Recipes from CFUW November 16th, 2010

I enjoyed myself immensely at the CFUW meeting at First United Church presenting an Open House theme of recipes to showcase this holiday season! As well as tasty food treats, my friend Kate Mlodzik set up a beautiful holiday table to showcase the food and give attendees some ideas on presenting their style for the holidays. I hope you enjoy the recipes as well as the photos! Happy Holidays!!

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.

Sundried Tomato and Artichoke Dip
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).

Garlic Shrimp and Lime Mango Martinis
Sweet mango and garlicky shrimp combine to make a refreshing appetizer that looks stunning served up in a martini glass. With a little zip of chili paste the dish balances out wonderfully!

Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 bag jumbo shrimp 21/25 count, peeled and deveined
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsp chopped fresh mint or basil
1 large mango, peeled and diced
¼ cup each finely chopped red onion and celery
2 tbsp lime juice
1 tsp minced fresh ginger
½ tsp granulated sugar
¼ tsp Asian chili sauce
2 cups spring mix
Lime wedges (optional)

In large nonstick skillet heat oil over medium high heat and cook shrimp, garlic and 2 tbsp of the mint, stirring often for about 5 minutes or until shrimp are pink and firm. Place into a bowl. Add mango, onion and celery and stir to combine.

In a small bowl, whisk together lime juice, ginger and sugar and drizzle over shrimp mixture and toss to coat.

Place a small amount of spring mix among large martini glasses and top with shrimp mixture. Garnish with lime wedge if desired.

Makes 8 appetizer servings.

Tip: Cover and refrigerate the mango and shrimp mixture for up to 4 hours and serve chilled if desired.

Gingerbread Cut-outs
The holidays are not the same unless the house is filled with the aroma of ginger throughout. You can make simple shapes of stars and boots, but Santas, reindeers and trees are always welcome!

Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Chill Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 15 to 20 minutes per batch

½ cup butter, softened
½ cup shortening
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 eggs
3/4 cup fancy molasses
5 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp each ground ginger and cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp each freshly ground nutmeg, ground cloves and salt

In a large bowl, beat butter, shortening and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and molasses.

In another bowl, whisk together, flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg, cloves and salt. Using wooden spoon, stir flour mixture into molasses mixture in 2 additions; mix well, using hands if necessary to bring dough together.

Divide dough into 4 discs; wrap with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for about 1 hour or until firm. Roll out 1 disc at a time on floured surface to a generous ¼ inch thick and using cookie cutters cut out shapes. Place on parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake in 350F oven for about 17 minutes or until firm to the touch and golden. Repeat with remaining dough. Let cool on rack.

Makes about 6 dozen cookies.

Royal Icing:
¼ cup pasteurized egg whites
3 cups icing sugar (approx)

In large bowl, beat egg whites until frothy. Beat in icing sugar, 1 cup at a time, for about 3 minutes or until stiff. Cover with damp towel to prevent drying out.
Makes about 11/2 cups.

Tip: You can tint the icing with liquid or paste food colouring as you desire. To make icing paint simply remove some of the icing into another bowl and add some more water to make it paint consistency. Use with a brush to paint on cookies.

Luscious Tangy Lemon Bars
Lemon desserts are always a huge hit over the holiday season. These bars can be served on their own or included in a dessert tray with cookies and other bars and squares.

Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes

2 cups all purpose flour
¼ cup granulated sugar
2 tbsp cornstarch
1 cup butter, softened

1/3 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
3 egg yolks
3 eggs
2 cups granulated sugar
1 tbsp finely grated lemon rind
½ cup lemon juice
Icing sugar

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar and cornstarch. With fingers work in butter until mixture clumps together. With floured hands, press dough evenly into parchment paper lined 13 x 9 inch baking pan. Bake in 350 F oven for about 20 minutes or until firm to the touch and edges are golden.

Filling: Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together flour and baking powder. In another bowl, beat egg yolks and eggs with a whisk until well mixed. Add sugar and whisk until well combined. Gradually whisk in the flour mixture until smooth. Whisk in lemon rind and juice. Pour the filling over the hot crust and return to oven for about 25 minutes or until filling is set and golden brown. Let cool completely in pan. Refrigerate for about 1 hour or until chilled. Dust with icing sugar before cutting into bars.

Makes 32 bars.

Storage: Cover and refrigerate for up to 5 days. Freeze for up to 2 weeks.

Fruity Gin Elixir

4 cups pineapple juice 1 L
2 cups fruit punch 500 mL
2 cups ginger ale 500 mL
Gin to taste (optional)
fresh strawberries

In large bowl, or pitcher combine pineapple juice, fruit punch, ginger ale and gin. Serve in tall glasses over ice with strawberries on the side. Makes 8 cups (2 L).


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