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Swanky Appetizers?

Posted by nigel-bigel (My Page) on
Mon, Apr 8, 13 at 12:15

As usual, I'm here at the Cooking Forum for great entertaining ideas, because you always design a great menu!

I am hosting my book club this Friday and we are reading a book about the super high-end real estate market in NY. I'd like the food to kind of continue in that theme, so I want to serve "swanky" food. The problem is that the swankiest thing I can think of is caviar, but I don't like caviar! I'll probably make cheese straws because while they really aren't swanky, when I was a child I thought they were really special - so, I guess, they are fancy to me!

What says swanky food to you?

Nicole


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Swanky Appetizers?

For both swanky and trendy, roasted bone marrow on toast rounds or anything with pork belly.


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RE: Swanky Appetizers?

I still consider oysters on the half shell to be a special appetizer.

/tricia


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RE: Swanky Appetizers?

Smoked salmon, shrimp, scallops, Brie.


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RE: Swanky Appetizers?

fois gras on a thinly sliced, fresh crostini

salmon tartare on homemade crackers with sour cream and capers

escargot


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RE: Swanky Appetizers?

Here is my recipe for homemade crackers, which I think are very fancy because you get to serve them very fresh, and this makes a big difference. I've posted the recipe before, but not more than two other people have made this that I know of. It is a fancy version of New York Flatbread, and you could serve it with a lot of different toppings to go with it.

Lars' Flatbread

Ingredients

1-1/3 cups water (lukewarm)
2 tbsp dried malt extract (or 1 tbsp sugar)
1 tbsp dry yeast (or one package)
1/2 cup oat bran
1/2 cup rice bran
1/2 cup rice flour
1-2 tbsp canola oil
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp toasted sesame seed oil
2 tsp salt
3 to 3-1/2 cups unbleached flour

Toppings:
1 egg + 1 tbsp water (for brushing on top of dough)
garlic powder
onion granules
caraway seeds
poppy seeds
sesame seeds

Pour lukewarm water into a mixer bowl and add malt extract. If you use liquid extract, you will have to double the amount and use less water. Whisk in yeast until all is dissolved. Then stir in oat bran, rice bran, and rice flour.

Allow this mixture to rest for half an hour or more, and then add the oils. You can add less oil if you want a harder cracker. Then add 2 to 2-1/2 cups flour that has been sifted with the salt, and put the bowl in the machine with the dough hook. Mix at high speed (with the splash guard on) until blended. Then add flour in small increments until the dough makes a ball that is not too sticky. Finish kneading by hand, or simply place in a bowl that is lightly greased with olive oil, and allow to rise for a couple of hours, or leave it in the refrigerator covered overnight. I let my dough rise twice.

Preheat oven to 375°. Pinch balls of dough about 2-1/2 to 3” diameter and roll the dough on a floured surface into a rectangular shape as thin as possible. Prick the dough all over with a fork or docker and brush lightly with egg wash. Dust very lightly with garlic powder and onion granules. Sprinkle caraway seeds (if desired), about two per square inch. You don’t need many of these, and it is easy for them to be overpowering. Then sprinkle poppy seeds evenly over, as desired and finish with the sesame seeds. It’s better not to overdo the seed toppings (especially the caraway), but I haven’t had a problem with the poppy seeds so far.

Pat the seeds into the dough with your fingers and then cut the dough into squares using a pizza cutter or ravioli cutter.

Transfer the dough, using a metal spatula, onto an ungreased baking sheet, and bake at 375° for 8-10 minutes, or until toasty in appearance. You will need to watch them closely towards the end, as they will burn easily, once they are done. I use a toaster oven for most of them, but sometimes I bake them in the regular oven until almost done and then finish the untoasted ones in a toaster oven at a lower temperature -- about 350° for 2-5 minutes. You can always toast underdone ones later.

This may seem like a lot of effort, but it is really very simple and doesn’t take that much time, until you get to the baking stage. I think the results are worth it, and you can vary the toppings so that the batches are not all the same - you can vary the seeds that you put on top -- it certainly is not necessary to put all three on together, and you can pick just one or two to use or none at all.

I like to have these crackers with crab salad or some kind of crab dip.

Lars


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RE: Swanky Appetizers?

Canapés with duxelles or shrimp?
Gougere puffs?
I agree with Sushi about shellfish served elegantly on a bed of ice in a crystal bowl.
Another idea is a caviar mousse, pâté or something in that vein.


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RE: Swanky Appetizers?

