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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Kick-off summer party

Caprese skewers and Endive with herb cheese  & fresh bowl of cherries

Beginning of Summer.. I live at the atlantic ocean, my address is literally “boardwalk”.   You can’t get much closer to the shore than that.  I am lucky.  But living in Jersey, you have a few short months to cram in all the sun and fun you can.  Memorial weekend kicks off our summer and it’s a great reason to throw a party! 

living on an island at the atlantic ocean.  here’s my view bay & ocean.

On another note, when preparing for this party.. I was drawn to one of my cookbooks by the Food Network’s Tyler Florence entitled, Real Kitchen.  So far I have made a dozen of his recipes.. and I have liked them all, except one.  It’s a great book to have, especially if you like food with an asian flare (it’s v. apparent that he is living at the edge of  china town, which I love!) and his recipes are simple enough.  There is a link to his book at the bottom of the page.


Caprese Napoleon Skewers
Marinated Tuna with Edamame Puree on Wonton Crisps
Teriyaki Chicken Wings
New Potato Crisp Stacks w/ Rosemary Sour Cream & Caviar
Roquefort Grapes w/ toasted Pistachios
Watermelon & 
Goat Cheese Balls w/ Balsamic
Endive w/ Herb Cheese
Toasted Cheese Raviolis & Marinara
Sausage Puffs
Chocolate covered Macadamia Nut Cookies
Individual Strawberry Cheesecakes Topped w/ Dark Chocolate
E’s Mojitos

Caprese Napoleon Skewers (tomato, basil & fresh mozzerella)

  Cherry Tomatoes (same size as mozz balls)
  Fresh Buffalo Mozzarella Balls (small)
  Fresh Basil
  Balsamic vinegar
   Slice tomatoes on horizontal so you end up with 2 pieces
   Slice the mozz balls horizontal in 1/2
Before assembling, season mozzarella well with salt + pepper and basil.
   Using a 5” skewer start with the bottom of the tomato, then mozz then tomato then mozz ending when tomato is “whole” again with mozz slices in between. place in a dish generous amount of good Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Toss more basil and S+P over the skewers. drizzle w/ really good balsamic.

Marinated Tuna with Edamame Puree on Wonton Crisps

   For recipe see Tyler Florence’s book REAL KITCHEN

Teriyaki Chicken Wings

  For recipe see Tyler Florence’s book REAL KITCHEN 

New Potato Crisp Stacks w/ Rosemary Sour Cream & Caviar

  10-15 Red potatoes, all the same size (about 2” diameter at widest point)
  Herbs:  Rosemary, lavender.. (be creative here)
  olive oil
  1 T. butter, melted
  Sour cream, or creme fraiche
  caviar (whatever your budget will allow!)
  Clean potatoes well.  Using a really sharp knife.. cut all potatoes horizontally 1/4” thick.  Toss in a bowl with Herbs, S+P, Olive Oil and butter.  Place on baking sheets in single layer.  Roast till brown and almost getting crispy.  Cool to room temp.  (Can be made a day or so  ahead of time and chilled. bring to RT before continuing tho.)  Taste for seasoning.
  Mix snipped chives into sour cream.
  Assemble.. into little stacks. Potato and smear of sour cream to hold together. Potato and sour cream.. (remembering you want people to pick them up and enjoy in a bite or 2.. so keep size in mind.) top with a dollop of caviar.  

 Roquefort Grapes w/ toasted Pistachios

 10 oz. nuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
  1 lb seedless grapes, washed and dried
  8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  2 T. heavy cream
  4 oz. roquefort cheese, room temp

  In a bowl combine cheeses and cream, beat til smooth.  Roll grapes into mixture til covered, then into nuts. Place on wax paper lined tray.  Chill till they harden.. place in a bowl to serve. 
   afterthought:  making this.. I prefer another nut besides pistachio.. I felt they were too soft.  I’d like more of a contrast next time i try.  Crunchy nut, creamy cheese, crisp juicy grape. 

