Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Hors d'oeuvres - Clams from Joan Martin

1 can minced clams
4-5 oz cream cheese
2 t mayonnaise
1/2 t or so of garlic paste

Mix all together day before and refrigerate. Cut 4 circles from each slice of bread for about 25 or so circles and spread clam mixture over tops. Broil 3-4 minutes until bubbly; serve.

Hors d'Oeuvres - Nectarines, Proscuitto, Arugula Bundles

4 cups lightly packed trimmed arugula
1 t evoo
1/8 t black pepper
12   slices (1/2 oz) proscuitto, sliced in half lengthwise
3 nectarines (or peaches or plums) about 3/4 pound, each cut in 8 wedges

Combine first 3 ingredients in large bowl, toss gently to combine.  Arrange 3-4 arugula leaves at 1 end of 1 proscuitto strip.  Place 1 fruit slice on top or arugula and roll up. Place bundle, seam side down, on serving plate.  Repeat procedure with remaining.  Yield 8 servings, each is 3 bundles.  79 calories/serving.

Hors d'Oeuvres: Salmon Rillettes

From July 20, 03 New York Times magazine:
1 pound fresh salmon, skin removed, cut in 2" squares.
Kosher salt, fresh ground white pepper
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
3 cups white Burgundy
1/2 cup finely diced shallots
2 strips lemon peel
1/2 pound thinly sliced smoked salmon, cut in thin strips
juice of 1 lemon
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh chives
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh dill
2 Tablespoons creme fraiche or sour cream plus more for serving
small jar salmon roe for serving
French-bread croutons for serving

Line 3 cup terrine with plastic wrap, leaving 6" over each side. Place fresh salmon in a bowl; sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper and toss. Smear bottom of a large saute pan with 2 T butter, add wine,shallots, lemon peel. Add salmon cubes, spreading them out to cook evenly. Bring to simmer and cook until salmon just medium, 2-3 minutes. Remove salmon with tongs to bowl, leaving as many shallots as possible.Boil liquid until only 1/4 cup remains, abt 15 minutes(I found it took longer). Pour through sieve into bowl with salmon. Cool 10 minutes. Add smoked salmon, splash lemon juice, chives, dill, creme fraiche, and remaining 2 T butter. Using a rubber spatula, smear the butter into sides of thebowl first; then gently work the rest of the ingredients well into one another. The poached salmon will break down into shreds. Taste and adjust lemon juice and seasonings if necessary. Place in terrine,cover with plastic wrap, and refrig at least 4 hours.To serve, use excess plastic wrap to lift from container. Invert onto serving plate and remove wrap and slice. Garnish each slice with creme fraiche and roe. Serve with croutons. 12 appetizer servings. From July 20 '03 New York Times Magazine

Hors d'Oeuvres - Endive Spoons

1 pound soft goat cheese
2 T olive oil
2 T lemon juice
2 t grated lemon peel +
3 T chopped chives
8 heads endive
6 grape tomatoes sliced thin and halved

Blend cheese through 1 t lemon juice and lemon peel in processor. Put in bowl and add chives. Season w s & p. (This can be done the day ahead). Separate leaves of the endive, toss with 1 T lemon juice. Arrange on platter. Pipe or spoon 1 1/2 t cheese at wide end of leaf. Place 1/2 slice of tomato on top. (May be prepared 4 hours ahead of time: cover and chill).

Hors d'Oeuvres - Prosciutto-wrapped dates with cheese

3 T whole almonds or slivered almonds
3 T fresh chevre
2 T Gorgonzola dolce or other creamy blue cheese
24 dates, pitted and split to open on one side
4 oz prosciutto, sliced into 3/4" x 3" strips

Preheat oven to 350 F. Place almonds on baking sheet and toast for 10 mins. Let cool, chop coarsely. Blend chevre and Gorgonzola; mix in almonds. Using a teaspoon, fill each date with teaspoon of cheese mixture. Wrap each date in the prosciutto so it just goes around the date once. Cover and refrig. for up to 3 days. To serve: preheat oven to 350 F. Place dates on baking pan and warm in oven until cheese melts slightly and prosciutto starts to crisp, 5-7 mins. Serve immediately.