Palmiers. Maybe mid-west swanky!

I love Ina Garten's ham and cheese recipe for puff pastry. She uses both sheets of pastry with ham and cheese in the middle, but I layer each pastry sheet as directed, then roll each side towards the center to form the palmiers and slice thinly. Baking temperature and time reduced- bake at 400 for 15 minutes or until golden.

Ingredients
1 package (2 sheets) frozen puff pastry, defrosted (recommended: Pepperidge Farm)
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/4 pound black forest ham, sliced
1/2 pound Swiss Gruyere cheese, sliced
1 egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash
Directions
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Place a piece of parchment paper on a sheet pan.

Lay 1 sheet of puff pastry on a floured board and carefully roll it out to 10 by 12 inches. Place it on a sheet pan and brush the center with the mustard, leaving a 1-inch border around the edge. Place a layer first of ham and then cheese, also leaving a 1-inch border. Brush the border with the egg wash.

Place the second sheet of puff pastry on the floured board and roll it out to 10 by 12inches. Place the second sheet on top of the filled pastry, lining up the edges. Cut the edges straight with a small, sharp knife and press together lightly. Brush the top with egg wash and cut a few slits in the top to allow steam to escape.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until puffed and golden brown. Allow to cool for a few minutes and serve hot or warm.

Di


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RE: Swanky Appetizers?

Mini vol-au-vents?


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RE: Swanky Appetizers?

Is this pairing with a dinner or is it just apps?

Moosemac posted a wasabi seared tuna on rice-stuffed cucumber that might be good. I made the tuna itself and it was excellent. Alexa has posted a lobster strudel that sounds great though I've never made it. I could dig either up if you're interested.

I like the idea of oysters, perhaps dressed up with large tapioca pearls like dcarch has posted. I also like the idea of roasted marrow bones - if you lived close or there was time to mail I'd lend you my marrow spoons...


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RE: Swanky Appetizers?

Oysters Rockefeller? I put together a recipe years ago that at the time I thought was great - I'll have to try it again sometime.


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RE: Swanky Appetizers?

These are very good as an appy and as a side benefit are also very easy to make.

Fricos

1 (3-oz) piece Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Special equipment: a nonstick bakeware liner such as a Silpat pad or parchment paper

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Using largest holes on a 4-sided grater, coarsely shred enough cheese to measure 1 cup.

Line a large baking sheet with nonstick liner or parchment. Stir together cheese, flour, and pepper. Arrange tablespoons of cheese 4 inches apart on liner, stirring cheese in bowl between tablespoons to keep flour evenly distributed. Flatten each mound slightly with a metal spatula to form a 3-inch round.

Bake frico in middle of oven until golden, about 10 minutes. Cool 2 minutes on sheet on a rack, then carefully transfer each crisp (they are very delicate) with metal spatula to rack to cool completely (they will crisp up when cool).

The goal is to let the cheese melt to create a texture that's lacy but that still holds together, so be sure to sprinkle the cheese lightly. Serve as an hors d'oeuvre or to garnish a green salad.

Cooks' note: Crisps can be made 3 days ahead and kept, layered between wax paper, in an airtight container at room temperature.

/tricia


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RE: Swanky Appetizers?

Corinne Dunbar’s Oyster and Artichoke Appetizer

Makes 6 to 8 appetizer servings

4 large artichokes. trimmed
Juice of 1 lemon (about 3 tablespoons)
1 stick (8 tablespoons) butter
1 ½ tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons minced green onions
1 ½ dozen oysters with their liquor
1 (7-ounce) can mushrooms, chopped with liquid
Salt and pepper to taste
½ cup fine dried bread crumbs
2 tablespoons butter, cut into bits

Boil the artichokes in salted water and lemon juice until the leaves pull out easily. Drain when cooled. Scrape the flesh of each leaf and cut the hearts in large pieces.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a preheated pan, slowly stir the butter and the flour until lightly browned. Add the remaining ingredients except the artichokes and the bread crumbs, and simmer for 10 minutes. Place the artichokes in a casserole or spoon into small ramekins. Add the oyster mixture and top with bread crumbs. Dot with the bits of butter. Bake until lightly browned and bubbly, 15 to 20 minutes.

Serve immediately.

This post was edited by jimster on Mon, Apr 8, 13 at 17:06


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RE: Swanky Appetizers?

I love "Swanky" Appetizers.

