Sunday, June 13, 2010

Apps ~ And I'm Not Talkin' iPhone

I love creating and making appetizers.

I have always been fascinated by how just two or three or four ingredients could be combined for a flavorful amuse-bouche (a single, bite-sized hors d’œuvre) or layered on a piece of toasted baguette for a tasty crostini. Yummy.

Appetizers can be as simple or as complicated as you like and, when I have guests, I like to offer a little bit of both.

Here are five of the appetizers I've made recently. Let's start with the most simple.

1. I don't quite remember where I got the idea for this. Instead of making a Caprese Salad, I think I saw someone on a television program serve a slice of mozzarella, a slice of tomato and a basil leaf in a stack on a slice of baguette. I decided to eliminate the bread and put the ingredients on a skewer.

Caprese Skewers

When I was in the store the other day, I saw a package of fresh mozzarella "pearls" and thought those would be perfect for making the skewers. All I would need to add were some flavorful grape tomatoes and some fresh basil leaves from my garden. When ready to serve, I drizzled them with some nice extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
Caprese Skewers

These are addicting. The pop of the tomato. The creaminess of the mozzarella. The softness and subtle flavor of the olive oil. The tangy sweetness of the balsamic. And the basil leaf acts like a little cup to capture everything all together.

2. Another one of my favorite appetizers started out as a main course. I blogged about these Asian Turkey Meatballs awhile back and I'm still hooked on them.
Asian Turkey Meatballs

They are flavorful, but light and low in calories. For the appetizer, I just make the meatballs smaller by using a 1-1/2-inch diameter ice cream scoop and I cut the baking time by about a third. The meatballs and the sauce can be made earlier in the day, then bake the meatballs when you are ready to serve. Easy peasy.

3. The next appetizer is an adaptation from Paula Deen's Tomato Pie recipe.

I loved all of the ingredients, so I honestly expected to love the pie. Yuck. It was soggy and nearly flavorless. But I kept thinking, those ingredients should taste good! So, I decided to make Tomato Pie appetizers and after a couple of times, I opted to roast the tomatoes first. Perfect!
Roasted Tomato & Cheese Crostini


Roasted Tomato, Basil & Cheese Crostini
by Terri Powers for Terri's Table
based very loosely on Paula Deen's Tomato Pie


5 Roma tomatoes, roasted (see instructions below)
10 fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup chopped green onion, green & white parts
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup mayonnaise
kosher salt & pepper
1 baguette, sliced about 1/4- to 1/2-inch thick
olive oil (for drizzling on the baguette slices)

To roast the tomatoes: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut the tomatoes in half lengthwise and arrange on the baking sheet cut side up. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with kosher salt and pepper. Roast for about 40 minutes to 1 hour, or until the tomatoes are somewhat caramelized. Remove from oven and allow to cool. These can be made a day ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator.

To prepare the baguette slices: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Drizzle a large baking sheet with olive oil. Lay the baguette slices flat on the baking sheet in a single layer. Drizzle the tops of the slices with olive oil and use a small brush to evenly distribute the oil on top of the baguette slices. Bake in the preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes until they are toasted to your liking. The longer they bake, the crunchier they become. Keep in mind that you will bake them again when making the appetizers.

For the cheese mixture and assembly of the crostini: Combine the green onions, cheeses and mayonnaise and mix well. Set aside. Stack all of the basil leaves on top of each other and roll them up. Slice the rolled leaves in thin slices and separate the slices. This technique is called chiffonade. Set the basil chiffonade aside. Cut each of the roasted tomato halves in half which should give you 20 pieces of roasted tomato. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. To assemble the crostini, spread each of the baguette slices with some of the cheese mixture. Sprinkle the basil chiffonade on top of the cheese mixture. Top with a piece of roasted tomato. Bake in the preheated oven until the cheese mixture is hot and bubbly, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve.

