Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Commence drooling

Before I went to work yesterday I took out some of my favorite cookbooks.
These are the cookbooks that deal with all the fun little bites.
Finger food.
Call them what you want.
They are my favorite things to serve at parties. They are easy to serve and easy to eat for people who are standing or sitting with the plate balanced on their knees.
I only serve full, dinner style food at dinner parties. Usually that would be for a max of eight people.
For larger groups, it has to be appetizers.
Besides, it gives me a chance to experiment. I usually make a few things I have tried before and that I know will work. Then I make some new recipes. That way I might found some new favorites.
And it gives my guests a chance to get all sorts of little tastes.
So I put the books out thinking that it would be fun to start menu planning for the party. It is only a couple of weeks away at this point.
Here is what I came up with so far:

Chevre and mango steak bites
Spinach and smoked gouda puffs
Pastry cups with creamy mushroom and tarragon filling
Asian meatballs with snow peas and hoisin sauce
Roasted asparagus spears wrapped in Serrano ham
Trio of crostini (traditional bruschetta, olive tapenade, chicken liver with sage and lemon)
Tiger shrimp in onion, caper and balsamic splash marinade
Cheese plate with grapes and candied pecans
Chocolate fondue with fruit and pretzels
Mini cream puffs with caramel sauce

Oh yeah, plus plenty of beer, wine and assorted libations.
I know it sounds ambitious. But parts of it I can start working on now. Like the meatballs. I can make those ahead and freeze them. Same with the spinach and gouda puffs.
I can make the mushroom and tarragon filling and pastry cups a couple days ahead and then bake them and fill them the day of the party. I can cook the steak for the chevre and mango bites a couple days ahead. I can get all the various pieces chopped or prepped a day or two out for everything and really just assemble on that day.
I was so excited and in such a mood to cook last night after going through all those recipes.
So I made oatmeal-pecan shortbread. At 11 p.m.
They look pretty good, huh?

Oatmeal-pecan shortbread

2 cups flour
2/3 cup quick-cooking rolled oats
6 tablespoons sugar
1 cup butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Mix flour, sugar and oats.
Cut in butter. I use my hands. it is messy, but that way I get a good mix.
Mix in pecans.
Mix until it resembles fine crumbs and starts to hold together.
Form mixture into a ball.
On floured surface, roll dough out to about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thickness.
Cut into rounds (or whatever shape you fancy). I used 1.5 inch scalloped circles.
Place 1 inch apart on ungreased baking sheet.
Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until bottoms just start to brown.
cool on wire rack.

This is the first time I made them with the oats and pecans. It is a nice change from plain shortbread.


Anonymous said...

You are right it all sounds good. If I can help in any way chopping or what ever or if you would like me to make something let me know Joy and I get back from San Deigo on Sat. and I don't go back to work untill Tues. or Wed.

Sona said...

Oh man!

That looks wonderful!

Jill said...

Hey Anonymous. I am taking a wild guess that this is my mom... I may take you up on the help. If not, maybe we can go to lunch the day after the party. I will be off work that day. And when are we going to make those tamales?

Sona - Thanks. I hope my party menu is not too ambitious. I think if I plan it right, I can get it all done without too much stress.

Oh, and the cookies got RAVE reviews at work. Even the next day a couple people were still telling me how good they are. I think next time, if I am feeling really fancy, I may dip them halfway in chocolate. Yum!

ReesePie said...

I was at a friends house and saw their Tapas book - I borrowed their internet and ordered the same immediately.

I haven't cooked anything in it yet, but some of it's recipes have actually inspired whole other entrees... like the alfredo mushroom lasagna.