Lemon Seared Scallops on Wonton Crisps

Source: Mari - Once Upon a Plate

For Two
1 tablespoon butter
2 teaspoons olive oil, or other flavorless vegetable oil
4 scallops, cleaned and trimmed (The small Bay scallops don't work well for this recipe)
1 scallion (green onion), thinly sliced or slivered
4 wonton wrappers
vegetable oil for shallow-frying
First make the crispy wontons:
With a 2-inch to 2 1/2-inch round cookie cutter, cut each wonton into rounds. Discard trimmings. Heat 1/3-inch of vegetable oil in a pan over high heat. Fry wontons in two batches until golden and crisp. Remove from pan and drain on absorbent paper. Set aside.
When ready to serve ~ Sprinkle a little green onion on each crisp wonton then proceed with searing the scallops:
Sprinkle the scallops with salt and cracked pepper. Over high heat, heat butter and olive oil in a frying pan, add scallops, turn after 20 to 30 seconds and add lemon zest. Allow to cook on second side for another 20 to 30 seconds.
Place one scallop on each prepared wonton; spoon a little of the pan juices over each scallop, garnish with finely grated lemon zest (use your microplane!)
Serve immediately with pre-dinner drinks.

Toasted Walnut and Goat Cheese

A quick appetizer of warm goat cheese on little cocktail toasts topped with a toasted walnut and a drizzle of olive oil.

Stuffed Endive with Crab

Source: Magazine

Filling

Fills about 24 leaves

1 2-oz. can whole pimentos
1 green onion
1 shallot
1/2 lb. cooked crab meat
1 tsp. prepared mustard
2 tsp. lemon juice
2-4 Tbl. mayonnaise
Salt and pepper
Paprika
3 Belgian endives


Chop 1 pimento (reserve the remainder for another use), the green onion, and the shallot.
Combine the crab meat, mustard, lemon juice, green onion, shallot, and 2 Tbl. of the mayonnaise, adding more if needed. Add the pimento and season to taste with salt, pepper, and paprika. To prepare the Belgian endive cut off 1 inch from the root end; carefully separate
each leaf. Stuff Belgian endive leaves with crab meat filling.

Escargot in Toast Cups (or puff pastry)

Source: Elegant Entertaining Cookbook - M. Sable

1 loaf of white bread
1/4 cup melted butter
1 can escargot (36 to 50 size)
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 shallots
2 teaspoons fresh thyme (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
1 bay leaf
1 cup whipping cream
2 cloves of garlic
salt and pepper
1/4 cup butter
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
. preheat oven to 400°
Cut crusts off bread and roll out very thin. cut 2 inch rounds and fit
each round gently into a well buttered 1 1/4 muffin tin.
Brush tops of rounds with melted butter and bake them for 10 minutes or
until edges are golden brown. Remove from tins and cool.
In a medium sauce pan combine wine, chicken stock and shallots, thyme
and bay leaf. Bring to a boil and reduce liquid to 1/3 cup. Stir in
cream, garlic, salt and pepper. Reduce liquid to 1/2 cup. Add escargot.
Remove bayleaf and stir in butter.
Fill each croustade with 1 or 2 escargot and some of the sauce.
Sprinkle with minced parsley.

Options: Use puff pastry instead of toast cups


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RE: Swanky Appetizers?

This is one of the best threads ever! There are so many things here that I want to make and get practice making before my next party.

Thanks for starting this!!

Lars


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RE: Swanky Appetizers?

Not sure what you consider "Swanky" but these are well received and, IMO, very good without breaking the bank. Light and refreshing and look pretty on a garnished serving platter. I get between 20-24 appetizers from a recipe.

Mini Ceviche

Ingredients:
2 pounds fresh tilapia fillets cut into 1-inch pieces
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely diced
1 red onion, halved and then thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup freshly chopped cilantro leaves
2 cups freshly squeezed lime juice, more if needed to cover fish
Directions:
Combine all ingredients except lime juice in a flat-bottomed baking dish. Cover with lime juice, making sure all fish is submerged. Chill for 2 hours.
Serving:
Cut the limes in half before squeezing their juice for the recipe and hollow them out once juiced, forming a cup. Flatten the bottom of the lime cup by slicing off a small section at the base. Fill with a heaping amount of Ceviche. Serve chilled on a garnished platter.

/tricia


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RE: Swanky Appetizers?

These are so good.

