Archive for the ‘Appetizer’ Category

Savory Tomato Bread Pudding

November 2, 2007

My friend Amy and I have done more than a few dinner parties together.  Sometimes they’re casual, sometimes they’re more formal.  For the Breast Cancer 3-Day walk, we auctioned off a formal dinner party for 8.  We would cook, they would eat.  Fortunately, some friends of ours won the auction, so it was a very fun event.

We’ve amassed a stable of recipes that are always a hit so we assumed we could pull from that.  But, a few of the dinner guests had some dietary restrictions and we really needed a vegetarian appetizer.  I had no idea how much proscuitto figures into my favorite recipes until I couldn’t use it!  Our other appetizer was a fried meatball on pesto crostini (recipe to be posted soon) so we didn’t want to do bruschetta or a goat cheese crostini.  Amy remembered the Savory Bread Pudding from Top Chef and I was in.   These were so good!  The vegetarian in the group loved them, as did everyone else.  Plus, I think they are very versatile.  You could definitely serve them as a main dish as well, topped with a scallop, prosciutto, anything like that. 

Savory Bread Pudding
Makes 18
1/2 large red onion, diced finely
3 cloves garlic, diced
1 pint heavy whipping cream
1/2 quart whole milk
3/4 can tomato paste
Seasonings – dried parsley, dried basil, dried oregano
5 whole eggs
1 1/2 loaves baguette, diced small, with crust
1/2 bunch basil, chopped
1/4 bunch thyme, chopped
4 oz cream cheese

In a saute pan, saute onion and garlic until translucent. Mix in whipping cream. Season to taste with salt and pepper. In a large bowl, whisk together milk and tomato paste. Add the onion-garlic cream to the tomato mixture. Season liberally with dried parsley, basil, oregano and more salt and pepper. I should say here that we needed to season things heavily. Lots of salt and pepper. Be sure to taste! Add eggs and diced baguette. Combine well and let stand for 45 minutes.

In a food processor, mix basil, thyme and cream cheese. Blend until finely processed.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bake bread pudding in muffin pan for 20-30 minutes.  Liberally top with basil cream when ready to serve.


Hot Wings with Blue Cheese Tzatziki Sauce

July 1, 2007


You know when you’re looking through recipes and you find one you want to make it, but it requires an ice cream maker, stock pot, mini-muffin tin or some other piece of equipment you don’t have? Lately I’ve been bookmarking a ton of recipes that require a deep fryer. From my stint at the gourmet cooking store I have a well stocked kitchen. But I’ve never bought a deep fryer. My girlfriend Amy and I had talked about getting one, but had never made the purchase.

And then I watched Bobby Flay’s Chicken Wing Throwdown. And I needed to eat some buffalo wings. I called my brother thinking he would meet me out for some, but he’s remodelling his house and couldn’t break away. I casually mentioned it in an email to Amy where we were trying to decide what to make for our Friday cook-a-long. She was in! And so we were off to Target to buy a deep fryer. She bought one that has a nifty display so we could be sure of the temperature of the oil. So fun! I’m very excited about all of the new recipes we can bust out now. Donuts!! Beignets!! Fritters!!

We debated between the two Throwdown recipes and decided to do Bobby’s. In my wings, I like them more spicy than sweet and Bobby’s recipe seemed to deliver that. We modified it a bit based on our shopping and while our wings had some back end heat, they didn’t have a ton. It was perfect for us, but if you like your wings HOT, you’ll need to up the chile powder. Also, we halved his recipe since it was just the two of us. Also, also? We weren’t sure we’d be able to find greek yogurt, but we did find a pre-made tzatziki sauce. It made the perfect blue cheese sauce.

Hot Wings with Blue Cheese Tzatziki Sauce
adapted from Bobby Flay’s Throwdown recipe

For the Blue Cheese Sauce:
1/2 cup Tzatziki Sauce
1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
1 T. finely chopped red onion
1 T. chopped fresh parsley
Salt and fresh ground pepper

For the Hot Wings:
Canola oil
1/2 cup all purpose flour
Salt and fresh ground pepper
1 1/2 T. ancho chilli powder plus 1 tsp.
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 pound chicken wings (we used only drummies)
1/4 c. red wine vinegar
2 T. pureed chipotle chile’s in adobo
1 T. Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. salt
1 T. honey
1/2 stick unsalted butter

For the Blue Cheese sauce:
Stir together the tzatziki, blue cheese, red onion, parsley, and salt and pepper. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

For the Hot Wings:
Heat oil in deep fryer until it reaches 375 F.

Stir together the flour, salt, and pepper to taste. Add 1 tsp. of ancho chili powder and garlic powder to bowl. Season the wings with salt and pepper, then dredge wings in the flour in batches. Tap off excess flour and load into deep fry basket. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes. Remove and place on a paper towel lined plate.

Bring the vinegar, chipotle puree, 2 T. chili powder to a simmer in a large high-sided saute pan over medium heat. Remove the mixture from the heat and whisk in the mustard, salt, honey, and butter until smooth. Add the wings to the mixture and toss to coat.

Serve with blue cheese sauce. Serves 2.

As you can see, these were TASTY.