Appetizers can get your party or dinner started right.
Special to the Jewish News
nce again, the holiday
season is here. As we're
invited to parties or
playing host to business and social
acquaintances, there's the ubiqui-
tous question: What to prepare?
The old-fashioned cocktail
party is back. Technicolor cock-
tails, nibbles and small plates take
the place of the full meal.
There are few rules when it
comes to hors d'oeuvres. Just
serve enough and with variety to
make the menu interesting.
Most men, for example, like
protein — fish, chicken, meat.
Choose an "anchor" dish — cold,
sliced beef or kebobs will turn fin-
ger foods into enough for a meal.
Women, though, like vegetables.
If your appetizers precede a
meal, then make just a few. Don't
repeat appetizer flavors at dinner.
If your appetizers ARE dinner,
be sure you serve enough. Adding
a salad to the table is a good idea.
Fig Walnut Brie
2 pound (or 1 kilo) brie
8 oz. fig jam
1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts,
Place brie on a serving plate
and cut a 4-inch wedge from one
side. Arrange this wedge on top
of the remaining brie. Spoon the
jam over the brie wedge and over
the cut brie (allow the jam to
drip over the cut area of the brie).
Sprinkle toasted walnuts over and
serve the brie with gourmet crack-
ers or sliced French baguettes.
Makes 20 or more servings.
Chicken Bites With
Dried Cherry Sauce
1 pound ground chicken
1/2 cup bread crumbs (Panko
1 large egg
1/2 cup finely chopped onions
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh
2 tsp. Asian sesame oil
2 tsp. sesame seeds, optional
I tsp. salt
December 7 2006
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
11/2 cups chicken broth
1 tsp. balsamic vinegar
1 tsp. hot pepper sauce, such
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup sweetened dried
Preheat oven to 350E Spray a
baking sheet with sides with non-
stick cooking spray. Set aside.
Combine all chicken ingredi-
ents in a large bowl and use your
hands to mash them together.
Using wet hands, form the mix-
ture into 1-inch-diameter meat-
balls and arrange them on the
baking sheet. Bake for 12 minutes
(do not overcook).
Whisk together the brown
sugar and cornstarch in a medium
saucepan over medium-high heat.
Add the broth, whisking until the
mixture is smooth. Add the vin-
egar, pepper, salt and cherries and
bring to a boil. Reduce heat and
simmer the sauce, stirring occa-
sionally, for 15 minutes. Remove
from heat and cool.
Serve the chicken bites with
toothpicks and sauce on the side.
Makes about 2 dozen appetizers.
Spicy Asian Eggplant
Asian or Chinese eggplant is lon-
ger, thinner and a brighter purple
than the dark, heavy eggplant we
usually see in the markets. The
flavor is mild and sweet and the
skin is quite thin. If you can't find
this type of eggplant, use any
type. This is a large recipe and can
be eaten different ways — as a
topping for bread or spooned over
a salad as a first course.
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
1/4 cup chicken broth or
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup chopped scallions,
white and green parts
8 cups 1/2-inch cubed Asian
I cup white wine, any type
1 tsp. minced garlic
11/2 Tbsp. peeled, minced
1 Tbsp. hot pepper sauce,
such as Tabasco
2 tsp. hoisin sauce
2 Tbsp. white-wine vinegar
3 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. brown sugar
1 red bell pepper,
I tsp. sesame oil
2 Tbsp. sesame seeds,
Salt to taste
Crackers, pita wedges or sliced
baguette, to eat with the eggplant
Dissolve the cornstarch in the
broth or water. Set aside.
Heat oil in a large nonstick
skillet or wok over high heat
until very hot. Add the scallions
and eggplant and stir-fry 3 to 5
minutes, or until it is tender and
browned. Transfer the eggplant to
a bowl and set aside.
Add the garlic, gingerroot, pep-
per sauce, hoisin sauce, vinegar
and wine to the same skillet or
wok and stir-fry the mixture for
30 seconds. Add the soy sauce,
brown sugar, cornstarch mixture,
bell pepper, and the eggplant and
stir-fry the mixture for 1 minute,
or until the eggplant has absorbed
nearly all the liquid. Add sesame
oil and seeds, season with salt.