James Beard's Roquefort-Filled Mushrooms

8 oz Roquefort or other good quality bleu cheese
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 tsp dried mustard
24 medium mushroom caps
1/2 cup finely chopped green olives

Combine the cheese, butter, and mustard, mixing until smooth. Pipe or spoon the cheese mixture into the mushroom caps and sprinkle with chopped olives. Makes 24 to serve 6 to 8 as an hors d'oeuvre.


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RE: Swanky Appetizers?

Here's my recipe for gyoza, which may or may not be considered swanky - they're very tasty. You can use pork instead of turkey - I use turkey because DB will not eat pork. They're good either way.

Gyoza

2 minced green onions
2 tsp minced ginger
2-3 cloves minced garlic
2 tbsp minced basil (optional, can be Thai or Sweet Basil)
1 tbsp black rice vinegar (or regular rice vinegar)
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp chili paste
1 tbsp corn starch
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup chopped spinach
2-3 finely chopped mushrooms
1/2 pound ground turkey (or ground pork)
one package dim sum wrappers (about 24-30)
grape seed oil, for sauteing
Dipping Sauce:
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tbsp sesame oil

If you want to use a mini food processor, you can put the onions, ginger, garlic, basil, vinegar, soy sauce, chili paste, and cornstarch in it a process until everything is sufficiently minced. Otherwise, do the mincing by hand, and then stir together with the rest of the ingredients, except the wrappers and grape seed oil.

Fill the wrappers with about a tablespoon of the mixture and moisten one edge so that you can make a seal when you fold it over. Be sure the press out all air before sealing. When all are filled, saute for 2-3 minutes on each side at high heat in the grape seed oil in a large saute pan that has a good cover. When browned on both sides, add a tablespoon or two of water, cover, and reduce heat to simmer. Allow to simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until done. Cooking time will depend on how big they are.

Mix the soy sauce and sesame oil in a small shallow bowl for dipping.

Lars


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RE: Swanky Appetizers?

This is one of the best threads ever! There are so many things here that I want to make and get practice making before my next party.

Agreed, Lars! Exciting food talk - how timely! I'll be saving this thread.

How about carpaccio?


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RE: Swanky Appetizers?

I love carpaccio. Thanks for the reminder FOAS. I need to make it the next time Matt visits.

And I agree with you and Lars.

~Ann


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RE: Swanky Appetizers?

Ditto that, great thread with solid food ideas and no issues!

Jimster, thanks for the blast from the past! Corinne Dunbars, we dined there in the late 70's and it WAS memorable!


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RE: Swanky Appetizers?

Not swanky here either, but Ann T's scallops look delicious, I'd definitely go for those if I were looking for "swank", yum.

I also like carpaccio, and I remember being a young adult and thinking that shrimp cocktail was the height of adult fancy-food, LOL, so I understand the need for cheese straws.

I've served pate' and bruschetta on crostini, cheese selections, very thinly sliced roast beef on small rounds of baguette with a smear of horseradish. I even did small halved red potatoes, baked and topped with a dollop of sour cream and a tiny bit of that caviar. That's when I found out that I didn't like caviar. I kept remembering that scene in some movie where Tom Hanks tries to scrub the caviar taste off his tongue with a napkin. (grin) Elery loves the stuff and ate my share, but I think you could do the same kind of thing with smoked salmon or some seared ahi tuna.

I've never been to or heard of Corinne Dunbar's, but that artichoke and oyster dish looks really good too.

I'm afraid most of my gatherings include family, so the appetizers aren't swanky at all. I could eat an entire meal of appetizers, though, and be happy, so have fun!

Annie


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RE: Swanky Appetizers?

I think of swanky food in NY as at a cocktail party in a fabulous apartment. I'm not sure the ingredients matter as much as the presentation. I picture people circulating with a cocktail in one hand and the other hand available for plucking food. In their fancy duds, it seems like it should be food that would not glop onto the front of them or the floor, nor require implements, or being seated to eat. Maybe even food that isn't touched by their hand but is contained somehow, like skewers, or single bites. Very refined and beautifully plated.

I copied some pics from ideas that I have saved (for my next swanky party, ha ha), but something weird is going on with me and pics, so I don't think I can post them. I even placed them on photobucket to try to circumvent the problems so I could just paste the html code, which it wouldn't let me do earlier, but I'll try it here. If no pics show, here is a link to my photo bucket album for these. I especially love the black tie appetizers, which I included as a joke. Be sure to click on the photos to enlarge and I'll post recipes if anyone wants them.

