Open House Recipe Fun

Open House time is upon us and I can't stop talking about it! I did a few classes over the last few weeks on the topic and became very excited to do the recipes for it. That was the focus of my column this week and I was glad to see that many others wanted to enjoy the recipes and the thought of hanging out with family and friends over the holidays.
I can't think of a better thing to do than to enjoy great food and fun times with friends. I have included some great recipes here for you to get started! Try them all, they are easy to put together and of course have some great make aheads so plan a party and get cooking!
I'll wait for my invite in the mail =)

Malaysian Sesame Chicken

For this pick-up appetizer you can cut the chicken into strips, more traditional in Malaysia and described below, or in 1-inch (2.5 cm) cubes. The distinctive flavour, and the ingredient that coats the chicken so deliciously is ketjap manis, a black soy sauce. A microplane is the best tool for grating the garlic, gingerroot and lime rind.

1 lb (500 g) boneless skinless chicken breasts (2 large single breasts)
1 tbsp (15 mL) white sesame seeds
24 short bamboo skewers, soaked in water for 30 minutes

2 large cloves garlic, peeled and finely grated
1 tbsp (15 mL) finely grated gingerroot
1/4 tsp (1 mL) finely grated lime rind
1/4 tsp (1 mL) freshly ground pepper
2 tbsp (30 mL) ketjap manis
1 tbsp (15 mL) canola oil
1/2 tsp (2 mL) dark sesame oil

Marinade: In large bowl, stir together the garlic, ginger, lime rind and pepper. Stir in the ketjap manis and canola and sesame oils. Set aside.

Trim any loose fat or membranes from chicken. Trim off the smaller muscle (the tender) and set aside. Cut the breast crosswise into 1/2-inch (1.25 cm) wide strips. At the smaller ends, cut the strips slightly wider, and then cut in half lengthwise almost through to spread out into lengths similar to the centre strips. Cut the tender into similar-sized strips. Add the chicken to the marinade, turning the strips gently to coat evenly. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, or up to 2 hours.

Meanwhile, toast the sesame seeds in a small dry skillet over medium heat until golden brown, stirring often, about 4 minutes. Set aside.

Thread the chicken strips onto the skewers, either in an up-and-down wave, or twisting and threading. Brush with any remaining marinade. (Make-ahead: Arrange in shallow dish. Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 hours.) . Place on greased rack in roasting or broiler pan; broil about 4-inches (10 cm) from the heat, turning once, just until juices run clear, about 5 minutes. Or, grill on greased barbecue grill over medium-high heat, turning once, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve immediately.

Makes about 24 skewers.

Dipping Sauce:
If desired, you can serve the Malaysian Ginger Chicken with a ketjap manis dipping sauce. Combine 1/2 cup (125 mL) ketjap manis with 2 tbsp (30 mL) fresh lime juice and 2 tsp (10 mL) finely minced hot pepper or 1/2 tsp (2 mL) hot pepper sauce.

Shrimp and Crab Cakes with Tropical Salsa

The texture makes these flavourful little cakes perfect to pick up with your hands and pop in your mouth. The cornmeal adds a little crunch to the coating that is made to enjoy with the sweet ripe tropical fruit.

1 egg
1/4 cup (50 mL) mayonnaise
1 tsp (5 mL) Dijon mustard
1/3 cup (75 mL) seasoned dry breadcrumbs
Half sweet red pepper, finely diced
1 green onion, finely chopped
2 tbsp (25 mL) chopped fresh Italian parsley or coriander
1 tsp (5 mL) chopped fresh thyme
3/4 cup (175 mL) each snow crabmeat and finely chopped cooked shrimp

1/4 cup (50 mL) seasoned dry breadcrumbs
1/4 cup (50 mL) fine yellow cornmeal
3 tbsp (45 mL) vegetable oil

Tropical Salsa:
1/2 cup (125 mL) finely diced mango
1/2 cup (125 mL) finely diced ripe star fruit
2 tsp (10 mL) seeded and diced jalapeno pepper
1/2 tsp (2 mL) grated lime rind
1 tbsp (15 mL) lime juice

Combine egg, mayonnaise, Dijon, breadcrumbs, red pepper, green onion, parsley and thyme in bowl. Add crabmeat and shrimp and mix well. Using moistened hands, shape 1 tbsp (15 mL) of the mixture at a time into small patties.

Coating: Combine breadcrumbs and cornmeal in shallow dish and coat patties evenly on both sides.

Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and cook cakes in batches for about 8 minutes, turning once or until golden on both sides. Remove to paper towel lined plate and repeat with remaining crab cakes.

Tropical Salsa: Combine papaya, star fruit, jalapeno pepper, lime rind and juice in bowl. Top each crab cake with some of the salsa before serving.

Makes about 20 crab cakes.

Mini Walnut Butter Tarts in Phyllo (Elizabeth Baird and I did this recipe in Jasper, her baking skills could only come naturally and butter tarts are in her blood!)

