Just a little ole working gal, who loves food

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Holiday Appetizer - Phyllo Puffs with Camelized Onions & Goat Cheese

Here is yet another handy recipe that can be prepared a week in advance and frozen. I always buy frozen Phyllo pastry...as making this from scratch would be a disaster...and a lot of work.
 First Caramelize 1 large Vidalia onion over low heat with a tsp of butter and 1/2 tsp olive oil. This should take about an hour...stirring every so often. Set onions aside and allow to cool. Defrost one package of Phyllo dough, keeping a damp clean cloth handy, brush one sheet of dough with melted butter and lay a second sheet over it. Wrap the rest of the dough in the damp cloth. Slice the sheets into long strips about 3 inches wide. On one end of the Strip add a Tsp of Onions and a sprinkle of Crumbled Goat Cheese. Fold over the strips crosswise until you have neat little triangles as shown below. Brush triangles with more melted butter. You can freeze these between layers of Parchment paper for up to one week.
 On the day of your party defrost the triangles by laying them out on a baking sheet for about 30 minutes. Then, bake at 350F for about 15-20 Minutes or until pastry is a nice golden brown.
These can be served warm or at room temperature. Lovely little pillows of goodness!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Holiday Party Recipe-Turkey Sliders with Brie and Cranberries

Today I am featuring another appetizer that can be started up to 1 week in advance. This saved me a tonne of time come party day...I only had to defrost the burgers, grill them, make the sauce and assemble. Took about 15 minutes total for a truly yummy burger!
 First you need to prepare the burger patties. I use about 1 Lb of Ground Turkey, 1 Onion, finely chopped, 2 Garlic cloves, minced, 2 Eggs, 1/2 Cup Panko Bread Crumbs, 1 Tbsp Dijon Mustard, 1 Tsp Soy Sauce, and a mixture of my favourite Spices (Dried Parsley, Red Chilli Flakes, Onion Powder, Garlic Powder, Salt and Pepper)
 Mix thoroughly and form patties slightly smaller than the palm of your hand.
 Arrange the patties on a parchment paper lined pan that you are able to seal. Freeze for up to 1 week.
 On the morning of your party remove the patties from the freezer and allow to defrost. Heat up your grill (I used my indoor grill) and grill until cooked through.
 While the burgers are grilling you can make your cranberry sauce. I used 1 package of fresh cranberries, 2 tbsp Orange Juice and a 1/4 Cup of Brown Sugar. Simmer until cranberries have broken down and the sauce starts to thicken.
 To assemble use small dinner rolls, sliced in half. Add your burger patty, some cranberry sauce and 2 slices of Brie Cheese. I stick the whole platter of completed burgers into the oven at 300F for about 5 minutes to allow the cheese to melt a little.
There you have it...Turkey Sliders with a little bit of Christmas flare!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Holiday Party Recipe-Bacon Wrapped Jalapenos

I have been making these babies for years now...obviously they are catered to people who enjoy a little spice in their life...but are usually a huge hit with everyone (With a large glass of eggnog!). They are also a great appetizer to make in advance and freeze.
 Wash about 20 fresh Jalapenos...the bigger the better.
 Slice the jalapeno in half...being careful to wear a pair of gloves...you do NOT want to touch your face after handling these.
Using a small spoon, scrap out the seeds and membranes from the jalapeno halves.
Spoon some softened cream cheese into the jalapeno halves. This was a huge one.
Next, wrap 1 slice of bacon around each jalapeno. If your jalapenos are on the small side then only use half a slice of bacon.
At this point I put all the prepped jalapenos in a sealed container and into my deep freezer for the week. Come party day morning I removed them from the freezer to defrost. 30 Minutes before guests arrive arrange the jalapenos on a broiler pan (the one with the slots in it for the bacon drippings to drip down into). Bake at 375F for 30 minutes or until bacon is super crispy.
Serve to your hungry guests!

Monday, December 19, 2011

5 Days of Holiday Party Recipes!

I hosted a holiday party this past weekend for about 40 guests. It was a mad flurry of cooking and baking for the whole week but well worth it! All the treats were well received and we barely have any leftovers (yay that they loved it...boo that there is nothing leftover for lunch today!). This week I will be posting a different recipe every day leading up to the main event.... CHRISTMAS!!

