Bite Sized Beef Wellinton

We could call this a special treat to enjoy when watching so much television during this stressful time but I will just tell you they are sooooo yummy. Here goes and I am sure you will make it again and again.

  • 1 carton mushrooms
  • 1 shallot, cut in half
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 350 g ground beef
  • 1 1/2 tsp. fresh thyme, chopped
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 sheets frozen butter puff pastry, thawed
  • 1/3 cup duck or liver pate’
  • 1 egg

In food processor, pulse together the mushrooms, shallot and garlic until finely chopped.

In a nonstick skillet, melt the butter over a medium temperature and cook the mushroom mixture until the shallot has softened (about 4 minutes). Now add the beef, 1/2 tsp. of the thyme, salt and pepper, cooking until the beef is no longer pink.

Pour in the wine, and cook stirring until no liquid remains (about 3 minutes).

Scrape into a bowl and let cool down to lukewarm. About 30 minutes. On a lightly floured surface, unroll 1 sheet of the pastry and cut into 16 squares. Press 1 square into each of a 16 mini muffin pan wells, leaving a bit on an overhang.

Spoon 1 tbsp. of the beef mixture into each well, top each one with pate and fold the overhang over the top of the filling.

Whisk the egg in some water and lightly brush over the pastry and now sprinkle the remaining thyme over the tops and bake in a 425 degree oven.  Run a knife around the edges to remove them easily from the pan. Serve warm.

 

 

Year Of The Pig Celebration Dumplings

It is not too late to make these and celebrate the New Year. Read it through and  you will see that it is not intimidating.

  • 1 pkg. won ton wrappers

Filling

  • 1/2 lb. ground pork
  • 1/4 lb. shrimp, peeled, deveined and minced
  • 2 water chestnuts, finely chopped
  • 1 scallion, finely chopped
  • 1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 tsp. white wine
  • pinch of garlic powder

Sauce for Dipping

  • 4 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 4 tbsp. rice wine vinegar

 

Make sure the won ton wrappers are at room temperature.

Combine the ingredients for the filling in a bowl and let rest for about 30 minutes.

Lay out 1 wrapper. Place 1/2 – 1 tbsp. filling on the wrapper. Fold the ends toward the middle and pinch to seal. Set aside on parchment paper. Continue until all the filling is used.

Combine the ingredients for the dipping sauce in a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Remove from the stove and cool to room temperature.

In a large frying pan, add a few inches of water. Place the dumplings in one layer in a
Chinese steamer. Place covered steamer in the frying pan and steam for 4-5 minutes or until cooked through.

Serve with the dipping sauce. Makes a great appetizer for 7-8 people.

 

*If you have a wok, that would be super as well to use.

Salmon and Lime Cakes

What a wonderful new appetizer to serve family and company alike. It is so tasty and fresh. Serve with a colourful chilled salad, warm rolls and a chilled glass of your favourite brew.

 

  • 1 potato peeled
  • 1 can of canned salmon, drained, bones and skin removed
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 tbsp. finely chopped pickle
  • 1 cup panko crumbs
  • 2 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp. freshly squeezed lime juice
  • zest from lime
  • pinch of pepper

Place the potato in a pot with water and boil until tender. Drain well and mash.

Add the salmon, stir in the eggs and pickle. Season with a pinch of pepper. Form into 6 equal patties. Roll in the panko crumbs to coat.

Heat a fry pan over medium heat, add 1 tbsp. oil and cook half of the salmon cakes. Cook until golden, a couple of minutes each side. Repeat with the remaining cakes. Serve warm with a salad, roll and beverage. Oh my Mama! This is so good.

Warm Olives and Chorizo Sausage Appetizer

We have a few friends who are olive crazy (you know who you are) and this should really tickle their fancy. Okay, that would also include my husband. Try it and you will see for yourself.

