One holiday down, and two to go before 2014 comes to an end – the year has certainly gone by very quickly! Lots of holiday parties in the next month, so canapes and appetizers will be at the top of my list of things to prepare. These stuffed mushrooms are quite easy to make and have a slight piquant tangy flavor to them as evidenced from the combo of goat cheese and balsamic vinegar reduction. I served them on Thanksgiving and got two thumbs up from my 5-year-old great-niece Lily – that makes this appetizer a winner as far as I am concerned!
Here is a perfect canape to serve on Thanksgiving while you wait for the turkey to finish cooking. You don’t really want heavy canapes/appetizers as you want everyone to enjoy your turkey with all the trimmings that you have slaved over all day. Make the sugared cranberries right after you put the turkey in the oven, as the cranberries will need to set/dry for about 3 hours. Assemble the canapes about an hour before you serve dinner. Open the oven door and smell your delicious turkey; place the canapes on a white platter and serve to guests. Sit, eat, sip glass of wine/champagne and you are done. Let someone else serve the dinner and do the dishes – after all you have done enough today!
Onion dip is readily available at any grocery store silently sitting beside the ranch dip, like an old married couple. But if you look closely to the ingredient list on the bottom of the tub, you might think twice on taking it home to serve family and friends. Why? Just check out some of the ingredients found on the label: trio calcium phosphate, guar gum, xanthan gum, vegetable gum (really needs 3 GUMS?), corn starch, distilled vinegar, sugar, caramel color, onion flavoring, dried onion flakes, dried parsley, malteddexrin, and a whole lot of other things that don’t look either nutritious nor appetizing. With homemade caramelized onion dip you know exactly what you are eating, and will enjoy pungent flavors of robust onion and garlic with a touch of lemon zest that provides a delightful freshness to this dip.
New Year’s Eve is almost here, but if you need a couple of quick but elegant canapés, I have two I think you will like. First up is Olive Tapenade. You start with a basic crostini, add some black olive tapenade, a little creme fraiche and you are on your way to an elegant canapé in a relatively short period of time. Here we go….
These are a whole lot of chocolate with a surprise center: cream cheese and teeny chocolate chips. Two of my favorite combos, and one of my father’s two favorite desserts (the other being Pineapple Upside Down Cake). My father passed away quite a while ago, but I was thinking of him yesterday on Father’s Day and decided late last night to whip up a batch of Black Bottom Cupcakes, his way. Most Black Bottom Cupcakes do not have frosting or icing on top, as the cream cheese rises to the top while baking and serves as the frosting. But my Dad really liked chocolate and he adored chocolate frosting in particular – so I always frosted these cupcakes to make them special for him. You can make the cupcake batter from scratch, but a cake mix off the shelf can be awfully tasty when you are rushed, or as in my case it is 11:30 at night when I started baking.
Met friends for dinner on Friday night at Purple Cafe and Wine Bar in Woodinville (also located in Seattle, Bellevue and Kirkland). Tried one of their small bites Gorgonzola Stuffed Dates listed under “Tastes” on the dinner menu – they were to die for! The dates were chewy and tangy
I love a Chocolate Soufflé, anytime, any day of the week – it’s one of my favorite desserts. In recent years there is a trend to create soufflés with the “lava” effect, where chocolate oozes out when you dig into it. I prefer the traditional light and airy texture inside a soufflé and this recipe does exactly that. I practiced many a weekend making Soufflés using a basic recipe from Gourmet Cook Book until I perfected it – have adapted it as seen below.