PRINT THE RECIPE HERE

4. When we were in Savannah over the Memorial Day weekend, my son had the June issue of Bon Appetit magazine. One of the recipes in the magazine was for a Grilled Bruschetta with Teleme, Honey and Figs. It sure looked simple enough, but ... well, you know where I live and you know how much I complain about the lack of availability of ingredients. When we got home....no fresh figs. Not even at Fresh Market or Whole Foods in Little Rock. And forget Teleme cheese.

So, Tom and I improvised and it came out like this...
Brie, Fig & Truffle Honey Crostini

We make our toasted baguette slices pretty much the same way every time, so we took each slice and topped it with a piece of good quality brie. I had some beautiful dried figs that I purchased from NutsOnline.com. I swear, they have the best dried fruit I've ever purchased anywhere. Anyway, Tom sliced the dried black mission figs and placed a couple of slices on top of the brie on each piece of the toasted baguette. He baked them in a 400 degree oven until the brie was melted and a little bubbly, then removed them from the baking sheet to a serving tray. I then drizzled each appetizer with Truffle Honey. Oh. My. God. Sooooo delicious. If we can ever get them, I cannot wait to try these with the fresh figs!

5. Finally, the most time consuming appetizer. Tom and I were watching a program called "The Heat with Mark McEwan", a Canadian chef. He and his staff were preparing food for the restaurant's anniversary and one of the appetizers created by his executive chef was a Seared Beef Tenderloin & Mushroom Duxelle with Bearnaise. I searched in vain for the recipe and couldn't find it anywhere, so, once again, I improvised and came up with this...
Beef & Mushroom Duxelle Crostini


These, my friends, are simply to die for and worth every second of the preparation. I cheated on the Bearnaise. I didn't make it from scratch. I used a package of Knorr Bearnaise sauce, but along with the milk and butter, I added a couple of teaspoons of fresh lemon juice and a teaspoon of dried tarragon.

Tom and I made these one night for dinner. We had these and a bottle of Merlot. Mmmmmmm.

Seared Beef Tenderloin Crostini with Mushroom Duxelle & Bearnaise
by Terri Powers for Terri's Table
adapted from "The Heat from Mark McEwan


1 baguette, sliced about 1/4- to 1/2-inch thick
2 beef tenderloin steaks, cut 1-inch thick (total weight about 1 pound)
16 ounces button mushrooms, sliced then roughly chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 shallots, finely minced
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 cup port wine
kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
1 - 0.9 ounce package Knorr Bearnaise Sauce
1 cup milk
1/4 cup butter
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon dried tarragon

To prepare the baguette slices: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Drizzle a large baking sheet with olive oil. Lay the baguette slices flat on the baking sheet in a single layer. Drizzle the tops of the slices with olive oil and use a small brush to evenly distribute the oil on top of the baguette slices. Bake in the preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes until they are toasted to your liking. The longer they bake, the crunchier they become. Keep in mind that you will bake them again when making the appetizers.

For the Mushroom Duxelle: Heat the olive oil in a frying pan over medium high heat. Add the mushrooms and saute for about 5 minutes. Add the shallots and garlic to the mushrooms and saute for an additional 5 minutes. Do not allow the garlic to brown. Season with kosher salt and pepper, then add the port wine to the mushrooms, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium and cook until the port wine has reduced and there is not liquid left in the pan. Remove from heat and set aside.

For the Bearnaise Sauce: Dump the contents of the envelope of sauce mix into a small pot. Add the milk and whisk until smooth. Bring the sauce to a boil over medium heat. Once the sauce begins to boil, add the butter and whisk into the sauce until melted. Add the lemon juice and tarragon and whisk again. Keep warm.

For the Tenderloin: Heat a frying pan or griddle over high heat. Do not allow the pan to get so hot that it smokes. Season the steaks with kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper and place the steaks in the hot pan or griddle. Allow to cook about 4-5 minutes, then using tongs turn the steaks and cook on the other side for about 4-5 minutes. They should be medium rare. Do not cut or pierce the steaks with a knife or fork. Using tongs, remove the steaks to a cutting board and allow to rest for at least 5 minutes and as much as 10 minutes.

