December 12, 2012

Top cooks take on easy party bites

They keep it simple so that your party will be.

By Michele Kayal / Associated Press

(Continued from page 1)

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Associated Press food editor J.M. Hirsch suggests spring pea guacamole served on crackers with a Christmas sangria.

Photos by The Associated Press

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Feta cheese and honey go nicely with baguette slices.

 

SEAMUS MULLEN (chef and owner of New York's Tertulia and author of "Hero Food")

White Beans and sardines

Puree canned cannellini beans with roasted garlic, canned artichokes, olive oil and lemon juice for a white bean spread to serve with smoked sardines on toast.

Tuna and avocado toasts

Fork mash avocado with olive oil and lemon juice. Grill some flatbread, spread with the avocado mash, and top with grapefruit segments, good canned tuna and coarse sea salt.

Shrimp and squash skewers

Skewer some small shrimp with lightly blanched winter squash and grill. Serve with a simple salsa verde of minced herbs, olive oil, garlic and lemon juice.

 

DAVID BURKE (chef of several New York restaurants, including David Burke Townhouse)

Parmesan pops

Line a baking sheet with waxed paper. Place wooden skewers about 4 inches apart on the paper. Sprinkle shredded Parmesan cheese in a circle on top of one end of the skewer, creating a cheese lollipop. Bake at 350 F for 2 to 3 minutes, or until golden brown. Let cool, spray lightly with oil and sprinkle fine herbs.

Goat cheese lollies

Roll goat cheese into balls the size of a golf ball. Puree pistachios and roll the goat cheese balls through the nuts to encrust the cheese. Put a lollipop stick in the balls.

Black olive toasts

Puree black olives. Toast baguette slices and spread with ricotta cheese. Top with a dollop of olive puree.

 

WALTER ABRAMS (chef at Philadelphia's Le Bec Fin)

Cucumber and Boursin tea sandwiches

Cut the crusts off good quality white sandwich bread. Make a sandwich using Boursin garlic and herb cheese and thinly sliced cucumber. Cut into attractive diamonds. Finish with a sprig of fresh chervil.

Caviar and quick chive cakes

Grab a box of pancake mix, add chopped chives and prepare according to the box instructions (omitting sugar, if called for). Griddle the cakes and top with a dollop of sour cream and your favorite caviar.

Bacony popcorn

Pop a bag of your favorite popcorn. While it's popping, saute chopped bacon and sprinkle the top with brown sugar. And a dash of red wine vinegar. Add toasted cashews and the popcorn and serve hot.

 

BART PICKENS (chef at The Loveless Cafe in Nashville, Tenn.)

Easy smoked fish dip

Blend 2 parts smoked white fish, smoked oysters or smoked mussels with 1 part mayonnaise and 1 part cream cheese. Season with salt and pepper and use as a spread on French bread toast points, fresh vegetables or gourmet crackers.

Balsamic raisins

An excellent accompaniment for a cheese platter. Plump jumbo raisins in balsamic vinegar by simmering over low heat for 10 minutes.

Cheese crisps

Blend 1 cup each of flour and grated cheddar cheese in a food processor with 1 teaspoon of salt, 1 egg and ½ stick of butter. On a piece of waxed or parchment paper, roll out into a ¼-inch-thick disc. Cut into crackers (use holiday cookie cutters for more fun). Place the crackers on a baking sheet and bake at 350 F for 15 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Cream cheese and pepper jelly

A true Southern favorite, just two simple ingredients make for one delicious combination. Unwrap the cream cheese and place in the center of a platter before topping with a jar of hot pepper jelly.

 

CHRIS PAINTER (chef at Philadelphia's Il Pittore)

Fancy Italian subs

Brush slices of hearty country bread with extra-virgin olive oil, then grill. When toasted, top with thinly sliced prosciutto, serrano chili peppers and grated Parmesan. Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil.

(Continued on page 3)

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