Thursday, December 15, 2011

Holiday Hors d’oeuvres

Here's my December column from the Petaluma Post:

Have you been asked to bring an hors d’oeuvre to a friend’s party, or are you planning a houseful of family?  This year I put together a collection of recipes to help with your party plans.  I specialize in catering but know that it is not right for every event.  Maybe you are just having a couple of friends over or you want a few minutes in the kitchen to play.  This set is created for the busy person to be able to make without dedicating the a big piece of the day to the kitchen.

Pesto Pine Nut and Parmesan Pin Wheel
These pinwheels are one of our most popular hors d’oeuvres.  They are great to do ahead of time; you can roll and freeze for up to 30 days.  Another great combination for this time a year is to substitute cranberry and blue cheese!

vegetarian and kid friendly - Yields 36
3 sheets puff pastry
1 c thick pesto
1 c grated parmesan cheese
1 c pine nuts
1 egg

Lay puff pastry out to thaw
Combine pesto, pine nuts and parmesan to create a paste
Divide and spread between the three sheets, leaving 1” lip
Whisk egg with 2 T water, brush on lip of puff pastry
Roll pesto inside sealing at the lip
Place in freezer 2-3 hours to firm up, wrap and store up to 3 weeks
Remove from freezer allow to soften 10-15 minutes till you can slice without smashing
Place on baking sheet, 2-3” apart
Bake at 350 till golden brown

Yam Rounds with Hummus and Caponata
These are a recent addition to our menus.  Yam rounds are a great stepping off point for a gluten free hors d’oeuvres and can be vegan too!

Vegan – Yields 36
2 lbs garnet yams, approx 1” in diameter
2 T olive oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 C prepared Hummus or Chèvre
1 C prepared Caponata or Tapenade
Wash yams, leave skins on
Cut ¼” thick sliced
Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper
Lay out single layer on a cookie sheet
Bake at 350 for 15 minutes, turn and bake approx. 10 more minutes
They should be golden brown but tender
Allow to cool
Top with 1 t Hummus or Chèvre
Finish with ½ t Caponata or Tapenade

Fudge Puff Tarts
This is a great quick sweet bite that you can keep handy to make anytime

Special equipment: 2 mini cup cake pans
2 sheets puff pastry
1 c sweet and condensed milk
1 c chocolate chips
2 T butter

Cut puff pastry into 1½” squares
Press lightly into cup cake pans
Melt butter, stir in chocolate chips till melted, add in sweet and condensed milk
Place approx. 1 T per tart
Bake 350 for 20-25 minutes till golden

Spiced Candied Nuts
These are too good to keep the extra around the house.  Fortunately they make a great gift with the addition of a little packaging.

Serves 10 to 12
1 lbs any kind of nuts
2 C sugar
2 C water
1 T cumin
2 t salt
2 t paprika

Bring water and sugar to a boil
Add nuts, bring to a boil and boil for 7-10 minutes
Drain completely
Place nuts in a bowl add in seasonings (you can get creative)
Toss to mix
Lay out on a lightly oiled cookie sheet
Bake 15-20 minutes till golden and crunchy, stirring a couple of times

Olive Cheese Pull Apart Bread
1 Bag of Fresh Pizza Dough, approx. 12 oz
1 c olive tapenade or roasted red peppers
1 c pizza blend cheese

Allow pizza dough to warm to room temperature
Place on lightly floured surface
Gently press to approx. ½” thick
Dust to remove excess flour
Use a pizza wheel or bench scraper cut dough into ¾” pieces or smaller
Place in mixing bowl with toppings
Toss lightly
Place in baking containers, mini muffin, muffin, bundt or loaf pan
Allow to rise 45 minutes
Brush top lightly with butter before baking
Bake appropriate to container (12-15 min for mini, or 35-45 min for loaf)

Rosemary Roasted Grape Focaccia with Blue
1 Bag of Fresh Pizza Dough , approx. 12 oz
1 c crumbled cheese, blue, feta or chèvre
1 large sprig rosemary
  c grapes cut in half
¼ c olive oil
Salt and pepper

Allow pizza dough to warm to room temperature
Very lightly oil a baking sheet
Turn pizza dough out on to baking sheet
Gently work till it covers the entire sheet
Allow to raise 45 minutes lightly covered
Using your fingers dock the dough lightly
Toss grapes with rosemary and olive oil
Sprinkle generously over dough
Finish with crumbled cheese and salt and pepper
Bake 15-20 minutes till golden


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