Hors d'Oeuvres - Baked potatoes with bacon & chives

3 T olive oil
1 pound potatoes, about 1 1/2 " in diameter
1/2 t fine sea salt +
(3-4 slices of bacon)
Freshly ground black pepper
3 T creme fraiche
1 T finely chopped chives

Preheat oven to 400 deg F. Rub a baking sheet with 2 T oil. Place potatoes in bowl with 1 T olive oil and the salt. Toss. Place potatoes on baking sheet, bake until tender in the middle and browned on the outside, 20 minutes.

(If using bacon, fry until crisp. Drain on paper towels, finely dice or crumble).

When potatoes are done, place in serving bowl; season with salt and pepper. Put creme fraiche and chives, mixed, in another small bowl and top with bacon. Serve.

Hors d'Oeuvres - Apricots with Goat Cheese

75 dried apricot halves (abt. 1 pound)
3/4 cup fresh orange juice
3/4 cup shelled pistachios, 1/2 toasted
1/2 pound soft mild goat cheese, chilled

Toss apricots with juice and let stand, tossing occasionally, 20 mins. Chop all pistachios, preferable by hand, and season with salt. Drain apricots, cut sides up, on paper towels. Top each with bit of cheese mixed with nuts.

Hors d'Oeuvres - Shrimp

Melt stick of butter in pan.  Slice one lemon and layer on top.  Put in fresh shrimp and sprinkle with 1 package Italian seasoning.  Put in oven, bake 350 F 15 minutes.

Hors d'Oeuvres: Crostini with Sweet Peas and Bitter Greens

10 oz fresh or frozen baby peas (280 g)
1/4 t salt
4 oz Parmigiano Reggiano (113 g)
24 slices crusty baguette
2 cloves garlic, peeled
4 oz fresh young arugula leaves, cleaned (113 g)
24 large mint leaves, cleaned
Aged balsamic vinegar
Black pepper to grind

Blanch peas until tender in boiling water (2-4 mins for fresh, 1 min for frozen). Drain and pat dry.  Puree in food processor w salt, set aside.  Make 1 upe of cheese slivers with veg peeler.  Toast bread until golden on both sides.  Rub lightly with garlic, brush with evoo.  To assemble:  spread toast with puree, top with arugula and a mint leaf.  Sprinkle with vinegar, top with cheese slivers and pepper.  Serves 8.

Hors d'Oeuvres: Carol Walek's Crab Meat Puffs

8 slices thinly sliced bread
4 t butter
1 cup flaked crab meat (or other seafood)
1 cup mayo
2 egg whites, stiffly beaten

Preheat broiler.  Cut bread into 3/4" rounds, saute in butter in skillet.  Place in refrigerated until chilled.  Combine crab meat and may, fold into whites.  Put 1 t of mixture on each toast round.  Broil immediately until lightly browned or freeze immediately before egg white collapses.  Makes about 60.  (To freeze, place on cookie sheet and freeze, when frozen place in plastic bag, seal and store in freezer).

Hors d'Oeuvres: Artichoke Squares

2 6oz jars marinated artichoke hearts
1 small onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup fine dry bread crumbs
1/8 t pepper
1/8 t oregano
1/8 t Tabasco
2 cups grated Cheddar
2 T chopped parsley
1/4 t salt
4 eggs

Drain artichokes, saving marinade from one jar.  In marinade, saute onion.  Cut up artichokes.  Beat eggs and add crumbs and seasonings.  Stir in remaining ingredients.  Turn into greased 7" x 11" pan.  Bake at 325 F for 30 minutes.  Let cool a little before cutting into squares.  Serve hot or cold.  40 squares.

Hors d'Oeuvres: Gail's Smokey Artichoke Dip

In cuisinart, combine:

14 oz can drained artichoke hearts (packed in oil preferably)
1 cup mayo
1/4 cup grated parmesan
1/4 cup grated emmenthal
1/4-1/2 of onion
1 clove garlic
2 T Worcestershire sauce
1 T Liquid Smoke
2 T fresh lemon juice
Cayenne, tabasco OR chili flakes to taste
pinch of salt

Blend thoroughly. Freeze some in small portions for another time.

Spoon into ramekin, top with a little grated emmenthal and/or parmesan, and bake for 20 minutes at 180 degrees Centigrade (about 375-400) until bubbling and starting to brown. Serve hot with tortilla chips, crostini, or crackers.