Here is a link that might be useful: Swanky appetizers

This post was edited by olychick on Tue, Apr 9, 13 at 11:18


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RE: Swanky Appetizers?

Pretty pictures, olychick (what's in the carrot roulades?). I think there's something weird going on with Photobucket overall, because the same thing happened to dcarch yesterday.


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RE: Swanky Appetizers?

Very inspiring thread. Thanks everyone.

dcarch


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RE: Swanky Appetizers?

For some reason, layered terrines, namely roasted pepper and goat cheese, as one, stand out to me as fancy appetizers.
And oysters on the half shell, love Oysters Rockefeller, blue crab things really anything that can't be ordered from WS or bought at Tj's and set out although that stuff is all very tasty.
Love great cheese platters best.


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RE: Swanky Appetizers?

This site is making me crazy. I can't post pics from the internet anymore, they just won't show up, even tho they are appear in preview. So I moved them all to photobucket and tried to upload from there and got an error message from GW that my post was rejected because the links contained inappropriate content (must have been the naked penguins). So I tried again last night and it took the links and posted the pics. YAY. But when I went in to add another pic, all the pics were gone with the icon that says the pics were deleted from photobucket. UGH. So I deleted all the pics and just put in the link to photobucket. Then this morning, there are live links in the body of my post to the pics I deleted. When I clicked on the first one, it took me to photobucket but the photo linked was gone. So I uploaded it again. When I checked, both pics were then there. UGH. Here is the recipe for the Carrot Roulades. hope it shows
Carrot Roulades
Ingredients

10 small radishes, trimmed and quartered (6 ounces)
4 ounces goat cheese, room temperature
2 teaspoons minced fresh chives
2 teaspoons minced fresh chervil, plus sprigs for garnish
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
4 large carrots (about 8 inches long), peeled

Directions

Pulse radishes in a food processor until finely minced, and transfer to a medium bowl. Stir in goat cheese, chives, chervil, and 1 teaspoon salt. Season with pepper. Cover, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare an ice-water bath. Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Using a vegetable peeler, shave carrots lengthwise into thin ribbons. (You will need 36 ribbons, each 8 inches long.) Boil carrot ribbons until softened, about 2 minutes. Transfer to ice-water bath. Drain, then pat dry with paper towels.

Roll each carrot ribbon, tapering 1 end, to 1/2 inch in diameter. Transfer carrot rolls to a parchment-lined baking sheet with narrow end up.

Transfer chilled radish mixture to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/4-inch plain tip. Pipe about 1/2 teaspoon radish mixture into center of each carrot roll. Refrigerate until firm, at least 30 minutes (or up to 1 hour). Garnish with chervil sprigs, and serve immediately.


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RE: Swanky Appetizers?

"Corinne Dunbars, we dined there in the late 70's and it WAS memorable!"

Possibly we were there on the same evening. :-)

"I could eat an entire meal of appetizers, though, and be happy..."

The Spaniards invented tapas for people like us.

Jim


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RE: Swanky Appetizers?

Thanks for that, olychick. Looks really good and different. I'm always looking for gluten free, vegetarian alternatives to have a mixture of things to offer.


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RE: Swanky Appetizers?

We forgot lobster! Miniature lobster rolls, lobster shooters with mango sauce, lobster and duck mini spring rolls...


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RE: Swanky Appetizers?

...lobster ravioli.

Jim


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RE: Swanky Appetizers?

How about Bagna Cauda?
I usually serve it with slices of fennel & celery heart, separated endive leaves, and either bread sticks or chunks of crusty bread.
There are a lot of recipes out there with slight variations, but if you'd like mine I'll be happy to post.


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RE: Swanky Appetizers?

I can recommend Alexa's Lobster in phyllo.

Phyllo Triangles with Lobster Filling

Posted by caliloo (My Page) on Mon, Dec 19, 05 at 16:04

Phyllo Triangles with Lobster Filling
Martha Stewart Entertaining
Makes about 50

1 Steamed Lobster
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
6 scallions finely chopped
1/4 cup white wine or vodka
1-1/2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1/4 cup heavy cream
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper

1 pound Phyllo
1 pound unsalted butter, melted

Remove meat from lobster and chop. Set aside
Melt 2 tbsp butter in a small skillet and sauté the scallions for 2 or 3 min. Add lobster meat and wine or vodka and stir quickly to combine over high heat. Drain the mixture reserving the liquid.

