Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Every Kind of Appetizer You Could Imagine!

750 Best Appetizers
From Dips and Salsas to Spreads and Shooters
by Judith Finlayson and Jordan Wagman

Paperback, 576 pages

This has got to be the be-all and end-all book of appetizers. Seriously. 750 recipes!

We are appetizer people. Sometimes I make meals out of all appetizers and call it a picnic. Whether in a romantic evening for two, a home pub night or game night, night at the neighbour's, or a full-on house party - you will find the perfect appetizers to serve in this book.

One thing I know for sure - I am going to have to throw a lot more parties. ☺

Chapters include:
* Dips and Spreads * Salsas * Shooters * Wraps and Rolls * Savory Tarts, Dumplings and Crepes * Crackers, Crostini, Toasts and Pizzas * Panini, Sandwiches, and Tartines * Fish and Seafood * Sticks and Picks * Knives and Forks * Cheese Please * Mostly Veggies and Bar Noshes * Poultry and Meat * Slow Cooker * Desserts * Basics and Condiments *

And they boast such delicious offerings as:
  •     Easy tahini dip, tuna tapenade, roasted beet and goat cheese spread
  •     Feta-spiked watermelon salsa with chili, apple salsa, Bloody Mary salsa
  •     Watercress gazpacho, broccoli pesto shooter, shrimp bisque, cumin mint cooler
  •     Pepper-wrapped chorizo, duck confit quesadilla, cannoli, beef sushi
  •     Pancetta and potato bundles, buckwheat blini, spinach and artichoke tarts
  •     Uptown croque monsieur, pinwheel party sandwiches, salmon sliders
  •     Spicy sizzling shrimp, smoked salmon and avocado tartare, beer-battered oysters.

This week I made the most adorable Mini Falafel Sandwiches (pg 224) with the Easy Hummus (page 52). So very cute - and so very delicious! This would be great with some little spoons of tabbouleh salad.

Mini Falafel Sandwiches
Makes 36 sandwiches / Vegetarian Friendly, Middle-Eastern / pg 224

These crispy Middle Eastern balls are just wonderful for a lunch or dinner appetizer party. Although we have created the perfect sandwich, these balls are just lovely all on their own too or dipped into Easy Hummus (page 52) or any of the hummus recipes.

Mini pita bread, about 3 inches (7.5 cm) in diameter, can be found in select stores. Regular size pita can work here too by slicing into quarters for
pie-like shapes.

•    Candy/deep-fry thermometer

2½ cups    cooked drained chickpeas     625 mL
¾ cup    coarsely chopped fresh cilantro leaves    175 mL
3    cloves garlic    3
1 tsp    salt    5 mL
¾ tsp    ground cumin (see Tips)    3 mL
½ tsp    hot pepper sauce    2 mL
1 cup    all-purpose flour, divided    250 mL
6 cups    vegetable oil    1.5 L
¾ cup    Easy Hummus (page 52) or     175 mL
36    3-inch (7.5 cm) pita bread, tops opened     36
    to form pocket, cut in half (see Tip, left)
½ cup    shredded carrot    125 mL
½ cup    diced cucumber    125 mL

 1.    In a food processor fitted with metal blade, pulse chickpeas, cilantro, garlic, salt, cumin and hot pepper sauce until smooth, 2 to 3 minutes, scraping down sides of the bowl as necessary. Transfer to a bowl and fold in about 21⁄2 tbsp (37 mL) of flour. Cover and refrigerate for 15 minutes, until chilled, or for up to 1 hour.

2.    When you’re ready to cook, place oil in a deep saucepan or Dutch oven and heat over medium heat until temperature reaches 350°F (180°C). (You can also use a deep fryer; follow the manufacturer’s instructions.) Form chickpea mixture into about 36 balls, about 2 tsp (10 mL) each and lightly dredge in remaining flour. Add falafels to hot oil in batches and fry until balls rise to the surface and are golden brown, about 4 minutes. Remove from oil and drain on paper towels.

3.    Add a dollop of hummus on the inside of each pita bread half. Place 1 falafel ball inside. Garnish sandwich with equal amounts of carrots and cucumber and serve immediately.

