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Sunday Small Bites Archives

September 6, 2009

Sunday Small Bites #1: SHRIMP

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For my shrimp appetizer, I made "Morton's Steakhouse Shrimp Alexander" from copykat.com. Here is the recipe:

4 oz. melted butter or margarine
Prepared bread crumbs (see below)
1 lb. jumbo shrimp (8-12) to the pound
1 C. plain bread crumbs
2-3 tsp. finely minced shallots
2 tsp. finely chopped parsley
1 1/2 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh garlic
Salt and pepper to taste
Prepare bread crumbs by combing plain bread crumbs, shallots, parsley, and garlic. You may wish to add some salt and pepper to taste. Preheat oven to 500. Shell and devein shrimp; butterfly. Dip shrimp in butter (butter should be warm, not hot) then in bread crumb mixture.
Place on cookie sheet which has been sprayed with a butter-flavored spray. Cook 6-8 minutes.

Instead of adding the shallots and garlic to the breadcrumbs, I added it to the butter when I melted it. I used panko instead of breadcrumbs. Easy and delicious!

For a dipping sauce, I used 1/2 c. mayo, 1 T. soy sauce, and zest from one large lemon (2 Tablespoons of zest). Stir together and dip those shrimp!

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September 13, 2009

Sunday Small Bites # 2: Crab

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I have always wanted to make crab and cream cheese wontons. I ordered them once in a restaurant, and thought they were delicious. After a little research, I found most recipes are actually called "Crab Rangoon".

I used this recipe for Crab Rangoon:

Instead of triangles, I folded my two ends over like tortellini. For my dipping sauce I used 3 T. of cranberry-orange honey with 1 T. of Hoison sauce.
(Or a mixture of 1 T. of cranberry or plum preserves with a T. of orange marmalade with 1 T. honey)

The other half of my stuffed wontons are in the freezer.

September 20, 2009

Sunday Small Bites: #3: Sun Dried Tomatoes

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As many of you know, I am not a huge tomato fan. This year (after continually trying), I have added small, sweet, baby tomatoes to what I will eat. Sundried tomatoes are not an ingredient I ever cook with, so this week's recipe was a bit of a challenge. On the other hand, I will eat almost ANYTHING if there is enough cheese in it! That is how I "invented" my recipe for Asiago Cheese Tart. I tweaked and changed a recipe (Better Homes and Gardens: "Appetizers") that was for a hot dip (Asiago Cheese Dip) made in a crock pot.

First of all, I don't have a crock pot/slow cooker, nor do I have any interest in one. I am home most of the time, and can do slow cooking in my oven, or in a lovely pot on my stove. I understand the convenience for working families, but it is the LAST kitchen gadget I want to find storage for. Anyway, I decided, if I could cook this dip in a crock pot, then I could bake it in the oven or even in a tart shell. So I did both!

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1/2 cup chicken or beef broth mixed with 1/2 cup water
3-4 oz. sundried tomatoes
16 oz. sour cream
1 cup asiago cheese, grated
3 oz cream cheese, cut into small pieces
3/4 cup mayo
1 cup sliced baby bella mushrooms
3 green onions, chopped
1/2 cup crumbled bacon

Bring broth and water to a boil in a small pan. Remove from heat. Add dried tomatoes, and let sit for 5 minutes. Drain, disgarding liquid, dry and chop tomatoes.
Combine all ingredients, stirring well. Place in baking dish and bake for 1 hour at 375 degrees. Serve with toasted baguette slices.

OR...blind bake a tart shell or pie crust. Spread baked dip in tart shell and bake an additional 15 minutes.

This would make a great small bite cut in smaller wedges, but we had it for dinner with a spinach-peach salad with passionfruit dressing.

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September 27, 2009

Sunday Small Bites #4: Avocado

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I have NEVER eaten an avocado. If we go to a Mexican restaurant, I specifically ask that no guacamole touch my plate. Brad went to the store, chose, cut and tasted this avocado. He will also be the one who eats the results.