Butter tarts are irresistable - and much easier to make using phyllo pastry. The idea of wedding phyllo with butter tarts - Greece meets grandma - comes from author Rose Murray. But the filling is classic Canadian Living. Mini tart or muffin tins with cups about 1-3/4 inch (4.5 cm) in diameter and about 3/4 inch (2 cm) deep are ideal for these tiny bites of sweet crispy pleasure.

Phyllo Cups:
1/2 cup (125 mL) butter
5 sheets phyllo pastry

1 large egg, at room temperature
1/2 cup (125 mL) packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup (125 mL) corn syrup
2 tbsp (30 mL) butter, softened
1 tsp (5 mL) cider vinegar
1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla or 1/2 tsp (2 mL) maple extract
1/3 cup (75 mL) walnut halves
2 tbsp (30 mL) dark chocolate chips

Filling: In medium-sized bowl whisk together the egg, brown sugar, corn syrup, butter, cider vinegar and vanilla; set aside.

Spread walnuts on heatproof plate; roast in 350°F (180°C) oven or toaster oven until fragrant and slightly darkened, about 6 minutes. Let cool; chop coarsely.

Phyllo Cups: Melt butter over low heat. Let cool until clear fat rises to the top. Skim off any foam; spoon the clear fat into a separate bowl, leaving the milky residue for another use such as liquid for muffins.

Keeping unused phyllo layers covered with a barely damp tea towel, arrange 1 sheet of phyllo on work surface. Brush lightly but thoroughly with butter. Cover with second sheet; brush with butter. Repeat layers, finishing with brushing the fifth layer with butter. Cut the phyllo into 24 pieces, as close to 3-inch (7.5 cm) squares as possible. Gently but firmly, ease each square, buttery side up, into the mini tart/muffin cups, pressing the pastry along the bottom and up the side. Divide the walnut and chocolate chips among the phyllo cups. Using a spoon, fill the cups no more than half full.

Bake in lower third of preheated 375°F (190°C) oven until pastry is crisp and golden, about 12 minutes. Let tarts cool in pan on rack. Remove tarts from cups, easing up any filling melted on the surface of the pan to include with the filling. (Make-ahead: Store in single layer in shallow airtight containers for up to 4 days.) .

Makes 24 mini tarts.

Tips: Non-stick mini tart/muffin tins make removing these tarts a snap. For regular mini tart/muffin tins, lightly grease the cups and around their rims.
Substitutions: Other nuts are as good as walnut. Choose pecans, sliced almonds or hazelnuts for a change of taste. You can replace the nuts or chocolate with currants.

Brutti ma Buoni (I did this recipe in my column last week, another favourite!)
“Ugly but good” is the translation of these little crunchy-on-the-outside, chewy-on-the- inside morsels. Other versions of these cookies are made with hazelnuts, slivered almonds or pecans. These are the right size to add to a dessert or dainty tray or include in a hostess gift over the holidays.
4 egg whites
1 cup (250 mL) granulated sugar
3 tbsp (45 mL) all-purpose flour
1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla
2 cups (500 mL) chopped Toblerone chocolate
Icing sugar

In large heatproof bowl set over saucepan of gently simmering water, whisk together egg whites and sugar. Cook, whisking occasionally, for about 5 minutes or until hot and opaque; remove from heat.
In stand mixer, using whisk attachment, beat mixture for about 7 minutes or until thick and glossy and bowl is cool to the touch. Fold in flour, vanilla and chopped chocolate. Using small ice cream scoop, or level tablespoonful (15 mL) drop batter onto parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Bake in centre of 350 F (180 C) oven for about 15 minutes or until light golden and firm to the touch. Repeat with remaining batter. Let cool completely in pan on rack. Sprinkle with icing sugar before serving.
Makes about 60 cookies.

Ginger Variation: Omit vanilla and chocolate. Replace with 1 tsp (5 mL) ground ginger and 1 cup (250 mL) chopped crystallized ginger.

Tip: If using a handheld mixer the volume of eggs after beating will be less so you will get fewer cookies.

Sundried Tomato and Artichoke Dip (From the new Canadian Living Slow Cooker Collection, another winner Elizabeth Baird and I made in Jasper!)
This so-quick and so-easy dip warms in the slow cooker and can be ready to welcome guests as they arrive. Set a platter of crudity, crispbreads and crackers alongside so guests can help themselves.

1 can (14 oz/398 mL) artichoke hearts
1 pkg (250 g) cream cheese, cubed, then softened
½ cup (125 mL) each sour cream and mayonnaise
¼ cup (50 mL) grated Parmesan (parmigiano reggiano) cheese
¼ cup (50 mL) chopped oil-packed sundried tomatoes
1 clove garlic, minced
¼ tsp (1 mL) freshly ground pepper
2 tbsp (30 mL) thinly sliced green onion (green part only) or chives

Drain artichoke hearts; pat dry and chop. Add to small slow cooker with cream cheese, sour cream, mayonnaise, Parmesan cheese, sundried tomatoes, garlic and pepper; stir to combine. Cover and cook on low, stirring twice, until melted, blended and hot, about 2 hours. Sprinkle with green onions.
Makes 3 cups (750 mL).


Popular Posts