Excerpted from 750 Best Appetizers by Judith Finlayson and Jordan Wagman © 2011 Robert Rose Inc. www.robertrose.ca Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.

Photo credit: Colin Erricson
Or try some of these other delightful treats to wow your friends and tickle your taste buds!
Photo credit: Colin Erricson
Mango-Spiked Salmon Ceviche

Because it is made from a cold water fish, this is not a traditional ceviche but it is delicious nonetheless. Serve it on tostadas, tortilla chips, plain crackers or even crisp lettuce leaves such as hearts of romaine. If you’re offering larger servings, think about spooning it into chilled martini glasses and passing forks or small spoons.

Makes about 3 cups (750 mL) / Fish / pg 283

8 oz    skinless salmon fillet, cut into ¼-inch     250 g
    (0.5 cm) dice
¼ cup    freshly squeezed lime juice (approx.)    60 mL
1 cup    diced mango (1 small)    250 mL
1 cup    diced avocado    250 mL
2    green onions, white part with a bit of     2
    green, thinly sliced
1    jalapeño pepper, seeded and diced    1
2 tbsp    minced fresh cilantro leaves    30 mL
1 tbsp    extra virgin olive oil    15 mL
    Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1.    In a serving bowl, combine salmon and lime juice. Cover and refrigerate until opaque, about 15 minutes.

2.    Add mango, avocado, onions, jalapeño, cilantro and oil. Season with salt and pepper. Toss well. Serve cold.

Excerpted from 750 Best Appetizers by Judith Finlayson and Jordan Wagman © 2011 Robert Rose Inc. www.robertrose.ca Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.

Photo credit: Colin Erricson
Vegetarian Vietnamese Fresh Rolls

Makes 8 rolls / Vegan Friendly / pg 138

This is almost a two‑for-one recipe —the fresh rolls are wonderful all on their own but the leftover marinade creates the perfect dipping sauce.

To julienne asparagus, cut into thin slices lengthwise and slice those slices into thin strips.
For a wonderful dipping sauce, in a small ramekin, combine the remaining dressing with 1⁄4 cup (60 mL) soy sauce and 1 tbsp (15 mL) coarsely chopped Agave and Ginger-Scented Peanuts (page 455).

2 tbsp    soy sauce    30 mL
2 tbsp    sweet Asian chili sauce    30 mL
½ tsp    toasted sesame oil    2 mL
½ tsp    rice vinegar (see Tips)    2 mL
½ tsp    minced garlic    2 mL
½ tsp    finely chopped pickled ginger    2 mL
¼ tsp    minced gingerroot    1 mL
2 cups    shredded baby bok choy    500 mL
¾ cup    julienned blanched asparagus     175 mL
    (see Tips, left)
¾ cup    julienned peeled carrots    175 mL
½ cup    julienned English cucumber    125 mL
¼ cup    julienned mango    60 mL
¼ cup    finely chopped toasted peanuts    60 mL
8    10-inch (25 cm) rice paper wrappers    8
3 cups    hot water    750 mL
    Dipping sauce, optional (see Tips)

1.    Dressing: In a bowl, combine soy sauce, chili sauce, oil, vinegar, garlic, pickled ginger and minced ginger.

2.    In another bowl, combine bok choy, asparagus, carrots, cucumber, mango and peanuts. Add 2 tbsp (30 mL) dressing and toss well. Divide into 8 equal portions.

3.    Working with one rice paper at a time, submerse in hot water until pliable, about 30 seconds. Place on a work surface. Spread one-portion of the vegetable mixture in a strip across the lettuce leaf about one-third away from the edge closest to you, leaving about 1 inch (2.5 cm) on either side. Fold the edge closest to you over the filling and pull gently toward you to encase the filling. Fold the sides toward the middle, then continue to roll up tightly. Place rolls under a damp cloth to stay moist because the wrappers tend to dry out quickly. Serve rolls immediately with dipping sauce, if using, or refrigerate for up to 1 hour. Serve whole or for a small hors d’oeuvre, cut in half on the diagonal and place on a serving platter.

Excerpted from 750 Best Appetizers by Judith Finlayson and Jordan Wagman © 2011 Robert Rose Inc. www.robertrose.ca Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.