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Schell: Great appies for New Years entertaining
I hope you all have enjoyed a fabulous Christmas and are continuing making merry this week as we prepare for the arrival of 2012.
If you are planning to ring in the New Year at home, I have some delicious ideas this week on what to serve your guests.
Start with a toast to the New Year: “May your hearts be full of love, your glasses full of Okanagan wine and your tables full of good friends and fabulous local food. Cheers to 2012.”
I searched high and low for these tasty little gems and finally found them at Illichmann’s Meats, Sausages & Gourmet Foods on Gordon Drive in their deli. These sweet and spicy little pickled peppers are the perfect size to pop into your mouth and they make for a gorgeous presentation with their vibrant, festive red colouring.
They are delicious stuffed with cheese—try goat cheese, mini bocconcini mozzarella balls or jazz them up even more by adding green olive tapenade.
Tapenade is a cinch to make at home—just throw the following ingredients into a food processor and whizz. Tapenade is also great served on crackers or crostini.
Green Olive Tapenade
1 cup pitted green olives, drained well
1 tbsp capers, drained
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tsp fresh lemon juice or to taste
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Throw all into processor and whizz into paste.
If stuffing peppadews: fill each peppadew half way with tapenade and top with a bocconcini mini ball or cube of goat cheese. Sprinkle with chopped fresh basil.
Goat Cheeseball Tapas
While in Spain, we truly fell in love with the world of tapas. So many delightful tastes presented at the end of a skewer or toothpick. The look is very inviting and easy to serve and there are a million different treats that you can serve this way.
Try layering your favourite flavours, like a cooked prawn topped with a slice of chorizo sausage, basil leaf and semi dried tomato.
The Olive Oil Merchant has amazing semi-dried tomatoes from Italy that make everything they touch taste incredible. I make sure that I always have a jar in my pantry along with their olives, artichoke hearts and of course their fabulous olive oils. Order online from www.oliveoilmerchant.com.
Cut open a tube of local goat cheese. Slice into rounds and then roll into large marble size balls. Chop up some walnuts or pistachios; roll balls in nuts to cover.
Top each ball with a basil leaf and semi dried tomato and then skewer with a pick. Delish.
Smoked Salmon Paté
If you are into fishing, I would highly suggest investing in a smoker. I use my dad’s and this amazing contraption will transform your fish into stunning smoked fish that is delicious on its own, or easily made into a rich paté. Make a big batch to put into cute mason jars and give as hostess gifts.
Combine one cup of smoked salmon with half a cup of cream cheese, zest of one lemon and two tablespoons of chopped dill in your food processor. Whizz until smooth and serve with crackers.
These retro hors d’ouvres never go out of style. The originals, also known as devils on horseback (sorry, no clue where that name came from), were usually stuffed with chutney and wrapped in bacon. My version uses prosciutto, which is much less greasy and tidy looking.
Easy peasy: Empty a tube of goat cheese, Boursin cheese or blue cheese into a zip loc and squish down to one corner. Snip off the end for a pastry bag effect. Pit the dates, insert bag end into date and pipe it full of cheese.
You can also insert a blanched almond at this point if you would like. Wrap neatly with a strip of prosciutto (I prefer the original from Parma available at Valaroso Foods), skewer tapa style. Broil on low for three to four minutes in the oven until the prosciutto has crisped, cool briefly and serve.
Jennifer Schell is editor of B.C. Wine Trails.