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Posts Tagged ‘appetizer’

Plum Dipping Sauce for Shrimp A gift of perfect plums and and sweet peaches needs to be devoured while at the peak of their perfection. This means I only have a few days to eat them. Is that a big problem? Not really. Besides eating them au naturel, I plan on using them to test out new recipes. The first new recipe uses three ripe plums to give this spicy plum sauce a sweet and fruity flavor, while rice vinegar and spices make it piquant. This is not a run-of-the-mill dipping sauce for shrimp. Thank goodness!

Plum Dipping Sauce For Shrimp
Food Network, recipe courtesy of Ritz-Carlton Rose Hall Resort, Jamaica

INGREDIENTS
3 plums, peeled, pitted and sliced
1 cup water
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon chopped habaneros
Cornstarch, optional
Sugar

DIRECTIONS
1. Place the plums in a blender or food processor. Add the water and mix at high speed until the plums are puréed.

2. Pour the purée into a 1-quart saucepan. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes to reduce the sauce. If necessary, add cornstarch to thicken the sauce.

3. Remove from heat. Add sugar, to taste. Serve hot or cold.

Yield: 4-6 servings

LINNELL’S NOTES
1. Although not as hot as habanero chilies, I used serrano chiles in this recipe, because I had them on hand.

2. I reduced the sauce longer than 20 minutes and still added a little cornstarch to thicken up the sauce.

3. I added a pinch of salt and about 2 teaspoons of sugar to the reduction.

4. I prefer serving this sauce chilled.

Enjoy!

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Grilled Pork Kebabs with ginger Molasses Barbecue Sauce“How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.” Elizabeth Barret Browning did not pen those words while reflecting on food, but for some reason, her words danced through my head as I ate the Grilled Pork Kebabs with Ginger Molasses Barbecue Sauce. Let me count the reasons why I love this recipe. Made from lean pork tenderloin, these kebabs are lower in fat. In fact, in an article written by Jeff Volek, Ph.D, R.D. for Men’s Health, he states, “Pork really is the other white meat. Ounce for ounce, pork tenderloin has less fat than a chicken breast.” In addition, as the complex flavors of the sauce swirled in my mouth, I thought about its versatility and how fabulous it would taste on other grilled meat, particularly salmon, prawns, or chicken. The final reason why I love this kebab recipe focuses on its ease of preparation and its make-ahead convenience. Serve these kebabs with rice pilaf for Valentine’s Day and experience love at first taste.

Grilled Pork Kebabs with Ginger Molasses Barbecue Sauce
Gourmet, August 2003

INGREDIENTS
For Barbecue Sauce:
6 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons ketchup
1½ tablespoons molasses (regular or robust, not blackstrap)
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced fresh serrano or other small hot green chile (1 or 2), including seeds
1/2 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt

For Pork:
1 (1-lb) pork tenderloin, trimmed
1/4 teaspoon salt

Special Equipment:
About 30 (8-inch) wooden skewers, soaked in water for 30 minutes

DIRECTIONS
1. To make barbecue sauce: Stir together all sauce ingredients in a 1- to 1½-quart heavy saucepan and briskly simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until thickened and reduced to about 1/2 cup, about 3 minutes. Transfer sauce to a medium bowl and cool to room temperature.

2. Put tenderloin on a cutting board. Starting about 5 inches from narrow end of tenderloin and holding a large sharp knife at a 30-degree angle to cutting board, cut a thin slice (1/8 to 1/4 inch thick) from tenderloin, slicing diagonally toward narrow end and cutting through to cutting board. Continue to cut thin slices from tenderloin following same diagonal, starting each consecutive slice closer to wide end. (You will have about 12 slices. Cut any slices more than 2 inches wide in half lengthwise.)

3. Thread 2 skewers, 1 at a time and 1/2 to 1 inch apart, lengthwise through each slice of pork and transfer to a tray lined with plastic wrap.

4. If using a charcoal grill, open vents on bottom of grill, then light charcoal. Charcoal fire is hot when you can hold your hand 5 inches above rack for 1 to 2 seconds. If using a gas grill, preheat burners on high, covered, 10 minutes.

