Browsing: Appetizers

Christmas Party in a Box

December15

When Christmas comes it is so lovely to be able to carve out some extra time with good friends. Sometimes this is hard to do when one of your besties has a medical job where she is on call on a regular basis. With some advance planning though we were able to pull it off.

We were celebrating a Christmas birthday as well as exchanging Christmas gifts. The festivities were planned to take place at the home of one friend who has recently had knee surgery. By bringing supper and gifts to her place, she was able to be comfortable and stay put.

We had thrown around some ideas for a simple supper and then I struck upon the solution. I had been invited to the annual “party in a box” hosted by the Manitoba Chicken Producers the evening before. D was given instructions to stay out of the boxed goodies that I stacked up and brought home. As a result of his self-control, I was able to supply three wonderful chicken appetizers for the evening. In fact, we enjoyed the appetizers with a festive salad adorned with roasted sweet potatoes, goat cheese and cranberries and were delighted with our light supper.

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Blue Moon Chicken Bites (recipe link here) were delectable chicken meatballs that we dunked into an easy to assemble mixture of hot sauce, ranch and blue cheese dressing.

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A second dish was Curried Chicken & Cashew Bites  where chicken breasts were slowly roasted in cream and then tossed in mango chutney and a coating of crushed cashews.

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My favourite were Chicken Tartlets topped with Cranberry Salsa.

As we assembled our plates of chicken treats and salad we congratulated ourselves on our festive meal that was also wholesome and nutritious. We saved our calories for dessert which I also had been gifted the evening before.

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Christmas sugar cookies had been beautifully decorated by High Tea Bakery. We each chose one to go with another treat of Bernand Callebaut chocolates.

We didn’t linger at the table long because we had presents, presents and more presents to exchange and open.

Clean up was a breeze and I packed up the leftovers so that D could indulge in the tastes he had resisted the previous evening.

Kath’s quote: “The spirit of Christmas is the spirit of love and of generosity and of goodness. It illuminates the picture window of the soul, and we look out upon the world’s busy life and become more interested in people than in things”. -Thomas S. Monson

Xmas Decoration

Love never fails.

Fun Asian Themed Dinner

August16

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Our honourable hosts

Each year at approximately the same time, we join good friends from Toronto at the lake house that they retain at Willard lake. Designating a theme for each weekend we are together, happened quite by accident but has been one of the highlights of our time together. We were lucky this time as BIL David had gifted me with a real kimono when he traveled around the world a number of years back. D was able to find a judo uniform at Value Village so we were all set.

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Saki Mojito Cocktails were served as we were perched on the floor.

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This was after the entrance of another guest (check out the beard!)

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We were assigned to the appetizer and dessert and D had done a dry run the weekend before so we would have a sense of timing and recipe difficulty. The recipe for Korean shrimp and green onion pancakes was suggested by Sister #3 who had a Korean student live with her for a year (recipe below).

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Dinner stretched into the evening with prepping together and visiting our host as he barbequed double-boned pork chops that had been marinating all day.

Fun Asian Themed Dinner
Author: 
Recipe type: Appetizer or entree
Cuisine: Korean
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-6
 
