP yogurt
1/2-inch pc ginger, grated
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp ground coriander
2 cloves garlic, crushed in garlic press
1/2 tsp salt
juice from 1/2 lemon

Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl. Add chicken and marinate at least 1 hr in the refrigerator.

PREHEAT BROILER… MAKE THE KEBABS

marinated chicken
skewers

Thread chicken cubes onto skewers and place in a shallow baking pan. Cook under broiler for 5 min, flip, broil another 3 min.

GET OUT THE FOOD PROCESSOR… MAKE THE GINGER CHUTNEY

Create this chutney the day of the party. You will be using lots of ginger, so be sure to get a nice big piece. Makes 1.5 cups

juice from 4 lemons
3 TB turbinado sugar
9 oz ginger, cut into chunks
1 CUP golden raisins
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 TB pine nuts
4 medjool dates, cut into chunks
1 tsp salt

Put in all the ingredients and blend until smooth.

To serve

mint leaves, for garnish
chicken bites
fancy long toothpicks
ginger chutney

Take a mint leaf, top each chicken bite, skewer with toothpick. Put the ginger chutney in a bowl, and set the chicken bites inside.

Caramelized Brussels Sprouts Canape: Stuffed Mini Pitas with Paneer

Posted on: October 1st, 2014 by Ellen Swandiak

Brussels sprouts from your local farmers’ market are often sold still on the branch, you might want to get a few extra and use them in lieu of floral arrangements, they are so cool-looking. Though, I think it is best to make this flavorful Brussels sprouts canape to showcase their full potential.

Tip: Grating the Brussels sprouts makes them cook faster, and gives you more of the desirable crispy bits. Also makes it easier to stuff in the mini pitas. This recipe could also work as a topping on rice or as a side dish at a dinner party.

I included this recipe as part of our modern Indian cuisine theme. To make it Indian, we mixed the Brussels sprouts with tasty fried paneer and a yogurt sauce doused with Indian spices.

MAKES 30 PITAS

PREHEAT OVEN 500ºF… GET OUT THE FOOD PROCESSOR

1 LB Brussels sprouts

3 TB olive oil
s + p

Remove Brussels sprouts stems, cut in half. Grate in a food processor. In a large bowl, toss Brussels sprouts in oil, season with s + p. Spread out onto baking pan. Roast for 10 min on the oven’s top shelf. Check on it to make sure it does not burn.

FRY THE PANEER

coconut-canola oil
12 oz paneer, cut into 1/4-inch slices

Lightly grease a skillet with oil. Heat over medium-high heat. Add cheese, brown each side, about 1.5 to 2 min apiece. Cut each slice into 1/4-inch cubes. Toss with the Brussels sprouts.

MAKE THE YOGURT SAUCE

3/4 CUP plain yogurt
Juice and zest from 1/2 lemon
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

In a small bowl, mix ingredients together. If you use Greek yogurt, add a little water to thin out the sauce.

PUT IT ALL TOGETHER

mini pita breads, cut in half
yogurt sauce
paneer Brussels sprouts mixture

Put a little of the sauce into the cavity, fill with the paneer Brussels sproust mixture and top with a little more sauce. Line up on a long platter.

Shrimp Kebabs with Tamarind Glaze: Adding Fantastic Indian Flavors

Posted on: October 1st, 2014 by Ellen Swandiak

Looking for a special glaze on shrimp kebabs? I’ve come up with a fantastic party bite, starting with shrimp marinated in a tangy tamarind glaze, then set on wraps of lettuce leaves.  Makes for a sensational, light Indian-flavored hors d’oeuvre that you can eat with your hands.

The tamarind glaze can become a tool in your party roster. Think about its dramatic qualities as a marinade or sauce on many things. I could see it matching with grilled steak, pork, or chicken; used as a sauce over roasted squash or carrots; or even as a dip for egg rolls or fried wontons. I created this recipe as part of a menu a party plan of Modern Indian small bites meant to show off the vibrant flavors of Indian cuisine.

MAKES 28 BITES

MAKE THE GLAZE

2 TB coconut-canola oil
1-inch pc ginger, minced
2 cloves garlic, pressed in a garlic press
1 tsp ground cumin
1 TB tamarind paste
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 TB all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp pistachio oil

1 LB frozen shrimp (26-30 count), defrosted, peeled, tails removed

Mix all ingredients for the glaze in a bowl. Toss shrimp, coating each piece in the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour.

COOK THE SHRIMP

marinated shrimp
3 TB coconut-canola oil

1 TB date molasses
1 TB tamarind paste

exotic lettuce leaf, for wraps

Remove shrimp from the marinade. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook shrimp for 1.5 min each side. In a small bowl, combine the date molasses and tamarind paste. To serve, put each shrimp on lettuce leaf and drizzle with the molasses/tamarind mix.

