Sunday, November 15, 2009

Recipes, included....

The last cooking class, "Holiday Appetizer Party", was just that...a party!

Lots of great appetizers, wine pairings and's what you missed:

Bleu Cheese Torte, Sweet and Hot Asian Wings and Cocktail Nuts - Three Ways. We had something for any kind of party from fancy to casual. will find the recipes below and yes, they are as simple as they sound and you can make all of them ahead of time so you can spend the party with your guests and not your kitchen!

FYI...our wine pairings were: Las Rocas Garnacha 2007 with the torte, Pacific Rim Riesling 2007 with the wings and Prosecco with the nuts.

Next month's class is Puff Pastry: Sweet and Savory on December 10. We'll also do more appetizers!

Bleu Cheese Torte

1 cup bread crumbs (I use Japanese Panko)
1 cup finely chopped walnuts
3 tbsp melted unsalted butter

1 lb bleu cheese, at room temperature
1 lb cream cheese, at room temperature
4 eggs
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tbsp minced fresh rosemary
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a food processor, combine bread crumbs, walnuts and melted butter and process until well combined. Press mixture into the bottom and partially up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Set aside.

In a mixing bowl, combine cheeses and mix until smooth. Add the eggs, one and a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition. Add the garlic, rosemary, salt and pepper and combine well. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 45 minutes to an hour until the cake is golden brown and not loose in the center.

Transfer to a cooling rack and allow to cool at least 30 minutes before serving.

Slice thinly with a sharp knife, arrange on a platter and serve.

Accompaniments, if desired: dried fruit, caramelized onions, baguette slices

Sweet and Spicy Asian Chicken Wings
Serves 10 – 12

3 – 4 lb. chicken wings, wing tips removed, split in half
¼ cup Lovera’s Italian Grill Rub (or your favorite spice mixture)
2 – 3 tbsp canola oil

½ cup sweet chili sauce
3 tbsp fresh lime juice
3 tbsp ketchup

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Place prepared chicken wings in a large bowl. Toss with oil and spices. Arrange in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast for 45 minutes until crisped and golden.

In a large sauté pan, mix the sauce ingredients and allow to warm until bubbling over medium to medium low heat. When wings are cooked through, add to the sauce ingredients, increase heat to medium and cook wings in the sauce until glazed, approximately 15 minutes. Turn wings onto large platter and serve.

Accompaniments, if desired: sliced cucumber spears and celery sticks

Cocktail Mixed Nuts - Sweet and Savory Three Ways
For all recipes, preheat oven to 350°F.

Recipe 1 – Sweet and Savory Spiced Nuts
3 tbsp sugar
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground cumin
¾ tsp kosher salt
1 large egg white
2 cups pecan halves
2 cups walnut halves

Lightly oil a rimmed baking sheet.
Combine spices in a small bowl and set aside. Whisk egg white in a medium bowl until frothy, then stir in nuts. Add spice mixture and toss to coat.

Spread in one layer on the baking sheet. Bake, stirring once or twice until dry and toasted, about 20 minutes. Pour nuts onto foil and allow to cool completely.

Recipe 2 – Sweet and Salty Nuts
2 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
½ cup sugar
1/3 cup light corn syrup
1 tbsp kosher salt
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
4 cups walnut and pecan halves

Generously butter a rimmed baking sheet.
In a large bowl, combine sugar and corn syrup with salt and pepper and stir well. Add nuts and stir until well combined. If it is very sticky and hard to stir, microwave on high for 30 second intervals until it loosens and will pour easily onto the baking sheet. Bake for about 25 minutes, stirring twice or more until golden and bubbly. Pours nut mixture onto foil and allow to cool completely. Break apart and serve.

Recipe 3 – Spiced Herbed Nuts
3 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tbsp light brown sugar, packed
1 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
1½ tsp chopped fresh thyme
2 tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
¼ tsp freshly ground pepper
2 cups pecan or walnut halves

Spray a large rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray.
In a medium sauté pan over medium low heat, combine all ingredients except nuts, Cook stirring frequently until butter and sugar melt completely about 2 -3 minutes. Add nuts and toss well to combine.
Spread nuts on the baking sheet and bake about 15 minutes stirring once or twice until golden and fragrant. Turn out onto foil and cool completely.

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