Hope you enjoy!

Chili Lime Shrimp

Super fast and easy, these were whipped up right when the guests started to arrive. They were also the first appetizer to go!

 Take one package of raw medium sized de-veined shrimp (about 24-30 pieces). Remove shells, rinse and lay on paper towel to dry.
 Next, make your spice mixture. 1/2 Tsp Salt,  1/4 Tsp Black Pepper, 1/8-1/4 Tsp Cayenne, depending how spicy you like it, 1/4 Tsp Dried Parsley, 1/4 Tsp Garlic Power, 1/4 Tsp Onion Powder, 1/4 Tsp Paprika, 1/8 Tsp Dried Thyme. Set this aside.
 In a large saucepan melt 2 Tsp butter on high heat.
 Add your shrimp and 1 clove of minced garlic. Saute to combine and add the juice of 1 Lime.
Once the shrimp start to turn pink and start to slightly curl add your spice mixture. Saute until shrimp are fully cooked and serve hot.
I garnished with a few lime wedges for presentation...a HUGE spicy hit!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Chickpea Lentil Curry

Last night I didn't feel like cooking...which was fine because all our meats were frozen solid in the deep freezer and after doing prep work for my family holiday party this coming weekend ALL.DAY.LONG. I was not in the mood to make anything too complicated (holiday party recipes to come next week!). This recipe is easy, tasty, and full of fibre and protein...exactly what I needed after a weekend of eating out at restaurants!

 Chop 1 Small Onion, 3 Garlic Cloves and about a Tsp of fresh Ginger.
 Saute the onion on medium high heat first in about 1 tbsp Olive oil until slightly translucent. At that point you can add the ginger and garlic. Saute for about a minute.
 Add 1 Can each drained and rinsed Chickpeas and Lentils to the onions.
 Add your spices. I like a lot of spice and heat so I add 1 tsp garam masala, 1 tsp yellow curry powder, 1/2 Tsp Tumeric, 1/2 tsp Cumin, 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper. Usually I add a little more garam masala later if I feel it needs some more spice. Stir in the spices.
 Add 1 Can fire roasted diced tomatos
 and 1 cup of vegetable stock. Turn down the heat to medium low and let simmer. This is when I put the basmati rice cooking...I let the curry simmer while the rice cooks.
When the rice is done (8-10minutes) the curry is ready too!
Serve the curry over the warm basmati and chow down. A super quick, healthy, yummy dinner!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Mexican Chocolate Tart

If you want a dessert that is sure to impress your guests (and all chocolate lovers), then you MUST try making a Mexican chocolate tart. The key to this tart is using good quality Mexican chocolate...or chocolate with chilli's. Don't worry...its not that spicy...but does have a slight zing when the chocolate is melting in your mouth! So good!

First start with your crust. Most chocolate tarts call for a chocolate wafer crust. I could not find chocolate wafers anywhere so opted for a graham cracker crust instead. Mix together 1 Cup of the crumbs with 2 Tbsp brown sugar, 1/2 Tsp Cinnamon, Pinch of Salt and 1/4 Cup Melted Butter. Press into a tart chell or pie dish and make in a 350F oven for about 10-12 minutes. Set aside to cool.

I had to go to a specialty food store to find Mexican Spiced chocolate...but I have seen Dark Chocolate with Chili at big box grocery stores as well. Both chocolates work well but the authentic Mexican Chocolate has a deeper flavour. You will need about 3 ounces of chopped Mexican chocolate and 4 ounces of chopped Semi-sweet chocolate. Set this aside. NOTE: If you cannot find Chili spiced chocolate anywhere just use all semi-sweet chocolate and add 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper to the mixture.
In a heavy bottomed pot bring 1 cup of heavy whipping cream to a simmer. Remove from heat.
Add the chocolate to the hot cream and whisk until all melted and combined.
Add 1/4 cup of unsalted butter in chunks and continue whisking slowly until combined into the chocolate.
Lastly, whisk in 2 Tsp Pure Vanilla Extract, 1 Tsp ground Cinnamon, 1/4 Tsp of Salt and a pinch of nutmeg.
Pour the chocolate filling into your cooled tart shell and chill until filling is set (about 1 hour)
Garnish and serve!