Transfer to a serving dish and
serve hot, warm or cold with
breads and crackers.
Hot Smoked Salmon
1 package (8 oz.) cream
114 cup freshly grated
1/4 cup minced scallions or
1 tsp. dried dill
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
8 oz. lox or smoked salmon
1/2 cup sliced almonds
Preheat oven to 350E Combine
all ingredients, except almonds, in
the bowl of a food processor and
pulse several times until mixed
but not mashed into a paste (the
salmon should be chunky).
Spread the mixture in a 1-
quart ungreased glass or ceramic
baking dish (or glass pie dish).
Sprinkle with the sliced almonds
and bake for 20-30 minutes, until
very hot and bubbly. Serve with
small pumpernickel breads or
gourmet crackers. Makes 12 appe-
Parmesan Poppy Crisps
Serve these alone as an appe-
tizer or as part of another recipe.
11/2 cups fresh grated fresh
1 Tbsp. poppy seeds
3/4 cup flour
4 Tbsp. cold unsalted butter,
cut into pieces
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
Place the cheese, poppy seeds
and flour in the bowl of a food
processor. With the motor run-
ning, add the lemon juice and
water, a few drops at a time, until
a dough forms around the blade.
Add the poppy seeds and pulse
until just combined. Cover the
dough in plastic wrap and chill for
one hour or more.
Preheat oven to 350E Line two
baking sheets with parchment
paper or silicone baking sheets.
Lightly flour a clean surface.
Cut the dough into two pieces and
roll with a floured rolling pin to
1/4-inch thickness. Use a round
cookie cutter (2-3 inches in diam-
eter) to cut the dough into rounds.
Place the rounds on the prepared
Bake for about 1 2 minutes, until
the edges are golden around the
edges. Allow the crisps to cool
and dry on the baking sheet until
completely cold. Store for up to
2 weeks in an airtight container.
Makes 3-4 dozen crisps.
Smoked Trout Toasts
With Horseradish, Goat
1 French baguette, cut into
1 pound smoked trout, skin
and bones removed
Alfalfa spouts, garnish
Ground black pepper garnish
1/3 cup sour cream
1 tsp. dried tarragon
1/4 cup prepared horseradish
4 oz. goat cheese, such as
1/2 cup whipping cream
Preheat oven to 350E Arrange
the baguette rounds on a baking
sheet and bake them for 10 min-
utes, until lightly colored. Remove
from the oven and allow the toasts
to cool. Set aside.
Place the trout, sour cream and
tarragon in a medium bowl and
mash with your hands or a fork
until combined. Set aside or chill
until ready to use.
Make the sauce: Combine all
sauce ingredients in a small bowl
and stir well.
Assemble the toasts: Place a
teaspoon of the trout mixture
on a bread round. Sprinkle with
black pepper and spoon a bit of
the sauce over the trout. Top with
a sprinkling of the alfalfa sprouts.
Repeat with remaining ingredi-
ents. Makes about 36 appetizers.
Seared Tuna With
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 Tbsp. rice vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil
Wasabi to taste
(start with 1/2 tsp.)
1 I-pound tail-end piece Ahi
tuna fillet (available at
specialty and Asian markets)
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
Fresh ground black pepper
Pickled ginger, garnish
(available at Asian markets)
Make vinaigrette: Combine all
vinaigrette ingredients in a jar
with lid and shake well.
Brush tuna with oil and sprin-
kle with salt and pepper. Heat
large skillet over high heat.
Add tuna to skillet; brown on
all sides, turning occasionally,
about 6-10 minutes, to your liking.
Transfer tuna to a plate and refrig-
erate, uncovered for 30 minutes.
Transfer tuna to a cutting board
just before serving. Thinly slice
tuna crosswise and arrange in
a starburst pattern on a serving
dish. Drizzle a third of the vinai-
grette over tuna and serve, with
ginger and remaining vinaigrette
on the side. Makes 8-10 servings.
For more recipes: JNonline.us .