Coconut Shrimp Appetizer with a Sweet-Hot Dipping Sauce

Posted on: September 1st, 2014 by Ellen Swandiak

Shrimp never tasted so good. Coconut shrimp is the perfect pairing of textures and tastes. This dish is very crowd pleasing, especially with the sweet dipping sauce. So, if you are having a big party, you might want to make double the recipe—I guarantee this will disappear immediately.

Cooking tip: Dipping in the egg twice when doing the coating makes it very thick, and the bite that much more substantial. Creating these will get messy. Best to use both hands, one for the egg part, one for the crumb part.

I thought this recipe would be perfect in my plan for hosting a Latin-themed party, whose flavors celebrate South American flavors and flair. See this link for more recipes and ideas.

MAKES 36 SHRIMP

PREHEAT OVEN 425ºF… PREPARE THE DIPPING STATIONS

5 eggs
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

1 CUP panko bread crumbs

1/2 CUP panko bread crumbs
1 CUP flaked coconut

Set up 3 shallow bowls: [1] Whisk eggs, salt, and pepper. [2] Panko. [3] Panko and coconut.

START DIPPING

36 shrimp, shells and tails removed

Dip shrimp in the egg mixture. Allow excess to drain off, dip in panko. Dip into eggs again. Let excess drain, dip into panko/coconut mix. Place onto baking sheet lined with parchment.

BAKE THE SHRIMP

Bake for 10 min, turn shrimp over, and cook for another 4 min until golden brown. Remove from oven, let cool. Stack shrimp around bowl of sweet hot sauce.

recipe

SWEET HOT SAUCE

This is a medium-kick spicy sauce. If you are looking for something with a more powerful sting, substitute one of the serranos for a habanero, or other spicy pepper. Consider splitting the recipe into medium and hot offerings. Best to stay in red or orange tones for the best color. This sauce goes with just about everything else on the menu, so put some out so people can help themselves. It’s drinkably good!

Makes about two 12 oz squirt bottles of sauce

3 red serranos, seeded, cut into 4 pieces
1 mango, peeled, cut into chunks
1 CUP white vinegar
1/4 CUP Filling Station coconut balsamic vinegar
1/2 CUP water
1/2 CUP Santa Cruz organic mango fruit spread
2 TB turbinado sugar

Add all ingredients to a blender and process until smooth. Run blender for a while to really liquefy. Strain through sieve and funnel into a squirt bottle, pushing mixture through with a spoon. Rinse sieve to get rid of gunk sporadically.

Cool plating idea: use a colorful plate and add an orchid to create a tropical feel.

Modern Latin Party Food: Chili-Infused Pork & Rum Pineapple

Posted on: September 1st, 2014 by Ellen Swandiak

In this modern Latin party food recipe, the chili spice mix is the secret ingredient that makes this dish sing. It adds a lovely color and intense flavor to the pork bites. I also suggest putting extra on the table, so your guests can sprinkle extra on at will.

Pair pork with pineapple, whose flavors have been enhanced by a complex rum and grilling. The decadence of the pineapple adds a sweet, juicy element to the lean pork. Your guests will be popping these in their mouths with joy!

See more recipes and ideas for hosting a fun and hot Latin party at this link.

MAKES ABOUT 50 BITES

MARINATE THE PINEAPPLE

6 oz Kracken rum
2 TB maple syrup
1 pineapple, cored and cut into 1-inch cubes

Gently heat rum and sugar to incorporate, about 2 min. Let cool. Marinate pineapple chunks in mix in the fridge.

MAKE THE CHILI SPICE MIX

Combines bitter annato seeds, some fiery aspects, and a touch of cinnamon. The flavors blend well with meats and could also work in some sweet dishes as well. To grind the spices, use a coffee grinder devoted to spice grinding, and be done in a jiffy.

Makes about 1/3 cup

1 TB annato seeds, crushed in spice grinder
1 TB pink peppercorns, crushed in spice grinder
1/8 tsp cayenne
1/4 CUP chili powder
1 TB onion salt
1 TB cinnamon

Use a mortar and pestle if you don’t have a spice grinder. Transfer crushed annato seeds and pink peppercorns to a bowl and mix everything together.

PREPARE PORK

1 LB pork loin
Chili Spice Mix

Cut loin into 3/4 inch-thick fillets. Rub spice mix all over.

PREHEAT OVEN 350ºF… COOK THE PORK

Heat up a skillet. Sear meat, about 3 min on each side. Move to a baking dish. Cook about 8 min. Let meat rest 5 min.

GRILL PINEAPPLE

1 TB honey

Baste pineapple chunks with honey. Sear on grill pan turning frequently.

TO ASSEMBLE

cooked pork
cilantro, torn into individual leaves
grilled pineapple pieces
Sweet Hot Sauce (optional)

Cut pork into 1-inch cubes. Place sprig of cilantro on top of pineapple bit, spear with toothpick, then stick into a piece of pork. Drizzle Sweet Hot Sauce over it.


Put this trio of sauces and spices on your table, so guests can add extra flavor to suit their palate. From the top: Aji Criollo, Chili Spice Mix (recipe above), Sweet Hot Sauce.