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e're right in the thick of the
winter holiday season. This
time of year I'm either host-
ing or attending parties, big and small.
Sometimes it's just a few of us around the
kitchen table with wine and some nibbles.
Other times, it's a fete, with dozens coming
and going, nibbling and sipping all night
long. Either way, whenever I ask (and I
always do) about what I can bring, I'm
often requested to provide a little some-
thing savory to share with the group. On
this week's menu are some of my favorites
— fallbacks that always please, some a
little more complicated, others taking min-
utes to prepare.
1 package (17 oz.) frozen puff pastry
(2 sheets), thawed
'/2 cup thinly sliced mild onion
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 red bell pepper, halved, seeded and
cut vertically into very thin slices
8 plum tomatoes, sliced into Y8-inch-
kosher salt and pepper to taste
16 fresh sage leaves
3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
10 oz. Chevre (or other soft goat
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
POTATO LEEK SOUP
Preheat oven to 425
degrees. Place the sheets
of puff pastry on a bak-
ing sheet with sides, and
press together and up
the sides of the pan to
create one large sheet
of pastry. Arrange the
onion, garlic, bell pep-
per and tomato slices
over the pastry. Season
the tomatoes with salt
and pepper, and arrange
the sage leaves over all. Drizzle with
olive oil, and sprinkle the Chevre and
Parmesan cheeses over the tarte. Bake
uncovered for 25 minutes or until the
pastry is golden. Remove from oven, cut
into squares and serve. Number of serv-
ings varies depending on how big you
cut the squares.
Serve in small mugs
or as soup "shots."
Most potato soups
contain butter and
cream or half-and-
half. This one uses
milk — a big sav-
ings in fat and calo-
ries. To turn this
into a more luxurious soup, try stirring in
some shredded cheese just before serving.
1 lb. leeks
1 cup chopped celery
1 /2 tsp. minced garlic
1 lb. peeled small white potatoes, cut
6 cups water
2 cups milk
salt to taste
white pepper to taste
'A cup fresh minced chives or scallions
Slice the whites and very pale green parts
of the leeks into thin rounds, or chop into
small pieces. Place the leeks in a colander,
and rinse them very well, separating the
rings (do not use the dark green parts).
Place the leeks, celery and garlic in a large
pot, and cover with water. Bring to a boil
over high heat, reduce heat to medium-high
and simmer for 30 minutes or until tender.
Add the potatoes, and add enough water
to cover them. Bring to a boil over high
heat, reduce heat to medium-high and
simmer for 30 minutes more, until the
potatoes are tender. Remove from heat,
and cool for 20 minutes or more.
Transfer the mixture to a food pro-
cessor or blender, and process or puree
until smooth (you will need to do this in
batches). Pour the soup back into the pot,
and stir in the milk, salt and white pep-
per. Heat the soup to boiling, reduce heat
to simmer and cook for 10 minutes more.
Adjust salt and pepper, and serve hot, with
minced chives or scallions sprinkled on
top. Makes 24 appetizer servings.
December 20 • 2012
3 baby lamb racks, cut into chops
1 cup soy sauce
V4 cup red wine vinegar
V4 cup olive oil
2 Tbsp. fresh rosemary leaves
2 tsp. fresh minced garlic
Ph tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 tsp. sugar
Marinate the lamb chops: Combine
all marinade ingredients in a bowl, and
whisk well. Add the chops, and, using
your hands, toss the chops in the mari-
nade to coat. Cover with plastic wrap, and
marinate for 2 to 12 hours.
Position your oven rack about 6 inches
from the top of the oven. Arrange chops
on a broiler pan or on a rimmed baking
sheet. Broil the chops about 3-5 minutes
on each side for medium-rare. Let stand
for 1 minute before serving with pan
juices. Makes about 24 chops.
An appetite for appetizers.
1 French baguette, cut into thin slices
1 cup finely shredded Monterey Jack
1 cup chopped artichoke hearts
(canned is fine)
V4 cup mayonnaise
V4 cup fmely chopped scallions or
1 tsp. dried parsley flakes
1-2 tsp. fmely minced jalapeno pep-
pers (to your taste)
kosher salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brush
baguette slices with olive oil, and
arrange the slices on a baking sheet.
Bake until the edges of the bread are
golden and remove from oven.
Meanwhile, combine topping
ingredients. Spoon the topping on
top of the browned toasts. Season the
toasts lightly with salt and pepper.
Return toasts to the oven, and bake
until the cheese is melted and the top-
ping is hot. Serve warm or at room
temperature. Makes 24-30 crostini.
1 lb. zucchini
1 tsp. salt
1 /2 cup flour
(more if needed)
canola oil for
salt and pepper
Line a baking sheet with several layers
of paper towel. Set aside.
Wash zucchini, and cut off the ends but
do not peel. Grate zucchini into a bowl.
Combine zucchini, salt (up to 1 tsp.),
eggs and flour, and stir well. Heat Ys-inch
of oil to very hot in a large skillet over
medium-high heat. Make a test fritter by
dropping a Tbsp. of the mixture into the
pan and cooking until browned on both
sides. Drain well on the prepared baking
sheet. Taste for seasoning (add more salt
and pepper to mixture to taste). If the frit-
ter is perfect, continue with the recipe.
If the fritter is too loose and doesn't hold
together, add more flour. Prepare the
remaining fritters as above.
Do not cover with foil; chill uncovered
until ready to serve, and reheat at 325
degrees until hot. Serve hot, warm or
at room temperature, with sour cream
if desired. Makes about 12-20 fritters,
depending on size.
APPLE AND DRIED-
1 medium apple (your favorite vari-
ety), unpeeled, seeds removed and cut
into 2-inch chunks
'/2 cup dried cranberries
'/2 cup chopped dried apricots
'/2 cup apricot jam
3 Tbsp. fresh lemon
3 scallions, cut into 2-inch pieces
Y2 cup cilantro leaves
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. lime zest
Y2 tsp. (or more to taste) hot red pep-
per sauce (like Tabasco)
salt to taste
Combine all ingredients in the bowl of a
food processor, and pulse to chop. Adjust
salt to taste. Transfer to a serving bowl.
Serve with tortilla chips, as a topping for
brie or as a side for the zucchini fritters
or chicken skewers in this column. Makes
about 3 cups of salsa.
2 lbs. bone-
less and skinless
Y2 cup fresh
1 /4 cup fresh
2 Tbsp. honey
1 Tbsp. canola or other vegetable oil
1 Tbsp. soy sauce or tamari
1 Tbsp. minced garlic
2 tsp. minced gingerroot
1 tsp. kosher salt
Y2 tsp. cayenne pepper
freshly ground black pepper to taste
Soak 24 6-inch or longer bamboo skew-
ers in water for 1 hour up to overnight. Set
Cut chicken into 1-inch cubes, and
transfer to a medium bowl.
Combine marinade ingredients in a
medium bowl, and whisk well. Add the
chicken to the bowl, and toss well. Cover
the bowl with plastic wrap, chill and allow
the cubes to marinate for 2 to 8 hours.
Thread 3 chicken cubes on each skewer,
and arrange the satays on a baking sheet
with sides. Place the top rack of the oven
about 6 inches from the heating element.
Preheat oven to broil, and broil the satays
for about 5 minutes (do not overcook).
Serve the satays warm or at room tem-
perature. Makes 24 skewers.
All recipes © Annabel Cohen 2012;