Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Holiday Appetizers using Food Storage and Beyond

I'm teaching a class today on how to make some fabulous appetizers using food storage and some things you grow or get fresh. So, I thought I'd be a doll face and share the class notes with you. Doll face. Well. That just brought a vision to my head of my face...but plastic with fake freckles. Many of these recipes use my Homemade Cream Cheese, the tutorial is here on my blog, but you can always use store-purchased cream cheese as well. 

Here's what we did today.  I covered:
  • Hot Appetizer Ideas
  • Dips, Salsas, Cheese-balls
  • Food Presentation
  • Food Safety
Hot Appetizer Ideas

The sweetness of the field fresh corn coupled with the lightly salty taste of fresh shrimp or crab is almost too deliriously delicious! Serve this warm as a nibble before a meal. You'll find it to be a light refreshing touch.

Chef Tess Steamed Corn Custard 

with buttered Crab or Shrimp

For custard

For crab topping
  • 1/2 cup king crab meat OR ½ cup shrimp (fresh preferred, but canned will work)
  • 1 tablespoon Powdered Butter 
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives

Special equipment: 4 (2-oz) ceramic or glass ramekin

Make custard:
Pulse corn in a spice blender or mill until a powder. Add cream, 1/2 cup water, egg powder and salt. Whisk well and divide among 4 ramekins. Steam custards in a steamer set 1 inch above simmering water, covered with lid, until centres are set and a thin knife inserted into center of 1 custard comes out clean, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove ramekins from the steamer with tongs and cool custards slightly.

Make crab topping while custards cool:
Coarsely chop 1/2 cup crabmeat or shrimp meat. Heat meat in a lightly oiled skillet. Add the powdered butter about 2 minutes. Stir in chives. Serve custards topped with crab or shrimp.
I'm not going to lie. It's amazing. A-freeeeakin'-Mazing!

Now. The Quiche. Quiche me you fool. You've heard all the puns before huh?

The classic addition to any appetizer section... There must be mini-quiche. So, this is fun recipe that you make in mini muffin cups. I sometimes skip the bottom crust all together and just put a mini Ritz cracker on the bottom of the pan. It works perfectly!

Mini Quiche


Directions: Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Combine cracker crumbs and melted butter. Divide crumbs among mini muffin tins that have been sprayed with a nonstick cooking spray. Combine onion and butter powder and divide evenly on top of cracker crumbs. Beat eggs, milk, salt, pepper, and cheese. Pour by spoonfuls on top of onions in tins. Do not fill to top, as they will run over. Bake until set, about 15 to 20 minutes. Do not over bake. May be stored in refrigerator or freezer. Warm in oven before serving.

Orange Ginger BBQ Chinese Chicken Wraps
  • 2 cups Freeze Dried Mushroom, hydrated and drained well
  • 3 cups Freeze Dried Chicken, hydrated and drained well
  • 2 tablespoons light coloured oil, such as vegetable oil or peanut oil
  • Coarse Real salt and coarse black pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped (or 2 tsp dry garlic)
  • 1-inch ginger root, finely chopped or grated, optional
  • 1 orange, zested (dry zest use 1T, pulverized to a powder)
  • 1 small tin, 6 to 8 ounces, sliced water chestnuts, drained and chopped
  • 3 tablespoons hoisin, Chinese barbecue sauce, available on Asian foods aisle of market
  • 1/2 large head iceberg lettuce or romaine lettuce, core removed, head quartered (romaine just leave whole)
Wedges of navel orange -- platter garnish

Directions Preheat a large skillet or wok to high. Add oil to hot pan. Add chicken to the pan Add mushrooms and cook another minute or two. Add salt and pepper to season, then garlic and ginger. Cook a minute more. Grate zest into a pan, add bell pepper bits, chopped water chestnuts and scallions. Cook another minute, continuing to stir fry mixture. Add hoisin Chinese barbecue sauce and toss to coat the mixture evenly. Transfer the hot chopped barbecued chicken to serving platter and pile the quartered wedges of crisp iceberg lettuce alongside. Add wedged oranges to the platter to garnish. To eat, pile spoonfuls into lettuce leaves, wrapping lettuce around fillings and squeeze an orange wedge over.

