I am a big fan of pairing the formality of food with the formality of the affair. When I am having a grown-up cocktail party, here are four of my favorite canapes:
1. Fricco (Parmesan Crisps) with Goat Cheese Mousse
Heat a non-stick skillet to medium-high heat, drop parmesan cheese onto the skillet by rounded tablespoonfuls. Let the cheese melt and then slightly brown on the first side (better a little brown so let it cook –don’t be scared). Flip—when the second side is finished, drape over a small inverted muffin tin or shot glasses. Cups will keep two days in airtight container. Fill with salad or whatever. In this case, I used goat cheese mousse: 6 ounces soft goat cheese, 1/4 cup heavy cream, herbs, salt, pepper.
2. Gazpacho shooter with smoked shrimp
(I roughly used Ina Garten's recipe but just sort of used whatever ingredients I could get from Sam's.)
Roma Tomatoes (big package from Sam’s)
A red onion
1 English cucumber, halved and seeded, but not peeled
2 jalapeno cored and seeded
Garlic (again from Sam’s), Lemon Juice, kosher salt and pepper to taste
Roughly chop the cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes, and red onions and put in blender and pulse until it is smooth, reserving some vegetables to finely chop. Mix puree and finely chopped vegetable in a large pitcher and add the garlic, lemon juice salt, and pepper. Mix well and chill before serving. The longer gazpacho sits, the more the flavors develop. Turns out my smoked shrimp from the trial run weren’t that smoky, so I just used boiled.
Tuna Tartare on Wonton Square
1 tablespoon of vegetable oil or Pam
12 wonton wrappers, cut into quarters
10 ounces of sashimi-quality tuna, diced into 1/8-inch pieces and chilled
3 tablespoons of chopped green onions (green only)
3 tablespoons of pine nuts
1 tablespoon soy sauce,
1 tablespoon of sesame oil
1 ½ teaspoons of chopped jalapeños with the seeds removed
1 teaspoon of grated and peeled fresh ginger
Toast wonton quarters, brushed with oil or Pam in oven at 375—goes quickly—these can be saved for later in a ziplock. Mix all other ingredients and top wontons—serve ASAP! Can make cups Thursday
4. Hot Dates--wish I had a picture, but they flew off the plate!
Bacon-Wrapped Dates: (combination of I Love Trader Joe's Cookbook Recipe and one from Martha Stewart Living)
• Pitted dates (we use the TJ's fresh packages)
• Marcona Almonds (again TJ's)
• Manchago Cheese
• Good-quality bacon, halved crosswise
1. Remove Pits from dates,
2. Stuff each date with and almond and a small piece of cheese.
3. Lay a stuffed date on top of each bacon slice; wrap to enclose. If not using immediately, freeze up to 1 month. (which we did)
4. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet and cook at 400 degrees. Bake until bacon is crisp, about 10 minutes, flipping each wrapped date after 8 minutes. If frozen, bake at 400 degrees.for 10 minutes; flip, and bake 10 minutes more. Transfer wrapped dates to paper towels to drain. Serve with toothpicks. I never flipped!