Hors d'oeuvres - Spring Pea, Ricotta, and Basil Crostini (16 crostini)

1 cup water
1 t salt
1 1/2 cups shelling peas, preferably English (abt 1 1/4 pounds)
1/4 cup + 1 T coarsely chopped basil (about 30 leaves
2 T evoo +
2 T ricotta cheese
S & P
1 baguette
Preheat broiler.  In a small pot, bring water and salt to boil, add peas and cook for 4 mins.  Drain and rinse under cold water, pat dry.  In food processor, combine peas, 1/4 cup basil, oil, cheese, and s & p.  Process until creamy.  Taste and add more salt or pepper as needed.
Cut baguette into 16 1/4" slices.  Place on baking sheet and spray or brush with evoo on both sides. Broil until light golden btown, 1-2 mins.  Turn slices and repeat.  Watch carefully as bread can burn easily.  Remove from broiler and let cool.  Spread about 1 T of pea mixture on each slice.  Sprinkle with remaining chopped basil. Serve immediately.

Hors d'oeuvres: Pasta Shells with Chopped Salad

1 16 oz box jumbo shells
4 cups romaine, chopped
1/2 cup basil, chopped
1 cup cooked chicken, cut small
1 cup tomato, chopped
3/4 cup cucumber, chopped
3 oz Italian hard salami
Roasted garlic vinaigrette dressing

Cook pasta shells as directed on the package;  drain and cool.  Place remaining ingredients, except dressing, in medium bowl, mix well.  Pour vinaigrette over the salad, toss to coat.  Stuff shells with salad, cover and refrigerate 2 hours before serving.

Hors d'Oeuvres: Roasted Red Pepper Involtini

4 large red bell peppers
1/2 pound fresh ricotta (1 cup)
2 T snipped chives
S & P
1 plum tomato - peeled, seeded, finely diced

Roast peppers or purchase roasted.  Slice in half.  Working over a bowl, press ricotta through a sieve, add snipped chives, season with s & p, stir in tomato.  Arrange peppers on a work surface, skinned sides down.  Divide filling evenly between halves, roll up into thick cylinders.  Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes.  Cut cylinders into 3/4" thick slices, transfer to platter with cut sides up and serve.  NOTE:  May be refrigerated overnight.  Return to room temp before serving.

Hors d'Oeuvres - Prosciutto and Gorgonzola Crostini

To make 12 pieces:

6 thin slices prosciutto, halved crosswise
12 thin slices baguette
1/2 T olive oil
1/2 apple, cut into matchsticks

Brush baguette slices with oil and bake 375 F until golden, 8-10 mins.  Top with prosciutto, apple, Gorgonzola.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Appetizer - Crab Pie

1 1/2 cup crab meat (pref. fresh)
1/3 cup Vidalia onion, chopped
2 T flour
Old Bay seasoning
6 oz. grated cheddar cheese
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 t salt
1/3 cup chopped green pepper
1/2 cup milk
2 eggs
1 9" deep-dish pie shell

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake pie shell until starts to brown. Mix rest and pour into shell. Bake 35-40 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature. Serves 8-10

Appetizer - Asparagus in Dijon Mustard

1 lb. asparagus
2 T tarragon vinegar
2 T Dijon mustard
dash tabasco sauce
1/4 t Worcestershire sauce
1/4 t dried thyme, crumbled
1/4 t dried tarragon, crumbled
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 roasted red pepper in julienne strips

Cook asparagus in boiling salted water 6-8 minutes till tender. Refresh under cold water. In bowl whisk vinegar through tarragon, add s & p to taste. Add evoo in stream, whisking until emulsified. Place asparagus on plate, arrange julienne pepper on it, drizzle dressing over.

Serves 2-4

Appetizers: Cannellini Bean Antipasto w Shrimp

Serves 6

1/2 cup + 1 T evoo
1 clove garlic, quartered
1/2 lb. med shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 c cooked cannellini beans (or rinsed and drained canned beans)
1/4 c chopped red onions
2 5" sprigs fresh rosemary
1/2 t balsamic vinegar, + more to taste
Kosher salt and freshly grd black pepper
1 T chopped fresh basil

In lge skillet, heat 1 T evoo and garlic over med-hi heat. When oil is hot but not smoking, add shrimp and cook, stirring frequently, until pink, abt 4 mins. Remove shrimp from pan, reserving garlic and oil. Chop shrimp into pieces slightly larger than the beans. Toss shrimp with beans, adding reserved oil and garlic.