Avocado Mousse: From The Book of Appetizers by June Budgen

1 ripe avocado
1 T. gelatin (one envelope)
1/2 cup cold water
1 T. lemon juice
1 t. salt
2 t. cream

4-5 small tartlette molds

In a small saucepan, sprinkle gelatin over cold water. Let moisten. Over low heat, stir gelatin/water for a few minutes until gelatin dissolves. Set aside.

In a food processor, puree avocado, lemon juice, salt, and gelatin. Add cream and blend until smooth. Pour mixture into molds. (I lightly sprayed my molds) After several hours, unmold on plate (I tapped edges, but recipe also says you can dip mold in hot water to loosen geletin.) and garnish as desired.

October 4, 2009

Sunday Small Bites #5: Goat Cheese

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I kept it quick and easy this week. It was a delicious result I took to a friend's house on Saturday.

Figs with Goat Cheese:

4 oz. goat cheese, softened
3 T. lemon honey
zest from one lemon
crumbled pistachios for garnish

Combine goat cheese, honey and lemon zest. Spread or pipe mixture on to fresh fig halves, and top with crumbled pistachios. YUM! Fresh and easy!

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October 11, 2009

Sunday Small Bites #6: Smoked Salmon

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Marcia chose this week's ingredient: Smoked Salmon. I made a very simple version of deviled eggs with cream cheese, garnished with smoked salmon and dill.

Creamy Deviled Eggs with Salmon:

8 hard boiled eggs
2 oz. cream cheese
2 t. yellow mustard
1/4 c. mayo
salt and pepper to taste
smoked salmon
fresh baby dill

Peel and cut hard-boiled eggs in half and scoop out yolks into bowl of food processor. Add cream cheese, mustard, mayo, and pulse until smooth and creamy. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Pipe or spoon egg mixture into egg white "shells". Garnish with smoked salmon and fresh baby dill.

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October 18, 2009

Sunday Small Bites # 7: PECANS

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I really enjoyed finding a recipe for this week's ingredient chosen by Sheri. I love the sweet taste and texture of pecans, and always keep a bag in my freezer. I decided to make ice box crackers with pecans and gorgonzola. These are great with a glass of wine. WARNING: Do NOT bake these when you are hungry. The scent in your kitchen will be amazing!

Blue Cheese-Pecan Icebox Crackers
Recipe from:Martha Stewart's HORS D'OEUVRES Handbook

2 oz. (3/4 c.) pecan halves
3/4 c. all purpose flour
4 T. very cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
3 oz. blue cheese, crumbled

Heat oven to 375. Place the pecans on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until fragrant, 3 to 5 minutes. Let cool. Transfer pecans to the bowl of a food processor and pulse until finely ground.

Combine flour and ground pecans in bowl of food processor. Pulse briefly to combine. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the cheese (I used gorgonzola) and process until dough comes together and is well combined.

Transfer dough to a clean work surface, and shape dough into a 2 inch wide log. Wrap the log in plastic wrap, and chill for at least 24 hours.

Heat the oven to 325. Slice the well-chilled dough into 1/4 inch thick slices. Transfer slices to a baking sheet, and bake until crackers are golden brown and firm in the center (25-35 minutes). Mine took 28 min. Transfer to a rack to cool. Store at room temp in an airtight container.

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October 25, 2009

Sunday Small Bites #8: PUMPKIN

This week, Deborah chose a seasonal ingredient of pumpkin. I love pumpkin, especially in savory dishes, (not big on pumpkin pie). I made pumpkin-polenta bites, and pumpkin-peanut butter soup.

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In a 9x13 pyrex baking dish, stir together:

6 c. water
1 1/2 t. salt
1 1/2 c. polenta

Bake at 350 for 40 minutes.

Stir together and then add to polenta:

1 can pumpkin (NOT pie filling)
1/2 c. sour cream
3/4 c. parmesan cheese

Using an offset spatula, spread mixture into a jelly roll pan, or rimmed baking sheet. Top with 2 c. grated gruyere, cver with foil, and chill for a few hours, or overnight.
When polenta is set, using a biscuit cutter, cut rounds and place them on a clean cookie sheet. Top each with a fresh sage leaf, and place under the broiler until cheese melts.

*If you leave mixture in the original 9x13 pyrex, bake it another 15 minutes with the gruyere and some parmesan on top, you have a great side dish. It goes well with chicken, turkey, and pork!