 

  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 5 oz. chorizo sausage, sliced thin
  • 1 cup Kalamata olives
  • 1 cup brined black olives
  • 1 cup large pitted green olives
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tsp. hot pepper flakes
  • 1/2 navel orange,  peeled and segmented, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp. julienned sage leaves
  • 1 tbsp. grated lemon zest

In a large frypan, heat the oil over a medium heat and add the sausage, cooking for about a minute, stirring to ensure even cooking.

Add all the ingredients EXCEPT the orange and sage leaves, stirring and cooking for about 4 minutes.

Stir in the orange slices and sage leaves, cooking only until the orange starts to break down and is heated through. Remove from heat, cover and let stand for about 8-10 minutes.

Serve warm with a sprinkling of the lemon zest, cocktail picks and napkins.

Mussels With Fresh Corn, Wine and Cilantaro

This would be a refreshing Appetizer to surprise your guests when they come for dinner. Try it and you will enjoy it as well.

  • 1 tbsp. butter
  •  1/2″  lemongrass piece, smashed
  • 3/4 cup leeks, cleaned well and thinly sliced
  • 1 jalapeno chili, diced, seeds removed
  • 1 tbsp. grated garlic
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  •  2 cups fresh corn kernels
  • 1 – 1 1/2 cups whipping cream
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • 2 lbs. fresh mussels
  • 1 tbsp. finely chopped cilantro
  • 1 Crusty loaf of bread

The first thing to make is your sauce. Heat a 5 quart casserole over medium heat and peel off the first 2 layers of the lemongrass and smash a little to release the juices. Add to the pot with all the leeks. Next add the chili and cook until the leeks are tender. This should take about 5-6 minutes.

Add the grated garlic and cook for just a minute. Now add the wine and cook until the liquid has reduced by one half.

Add the corn and cream to the pan, season with the salt and pepper and simmer only for about 5 minutes or until the corn is tender and the sauce will coat the back of a spoon. Set aside.

In a blender, remove close to one half of the sauce and process  until just at the chunky stage and return it the pot. Add the mussels and cook for about 6-8 minutes, making sure to shake the pot occasionally.

Remove any mussels that have not opened up and discard. Portion the mussels equally into bowls and spoon the extra sauce  over the mussels. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve with crusty bread.

Yup, you did it again!

Pear Beginnings

We all want to ‘up the ante’ when company is expected. For a perfect appetizer, make this one up. Everyone will want the recipe and you can smile and then run to the kitchen to pat yourself on the back.

  • 1/2 cup pecan halves
  • 1 tsp. butter
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. paprika
  • 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • light pinch of salt
  • 2-3 large Bosc pears, washed, pat dry
  • 1 tbsp. water
  • 3 large endives, trimmed
  • 4-5 oz. Balderson’s aged cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lay the pecans on a baking sheet and toast for only 5 minutes. Remove from the oven.

Transfer the nuts to a frying pan and add the butter, sugar, paprika, cayenne and salt. Toss until the butter and sugar melt and the seasoning has covered all the nuts. Remove to a paper towel to cool down. Chop the nuts up and set aside.

Now grate the pears, making sure to remove the seeds, core and stem. Heat a frying pan . Add the pears. Add the 1 tbsp. water and cook for about 3 minutes. Remove from heat, drain any excess liquid and let cool.

Peel the leaves off the endive and set out on a platter. Place a spoonful of the pears on each leaf and top with the chopped pecans and crumbled cheese.

Serve immediately with a glass of chilled……

 

Cauliflower Panna Cotta Topped With Salmon Roe

This is a little ‘over the top but with Easter coming in the not too distant future and summer entertaining in the forefront, this will put you in a class all by yourself (head of the Class). One thing is you can change the cauliflower colour from white to buying the purple or green type and showing off even more. Let’s go.

 

  • 1/2 head Cauliflower
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 2 cups really cold whipping cream
  • 1 tsp. unflavoured gelatin
  • fine sea salt
  • 1 oz. salmon roe
  • freshly ground white pepper

Cut the cauliflower into small pieces and place in a pot. Add the butter and just enough water to cover the cauliflower. Cover and over medium heat bring to a simmer until very tender. Drain well and puree the cauliflower in a food processor.