In serving bowl, toss shrimp and beans with remaining evoo and onions. Strip rosemary leaves from stems and add to beans. Toss, then add vinegar and season with s & p. Toss again, before adding basil. Just before serving, toss beans once more and adjust seasoning. Add more oil, s, p, vinegar as desired.

Appetizers: Mushrooms with Garlic Butter (Serves 4)

3 slices from white sandweich bread, crust discarded, 1/4" cubes (1 1/4 cups)
3 T unsalted butter
1 T finely chopped garlic
1/2 t s        1/4 t pepper
3/4 lb. small white mushrooms
2 T finely chopped parsley

Put oven rack in mid position, preheat to 375 F.  Toast cubes in shallow baking pan in oven, stirring once, until golden and crisp, 6-8 mins.  Meanwhile melt butter with garlic, s, p (on stove or microwave).  Put mushrooms in 8" square baking pan and toss with butter.  Bake, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms are soft and juicy, 15-20 mins.  Just before serving toss with parsley and croutons.

Appetizer - Wild Mushroom Strudel

3/4 pound mixed wild mushrooms
2 T olive oil
1/2 medium onion, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
s & p
1/3 cup white wine
1/2 t chopped thyme leaves
1/4 pound Asiago, diced
2 T parsley
4 T plain dried bread crumbs
2 sheets phyllo dough
2 T melted unsalted butter

Clean mushrooms, slice into 3/4" pieces. Over med heat, heat oil in large skillet, add mushrooms, onion, garlic. Season w s & p. Cook, stirring frequently, till mushrooms release all liquid and are lightly browned, 10-12 minutes. Add wine & thyme, cook till wine evaporates. Remove from heat and transfer to bowl. When cool, stir in cheese, parsley, 3 T bread crumbs. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 deg. Brush phyllo sheet with butter, dust with crumbs. Top with 2nd sheet, brush with butter. Spoon mushrooms down short side, leaving 2" at edge. Fold dough edge in and roll. Brush roll with butter, lightly butter baking sheet. Transfer strudel to sheet, bake till golden brown and crispy, 30-35 minutes. Remove strudel from oven, allow to cool 5 minutes. Trim ends if overly brown or frayed. Slice and serve with field greens and tart vinaigrette. Serves 4.

Appetizer - Coquilles St. Jacques

2 T unsalted butter
1 small carrot, diced
1 small onion, diced
1 small leek, trimmed, split, washed and sliced
3 large white mushrooms, trimmed washed, and diced
1/4 cup white wine (pref. muscadet)
8 ounces creme fraiche
Salt/pepper to taste
16-20 medium sea scallops with attached pink coral if available
1 T olive oil
2 large fresh basil leaves, julienned

Melt butter in large skillet over medium heat. Add carrot, onion, and leek. Saute for 5 mins. Add mushrooms, saute 2 mins. Add wine and stir to deglaze the pan. Boil the wine to reduce slightly, about 1 min. Add creme fraiche and season to taste with s & p. Bring to simmer and lower heat so liquids don't reduce; simmer 15 mins and keep warm.

Pat scallops dry. Heat oil in another large skillet over med-high heat. Add and saute the scallops for 30 seconds on each side, just to seal. Add scallops to sauce. Poach gently for about 5 mins. Arrange on 4 plates, sprinkle with basil slivers.

Serves 4.

Appetizer/CHEESE COURSE: Parmigiano-Reggiano "Ice Cream"

1 cup heavy cream (237 ml)
2 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced in half lengthwise
1/4 t nutmeg
2 cups grated Parmigiano Reggiano (160 g)
Aged balsamic vinegar, the older the better

Multigrain raisin or crusty French bread
Red grapes, Pear or apple slices, walnuts, spicy greens such as arugula

Bring cream, garlic, nutmeg to a boil in a heavy saucepan over med-hi heat, watching constantly.  Remove garlic from cream.  Add cheese, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly until all the cheese is incorporated.  Continue stirring until cheese is melted, about 1 min.  Remove from heat, pour into shallow heat-resistant dish and cool to room temp.  Cover dish and refrigerate until cheese stiffens.  Scoop portions of "gelato" with an ice cream scoop onto 6 salad plates.  Garnish with accompaniments.  Drip a few drops of balsamic vinegar over "gelato" and serve.

