Saturday, December 17, 2011

Holiday Hors D'oeuvres

Here are a few ideas for your next holiday gathering. A few little nibbles to get the meal started off, all very easy and delicious. The Marinated Mushrooms are raw and tasty, use leftovers in a salad or sauté quickly to add to some grilled chicken or steak. The Goat Cheese with Lemon and Thyme was something I had at my friend Terry’s house once and is super easy and pretty. Any leftovers would be good in an omelet! Grilled Shrimp are always a crowd pleaser. If you don’t feel like grilling just quickly sauté them and serve with the complimentary sauces…one spicy and one cool.  You can choose the size of shrimp. Don’t go too small or too big, they should be a 1-bite deal. Crostini are one of my favorite party foods. You can top them with anything and they are easy to eat. One, standard sized baguette can yield about 45-60 crostini. I would count on 2-3 per guest. We are suggesting some nice toppers as well as a healthy twist with the cucumber in place of the bread for the Trout. You could also top a cucumber with a piece of sushi grade tuna, a bit of wasabi, pickled ginger and a drop of soy…YUM. The amounts are suggested for 6-8-ish servings but any of them can be easily doubled for more! Enjoy and Happy Holidays!!!

Marinated Mushrooms:
Serves 6-8 as an hors d’oeuvre
1 pound small cremini mushrooms
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons champagne vinegar
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/3 cup minced shallot
1 teaspoon dried tarragon
1 lemon, zest and 1 tablespoon juice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
Pinch of dries marjoram
Pinch of cayenne, optional

If there are larger mushrooms mixed in cut them in half or quarters to be uniform with the average size of your whole shrooms. Whisk together all the other ingredients. Add the mushrooms and allow to sit at room temperature for at least a few hours (or overnight in the fridge) stirring occasionally. Serve at room temperature.

Goat Cheese with Lemon and Thyme
 Serves 6-8 as an hors d’oeuvre
 4 ounces log of fresh goat cheese
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
2 tablespoons lemon zest
Extra Virgin olive oil for drizzling over the log
Fresh cracked pepper
Crackers to serve with

On a sheet of plastic wrap combine the thyme leaves and lemon zest in the shape of the cheese. Lay the goat cheese, topside down into the thyme and zest. Pull the plastic wrap up and around the log pressing the plastic wrap to the cheese to affix the thyme and lemon. When ready to serve, remove the wrap and place on serving plate. Drizzle with olive oil and top with some fresh cracked pepper. Serve with crackers.

Grilled Shrimp with Remoulade and Spicy, Smokey Cocktail Sauce
Serves 6-8 as an hors d’oeuvre
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon capers, chopped
1 teaspoon grainy or Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons chopped fresh chives
2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon dried tarragon
1 clove of garlic, minced
1/2 cup ketchup
1-2 tablespoons prepared or fresh grated horseradish
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons Worcestershire
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
Hot sauce, as many shakes as you prefer
Cayenne, pinch, plus more if you wish
Cracked black pepper

Heat a grill to medium. Toss the shrimp with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill on each side for about 3-4 minutes until they turn opaque.
To make the sauces, mix all of the ingredients until well combined and refrigerate until ready to serve. Place 1 shrimp on a toothpick and serve with the sauces.

Crostini: Pimento Cheese, Roast Beef, and Smoked Trout
Serves 8-10 as an hors d’oeuvre
1 baguette, sliced into 1/4 inch slices
Olive oil

Heat your oven to 375°F. Brush 1 side of the crostini with some olive oil. Toast in the oven until crisp and golden, about 10-15 minutes, flipping half way through the cooking time.

Warm Pimento Cheese Crostini
2 cups freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 a small Vidalia onion grated, about 1/4 cup
1/4 tsp salt
3 tablespoons chopped pimentos or jarred roasted red peppers
1/4-cup mayonnaise

Heat your oven to 350°F. Put all of the ingredients into the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade.  Pulse until blended to desired texture.  Should be a little chunky.  Spread on crostini and warm in the oven until melty and delicious. Serve immediately. You may have some pimento cheese left over…just refigerate and enjoy in some scrabbled eggs or on top of a burger!

Roast Beef, Brie, and Horseradish Crème Fraiche
12-20 slices top round roast beef about 1/4 #, (I used Boars Head Londonport)
1 small wheel of Brie (put the rest out on a cheese platter), sliced into thin wedges
1/4 cup very thinnly sliced red onion
1/4 cup crème fraiche
1 tablespoon prepared or fresh horseradish
pinch of paprika
parsley leaves for garnish

Combine the crème fraiche,horseradish, and paprika. Place 1 small wedge of brie on each crostini. Roll up the roast beef into a cylindar and place on top of cheese. Top with about a 1/2 teaspoon horseradish sauce. Place a few slices of red onion and  a parsly leaf on each one and serve.

Smoked Trout with Lemon Pepper Cream Cheese on Cucumber
1 hot house cucumber, sliced into 1/4 inch thick,  on the bias
4 ounces Smoked Trout, flaked
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
3/4 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
pinch of salt
Fresh chives, cut into 1/2 inch batons, for garnish

Combine the cream cheese, lemon juice, pepper, and salt in a small bowl. Spread a bit of the cream cheese on each cucumber slice, top with a bit of trout then garnish with a few chives. Serve cold.

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