hors d’oeuvre – The Culinary Chase http://theculinarychase.com support local Thu, 10 Aug 2017 14:47:08 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8.1 avocado and shrimp wonton baskets http://theculinarychase.com/2017/03/avocado-shrimp-wonton-baskets/ Mon, 13 Mar 2017 19:53:20 +0000 http://theculinarychase.com/?p=13400 When entertaining, I like to make appetisers that err on the side of healthy.  I also make sure there’s a mix of food while being cognizant of the dietary restrictions our guests might have.  Last month I made wonton noodle soup but only used half the wonton wrappers; the rest I froze.  There’s always a […]

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When entertaining, I like to make appetisers that err on the side of healthy.  I also make sure there’s a mix of food while being cognizant of the dietary restrictions our guests might have.  Last month I made wonton noodle soup but only used half the wonton wrappers; the rest I froze.  There’s always a bag or two of shrimp in the freezer and I usually have an avocado on hand.  This recipe is easy to make and in roughly 10 minutes you can have the filling completed by the time the wonton baskets are cooked and cooled.   These baskets are packed with flavour and vitamins.  As always, the ingredient list can be modified to suit your own palate.

Makes 18 baskets
1 avocado, cut into small chunks
1/2 cup finely diced red onion
2 medium sized tomatoes, seeds removed and finely chopped
1 1/2 cups cooked shrimp, coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons fresh coriander, coarsely chopped
1/2 large lime
1 garlic clove, minced
olive oil
sea salt and pepper to taste
splash of fish sauce (optional but so tasty!)
18 wonton wrappers

Preheat oven to 350f (180c). Place wrappers in a muffin tin and gently push down. Spray each with olive oil. Bake in oven for 5-7 minutes until golden crisp. Remove from oven and let cool. In a bowl combine onion, tomatoes, shrimp, garlic and coriander. Season with sea salt and pepper. Squeeze lime over the tomato and shrimp mixture,  add 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil, splash of fish sauce and combine.  Add avocado and lightly toss.

Fill each wonton basket with about 1 heaping tablespoonful of the tomato and shrimp mixture.

The Culinary Chase’s Note: Substitute wonton wrappers with Belgium endive leaves.  Enjoy!

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fried olives stuffed with cheese http://theculinarychase.com/2016/01/fried-olives-stuffed-with-cheese/ Fri, 22 Jan 2016 21:56:08 +0000 http://theculinarychase.com/?p=12008 What is your favorite snack? Do you go back to the same one time after time or do you like to venture out and try new ones? If you have not tried fried olives, you must! They are a crunchy flavor bomb!  I’ve made these a few times now and each time it’s with a […]

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fried olives stuffed with cheeseWhat is your favorite snack? Do you go back to the same one time after time or do you like to venture out and try new ones? If you have not tried fried olives, you must! They are a crunchy flavor bomb!  I’ve made these a few times now and each time it’s with a different stuffing.  I first stuffed the olives with blue cheese and while they were yummy, I felt the saltiness from the cheese was too much for my palate.  So, next I stuffed with sausage meat combined with cheese curds…whoa!  That was one amazing combo!

Use the stuffing or cheese to help close the olive and don’t worry if the stuffing or cheese is slightly exposed.  Also, before deciding on what olives to use, do a taste test as some can be on the bitter side.  Most places will give you a sample if you’re not sure.Fried olives are lovely on their own or as part of a charcuterie board.  Looking for a wine pairing?  The quintessential glass of prosecco is always a good bet but you can also use pinot grigio or a sauvignon blanc.

olives pits removed (large ones work the best)
any soft cheese such as brie, mozzarella, goat cheese
bread crumbs (I used Panko for a crunchier taste)
oil for frying
1 to 2 eggs, beaten
all-purpose flour

Place the olives in a bowl of cold water for 30 minutes to get rid of the briny flavor. Dry with paper towel.  Make a slit in the olive to make it easier to stuff.