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Pumpkin- Peanut Butter Soup: (Adapted from The New Basics Cookbook by Julee Rosso & Sheila Lukins)

4 T. unsalted butter
4 c. canned pumpkin
2 c. pureed roasted sweet potatoes
2/3 c. smooth peanut butter
6 c. chicken broth
1 t. salt
1 t. black pepper
sour cream/ fresh chives for garnish (optional)

Roast sweet potatoes, and let cool enough to scoop out flesh.

Melt butter in soup pot over medium heat. Stir in pumpkin, sweet potatoes and peanut butter.

Add chicken stock, salt and pepper, and stir well until smooth. Reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes. Blend with immersion blender.

Before serving, garnish each bowl with sour cream and/or chives.

November 1, 2009

Sunday Small Bites #9: Olives

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I really despise olives, ALL KINDS of olives, but, alas, my friend, Jerry chose olives as this week's ingredient, and I love Jerry to pieces, so after looking at olive recipes for months, I finally came up with something I thought I could stand to make. I do love the taste of olive oil, thank goodness!

This is based on a recipe from Martha Stewart's Hors D'Oeuvres Handbook. The recipe makes 4 logs of dough. I put the olives (that I pitted myself without gagging) into 2 of the loaves. Brad will eat them. : )

Lemon, Pistachio and Black Olive Biscotti

2 1/2 c. flour
1/4 t. freshly ground black pepper
2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. kosher salt
8 T. (one stick) unsalted butter, chilled and cut in small pieces
2 T. olive oil
2 large eggs
1/2 c. milk
zest of one lemon (original recipe uses orange zest)
1 c. (8 oz) pistachios
1 c. (8 oz) oil-cured black olives, pitted, and finely chopped
1 large egg, lightly beaten with 1 T. water and a pinch of salt for egg wash

Place flour, pepper, baking powder and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer. Combine on low speed. Add butter and beat until mixture resembles coarse meal.

In a small bowl, whisk together eggs, olive oil and milk. Gradually pour milk mixture into the dough until just combined. Add zest, pistachios and olives. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface.

Grease a baking sheet with olive oil. Divide dough into 4 equal parts. Roll each into a log measuring 1 1/2 " by 7 " long. Transfer logs to prepared baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and chill at least 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350. Brush each log with the egg wash. Bake 30-40 minutes, until light brown, and firm to the touch. Transfer logs to a wire rack to cool, about 30 min. Reduce oven temp to 250.

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Using a serrated knife, cut logs crosswise on a long diagonal into 1/4" pieces that are 3-4" long. Arrange slices (cut side down) in wire rack set over a baking sheet, and bake turning biscotti once during baking about 40 minutes until crisp.

Cool completely, and store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.

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November 8, 2009

Sunday Small Bites #10: Mushrooms

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Everyone had so much fun last week with olives, I decided to go all out and do mushrooms THREE ways. I LOVE all kinds of mushrooms, but used only portobello or baby bellas for these recipes. Thank you, Candi, for choosing mushrooms!

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I. Portobello and Brie Cups (from www.Pillsbury.com)

1 package (6 oz) fresh portabella mushrooms
2 tablespoons butter
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/4 cup sliced green onions (4 medium)
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
* I added 3 slices crisp crumbled bacon
1 can (8 oz) Pillsbury® refrigerated crescent dinner rolls
3 oz Brie cheese

DIRECTIONS
1. Heat oven to 375°F. Spray 24 miniature muffin cups with cooking spray. Clean and finely chop mushrooms.

2. In a skillet, stir mushrooms, butter and garlic. Cook and stir over medium heat 5 to 6 minutes or until butter is absorbed and mushrooms are tender. Stir in onions and mustard.

3. Unroll dough; separate into 4 rectangles. Firmly press perforations to seal. Cut each rectangle in half lengthwise; make 2 crosswise cuts to form 6 squares of dough from each rectangle. Press 1 square of dough into each muffin cup, letting corners stand above top of each cup. Spoon about 1 tablespoon mushroom mixture into each cup.

4. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until light golden brown. Meanwhile, cut Brie into 24 pieces. Remove cups from oven. Place 1 piece of Brie over mushroom mixture in each cup.

