Thursday, August 26, 2010

Easy Appetizers

So I volunteered to help make a bunch of appetizers for a cocktail party that my dad was co-hosting. Something to do with several local historians and another being in town and blah blah blah. I'm a good daughter though so I said I would cook. My plan was simple. And like everything else in my head, the reality was so much bigger than the plan. Haha.

Dad requested two favorites, meatballs and brie. Those are both super easy. For the meatballs, buy a few bags of turkey meatballs at the grocery store, add a jar of your favorite tomato sauce and cook in the crockpot. This is great for meatballs subs or with toothpicks as an appy. Brie is simple too. Unroll a tube of crescent rolls, place wheel of brie in center, add some preserves on top (I used some of my homemade peach seen below that I made a few weeks ago), fold up sides so they pinch together, bake until golden brown and serve with crackers and apples.

Thank goodness for my trusty helper! She sits underneath my feet, always willing to offer up her taste-testing services.

Next up was this recipe.

Mine turned out a bit different. But it was super delish all the same. Because I was making five pizzas though, I did much of the work ahead of time. I par-cooked the dough. Rolled them out as usual and baked them as usual. But only for five minutes. Then I let them cool and kept them in the fridge for a day. But I love the idea of doing a few like this and keeping them in the freezer. Then you just add your toppings and bake as usual for another five minutes or until the cheese is melted.
Onions and pears. The smell was amazing!

Add the arugula and spinach (I couldn't find just plain arugula in the two stores I went to).

Wilt down. At this point I let it cool and stored it in the fridge for a day. I am all about the prep work so I have as little as possible to do the day of any event. But if you are eating it that day, go ahead and top your pizza and bake.

This was a baby pizza I made for myself after I handed over my handiwork to dad.

I also made stuffed jalapenos (I will find the blogger who inspired them and link). I reserved one for myself and cooked it up tonight. And. I. Hated. It. I am mortified that I sent along 40 of these bloody evil things! I seeded them as directed and they are still hotter than hades on a bad day! I didn't even taste the cream cheese or bacon. My mouth was ON FIRE! So that was clearly an epic fail and I feel terrible that innocent people probably ate them.

The stuffed mushrooms were fabulous though. And easy. Core mushrooms, fill with desired filling, bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes.

Filling I used:
Cream cheese block, small can (drained) baby shrimp, a few scallions chopped up, one minced garlic clove, salt and pepper to taste. This would make a delightful dip with bread or veggies too.

Make ahead tip. I actually made both the peppers and mushrooms a week ago. Then I set them on a cookie sheet in a single layer and stuck them in the freezer. Once frozen (a few hours later), I tossed them in a baggie and back into the freezer. A great idea to keep emergency appetizers on hand or to make ahead. You don't need to defrost to bake them. Straight from freezer to cookie sheet to oven.

I also made my squash bruschetta. And three strawberry galettes (a rustic pie). Here's a chance to use your pie skills, friends! No pie dish necessary. I altered the recipe a bit but the inspiration came from this blogger.
As they were cooling I noticed they were not as "pretty" as I had hoped. The berry shine baked right out. So I again used my homemade preserves, this time strawberry. Heated a few tablespoons in the microwave to warm up and brushed them on the berry part. You can see the difference in these photos.

Before- this is one just out of the oven.

This one is half glazed- can you see the difference between the left (glazed) and right?

And here we go, fully glazed. It only takes a few seconds and a tiny bit of jam but it really makes a big difference.

I made my whipped cream different from her recipe too. I dumped a big thing of heavy cream in a large container a few days ago and stuck in a bunch of basil. Then today I poured the cream through a strainer. Whipped the cream and added some sugar. The hint of basil give it a really wonderful flavor. It's not overpowering but enough of a difference to make you notice (though my dad just called to give me the report and he said he didn't actually notice but liked it all the same). Try it. I promise you'll love it!


dana said...

Everything looks phenom!! Thank you for sharing!! I can't wait to try some of these.

KatiePerk said...

Delicious!! I will definitely be trying some of these! You have been quite busy in the kitchen~

Annie said...

You are a chef girl! Go on sista! Looks tasty! Didn't know you could freeze the jalepeno poppers and mushrooms - thank you for that tip before football season!

Michelle said...

Yum! Everything sounds delish!!!

Susan R said...

Geez girl, Martha Stewart has nothin' on you.

Terrell said...

WOW!! This all look sooo yum! I wish you could teach me to cook like that! :) I'm happy to be your newest follower of your delightful blog and would love to have you as a friend at Frou Frou Decor! I would also like to invite you to my weekly link party..full of crafts, recipes, and decor ideas! Hope to see you there!
~Terrell @ Frou Frou Decor~

Unknown said...

Oh my goodness... looks like HEAVEN!! :) mmm..

Ruth said...

Everything looks great! And that was so great of you to cook it all for him.

Molly said...

Man you are such a good cook! That all looks so wonderful, I bet your dad really enjoyed everything. Still to this day I still make your corn dip that you posted years ago. Yummy!

Jaime said...

Ok, I need to go eat for the next few hours after looking at these photos! I am very impressed! YUM!

Anonymous said...

I have to confess that whenever I go to a potluck, I always bring dessert because I never know good fingerfoods to make! But these look amazing and don't sound overly complicated - the pizzas sound delicious.

American in Bath said...

I am now starving.

Screen Door Prep said...

Thank you for sharing these delicious-looking recipes. I have been wanting to do something brie&fruit-ish for a while & just haven't gotten around to it. Hope maybe there were some folks that loved your spicy appetizers. ;) I am the worst about trying new recipes when I making food for others, rather than using old ones that I know well. I can't help it - there are so many recipes that I want to try! =)


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