Roll olives in flour, shake off any excess, then dip in beaten egg and coat in bread crumbs.  Pour enough oil into heavy frying pan to a depth of 1-inch and heat to 350f (180c).  Add olives in batches (don’t over crowd) and fry until breadcrumbs turn a golden brown. Use a slotted spoon to remove and transfer olives to paper towels to drain.

fried olivesThe Culinary Chase’s Note:  If you don’t feel like stuffing the olives, most delicatessens offer them already stuffed with cheese, garlic or nuts.  Make a big batch and freeze for later use.  Enjoy!

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3 Easy Appetizers http://theculinarychase.com/2014/12/3-easy-appetizers/ Mon, 08 Dec 2014 20:59:41 +0000 http://theculinarychase.com/?p=9100 Entertaining is fun or at least that’s my view but for some, though, it can be a dreaded task.  Why?  The ‘idea’ of having friends over for a bite to eat is simple enough until one starts to ‘think’ about what to serve, the timing, and execution of each dish.  I believe that when you […]

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goat cheese ballsEntertaining is fun or at least that’s my view but for some, though, it can be a dreaded task.  Why?  The ‘idea’ of having friends over for a bite to eat is simple enough until one starts to ‘think’ about what to serve, the timing, and execution of each dish.  I believe that when you invite friends over for dinner it’s a social gathering where conversation flows regardless of what’s served.  Remember, they come to see you, not what’s on the table, or how your home looks.  I think hostesses put way too much pressure on themselves and in doing so empty all the fun and love out of the planning process. 

If you’re new to entertaining then start slow.  Instead of organizing a sit down meal, why not plan on a cocktail party.  It’s a fun way to host a party, a good way to see if you want to repeat it, and is stress-free (you get them to serve themselves).  Have food stations set out in different areas of your home to encourage your guests to move about.  Don’t worry about not enough serving trays; use an old glass picture frame, cutting board, cookie tin lid, piece of slate or mirror. Next, figure out how many appetizers to serve.  Depending on the heartiness of each appetizer, I like to plan on 6 to 8 per person for a 2-hour period.  Remember, you’re not feeding them dinner you’re throwing a cocktail party outside of typical meal hours.  Now for the fun part – what to serve.  Make a list of hors d’oeuvres you’ve had in the past that you like and go from there.  When deciding on what you’d like to serve, keep in mind that finger food shouldn’t be cumbersome.  Your guests should be able to consume the hors d’oeuvres with one or two bites and with ease.  Nothing bugs me more when the food fights back or worse, lands on the floor!  Try my 3 easy appetizers…they will not disappoint.

Goat Cheese Balls (with 4 toppings)
300g soft goat cheese
1 garlic clove, minced
chopped spicy cashews
smoked paprika
Dukkah
chopped chives

In a bowl combine goat cheese with minced garlic.  If the mixture seems too dry, add a teaspoon of olive oil and mix.  Roll into bite-size balls then roll into toppings.  Place cheese balls on a parchment-lined tray and refrigerate.  Remove from fridge 15 minutes before guests arrive.

marinated mixed olivesMarinated Mixed Olives
assorted olives (pitted) or 3 separate jars of olives
olive oil
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
zest of 1 lemon
zest of 1 orange
1 anchovy fillet (packed in oil)
1 to 2 tablespoons of capers, rinsed

In a small pot over low heat add half a cup of olive oil, anchovy fillet, zest of lemon and orange and garlic. Simmer until anchovy starts to dissolve. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature. With olives in a bowl, add olive oil mixture to the olives. Top up with extra-virgin olive oil and refrigerate until ready to use. Allow olives to come to room temperature before serving.

Caprese SaladCaprese Salad on a Stick
bocconcini balls (mini)
cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half
fresh basil leaves

Skewer tomato first followed by a basil leaf and topped with bocconcini ball. If the bail leaf is large, fold it in half. Place in fridge until ready to serve.

The Culinary Chase’s Note: You can also use pretzel sticks for the goat cheese balls or serve in fillo shells.  Next time I’m going to add grated Parmesan to the cheese balls for added cheesiness and texture. Olives marinated tend to mellow in flavor so even those who profess not to like olives will be pleasantly surprised.  Buying pitted olives will not only make it easier for your guests to eat, they won’t need to look for a place to dispose of the pit.  Enjoy!

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