5. Bake 2 to 4 minutes longer or until cups are golden brown and cheese is softened. Cool 5 minutes; remove from muffin cups. Cool slightly before serving.

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II. Portobello Pate (from Better homes and Gardens: Appetizers 2009)

8 oz. portobello mushrooms
2 T. butter
1/4 c. dry white wine (I used dry Sherry)
1 8 oz. package cream cheese, softened
2 T. butter, softened
1 1/2 t. snipped fresh rosemary
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 t. salt
1/4 t. white pepper
Toasted baguette slices

Clean mushrooms, and finely chop. In a large skillet, heat 2 T. butter over medium heat. Cook mushrooms about 5 minutes until tender, and most of the liquid has evaporated. Add wine, cook 2 minutes more. In a medium bowl, combine mushrooms, cream cheese, softened butter, rosemary, garlic, salt and pepper. Beat with an electric mixer until nearly smooth. Cover and chill 3-24 hours. Serve on toasted baguette slices. Store in fridge for up to a week.

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III. Grilled Portobellos with Gorgonzola

I've been making these for years! Spray a baking sheet. Slice portobellos (or leave them whole, rounded side down, as a side dish). Brush mushrooms with olive oil. Sprinkle with crumbled gorgonzola. Broil for 4-5 minutes.

November 15, 2009

Sunday Small Bites #11: GINGER

I chose this week's ingredient: GINGER. I love the taste of fresh ginger, and thought it would be interesting to see what people came up with for appetizers. I tried two different combinations of tastes. The first are curried lamb spring rolls with a ginger dipping sauce: The lamb spring rolls were delicious, especially with the tangy dipping sauce,

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Ginger dipping sauce: Stir together:

1/2 c. ginger preserves
1/2 c. Chinese plum sauce
1 T. soy sauce

Spring roll filling:

1 T. olive oil (or sesame oil)
1/2 onion, finely chopped
3/4 c. baby carrots, finely chopped
1" piece of fresh ginger, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 T. soy sauce
1 t. curry powder
1/4 t. salt
1/4 t. black pepper
1/2 lb. ground lamb

10 spring roll/egg roll wrappers
1 egg, beaten
peanut oil for frying

Cook ground lamb in a skillet. Drain and place lamb in a bowl. In a clean skillet, heat oil, and add onion, carrot, ginger and garlic. Saute for about 4 minutes. Add soy sauce, curry powder, salt and pepper. Remove from heat, and toss with cooked lamb in bowl.

To assemble spring rolls, place about 1/4 c. filling near a corner of the spring roll wrapper. Fold corner nearest filling over top. Fold two diagonal corners in, and wrap toward corner opposite where you started. Seal edges of last corner with your finger dipped in beaten egg. Repeat until all filling is used. Makes 8-10 spring rolls. Chill until ready to fry.

Heat peanut oil in a saucepan. Add the spring rolls, 2-3 at a time, and fry evenly for about 1 minute, turning once, until golden brown. Drain on a brown paper bag.

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I also made a ginger-marinated shrimp appetizer adapted from a recipe in Better Homes and Gardens Appetizers, 2009. Here was my way of using their ingredients:

16 large shrimp in shells (about a pound)
1 t. orange zest
3 T. orange juice concentrate
1 t. olive oil
1 t. grated fresh ginger
1 clove garlic
1/8 t. salt
1/8 t. cayenne pepper
16 fresh sugar snap peas
2-3 oranges, peeled, seeded, and sectioned
16 fresh pineapple chunks

1. Peel and devein shrimp, leaving tails on.
2. Place shrimp in a resealable zip lock bag in a bowl. Add zest, juice, oil, ginger, garlic, salt, cayenne pepper to bag. Seal bag and toss gently. Marinate for 1-2 hours in the fridge.
3. Steam pea pods for 2-3 minutes. Rinse with cold water and drain.
4. Set oven rack 4-5 inches from the heat, and preheat broiler. Broil shrimp for two minutes, turn over and broil other sides for an additional 2 minutes.
5. Skewer shrimp, pea pods, and fruit.

