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Monthly Archives: April 2013

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Pepperoni Pizza and Ham and Cheese Spiral Bites

These bite-size treats are so delicious, your guests will gobble them up!

Ham and Cheese Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup grated Swiss cheese
  • 3 ounces thin, sliced deli ham
  • 2 tablespoons stone ground Dijon mustard
  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry thawed, cut in half crosswise
  • 1 large egg
  • Bunch flat-leaf  parsley

Spread 1 tablespoon mustard over each puffed pastry rectangle, leaving a small border on one edge.  Layer ham and Swiss cheese on top of mustard.  Beat the egg and brush each plain border.  Keeping ingredients in tact, roll the pastry up to the egged border and seal.  Wrap each roll in plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to one day.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Cut each roll into 15 slices and place on an aluminum foil lined cookie sheet.  Bake for 20 minutes, until pastry is browned.  Arrange on platter and decorate with parsley.

Pepperoni Pizza Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup grated Asiago cheese
  • 3 ounces sliced pepperoni
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasonings
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry (thawed, cut in half crosswise)
  • 1 large egg
  • Bunch flat-leaf parsley

Follow same layering and baking directions as above, substituting Asiago, pepperoni, and seasonings for ham and Swiss.

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This completes five appetizer recipes.  We hope you give them a try, and be sure to let us know what you think.   Most of these dishes can be made ahead of your simple celebration, so you can join the party and celebrate with your guests!

Party on a Stick … Greek Style

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Easy, easy, easy … and tasty too!  You can make these skewers early in the day of your simple celebration (keep refrigerated).

Ingredients:

  • 2 blocks of feta cheese (good quality, such as Boar’s Head) cut into 3/4 inch cubes
  • 2 cucumbers
  • 40 whole, small cherry or grape tomatoes
  • 40 pitted kalamata olives
  • 40 small wooden skewers
  • 1 bottle creamy Caesar dressing for dipping

Peel the cucumbers and cut lengthwise.  With a teaspoon, scrape out the seeds and cut into 1/2 thick pieces (they will look like half moons).   To assemble, place a cucumber on the skewer followed by a tomato (it will sit in the cucumber).  Next, add the feta and top it off with an olive.  Place on a platter with the dressing on the side for dipping.

Stay tuned for one more appetizer recipe to serve at this simple wine/beer celebration.  Then, we move onto desserts!

Spicy Spanish Tortilla with Sausage and Potatoes ¡Olé!

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This hearty appetizer is wonderful for a party as it helps soak up the booze!  Also, the tortilla can be made the day ahead of your simple celebration!

Ingredients:

  • Half bunch scallions/green onions
  • 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Medium red onion chopped (3/4 cup)
  • 2 Garlic cloves finely chopped
  • 3/4 Teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 Teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 4 oz. Spanish chorizo (or hot Italian sausage) cut into 1/4 inch dice
  • 3/4 Pound potatoes peeled and cut into 1/4 dice
  • 1 Teaspoon diced, canned chipotle chilies
  • 5 Large eggs
  • 1/2 Cup sour cream
  • 3 oz. Manchego cheese coarsely grated (1 cup)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees with oven rack in middle position.  Spray Pam into a 8×8 inch baking pan.

Finely chop white and green parts of scallions and reserve separately.

Heat oil in a large skillet over a moderately high heat.  Cook onions, garlic, white parts of scallions, 3/8 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper, stirring occasionally (about 5 minutes).  Add sausage, stirring occasionally, until just brown, about 4 minutes.  Reduce heat to moderate, stir in potatoes and cover skillet.  Cook until potatoes are tender, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.  Place in a bowl and cool slightly.

Whisk together in a bowl, eggs, sour cream, cheese, scallion greens, chilies, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper, then pour into baking pan.  Sprinkle potato mixture over eggs.  Bake until tortilla is set, about 20 minutes.  Cool in pan on rack to room temperature.  Trim outer edges and cut the tortilla in small squares and put on serving platter over a bed of lettuce.  Refrigerate until ready to use.  Serve at room temperature.

If preparing the day before, keep the tortilla in the refrigerator uncut in the baking pan until several hours before your party.

Any questions?  We would love some feedback as you look over our recipes and give them a try for your simple celebration!

Humdinger of a Hummus Recipe

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Below is a simple, yet delicious hummus recipe to add to your appetizer table for your simple celebration.  Hummus is not the prettiest of food, but by adding toppings and using attractive serving pieces, it will be irresistible!

Ingredients

  • 1 can garbanzo beans/chick peas
  • 1/3 cup liquid from canned beans
  • 3 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup tahini (sesame seed paste – be sure to stir well)
  • Olive oil
  • Paprika
  • Pine nuts
  • Kalamata olives
  • Pita Bread
  • Celery

Drain the beans and save the juice.  In a food processor with metal blade, puree the beans along with reserved juice (1/3 c.) and all ingredients up to the olive oil.  Taste for seasoning and refrigerate. We recommend putting the hummus in two bowls.  In one, mix in four chopped kalamata olives and sprinkle a few on top.  In the other bowl, toast a tablespoon of pine nuts, add a few to the hummus, and sprinkle the rest on top with a drizzle of olive oil and paprika.  Toast pita bread in 350 degree oven for about ten minutes, then cut into triangles.  Serve hummus with toasted pita triangles and celery at room temperature.  Hummus can be stored in the refrigerator for up to one week.