To assemble: Place the baguette slices on a large serving tray. Top each slice with about a tablespoon of the mushroom duxelle. Slice the steaks so that the slices are about 1/8-inch thick and lay 2 to 3 slices of the steak on top of the mushroom duxelle on each baguette slice. Top the steak with a tablespoon or so of the warm bearnaise sauce and serve immediately.

PRINT THE RECIPE HERE

24 comments:

Anonymous said...

Love the idea of the caprese salad on skewers. So simple yet creative and easy to serve.

Terri said...

I do, too. I love how the basil leaf acts as a little 'cup' for the balsamic vinegar and olive oil. It's wonderful.

gina said...

I repinned this on pinterest today and totally didn't even see that it was yours!! It's definitely on my MUST MAKE list!

Mil said...

Fast, easy and beautiful to be presented!

Desi said...

I saw these caprese apps pinned on pinterest and stalked down the original blog so I could follow you! Now following :) Love this recipe!

http://steaknpotatoeskindagurl.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

Me too Desi... :)
Simple yet beautiful!

Anonymous said...

I really want to make the tomatoes, mozarella & Basil appetizer. I went to the store to pick up my ingredients and they didnt have basil leaves :( I went to 2 more on my way home. Is there any substitue? Like spinach leaves (??) they look pretty I dont know about taste..
Thanks!!

Terri said...

Unfortunately, there's no real substitute for basil. It has such a unique herby flavor not found in other herbs. Using spinach leaves would be as pretty, but the flavor would not be the same. So sorry :(

Lisa said...

I love mozzarella & tomato idea ;-)

Anonymous said...

I love the Mini Caprese Kabobs

Shelby said...

I'm throwing a graduation party next week & the menu is all appetizers; the Mini Caprese Kabobs will be the perfect addition. I had been looking for something else to serve cold that can be prepared mostly ahead of time; I found your post kinda by accident - but a very good one. Thanks!

Terri said...

Good luck Shelby! Here's another one you can make ahead. Really simple, but tasty Parmesan Prosciutto Fig roll ups.

http://terristable.blogspot.com/2012/04/prosciutto-parmesan-figs.html

Lori Oster said...

I found this post on Pinterest and just made these for a party and they disappeared within minutes. Thank you so much!

Terri said...

Thanks Lori! I'm so glad you and your guests liked them! They really are one of my favorite appetizers.

Susie Otto said...

I'm trying the caprese salad bites on Saturday for my sister's shower. They look tasty and easy to make

~A lovely stage Rose~ said...

Absolutely wonderful looking! I will definitely try some of these! <3

Anonymous said...

Where do you find figs? We don't have them in our grocery stores. This town is too small.

Terri said...

@Susie: I hope you love them as much as I do.

@A lovely stage Rose: Thank you!

@Anonymous: I buy all my dried fruits, nuts, flavored coffees and some spices from Nuts.com. Their quality and customer service is outstanding!

Rob - @formerfatguy said...

Seems Pinterest is driving a bunch of readers to your site. I as well. Everything looks so good. Will make a nice surprise for my wife when she gets home from Portland

Emil said...

Just arrived from pinterest and it seems as if I am not the first one. :-) those sticks are a genius idea!!!

Sarah said...

Love the caprese on a stick! I included a link to it recipe in a round-up of quick and easy appetizers at my blog http://thecozyabode.com/?p=667.

Anonymous said...

Used this idea for a bridal shower, they were gone in minutes. Tasty and super easy to make. Thanks!

Appsta said...

Great appetizers and looking delicious. Is there any app of your recipes? I am interested about your recipes!!

Terri said...

Thanks so much everyone! I'm so thrilled you all love these as much as I do!

Appsta: Sorry, no app for the recipes.

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