Monday, November 29, 2010

Tastefully Small Savory Bites


Here's my dilemma... I love finger foods. They are always my favorite part of any party. If fact, I'd be happy to just be grazing all party long - forget the full meal. I'd even forego dessert for more savory morsels. BUT.... I have little patience for MAKING such delicacies.

You can imagine my delight when I received Tastefully Small Savory Bites: Easy Sophisticated Hors D'oeuvres for Every Occasion - the title may be more than a mouthful, but the contents are just perfect. Sections are divided by type: seafood, meat, poultry & eggs, vegetable, pastry based, and naked canapes. I personally plan on making my way through them all.

One thing about "bites" as Kim Hendrickson, fabulous author and chef, calls them... they have to capture your attention even before they hit your mouth. So the photos are extremely helpful for those of us who are not as artistic in presentation as others.
But let me share my little journey to picking the first "bite"...

When I was growing up my mother & grandmother made rugelach... dainty rolled up sweets, with fillings of nuts and jams rolled in a sweet pastry dough... and they were very tasty, indeed. But I hate "fiddly" work and so I never make them.

This savory version, however is a) filled with my favorite things... mushrooms, Italian sausage, rosemary and shallots; b) it's so easy to make, even I won't complain about having to make multiple batches.

It's a two day process - which works well for me... make the dough and refrigerate it (the whole thing took less than 20 minutes, that's including washing up!) one day and do the rest the day you plan on serving them. In fact, you could certainly make them a few days before and gently reheat them just before your guests arrive.

It didn't take very long for the four of us (my daughter, her husband, my Honey and me) to devour the batch of 30 that I made. So making them earlier in the week, allows for more batches! You'll thank me later.

One of the wonderful things about the book is that each recipe has two alternatives: Modify(where Hendrickson gives suggestions to change things up) - like making these into meatless, not just by eliminating the sausage - a fine option on its own, but by using garlic butter, fresh herbs, sauteed shallots and sunflower seeds, it becomes an entirely different dish. I can just see my next party... at least 4 variations of the same.

The other alternative method is to Magnify the recipe. This time she rolled the dough out thicker, cut them into 4" circles, spoon some filling on one side of each circle and fold over the dough, crimping with a fork - serves 2 per person for lunch or as an appetizer. She also says this version would serve four - obviously she hasn't eaten at my house.

I wanted to share the book with you before even trying more treats... given party season has already begun with lots more festivities in store. And just to whet your appetites, here are some that I'm planning to whip up soon...
  • Tart Pink Scallops (seared scallops topped with pink grapefruit in a lip-smacking sauce of honey, lemon juice and ginger). I'm drooling just writing about them.
  • Mini-Crab Cheesecakes that can be made a day or two ahead and kept in the fridge. They're baked in mini-cheesecake or muffin pans. To modify: switch shrimp for the crab, spinach for the mushrooms...and to magnify: bake in a 10" springform pan.
  • I have to try some of the"Naked Canapes", for the name alone. Who could resist homemade sesame crisps or pecan mounds.

Bottom line: A great little book for party planning whether you've lots of time to plan or just being given 30 minute notice that you're "hosting".

1 comment:

Sean Grey Hanson said...

Looks so special. I probably won't be able to stop eating those.