50+ Blogging … A New Frontier

Before we blog further appetizer recipes, we thought we would spend a little time telling you about us.  Our names are Vicki and Mary-Ellen and are 50+ years young (Vicki has four more pluses than Mary-Ellen).  Our children are grown and out of the house – go us! – and we were looking for the answer to “what’s next?”  We both have enjoyed non-profit event planning and home entertaining for years, so we thought we would find a way to share our successes.  Ok, so the problem is neither one of us have ever blogged or ever read a blog, much less written one!  This is a hoot!

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You should have seen us trying to photograph the appetizers.  Using a cell phone camera (isn’t that all anyone uses any more), Vicki decided to stand on a bar stool to get an overhead shot.  She looks very professional in her apron and bare feet, don’t you agree?  We were so proud of our pictures and even more elated when we were able to insert them into the blog.  It was as if we had just won the lottery!

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When you are 50+ (++++), you have to elicit the help of your children to guide you through all things technological.  Between us we have five children ranging from 20-30 years old.  We frustrate them with our simple questions, i.e., “What’s the difference between a blog, a facebook page, and a tweet?”  We get plenty of “Oh mommmmm” comments.

Have patience with us as we try to join the 21st century.  It’s going to be a wild ride, so hold onto your hat!

Join us next time for a delicious and easy hummus recipe for your simple celebration!

Tuna Wonton Anyone?

Wow your guests with this simple, colorful recipe!  Serving this dish with wonton crisps not only keeps the calorie count low (who doesn’t love that), but it also allows the delicate taste of the tuna shine through.  What’s more, by chopping all ingredients early the day of the party (except for the avocado which you chop right before assembling the dish), you can have this made well in advance leaving you more time for other pre-party preparations.  Remember … a simple celebration is enjoying your party as much as your guests!Image

Tuna, Avocado, and Cucumber Tartare on Sesame Wonton Crisps is a very simple, colorful dish to brighten up your appetizer table.

Crisps

  • 24 Wonton wrappers, each cut diagonally in half to form 2 triangles
  • Olive oil (for brushing)
  • Sesame Seeds (we used white and black)

Preheat oven to 350.  Line large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.  Arrange wonton triangles on sheet; brush each with olive oil and sprinkle with sesame seeds.  Bake until triangles are golden brown, about 7 minutes.  Cool on sheet.  Can be made 8 hours ahead.  Let stand at room temperature.

Tartare

  • 2 Tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons wasabi paste
  • 3/4 Teaspoon Asian sesame oil
  • 8 Ounces sushi-quality ahi tuna steak, cut into 1/3 inch cubes
  • 1 Medium avocado, halved, pitted, peeled, cut into 1/3 inch cubes
  • 1 Cup 1/3 inch cubes seeded cucumber
  • 1 Green onion, finely chopped
  • Toasted sesame seeds
  • Chopped fresh chives

Whisk first 5 ingredients in medium bowl to blend.  Add tuna, avocado, cucumber, and green onion; stir gently to coat.  Spoon tartare into bowl; sprinkle with sesame seeds and chives and place on platter.  Surround with crisps.

Setting Up the Bar

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Thank you for visiting our home entertaining blog.  We hope you come back often to learn the keys of making entertaining a simple celebration.  Let’s get started …

Why not start at the bar?  We always do!  Let’s say we are going to host a 20 person party with drinks, appetizers, and dessert.  Setting up the bar is simple once you have some basic supplies on hand:

  •  8′ Folding Table with Tablecloth (colored plastic coated is easy to clean)
  • 30 Basic Wine Glasses (10 oz. works well)
  • Metallic Wine Tub (should be able to hold 6 wine bottles)
  • Rolling Coolers (one for water and one for beer)
  • Tall Trash Can
  • Cocktail Napkin Holder and Napkins
  • Corkscrew and Bottle Opener
  • Nut Bowl (a bowl of nuts on the table is always a nice touch)

Beverage Purchases:

Water – 40 bottles (purchasing the small size will cut down on waste)

Beer – Approximate two bottles per person (one case light and one case regular)

Wine – Approximate half bottle per person (six bottles red and six white)

If you belong to a price club, i.e., Costco, you will find great selections and save money too!

Setting the Table:

Early in the day, set up the bar with tablecloth, wine glasses, openers, and trash can.  One hour before guests arrive, bring out ice-filled coolers of beer and water as well as wine tub with three bottles of white.  Open three bottles of red, replace corks, and place on the table.

Now that you’ve filled your glass, let’s get something to eat … Check out our appetizer recipes!

 

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