Cold Appetizer Dips, Salsas and Cheeseballs

Italian White Bean Dip with Toasted Pita Chips

  • 2 cups cooked cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup olive oil, plus 4 tablespoons
  • 1/4 cup (loosely packed) fresh Italian parsley leaves
  • ¼ cup loose packed basil leaves
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 pitas
  • 1 tsp Chef Tess Romantic Italian Seasoning
Directions Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place the beans, garlic, lemon juice, 1/3 cup olive oil, and parsley in the work bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the mixture is coarsely chopped. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Transfer the bean puree to a small bowl. Cut each pita in half and then into 8 wedges. Arrange the pita wedges on a large baking sheet. Pour the remaining oil over the pitas. Toss and spread out the wedges evenly. Sprinkle with chef Tess Romanic Italian Seasoning. Bake for 8 to 12 minutes, or until toasted and golden in color. Serve the pita toasts warm or at room temperature alongside the bean puree

Chef Tess Sweet Corn and Avocado Salsa 
This recipe uses the bounty of the garden along with some amazing Freeze dried vegetables.
Yield: 2 to 3 cups

  • 1 ripe avocado, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 15 oz can dice fire roasted tomato, drained
  • 1 ½ cup Freeze-dried corn, hydrated
  • 1 cup cooked black beans or White beans, well drained
  • ¼ cup freeze-dried onion 
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced (for a hotter salsa, leave the seeds in)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (2T dehydrated)
  • Coarse salt (kosher or sea) and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp Chef Tess Fajita Seasoning
1. Place the avocado in the bottom of a nonreactive mixing bowl and gently toss it with 3 tablespoons of the lime juice. Spoon the tomato on top of the avocado.
2. Add the corn kernels to the mixing bowl. The salsa can be prepared to this stage up to 2 hours ahead. Refrigerate it, covered.
3. Just before serving, add the jalapeño and cilantro to the mixing bowl and gently toss to mix. Taste
for seasoning, adding more lime juice as necessary and season with salt and pepper to taste; the salsa should be highly seasoned.

Chef Tess French Onion Dill Dip Mix

1 cup Freeze-dried diced onion
½ cup Sour cream powder
½ cup dehydrated butter
1T granulated garlic
2T dill
1T black pepper
Directions for the mix: In a dry skillet, place the freeze-dried onion. Cook over medium heat 4-5 minutes until brown but not burned. Allow to cool. Combine all ingredients. Yield 3 cups mix.

To make dip: Combine: 3T onion dip mix, 1 cup sour cream, ¾ cup mayonnaise (May use fat-free varieties). Chill at least 3 hours. May add bacon, or freeze-dried cheddar cheese, etc.
Chef Tess Sundried Tomato Dip

1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained and chopped (8 tomatoes)
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup yogurt (unsweetened)
1/2 cup mayonnaise
10 dashes, hot red pepper sauce
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 scallions, thinly sliced (white and green parts)
2 tsp Chef Tess Romantic Italian Seasoning
Directions Puree the tomatoes, cream cheese, sour cream, mayonnaise, red pepper sauce, salt and pepper in a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Add the scallions and pulse twice. Serve at room temperature

Chef Tess Pineapple Cheese Ball
yields 2 average cheese balls

Allow cream cheese to soften to room temperature. In a large bowl combine all ingredients whipping well, about 2 minutes. Scrape cheese mixture out of bowl and form into 2 balls. Put on a plate cover with plastic or a glass dome thingy. Chill in the fridge 2-4 hours before serving. I think it's best after 24 hours.

I'm not going to lie. Ace ate an entire batch of this appetizer on his own! I always know when I have a winner! This one is a great balance of savory and sweet with a light salty tang from the goat cheese. You will find it to be a fast favorite in your family. 

Chef Tess Crostini with Goat Cheese and Garlic-Apple Chutney

For Chutney:

For Crostini:

  • 1 French-bread baguette, cut into 1/3 inch thick slices
  • olive oil
  • 12 ounces soft fresh goat cheese 
Directions: Combine all chutney ingredients in a non-reactive half gallon pot with a heavy bottom and simmer 10-15 minutes until apples are hydrated and the mixture is thick like a jam.
To make Crostini: Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Arrange baguette slices on baking sheet and brush with olive oil. Bake until golden and crisp, about 8 minutes. Spread each toast with goat cheese. Top with chutney.

Appetizer Table Presentation (you have to really be at the class to get this section)
  • Height and Depth
  • Color
  • Floral
  • Points of Interest
  • Table Coverings
Plated Appetizer Presentation (you have to be at the class to see the details here.)
  • Color
  • Sauces
  • Height
Some Words on Food Safety
  • Hot food hot. Cold food cold. Period. When you are throwing a party or serving appetizers to anyone, it is very important that food be kept at a cool temperature (below 40 degrees) if it's a cold food. Hot food should be kept at 165 degrees or warmer. Use ice beds on your table. A large bowl full of ice, covered with green leaf lettuce, kale or fruit and the dips in the ice. It will add height to your buffet and allow food to remain safe to eat. For hot food, use burners or keep on hot stoneware insulated well. Watch how long food is left out.
  • When in doubt, throw it out! If food is left at room temperature for longer than 2 hours, it is best to just throw it away. You don't want to risk food born illness.
  • Social Status in the Fridge. When making food platters, always put meat platters at the bottom of the fridge, veggie and fruit platters above meat. This will keep meat from dripping any juice on the veggie or fruit trays.
There you go!

Always My Very Best,
Your Friend Chef Tess

1 comment:

Priya's Feast said...

Luvly post..Glad to follow ur space..happy new year to you