Posts tagged ‘hors d’oeuvres’

April 21, 2011

Steak & Potato Finger Food – Apple Crostata with a Cheddar and Goat Cheese Crust

Apple Crostata
Aged cheddar and goat cheese Crostata crust? Yes, you read it right. I know what you are thinking…goat cheese in an apple tart crust?! I actually thought it might be a little crazy too. I usually make a sour cream crust with my fruit tarts, I like the subtle tang. I didn’t have any sour cream and rarely make a special trip to the market for an ingredient – I didn’t have any buttermilk either (does anyone REALLY keep buttermilk in their fridge? The only one I can think of that could reach into the fridge for a cold glass of buttermilk was Gramps (((shiver))). I don’t know how he did it, maybe it was one of those old school secret remedies that made him so strong and healthy. The only dairy thing I had in my fridge that was even remotely thicker than the milk was goat cheese – hmmmm, it has the tang of sour cream and buttermilk, why not. Back in the early days when I was serving up eggs at the local truck stop (pretty much the only gig in town for a young teenager). Sometimes guests would come in and ask me to warm them a piece of apple pie WITH A PIECE OF CHEDDAR CHEESE ON TOP! I thought this was quite strange. But hey, what ever they wanted – who was I to question it. Turns out they were on to something, its fabulous! I love the bit of salty with the sweet apples, and it makes the crust a bit crispier. For this tart, the cooking time may vary slightly depending on which apples you use and how soft you like them.  I like mine slightly firm, not too soft. If the apples aren’t cooked enough for you and the crust is done, just lower the oven temperature to 350 and drape a piece of foil over the top to finish cooking. Although the goat cheese is very subtle, you can use buttermilk or sour cream, you may have to add a bit more flour.

Twice Baked Baby Sweet Potatoes & Beef Ribeye Bites Wrapped with Prosciutto, Pomegranate Molasses and Blue Cheese Crust
I received some beautiful baby sweet potatoes in my CSA (community supported Agriculture) share this week and thought they would be perfect to use as hors d’oeuvres, and what goes better with potatoes than steak? We don’t eat a lot of beef, but when we do I usually make something like this. I think the original recipe came from my brother K (my twin actually), who’s an amazing cook. Or we wrote it together over the phone as he’s blazing through grocery store planning for a last minute dinner party. The conversation goes something like this; Rinnngggg – hello? “So I’m having some friends over tonight, I’m doing a cedar planked Salmon….and I want to do a really yummy sauce, what do you think?” We’ll write a menu on the spot as he grabs the ingredients, and it’s always a big hit. His version uses beef tenderloin, bacon, blue cheese crumbles, a balsamic reduction and grills them. All I have to say is, YUM.
Both these starters can be made ahead and put into a hot oven just before you serve them. If you do the beef ahead, prep it up until you top it with the blue cheese crust, then finish it in the broiler just before your ready to serve. While the steak is resting you can lower the oven to 400 and warm up the potatoes and serve everything at the same time. If you can’t find baby sweet potatoes use fingerlings and a sweet potato instead of the white potato.
If you can’t find Pomegranate Molasses you can make your own.

Homemade Pomegranate Molasses
3 C. “POM” juice (not sure what this is? Click here for info)
1/2 C. lemon juice
sugar to taste

Place all the ingredients in a non reactive sauce pan. Bring to a slight boil, then reduce and simmer. Reduce by 1/3.

I hope you enjoy these as much as we did!

March 30, 2011

Mushroom Tartlets, Apple and Blue Cheese Turnovers, French Apple Cake

Click on recipe to view larger



Click on recipe to view larger



Click on recipe to view larger


Let’s start with dessert, shall we? I ran across this amazing recipe for French Apple Cake by Dorie Greenspan from her book Around My French Table. David Lebovitz posted a great article and her recipe here.  As much as I love pies and tarts, I wanted to do something different with the apples that came in my CSA share. French Apple Cake, now that was different, I was all over it. This is one of those recipes that you’ll probably have all the ingredients for in your pantry – except maybe the Rum. This isn’t a  problem for us, we have Rum coming out our ears here in south Florida, and it’s gifted to us a lot – thank you very much! Don’t skip this ingredient, it’s the backbone of the cake (but if you must, just bump up the vanilla extract by double). Minty Syrup is a great way to use up extra mint and nice to have on hand to use in cocktails (Mojitos immediately come to mind – the south Florida thing again), hot or iced tea and with fresh fruit or berries. This keeps for weeks in the fridge. The Mushroom Tartlets and Apple and Blue Cheese Turnovers are a snap to make since I made them with purchased puff pastry sheets. You can use what ever fruit is in season for the turnovers, mix and match the cheese, herbs, dried fruit and nuts to make it your own. I like to make extra mushroom filling to keep it in the freezer in case surprise guests show up or we have a last minute party invite – it’s ready to put together.


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