Watermelon & Goat Cheese Balls w/ Balsamic

 yup.. that’s it.  That's the recipe. 
No, seriously..  use a melon baller for watermelon (or make little cubes that stand) and wet baller to scoop out the cheese.  (If you freeze the goat cheese for 10 minutes 1st and that makes this part way easier.)  
Assemble watermelon with goat cheese on top on small bamboo picks.  
Right before serving, drizzle with a really good aged Balsamic.  A syrupy one is best.  Don't have one like that?   Make your own....   Reduce a cup of Balsamic vinegar over low heat til reduced about 2/3.

Endive w/ Herb Cheese

Toasted Cheese Raviolis & Marinara

This is easy!
Pick out your fav ravs (thaw if frozen)
Set up dipping “station” of a bowl with beaten egg and a bowl with seasoned cornmeal (S+P, parsley, grated locatelli.. you get the gist.) 
Heat up some oil to fry in a deep pan, so it doesn’t splash all over..  once hot.. (test with a piece of bread, if its not hot enough it will bearly move.. when it’s hot enough it will crackle and fry towards golden brown pretty quickly. duh) Dip ravs in egg then cornmeal and then into the oil.  Till golden brown.  Serve with spicy marinara.  (Note: I like to do mini ones, and after they are toasty.. spear onto the end of long skewers.. arrange in bowl and so, easy to grab and dip with no mess!)

Sausage Puffs

  1 pckg of Puff Pastry (at room temp for 20 min)
   For Filling:
     10 oz. of ground pork or veal (or combo of both)
     1 potato, baked & cooled, diced fine
     1 small onion, chopped fine
     1 Tablespoon of Sage, dried
      2 T. chopped parsley
      season well with S+P
      1/2 t. crushed pepper flakes
      1 egg, beaten
Preheat oven to 350

In a bowl, mix together with a fork the pork/veal thru pepper flakes.  Transfer to pastry bag with a 1” round tip or a plastic ziplock bag and snip off the corner to the same size.  Set aside.

Working with one pastry sheet at a time, unfold and using a knife, follow the fold and cut each sheet into thirds.  Creating long rectangles.  Roll out slightly, one at a time. 
Pipe sausage mixture along the long length, staying at the edge.
Paint the opposite edge with beaten egg.  Starting at the edge with the sausage, roll up.. gently pressing into the painted egg side at the end to seal. 
Using a sharp knife, cut the rolls into slices about 1.5-2” wide. 
Arrange on baking sheet.  If making right away, brush with remaining egg wash. (If freezing, skip this step and see *freezing technique.)
Repeat for the rest of the pastry. 
Bake 20 minutes.  Serve warm with Worcestershire sauce for dipping.

Chocolate covered Macadamia Nut Cookies

Individual Strawberry Cheesecakes Topped w/ Dark Chocolate

  Clean and dry 12-24 large strawberries
  Using a mellon baller.. scoop out the stem, allowing for stuffing.
  Using a paring knife, cut off a little of the bottom, so that the strawberry can stand upright on it’s own.
  Meanwhile, combine for the filling:
  1 8oz. cream cheese, softened
  3 T. powdered sugar
  1 t. vanilla extract
  Mix till smooth.  Scoop into a pastry bag or a plastic bag.  Snip off the corner, squeeze about a tablespoon of filling into the hollow strawberry.  Refrigerate.
  For the Chocolate topper:
Line a cookie sheet (that will fit in your freezer) w/ parchment or wax paper.
Melt in microwave about a cup of chocolate chips, I prefer dark Ghiradelli.  Stir till smooth and no lumps.  Place in a plastic bag.. snip off just a small bit of the corner.
Make stars or hearts or squiggles of chocolate (about an inch in diameter) onto the paper. Freeze till hard.  Place into filling on strawberries.



  For recipe see Tyler Florence’s book REAL KITCHEN

Serves: serves a party
    •    1 (1.4 liter) bottle mandarin orange vodka
    •    1/2 cup peach schnapps
    •    1 quart cranberry juice
    •    Juice of 2 limes

Erika’s delicious Mojitos

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