We served a whole pancake to each person which was really too much for an appetizer portion. We intend to have them again for dinner this week.
Ingredients
  • Pancakes:
  • 2 eggs
  • 1½ c cold water
  • ½ t salt
  • ½ t gochu garu (Korean red pepper powder-we found it an Asian specialty market). If you are unsuccessful you can substitute a ⅛ t cayenne pepper or a quick glug of sirachi sauce.
  • ¼ t pepper
  • 1½ c flour'1/2 lb. uncooked shrimp, peeked deveined, cut into ⅓ in pieces
  • 1 medium onion, halved, very thinly sliced
  • 8 green onions cut into 3-4 inch matchstick size strips
  • 1 carrot, peeled and cut as green onions
  • Sauce:
  • ½ c soy sauce
  • 2 T water
  • 2 T fresh lemon juice
  • 2 t sesame oil
  • 1 t gohu garu
  • Pan preparation:
  • 4 T canola oil
Instructions
  1. Pancakes:
  2. Whisk eggs in medium bowl to blend. Whisk in 1½ c cold water, ½ t salt, gochu garu and pepper.
  3. Add flour and whisk until smooth.
  4. Mix in shrimp all onions and carrot.
  5. Let batter stand 1 hour at room temperature.
  6. Sauce:
  7. Mix all sauce ingredients and divide into small dipping bowls.
  8. Heat 1 T of oil into each 10" non-stick skillet that you have.
  9. Add 1 c pancake batter to each, spreading to the edge of the skillet.
  10. Cook until edges are firm and bottom is golden brown about 4 mins.
  11. Using a couple of spatulas or egg lifters, turn pancakes over.
  12. Cook until second side is golden brown and shrimp is cooked through, about 4 mins. more (centre will still be soft).
  13. Cook until underside is deep brown, approximately 1 min. more per side.
  14. Slide pancakes onto a cutting board.
  15. Repeat with remaining oil and batter, forming to more pancakes.
  16. Cut pancakes into wedges.
  17. Serve warm or at room temperature with dipping sauce.

The pancakes were a novelty and a big hit.

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Next up was a simple salad of cellophane noodles and slivers or cucumber.

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Our entree was the hearty pork chops, caramelized onions and roasted sweet potato halves.

We let ourselves rest a bit before we were in the kitchen again on dessert duty, preparing a Vietnamese dessert of battered and fried bananas with a sweet coconut milk dipping sauce and a sprinkling of sesame seeds.

The evening and rest of the weekend was picture perfect. We recounted our joys and sorrows of the year since we had last been together. Then we toasted the time together, the time past and the time ahead.

Kath’s quote: “They talked in the shorthand of old friends and shared memories.”
― Dee Henderson, Before I Wake    

 

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As we opened fortune cookies over the weekend, they were taped to these antlers to be a permanent record of our time together.

Love never fails.

 

 

 

 

 

Christmas Appetizers-Manitoba Chicken

December22

The first real dump of snow came down the day and evening that a number of bloggers and Manitoba Chicken Fans were to be assembling to batch cook some Christmas appetizers. In spite of the slippery roads and traffic congestion, the turn out was great.

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We gathered at the Kitchen Sync, the cooking studio that I have raved about previously in this space.

On this evening, we were being coached by Chef Brent Barna of Pine Ridge Hollow fame. He had been the guest Chef at another Manitoba Chicken occasion that I had the pleasure of attending.

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Our family loves appetizer recipes, whether they be a nibble with a cocktail before our mandatory Sunday dinners or as one of many small plates that pass for dinner. I have often thought that an appetizer exchange held in the same manner as you might participate in a Christmas baking exchange would be such a good idea. I even started to get an exchange going last Christmas season, to no avail.

This evening was the closest thing.

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First up were Blue Moon Chicken Bites where we mixed up ground chicken, spices, panko flakes and did not use any egg. The resulting texture was firm and surprising. When they came out of the oven, we tossed them in a sauce of hot sauce mixed with Blue cheese dressing and crumbled Blue cheese.

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Here is the recipe for Chicken Tartlettes with Cranberry Salsa (that recipe is below) elevated them from delicious to sensational!

Cranberry Salsa
Author: 
Recipe type: Appetizer
Cuisine: Canadian
Prep time: 
Total time: 
 
The salsa topped chicken tartlets but was SO good, I would eat with on every chicken dish.
Ingredients
  • ½ c fresh or frozen cranberries
  • ¼ c sugar
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • ¼ c chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 t coarsely chopped fresh ginger
  • 1 lime, juice and zest
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and sliced
Instructions
  1. Combine all salsa ingredients in a food processor.
  2. Pulse on/off until the mixture is chopped (not pureed).
  3. Cover and chill at least 2 hours.

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Then I discovered that the salsa made everything taste wonderful, including our next recipe – Tropical Chicken Taquitos.