Melt the remaining 2 tbsp butter in another skillet. Add the flour and cook slowly without coloring the flour for 5 minutes. Add the reserved liquid and cream and stir constantly until the mixture begins to thicken. Stir the lobster meat back into the cream mixture, add cayenne and season to taste. Cool completely before filling the triangles.

Prepare the triangles as you would sharon’s Spanikopita. If you need those directions, I can copy them over.

I do not know if these freeze, but I am not going to need all 50 for Xmas Eve, so I am going to give it a shot with the leftovers.
<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

And this Spanish Tapa is a long time favourite.
Mushrooms and Pimento in Puff Pastry

Source: The Foods and Wines of Spain

1 package puff pastry
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 Tablespoon minced onion
1 clove garlic minced
2 Tablespoons minced pimiento
preferably homemade
1/4 pound mushrooms, chopped fine
1/2 dried red chili crumbled or 1/4 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper to taste
2 Teaspoons grated parmesan cheese

.

Heat the oil in a skillet and saute the onion and garlic until onion is
wilted. Add the pimiento and cook for a minute, then the mushrooms,
chili pepper, salt, and pepper and saute until mushrooms are softened.
Remove from the heat and stir in cheese.

Roll the puff pastry to 1/8 inch. You can cut Cut into 1 3/4 inch
circles and place 1 teaspoon of filling on half of the circles. Moisten
the edges with water, cover with the remaining pastry circles, and
press with the tines of a fork to seal.

I prefer to make them triangle shape,by cutting the pastry into 2 1/2
inches squares, add filling on one half and then folding over corner to
form a triangle.

(May be prepared ahead and refrigerated) Place on a dampened cookie
sheet and bake at 425 F on the upper rack of the oven for 7 to 10
minutes or until golden.

( To cut down on work you could make this appetizer in a larger size
and Bake for about 20 minutes.) Then cut into wedges.


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RE: Swanky Appetizers?

I have a gem for you! Strickly uppa crust and very easy. Different from the usual sweet versions with nuts and sugar.

I found this recipe many years ago out for lunch by myself. Someone had left a copy of the Cleveland Plain Dealer food section on the table, and the rest is history.

This is WAY swanky as well as really delicious. It will get you raves, I absolutely promise.

I also promise that although it looks tricky, it's actually a breeze. I thought things like cutting the brie, rolling the pastry, and getting it to stick to the cheese would all be difficult, but they were all very very easy. Plus, you can assemble the whole thing a day ahead and stick it in the freezer and bake just before party time.

Healthy it isn't, but you didn't ask for that! :) Enjoy.

Baked Brie with Pesto

A 1.1 lb. (see note) wheel of brie, not too ripe
About 2 T pesto sauce
2 oz. lox or nova or smoked salmon, cut up to little bits (buy the cheaper tidbits if you can find them)
2 sheets (1 package) frozen puff pastry, defrosted per package instructions
1 egg, beaten

Make sure brie is firm before you begin. Refrigerate it several hours or place in freezer for 25 minutes.

Using a long, serrated knife dipped in warm water, cut the brie in half horizontally. Spread one side with the pesto not quite to edge and top with the fish. Replace top half of brie, place on a greased baking sheet and freeze 30 minutes. (I like to use a greased quiche dish instead; then I can serve it right in the dish. The 1.1 lb. wheel of brie leaves room for crackers; the bigger one just fits.)

Roll out one sheet of pastry a little so that you can cut out a circle that will cover the top and sides of the brie. Place the brie in the middle of the circle and fold the dough up around the sides, pressing the edges into the cheese.

Roll out the other sheet of pastry and cut out a second circle of the same size. Invert the cheese onto this circle, brush with the egg wash, and form a tight seal (this dough does this very easily). Turn the cheese back over and replace it on the baking dish or sheet.

If you like, use the dough scraps to make cut-out decorations for the top. Keep them simple; remember, it’s puff pastry.

Then brush all over with the remaining egg wash. Return to freezer for 15 minutes and preheat oven to 400. You can freeze it overnight at this point.

Remove baking sheet from freezer and place it on the middle rack of your oven. Bake 20 minutes or until golden brown. Let it rest at least 25 minutes before serving, or it will be very runny. If you wait a lot longer than 25 minuets, you can reheat at 250 for 15 minutes. Serve with crackers or bread, or just its own pastry, if you didn’t let it get runny, or even cold the next day.

Note: you can use any size wheel of brie, but it must be an entire round. If you use the 1.1 pound size, you can get away with using only one sheet of pastry per wheel, if you roll it thin. The huge size needs the whole package.


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