Thursday, December 8, 2011

My Personal Favorite Entertaining Recipes !

Melon, Mozarella and Prosciutto Skewers

20 cantelope or honeydew cubes, 1 inch pieces, about 2-3 cups
20 thin slices of proscuitto, about ½ lb
20 fresh mozzarella cheese balls, about one 8 oz tub
200 wooden skewers, 4 inch or longer
Fresh ground pepper

Thread 1 melon cube wrapped in half a proscuitto slice, and then one mozzarella ball wrapped in half proscuitto slice in alternating order onto wooden skewers. Sprinkle each with fresh ground pepper

Roasted Butternut Squash with Ricotta and Sage Crostini
After a friend shared this recipe with me, I prepared it for a Redlands Conservancy event and it was an immediate hit. Since then, I’ve prepared this recipe for clients hosting private dinners in their home. Everyone loves this recipe. As always, I experminted and substituted burrata cheese instead of the Richotta. Burrata is one of my favorite cheeses and using it in this recipe really adds an extra richness. Try this one for Fall parties, any audience is guraenteed to enjoy this one.
1 2-pound butternut squash, peeled, seeded, cut into 1/2" cubes (about 4 cups)
3 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus more for drizzling
1 1/2 teaspoons (packed) light brown sugar
Coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
24 fresh sage leaves
¾-1 Cup fresh burrata cheese
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
12 3/8"-thick baguette slices, toasted
Freshly squeezed lemon juice, dash at a time- to taste

Preheat oven to 425°F. Toss squash, 2 tablespoons oil, and sugar in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Arrange in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast, tossing occasionally, until squash is golden and tender, 25-30 minutes. Let cool on sheet.
Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add sage; cook until edges begin to curl and turn dark green, 1-2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, carefully transfer to paper towels to drain. Mix ricotta and lemon zest in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper. DO AHEAD: Butternut squash, sage leaves, and ricotta can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill squash. Store sage airtight at room temperature. Cover and chill ricotta mixture. Bring squash to room temperature before serving.
Spread 1 tablespoon of ricotta mixture on each baguette slice. Top each with a few squash cubes. Drizzle crostini with lemon juice and olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Top crostini with 2 fried sage leaves each.

Spicy Eggplant Dip with Parmesan Toasts

For this recipe, I like to use eggplant from the Saturday market at the Grove School, or eggplant from Washington Produce in Redlands. I recommend Pepperidge Farm prepared puff pastry from the grocery store.

You can make this dip one or two days in advance to allow the flavors to develop. It will also give you more time to prepare other food or concentrate on other details. Be sure to bring the dip to room temperature before serving.

½ cup plus 3 tbsp olive oil, keep more aside for brushing
2 eggplants, about 12 oz each, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
2 garlic cloves, thin slice
1 large yellow onion, chopped
¼ tsp red chili flakes
¼ tsp ground cumin
2 tbs fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
juice of one lemon
1 baguette, sliced ¼ in thick
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

In a deep sauté pan over medium heat, warm ¼ cup of the olive oil until warm. Add half the eggplant and sauté stirring occasionally until lightly golden and tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a platter and repeat with ¼ cup of the olive oil and the remaining eggplant. Transfer to platter.

Warm 1 tbs of the olive oil in the pan. Add the garlic and sauté, stirring often, until golden, about 1 minute. Add the onion and sauté, stirring occasionally, until tender, 4-5 minutes. Stir in the chili flakes and cumin until blended and return the eggplant to the pan. Cook, stirring often, until the eggplant is very tender and almost mushy, 6-8 minutes more. Remove from the heat and let cool for 5 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350F

Arrange the baguette slices on a baking sheet. Brush the sides lightly with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and sprinkle with the cheese. Bake until golden and crisp, but not burned, about 15-18minutes. Let toasts cool to room temperature and store in airtight containers until ready to serve.

Let the eggplant stand at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before serving. Serve the parmesan toasts alongside.

Sweet Potato, Corn and Edamame Hash

This dish is a seasonal crowd pleaser and a fantastic addition to a holiday brunch. If you have leftover ham, throw it in this recipe! To serve as a brunch item, serve over fresh bed of arugula and top with a poached egg.

1 sweet onion, diced- rough chop (we used maui onions, but yellow onion will work)
1 tbsp olive oil
2 (or 4 small) large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4 in cubes
8-10 oz of diced smoked ham
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
1 12 oz package uncooked frozen shelled edamame
1 12 oz package frozen whole kernel corn
1/4 cup chicken broth
1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper

Saute ham and onion in hot oil in a skillet over medium heat-high heat. (I prefer to use a large cast iron skillet but a standard non-stick skillet will work). Sautee for approx 6-8 minutes or until onion is tender and ham is lightly browned. Stir in cubed sweet potatoes, and saute for additional 5 minutes. Add garlic and sautee for 1 minute max. Stir in edamame and remaining three ingredients. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally 10-12 minutes or until sweet potatoes are tender. Add salt and pepper.

Smokey Deviled Eggs

Every party needs a plate of deviled eggs. This recipe makes for a traditional flavor base but with a slight twist. Be sure to garnish with paprika for a colorful presentation.

10 eggs
7 tbsp good quality mayonnaise
1 tsp champagne vinegar
2 tsp Dijon mustard
½ tsp dry mustard
¼ tsp curry powder
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
¼ tsp paprika
salt and pepper to taste

Place eggs in a large sauce pan of cold, salted water over high heat. Bring to a boil. Immediately reduce the heat to maintain a simmer and cook for exactly 9 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the eggs from the water and place under cold running water until cool to the touch. Gently crack the shells and peel the eggs under the running water.

Halve the eggs. Scoop the yolks into a food processor and process until smooth. Cut a thin slice from the underside of each white, so they will sit flat on a plate. Arrange on plate and set aside. Add the mayonnaise, vinegar, Dijon mustard, dry mustard, cayenne, and curry powder to the yolks., Process briefly until well combined. Taste and adjust seasonings.

Spoon the yolk mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip. Pipe the mixture into the egg whites. Garnish with paprika and serve immediately or cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days.

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