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November 22, 2009

Sunday Small Bites #12: CRANBERRIES

I chose this recipe from Ocean Spray for "Cranberry-Gorzonzola Appetizer Tart". This sounded good, and I had all the ingredients except the fresh cranberries and their recommended tart shell using a refrigerated pie crust. Well, there were two "firsts" for me! I bake LOTS of pies and tarts, and have NEVER before used a prepared pie crust. I was curious. The second new experience was to chop fresh cranberries. I have made fresh cranberry sauce, cranberry relish, etc., but always cooked the cranberries whole. This recipe said to chop them. I had never seen the INSIDE of a fresh cranberry!

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Back to the pie crust. I know many use these all the time. I have to say, though quick and easy, I thought it was disgusting! Maybe the package I got was not typical, but it shredded, (yes, it was room temp), cracked, and did not brown evenly. My tart shell had holes and cracks in the bottom, and I didn't like the fragrance of it when baking. It is truly the ugliest tart I have ever made, and I wouldn't serve it to anyone but Brad and myself.

That said, I proceeded with the recipe, as the filling was ready to go in my mixer. I kept thinking, "What a waste of good gorgonzola!" I was also concerned about using fresh cranberries, when there was nothing in the recipe to sweeten them. When it was done and cooled, I was afraid to take it out of the tart pan. Remember those cracks and holes? I cut it and served it straight from the pan. No pretty serving plate, not a company dish, right? Just a taste.

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How did it taste?

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I cut us each a 1" square. We both spit it out. The cranberries were bitter, and overpowered even the gorgonzola! Ocean Spray may know a lot about cranberries, but we thought this was inedible! There rest went here:

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This recipe might work with dried cranberries, skip the green onion, and make a real crust! I am not saving the bookmark.

November 29, 2009

Sunday Small Bites #13: POTATOES

I enjoyed finding something new and small to do with potatoes. This makes enough filling for 24 red creamer potatoes.

Preheat oven to 350. Brush potatoes with olive oil and bake them for 45 minutes. Remove from oven. I baked them in muffin tins. Meanwhile, prepare filling.

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Combine all ingredients:

1/2 lb. crab meat
3 oz. cream cheese, room temp
1/4 c. sour cream
1 c. grated gruyere
1 green onion, chopped
1/4 c. parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste

When potatoes are still hot, cut off a slice, about 1/4-1/3 of the way across each potato horizontally. Scoop out some potato with a melon baller.

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Fill with 1 T. of filling. Put stuffed potatoes back in muffin tins, and bake until filling is warm and begins to brown. Place pans under broiler for last 2 minutes before serving.

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Thank you to Maria for choosing potatoes for us to "play with" this week!

December 6, 2009

Sunday Small Bites: # 14: BRIE

I decided to keep it simple, as I was in the middle of 20 dozen sugar cookies on Brie Day! Here is all you need for this appetizer:

1 wedge of brie
4 T. melted butter
8-10 sheets of phyllo dough, thawed
Red Pepper Jelly

Slice the brie wedge in half horizontally.

Layer phyllo dough with melted butter on a cookie sheet.

In the center of the phyllo, spoon red pepper jelly on the bottom of the brie, then replace top half of brie.

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Wrap the "jelly sandwich" with the phyllo, as if wrapping a present.

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Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes. Last minute or two, stick the brie under the broiler to completely brown top.

Serve by itself, or with crackers or apple wedges.

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January 6, 2010

Sunday Small Bites # 16: Eggplant

Roasted Eggplant Dip based on a recipe from Barefoot Contessa

2 eggplant, peeled, and cut into 1" cubes
2 red bell peppers, seeded, and cut into 1" pieces
1 red onion, cut into 1" chunks
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 t. sea salt
1/2 t. freshly ground black pepper
4 T. olive oil
2 T. tomato paste

Preheat oven to 400. Cut eggplant, red pepper and onion, and place in a large mixing bowl. Add olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper and toss.

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Place veggies on a sheet of parchment paper on a baking sheet, and roast for 45 minutes until eggplant is soft and starting to brown.

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Let veggies cool for a few minutes, then place them in bowl of food processor with metal blade. Add tomato paste, and puree, leaving some chunks. Serve warm or at room temperature with pita chips.

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