5. Sprinkle pork slices with salt and brush both sides with barbecue sauce, then grill on oiled grill rack, uncovered, turning over once, until just cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes total. Discard any leftover sauce.*

6. Cooks’ notes: Barbecue sauce can be made 6 hours ahead and chilled, covered. Kebabs can be prepared 6 hours before grilling (without salt or sauce) and chilled, covered with plastic wrap. If you aren’t able to grill outdoors, cook kebabs in a hot oiled well-seasoned ridged grill pan over moderately high heat.

LINNELL’S NOTES
1. For even cooking, try to cut pork in uniformly thick slices.

2. The spiciness of the sauce can be adjusted by reducing or increasing the amount of minced chile.

3. *I make double the amount of sauce and pour about half of it into a separate bowl to serve alongside the meat or to slather it on the grilled meat prior to serving. Discard the remaining half that was brushed onto the raw meat.

4. These kebabs make hearty appetizers and taste just as good when served at room temperature.

5. I sprinkled toasted sesame seeds on the kebabs and cilantro leaves on the serving plate prior to serving.

ENJOY!

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Sushi Casserole Creating extraordinary sushi requires great skill and passion. After watching Jiro Dreams of Sushi, a documentary about Jiro Ono, an 87-year-old sushi master, I’m almost embarrassed to share the following recipe. This recipe is far removed from the precise art of sushi-making, but the rumblings of my imagination wouldn’t let go of the idea of creating a sushi casserole. I searched online, sorted through my notes and newspaper clippings, and reread my sushi cookbooks to figure out what layers I wanted for the casserole. My experiment began and, after a fair amount of improvising, I ended up with a tasty casserole that yielded bite-sized squares of “sushi” that were served with roasted Nori. There are endless possibilities to a layered recipe such as this. And, yes, it is possible to stick a square peg into a round hole!

Sushi Casserole
Sushi Rice
The ratio of vinegar solution added to sushi rice varies with the type of sushi being made. In this case, I’m using a vinegar solution used for making maki-sushi. Normally, the vinegar solution is added to the rice after the rice is cooked. The rice is usually fanned while cooling to give the grains a lustrous or shiny appearance. I cheated by adding the vinegar solution into the rice cooker at the beginning and didn’t fan the rice at all.

Ingredients:
4 cups of uncooked sushi rice (rice must be short or medium grain only)
1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) of plain rice vinegar
5 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
Water (approximately 4 cups plus 4 tablespoons)

Directions:
1. Wash and drain rice.
2. Put the rice in the rice cooker.
3. Combine vinegar, sugar, and salt in a small bowl.
4. Add vinegar solution to rice in rice cooker.
5. Add water up to the specified cup level.
6. Start the rice cooker.
7. After the rice is cooked, let it cool to body temperature.

Crab Layer
Ingredients:
1 pound imitation crab
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1 cup sour cream

Directions:
1. Chop the imitation crab or place it in a food processor and pulse. Small chunks are desired, not large chunks nor a smooth paste.
2. Combine mayonnaise and sour cream in a medium-sized bowl.
3. Add crab to mayo-sour cream mixture and stir until thoroughly combined.

Spicy Sauce
Ingredients:
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons Sriracha sauce

Directions:
1. Blend both ingredients together.
2. Pour into a squeeze bottle with a small nozzle tip.

Additional Toppings
Smoked salmon slices
Shrimp tempura
Cucumber sticks
Avocado slices
Aji Nori Furikake (a seasoned mix in a jar)

Assembling Casserole
1. In a small bowl, mix 1 cup of water with 2-3 tablespoons of vinegar. Rub this solution on your hands and on any utensils you use to prevent the rice from sticking.
2. Take handfuls of rice and gently and evenly press it into the bottom of a 9-inch by 13-inch pan. This layer should be at least 1/2-inch thick, but no more than 3/4-inch thick. There may be leftover rice.
3. Spread the crab layer over the rice.
4. At this point I put a thin layer of smoked salmon slices over the crab mixture.
5. The next layer, I alternated between the shrimp tempura, avocado slices, and cucumber strips.
6. Finally, I sprinkled some Aji Nori Furikake over the top of the casserole and then drizzled the spicy sauce up and down the rows of toppings.

