Friday, 2 September 2011

Bite by Bite: Pigs in Blankets and Peace of Pizza!

100 Stylish Little Plates You Can Make for Any Party
by Peter Callahan and Raquel Pelzel
Foreword by Martha Stewart
Hardcover, 256 pages

When my daughter was young she loved Polly Pocket. Little miniature figurines with miniature homes and playlands. What is it about tiny things that gets us so excited? I swoon over the baby sock department when we pass through a department store, and as you all know- I love my mini pooches. Small is good. Mini is incredible.

Peter Callahan, caterer to the stars, has come out with a whole book of the absolute cutest, most genius mini appetizers I have ever seen, with full-sized colour photos of each one. Little tiny lobster roll anyone? How about a one-bite fish taco with gazpacho shooter? Truffle risotto lollypop? Bite by Bite has 100 of the most brilliant, adorable, and delicious appetizers - guaranteed to wow your guests.

Chapters include:
comfort foods
shots + bites
lollipops, cones + more
classics reinterpreted
minis go main
hors d'ouvres for breakfast
dessert
open bar
theme + menus
along with intro, kitchen tools + conveniences, and resources

pigs in blankets, two ways
by Peter Callahan and Raquel Pelzel Authors of Bite by Bite

makes 2 dozen of each

Here it is, the number one most-requested hors d’oeuvre at parties: pigs in puff pastry blankets. As a caterer who takes pride in imprinting dishes with my distinct spin, I was thrilled to remake this party workhorse. My rendition is smoked salmon “pigs” with wasabi caviar “blankets” perched above a field of living wheatgrass. I love how the New York Times described it in a feature: “This little pig went, well, a little crazy.” I like to serve it with the classic version to satisfy the traditionalists. We have also cut the salmon and bread with an Oscar-shaped cutter for Academy Awards parties. If you can’t find wasabi caviar, substitute very finely chopped fresh dill.

for the classic pigs in blankets
1 12-ounce package all-beef cocktail franks
1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
1 large egg
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

for the pigs in a field
4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon brine-packed capers, drained and finely chopped
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
12 slices pumpernickel bread
12 ounces sliced smoked salmon, such as lox
24 black sesame seeds
2 ounces wasabi caviar (or 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh dill)

pigs in blankets | Remove the cocktail franks from the package and place them on a paper-towellined plate to absorb any extra moisture. Place the puff pastry on a cutting board and slice it into twenty-four 2-inch-long, ¾-inch-wide strips. Place a frank horizontally in the center of a strip. Bring the edges of the pastry over the frank, pinch together, and set the pastry, seam side down, on a parchment-paper-lined rimmed baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining franks and puff strips, placing the pigs in blankets about 1 inch apart. Place the baking sheet in the freezer and chill for 20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

In a small bowl, whisk 1 tablespoon water with the egg to make an egg wash. Remove the baking sheet from the freezer and brush the egg wash over the pastry. Bake, rotating the pan midway through, until the pastry is golden brown, about 24 minutes. Set aside to cool.

pigs in a field | In a small bowl, stir the butter, capers, and lemon zest together. Set aside. Using a 2-inch pig-shaped cookie cutter, cut the bread and the salmon into 24 bread pig shapes and 24 salmon pig shapes. Spread one side of each piece of bread with ¼ teaspoon of the lemon-caper butter. Carefully lay a piece of pig-shaped smoked salmon over the buttered bread. Place a sesame seed where the eye should be. Make a stripe of caviar down the middle of each pig’s belly (see photo) with ¼ teaspoon of the wasabi caviar.

serve | Serve the traditional pigs in blankets with a dot of mustard on each. Serve the pigs in a fi eld standing in a tray of wheatgrass (or print a picture of grass and place it beneath a piece of glass or clear acrylic and serve the salmon-wasabi pigs on top).

make ahead Traditional pigs in blankets can be kept frozen for 1 month. The lemon-caper butter can be made 1 week ahead; cover and refrigerate. The smoked salmon–wasabi pigs can be assembled and refrigerated for several hours before serving.

Excerpted from Bite By Bite by Peter Callahan and Raquel Pelzel Copyright © 2011 Peter Callahan and Raquel Pelzel Excerpted by permission of Clarkson Potter, a division of Random House of Canada Limited. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

peace of pizza
by Peter Callahan and Raquel Pelzel Authors of Bite by Bite

makes 2 dozen
Peace of Pizza is a retro-fabulous addition that is at once sophisticated and playful. If you can’t find ready-made pizza dough, use mini pitas or halved English muffins as the base.

for the pizza
1 14-ounce piece store-bought pizza dough
All-purpose flour, for rolling

for the topping
24 slices mozzarella cheese
½ cup store-bought marinara sauce

pizza | Preheat the oven to 450°F.

Place the pizza dough on a lightly floured work surface and roll it out 1/16 -inch thick.  Using a 1.-inch round cookie cutter, cut out 24 rounds of dough. Place the rounds on a rimmed baking sheet and prick each one with a fork.  Bake until slightly golden, 2 to 4 minutes. Remove from the oven, set aside, and reduce the oven temperature to 350°F.

topping | Using a paring knife or a peace sign– shaped cookie cutter, cut each slice of cheese to form a peace sign. Spread 1 teaspoon of the marinara sauce over each pizza crust and top with a cheese peace sign. Return the baking sheet to the oven and bake just until the cheese is half melted, 1 to 2 minutes. (If you overcook the cheese, it will spread too much and won’t look like a peace sign.)

serve | Using a spatula, transfer the pizzas to a platter. Serve hot.

make ahead The baked pizza crusts can be stored in a gallon-sized resealable freezer bag in the freezer for up to1 week. They can also be topped with sauce and cheese and refrigerated for several hours before being finished in the oven.

Excerpted from Bite By Bite by Peter Callahan and Raquel Pelzel Copyright © 2011 Peter Callahan and Raquel Pelzel Excerpted by permission of Clarkson Potter, a division of Random House of Canada Limited. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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