Dispensing Happiness

A good cook is like a sorceress who dispenses happiness.-Elsa Schiapirelli

That's me, the magical good cook.

Borrowing from my friend Dexygus, I've created my own food blog.

Read of my exploits in the kitchen! Salivate over the descriptions of fabulous desserts and savory meals I've concocted!

No, seriously...go ahead. It'll make my day.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Bites for the Bride (to-be)


One of the girls in my on-line cooking club is getting married next weekend (six more days!), so we decided this month's theme would be party, or 'reception' food. I went with appetizers and drinks.

Well, here it is. My contribution to the 'reception'.

It's probably a good thing you guys weren't actually here; by the time everything was finished, Matt and I were much too tired to play host!

First up, Wonton Wonders (Peanut-Curry Chicken Salad in Wonton Cups)

Oooh; I really like these!

Boiled chicken (or Veat, for me), chopped up and mixed with Major Grey's chutney, yogurt, crunchy peanut butter, lime juice, and green curry paste. Spooned into wonton cups (made in a mini-muffin pan).
The wontons are nice and crunchy, and the chicken salad? You don't sense it at first, but then...the curry comes up and bites! Not too spicy, but you certainly realize it's there. Matt said it reminded him of a satay. Very good stuff.

Next up, Mary's Little Lambs (Filo Cups with Spiced Lamb, Mint and Feta)

This one took a bit of extra work, starting with...oops...the lamb still in the freezer!

Sheets of filo, cut into squares and baked, again, in mini-muffin cups. Filled with cooked ground lamb, onions, garlic, cumin, ginger, cinnamon and allspice, then topped with julienned mint and crumbled feta

I, for obvious reasons, didn't have any...but Matt liked them. He said he really picked up the cinnamon and onion. The mint and feta were a very light note. But he certainly liked them.

Nutty Napoleons (Toasted Pecan and English Stilton Napoleons)

You're going to love these little bites. Toasted pecan sandwiches, with a cream cheese, Stilton, port and honey filling. Oh, man...they are nice! Not too rich or heavy, with a fabulous flavor. And they're so cute!

Now we're on to Popeye Poppers (Spinach and Smoked Gouda Spheres)

Throw thawed and drained spinach, onion, kosher salt, bread crumbs, smoked Gouda and Parmesan, along with an egg and melted butter, into a food processor. Process till smooth. Form into balls, then roll in breadcrumbs and bake.

I really got a lot of onion and the smoked Gouda here; but there's nothing wrong with that! Again, they weren't too heavy, even with two kinds of cheese, and you can write it off as a veggie!

And on to the Sweet Frites (Sweet Potato Spears with Soy-Ginger Dipping Sauce)

Nice. And probably the the second-easiest recipe of the bunch.

Cut sweet potatoes into thick fries, and toss with vegetable oil, kosher salt and Chinese five-spice powder. Bake till tender.

This was my first time using five-spice powder, and I'm happy to have finally gotten around to it...love that smell!

The potatoes had a light spice flavor, but what really made them stand out was the dipping sauce: rice vinegar, soy sauce, desame oil (love that stuff), garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes. Fantastic! Even this morning, I was smelling the sauce. Nice.

Our last dish is called 'ZA! (Miniature Pizza with Cambozola, Roasted Garlic, Sun-Dried Tomatoes, and Basil)

Start by roasting four heads of garlic. That's right, four heads of garlic. Smelled heavenly. Allow to cool. Squeeze garlic out of cloves, into a bowl, and mash with the back of a spoon.

Spread garlic over English muffin halves, top with Cambozola and sun-dried tomatoes. Bake until cheese melts and muffins are crisp. Sprinkle with basil, and cut into quarters (wedges).

Tasty little bites, these were. You really can't eat too many, because the cheese is filling. The garlic doesn't overwhelm the pizza, but you notice it's there.

Now for the drinks!

Ginger Julep

Mint, sugar and grenadine, muddled. Add ice, smoosh some, then add gingerale.

Matt felt the ginger really disappeared here...you really tasted the mint. Nice, but I'd want to play around with it a bit, to get more of the ginger flavor, like maybe adding some fresh ginger to the mint.

Jamaican Cola

I love the idea. Sounded great. In the end...? Too strong a coffee taste. Matt and I would definitely make it again, but with less coffee (we can't find espresso powder any place, so we used instant coffee granules). If you really like coffee (and we don't), you'd probably enjoy it as is.

Limey Cooler

This was Matt's second favorite. I thought it was a bit weak...like a diluted limeade. I would certainly prefer a stronger lime flavor, but I'm a lime lover...maybe it's just me.

And finally, the winner (in Matt's opinion); Watermelon Whirl.

Chop some watermelon (removing the seeds, in a stating the obvious way), puree and strain, add some sugar and a pinch of allspice. Really nice.

It was too late, and I was too tired, to start on the biscotti, so I'm afraid I had to skip them. I promise I'll find time this week, though...I have all the ingredients on hand, so I'm not going to pass it up!

It was a lot of work, but fun. We love having appetizer dinners, and now we have plenty of left-over food!

Can't wait to see what you guys make...

3 Thoughts for food:

At 10:51 PM, Blogger Cate said...

You can't leave people hanging like that -- I'm gonna need some recipes here, especially the toasted pecan thingies, the cambazola pizza and the curry chicken salad cups. And what the heck is an online cooking club? I have my Supper Club, but that's IRL. Am I missing something? Do tell! :)

At 11:22 PM, Blogger Stephanie said...

All the food recipes can be found in the book Cocktail Food: 50 Finger Foods with Attitude

I highly recommend it; we've made quite a few, and I've loved them all.

I got to know two of the girls through their blogs, and we all talked about wanting a cooking club to belong to (the one getting married already had a club, IRL), so we just decided to do it online. Our schedules and experience varies, so we decided to pick a theme for each month, and post when we can. It's very informal, but fun.

At 11:22 PM, Blogger Stephanie said...

eh, the link didn't show (I think). You can find the book on Amazon!


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