Place the cream in a small pot, sprinkle the gelatin over the top. Let sit about 5 minutes and then bring to a simmer. Simmer long enough to dissolve the gelatin. Let cool to room temperature then gently combine with the cauliflower puree. Do not whip it. Now press this through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl. Season with salt and pepper.

This should be served in shot glasses or cordial glasses. Place about 20 of them on a tray, fill each glass and then cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for a minimum of 1 hour.

Remove the glasses from the refrigerator when ready to serve, top with a small dollop of salmon roe and serve on a pretty platter while still cold.

I know and if you are smart, you should blush with all the compliments being showered on you. Serve with a perfectly chilled white wine.

Shrimp And Scallops in Limes

I know…who would think it at this time of year? Well, entertaining is a great task to take on and this will simply put  you at the top of the heap. Ready?

 

  • 3 large limes
  • 3/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tsp. fresh grated ginger
  • 1/2 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/3 cup white wine
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • 1 lb. medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1/2 lb. scallops

Wash the limes and pat dry. Cut in half lengthwise, squeeze out the juice and measure 1/2 cup.  Scrape out the pulp and set aside.

In a large skillet, heat 2 tbsp.  oil and add the garlic and ginger. Saute until golden and add the remaining oil, lime juice, wine, salt and pepper. Add the shrimp and scallops cook, stirring constantly fro about 4-5 minutes.

Spoon the mixture into the lime shells (be sure to scrape out the pulp first).  Garnish with some lime zest and add a beautiful salad.

 

 

 

Cheese Biscuits With A Bite

If there was one major draw back for me (and my waistline is proof)  it would be a great biscuit. To me it is like biting into a cloud, so I am going to share this with you. See? I’m so ….uh, don’t finish that statement.

 

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tbsp. baking powder
  • 1/3 cup shortening, cold
  • 3/4 cup milk (approx.)
  • 1 cup grated cheese (yellow or white cheddar)
  • 3-4 drops of hot sauce
  • egg wash

Mix the dry ingredients and cut in the shortening until pea size crumbs.

Add the hot sauce to the milk and now add most of the milk, stir to mix (do not over mix). If needed, add a bit more milk to make a soft dough. Stir in the cheese.

Knead on a floured surface 10-12 times.

Form into a large ball and pat lightly out to make a ball that is 1/2 inch thick.

With a floured cutter, cut into triangles and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Brush with the egg wash and bake for about 12-15 minutes until golden brown on top.

Serve warm with butter and a pot of fresh coffee. Invite a friend over to share….or not!

Stacked Potato Latkes With Smoked Salmon and Cream

What a delightful appetizer to serve on a special occasion i.e. Easter perhaps?

 

  • 3 medium sized  russet potatoes
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup finely minced yellow onion
  • 1 large egg, whisked
  • 1 tsp. minced fresh dill
  • 1/2 tsp. grated lemon zest
  • pinch each of salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup olive oil, plus a little extra
  • 1/2 lb. thinly sliced smoked salmon
  • 1/2 cup whipped plain cream cheese
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges

Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Place a wire rack on a baking sheet and slide into the oven. Line a plate with a paper towel and set aside.

Peel the potatoes and grate by hand using the larger holes of the hand grater. Transfer to a bowl of cold water with lemon juice as they are grated. Drain really well in a colander and spread out on a large, clean tea towel along with the minced onion.

Roll the towel up jelly roll style and wring out as much of the water as possible. Place in a large bowl and add the egg, lemon zest, salt and pepper.

Using a heavy bottomed fry pan (cast iron?) and heat 2 tbsp. olive oil until shimmering. Working in batches of 4, ladle 2 tbsp. each of the potato mixture into the hot pan, pressing each one into 2 inch rounds. Cook until the undersides are golden (approx. 5 mins.). Gently flip and continue to cook another 5 minutes.  Both sides should be golden in colour, crisp and fully cooked.