The evening was warm with our efforts, the opening and closing of the oven doors and the friendship that the blogging community shares.

Kath’s quote: “Cranberries: “The Indians and English use them much, boyling them with Sugar for Sauce to eat with their Meat, and it is a delicious sauce.”-John Josselyn, while visiting New England in 1663

Xmas Decoration

Love, that is all.

 

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“Cooking with Frank’s RedHot Cayenne Pepper Sauce” by Rachel Rappaport

October30

I was first introduced to Frank’s Hot Sauce years ago when it was the hot sauce of choice used by The Keg (dubbed The Keg ‘n Cleaver in those days) on their Buffalo Chicken Wings.   Since that time, we often grab it from the door of the fridge to add some extra “oomph” to a chili or jambalaya.  One of my favourite dishes is J1 and J2’s low cal variation of cauliflower tossed in hot sauce that caramelizes when broiled-yum.

If you are interested in spicing things up in your kitchen in ways you never dreamed possible, you need to get yourself a copy of this recipe book.  There are 65 imaginative recipes that turn up the heat with Frank’s: Honeyed Beer-Hot Sauce Ice Cream (J1-did you hear that?), Cinnamon Cayenne Buns, Smoky Hot Bacon Mac and Cheese and Tangy Pineapple Pulled Pork.  The illustrations in the book are mouth-watering and best of all the font is big enough for me to see without my reading glasses!

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I made up a batch of the Spiced Party Mix with excellent results.  The recipes are well-tested and produce predictable results.

Kath’s quote: “I mixed business with pleasure, added some hot sauce, and ate it.”-unknown

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Love-that is all.

Fall Entertaining with Smucker’s

September30

With the arrival of autumn, our routine changes. Our travelling is done for another season and we no longer head out to the beach house every weekend. We re-establish our routine of Sunday dinners together as a family and we get caught on up the movie watching that we have missed since the previous Academy Awards. The guys are avid NFL fans so we also try to accommodate as much football viewing as possible. Sometimes when a Sunday afternoon game goes late, I have to whip up a quick nibble to hold us over until our designated supper time (they typically PVR the second game to watch after we are finished at the supper table). This is when having a variety of Smucker’s jams in the pantry comes in handy.

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Both these savoury little bites are perched upon a leaf, reminiscent of the change of season. The first is a green romaine leaf. A generous dollop of Smucker’s Blueberry Jam is smeared on the leaf and then a glorious whole clove of roasted garlic is rested on the jam. Toasted pine nuts and a sprig of earthy sage follow and the entire little boat is a potpourri of lusty flavours.

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A red leaf of radicchio is employed with the second bite. Complementing the claret colour of the leaf is a matching one from a smear of Smucker’s Raspberry Jam.  Creamy chèvre follows and then the surprising combination of dark chocolate chips and freshly ground black pepper. I first tasted raspberry, chocolate and pepper together at a now defunct Winnipeg restaurant called Victor’s where the young chef was not afraid to stretch our taste buds with exciting flavour combinations.

These are placed in front of my appreciative guys who have spent the afternoon in front of the big screen in the basement family room and need just a little something to tide them over until dinner time. I don’t join them as I am anxious to get back upstairs to visit with my girls but especially our granddaughter who has made the visit too.

Kath’s quote: “And the Quangle Wangle said to himself on the Crumpetty Tree,–‘Jam; and Jelly; and bread; Are the best of food for me!”-Edward Lear

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Love-that is all.

Smucker’s Pairings for Fall Entertaining are a simple, easy way to create delicious food combinations with jam and other ingredients, designed to help you discover how fall flavours mingle together for mouth-watering results. Each pairing has 5 ingredients or less, and is ready in less than 15 minutes. Because with a name like Smucker’s, it has to be good.  For specific information on our jam flavours and varieties, please visit www.smuckers.ca.

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Disclosure: This post was brought to you by Smucker’s foods of Canada via Mode Media Canada.  The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Smucker’s Foods of Canada

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