October 2018 Class
The annual appetizer cooking class is one of my favorite classes of year! I’m a giant kid at heart, and love everything about the holidays--anticipation, festivities, that slightly panicked feeling--I love it all!
This class kicks off the holiday season, and I hope that this menu will help you tackle all your entertaining endeavors. The menu is built so that you can cook all of the recipes as a cohesive entertaining menu, perfect for a holiday get together or open house cocktail party. You can also make a recipe or two to take with you! All the dishes have a great make-ahead component and travel well, perfect for taking to an office party, bunco, or a friend’s house.
The inspiration for this menu came from the craziest place: taking my daughter back to school clothes shopping! Everywhere we went, the racks were filled with gold, burnt orange, brown, and avocado green clothes. What do those colors remind you of? Yep--the 70’s! As we shopped, I shared stories of the crazy outfits my mom made my sister and I wear, our avocado green kitchen, and the things I was doing as a teenager. It got me thinking about what I was doing in the late 70s/early 80s, which was helping a family friend who ran a catering business make loads of appetizers. This menu is comprised of some of those appetizers that I’ve updated and given a fresh new look. Just like the music from the 70s, these are classics!
What we are cooking:
A confetti egg is a name I came up with because I thought it sounded a whole lot better than hard-boiled and brined eggs! These are perfectly cooked hard-boiled eggs that we place in beet juice brine so that the whites turn a brilliant shade of pink. Sprinkled with “confetti” vegetables, it’s a festive way to start a party!
White Bean and Roasted Garlic and Dip:
Move over hummus--there’s a new dip in town! Roasting the garlic really mellows out its sharp tones, and brings out the sweet and nutty flavors. Pureed with white beans and topped with a medley of nuts, parsley and sun-dried tomatoes, it’s the perfect dip served with crostini’s or basket of crudités.
Curried Beef Wontons:
These crunchy beauties are always the favorite at my parties! We start by making our own curry seasoning blend and add it to sautéed ground beef, then use it to fill wonton wrappers and deep fry them to perfection. Served with a spicy mustard dipping sauce, they are positively addicting--I bet you can’t eat just one!
Who doesn’t love Madeline cookies? They are just the perfect size, and that adorable shell shape makes them so display-friendly! So, why not make them savory? As a nod to my southern heritage, we added corn meal, chives, and pepper jack cheese to the batter, lending a twist to the classic shape. They go perfectly with a cocktail.
Nothing says the 70s like rumaki. Back in the day, they were stuffed with water chestnuts or sautéed chicken liver. To bring it up to date, we used two of my favorite ingredients: cheese and prosciutto! This modern rumaki is stuffed with goat cheese and roasted almonds, then wrapped in prosciutto and baked until golden brown. Salty, sweet, cheesy and crunchy all in one bite--it’s a disco party in your mouth!
Baci di Dama:
These little gems come from the Piedmont region of Italy, and translates to “lady’s kisses.” The Nutella sandwiched between little hazelnut shortbread just melts in your mouth, and is a delicious end to a party. Put a few aside to pair with your morning coffee!
Pomegranate champagne punch:
Nothing says a holiday party like a good punch! This one will be your go-to party starter, because it’s not too sugary and pairs beautifully with the menu. If you prefer, you could use champagne, but I use a really good sparkling wine. Slightly sweet and effervescent, the festive bubbles and rich, red pomegranate get you right into the holiday spirit!
I hope your holidays are Dy-No-Mite!!!