Remove as they are done and[place on the paper towel to absorb the excess oil. Transfer to the wire rack to keep warm while you continue cooking the other latkes. You should have enough mixture to make 16 latkes.

Stack 4 latkes on each plate, top with 2 oz. of the smoked salmon and a generous dollop of the whipped cream cheese. Garnish with lemon wedges and serve with a crisp cold salad.

 

Super Bowl Third Quarter Meal

I, like the rest of the world, seem to be interested in the Super Bowl beit the game or just the commercials,  but this may help you get through the day with the least amount of work.

 

Mini Grilled Cheese and Ham Pumpernickel Sandwiches

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 tbsp. finely chopped fresh sage
  • 32 cocktail size pumpernickel bread slices
  • 1 cup coarsely grated Havarti cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 8 thin slices of ham, each cut in half

Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Pour half in a small bowl and set aside. Add sage to the remaining butter in the saucepan and stir for 30 seconds.

Arrange 16 slices of the bread on a clean surface and brush lightly with the sage butter. Mix together the cheeses and divide among the slices.

Fold half slices of the ham to fit over the cheese.

Top with remaining bread, pressing to adhere. Brush the tops of the sandwiches lightly with the butter. Heat a large fry pan on medium heat and place four sandwiches, butter side down in the pan and grill until golden (4-5 minutes). Brush the top of the sandwiches with butter and turn over, cooking until the cheese melts, about 3-4 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and cut in half. Repeat with the remaining sandwiches.

Serve with a Chipotle Spiced Tomato Soup – recipe follows.

 

Chipotle Chili Tomato Soup

  • 2 x 28 oz. can of whole tomatoes in juice
  • pinch of cumin seeds
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tsp. freshly grated fresh ginger
  • 1 small chipotle chili, finely chopped
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp. white sugar
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

In a blender or food processor, puree the tomatoes with juice. Set aside.

Heat a large saucepan over medium heat and add the cumin. When they begin to sizzle, add the oil, onion, garlic and ginger. Saute until the onion is soft (4-5 minutes).

Stir in the chipotle, chicken stock, sugar, salt and pepper to taste. Simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally for 20 minutes. Working in small batches, transfer soup to a blender and process until completely smooth. Serve in small cups with the mini cheese sandwiches and you just scored a touchdown.

Yahoo! Yummy.

Chicken Skewers With Lemon Yogurt Sauce

This spiced chicken is served with a the velvety sauce and is spectacular. Don’t miss out. Make it and everyone will be looking for more.

  • 2 tbsp. coconut oil
  • 1 tsp. grated lemon zest
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tbsp. chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • pinch of cayenne pepper (2 if  you are braver)
  • 12 oz. chicken breasts, boneless and skinless
  • pinch of salt

In a bowl, whisk together the oil, lemon zest, paprika, parsley, garlic and cayenne.

Cut the chicken crosswise into 1/2 inch strips and add to the oil mixture and toss to coat completely. Thread onto wooden skewers (ones you have soaked in water for an hour).

Place on an greased foiled lined baking sheet. Broil 6  inches from the broiler until no longer pink inside (it should take about 5 minutes). Season with salt and serve with the delicious Lemon Sauce below.

 

Lemon Yogurt Sauce

 

1 cup Greek yogurt

1 tbsp. chopped parsley

1/2 tsp. grated lemon zest

1 tsp. lemon juice

pinch each of salt and pepper

 

Line a sieve with cheesecloth set over a bowl. Spoon in the yogurt and let drain in the refrigerator for an hour.

In a bowl, whisk together the yogurt, parsley, lemon zest and juice, salt and pepper.

Serve with the chicken skewers and people will be licking the Lemon Yogurt bowl clean. Simply a great Appetizer to set out.