To Serve
Ingredients:
Nori/sheets of seaweed
Wasabi
Pickled ginger

Directions:
1. Cut the casserole into small squares. You can either serve the sushi squares directly from the pan or you can plate them on a serving platter.
2. Accompany sushi casserole with squares of roasted Nori, wasabi, and pickled ginger.

Linnell’s Notes:
1. Sushi should not be put in the refrigerator, because the rice will become hard. It’s most delicious when served just after making it.

2. I made my rice base too thick, so I recommend using enough rice to form a solid base, but not so much that each bite is all rice.

3. I used frozen shrimp tempura from Costco and baked it in the oven while the rice was cooling.

4. For easier cutting and serving, the shrimp tempura could be cut into bite-sized pieces and placed intermittently in rows across the casserole. Another consideration might be to place the shrimp tempura under the crab layer. The same goes for the cucumber sticks. The cucumber sticks could be diced and sprinkled over the casserole.

5. Instead of toasting sheets of Nori/seaweed and cutting them into squares, I cheated and opened several roasted-seasoned seaweed snack packs. See packages in photo along with Furikake and rice vinegar: Partial Ingredients for Sushi Casserole

Enjoy!

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crudities  with dip Instead of serving a tray of high-calorie appetizers at your next party, how about presenting a beautiful platter of fresh crudités? Boring, you say? Not if you serve the crudités with a variety of interesting dips! Don’t be fooled by the simple list of ingredients in the Herb Dip; the fresh herbs really shine in this easy and delicious recipe. Tempt your guests with the cooling flavor of lime juxtaposed against the heat of chilies in the Chili-Lime Sour Cream Dip. Last, but certainly not least, the Peanut Sauce is sure to be a crowd favorite – what’s not to like about peanut butter with a little attitude?

Herb Dip
Recipe by Ina Garten

Ingredients:
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup mayonnaise
4 scallions, white and green parts, minced
2 tablespoons fresh parsley leaves, minced
1 tablespoon fresh dill, minced
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions:
Place the cream cheese, sour cream, mayonnaise, scallions, parsley, dill, salt, and pepper in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and blend. Serve at room temperature.

Makes 2 cups

Linnell’s Notes:
Due to the cream cheese, this recipe produces a thick dip. To further cut calories, you could experiment with low-fat versions of the cream cheese, sour cream and mayonnaise. For best flavor, though, you’re going to have to leave some fat in the recipe!

Chili-Lime Sour Cream Dip
Recipe from Better Homes and Garden

Ingredients:
One 16-ounce carton of sour cream
Two 7-ounce cans of diced green chilies, drained
1/4 cup snipped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup jarred salsa
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon mild or hot chili powder
2 teaspoons finely shredded lime peel
1/2 teaspoon salt
Bottled hot pepper sauce to taste

Directions:
In a large bowl combine sour cream, chilies, cilantro, salsa, garlic, chili powder, lime peel, salt and bottled hot pepper sauce. Cover and chill overnight.

Makes 3¾ cups

Linnell’s Notes:
The level of preferred heat can be adjusted by increasing or decreasing the amounts of chili powder and hot pepper sauce. Also, the type of salsa you use, will affect the heat of the dip. Chilling the dip overnight allows the flavors to meld.

Peanut Sauce
Recipe originally from Sunset Hors D’oeuvres Cookbook

Ingredients:
1/3 cup crunchy peanut butter
3 tablespoons firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons chili sauce or ketchup
1/2 – 1 teaspoon soy sauce, to taste

Directions:
Mix ingredients until well-blended. Serve with raw vegetables (cucumber, jicama, bell pepper, carrot and celery)

Makes 3/4 cup

Linnell’s Notes:
After tasting this at one of her parties, I begged my friend Tina for this recipe. Because it’s a crowd-pleaser, I double or quadruple this recipe when I make it!

Enjoy!

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