This is so easy and gets rave reviews because of the presentation.

Appetizers: Louis Nye's Steak Tartare

1 1/2 pounds freshly ground lean beef
1 T hot prepared mustard
1 t salt
1/2 t Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 cups finely chopped Bermuda onion
3 egg yolks
2 hard-cooked eggs, chopped
1 T chopped onion

Combine Meat-egg yolks, mix well.  Shape into loat, place on serving platter.  Garnish with chopped eggs and onion.  Serve with rye bread.  Serves 8-12.

Appetizer: Artichoke & Sun-Dried Tomato Tart (Serves 12)

1 8 oz pkg cream cheese, softened
1 egg
2 T flour
1 jar (6 oz) marinated artichokes, drained and patted dry, chopped
1/3 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and patted dry, snipped
2 T snipped basil leaves, snipped
1 cup (4 oz) shredded mozzarella
1 garlic clove, pressed
1/4 cup (1 oz) grated Parmesan, divided
8 sheets (9x14) thawed frozen phyllo dough
Non-stick cooking spray
1 large plum tomato, sliced
Additional snipped basil

Preheat oven to 375 F.  In bowl, whisk cream cheese - flour until smooth;  add artichokes - garlic to cheese.  Mix well.  Unroll phyllo, lay one sheet on cutting board and spray with nonstick spray.  Sprinkle with 1 T parmesan, place second sheet of phyllo over first, pressing sheets tog to seal.  Place sheets on round cooking stone (edges with hang off stone). Repeat 3 more times, arranging sheets in overlapping staggered pattern on stone.  Spoon cream cheese mixture onto center of phyllo and spread to within 1/2" of edge of baking stone.  Slice tomato and arrange in overlapping circular pattern around edge of filling.  Sprinkle with reserved 2 T of cheese.  Carefully lift edges of phyllo sheets up against edge of filling.  Lightly spray phyllo with cooking spray.  Bake 28-30 mins until phyllo is golden brown and filling is set in center.  Remove from oven and let stand 10 mins longer.  Garnish with snipped basil.   Serve in wedges.   (1/12 = 160 calories)

Appetizer/Cheese Course: Apricot-Almond Baked Brie (Serves 12)

1/4 cup finely diced dried apricots
1/4 cup almonds, chopped
1 T shipped parsley
2 T apricot preserves
1 t Dijon mustard
1 pkg (8 oz) refrigerated crescent rolls
1 4" round (8 oz) Brie or Camembert, rind included
1 eggs, lightly beaten
Apple or pear wedges (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 F. In small bowl, combine apricots - mustard, mix well.  Unroll crescent dough on lightly floured cutting board.  Sepaarate dough crosswise into 2 squares, press seams to seal.  Place Brie on one square of dough; set aside remaining square of dough.  Trim corners from first square, leaving about 1" border around Brie.  Scoop apricots evenly over top of Brie.  Cut design from remaining square of dough and trim corners.  Place dough over Brie, pinching seams to seal.  With spatula, transfer Brie to stoneware cooking surface;  brush egg over entire surface;  place cut out shapes over dough (shapes from trimmed corners);  brush with egg again.  Bake 30-35 mins until crust is deep golden brown.  Remove from oven to cooling rack, let stand 15 mins, serve (with apples and pears if desired).

Appetizers/Cheese Course: Rustic Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese Torte (Serves 12)

2 T unsalted butter (28 g)
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup plain breadcrumbs (57 g)
3/4 cup walnuts, finely chopped (85 g)
1/4 t salt
1 pound cream cheese, softened (455 g)
1/2 pound grated Parmigiano Reggiano (225 g)
2 large egg yolks, whites reserved
1/4 cup _ 1 T heavy cream (20 ml)
2 t Dijon mustard (12 g)
1/2 t white pepper
1 T cornstarch (8 g)
1 1/2 T finely minced shallots (15 g)
2 egg whites (from above)
Pinch cream of tartar

Grease inside of 8" (20 cm) springform pan.  Set aside.  Preheat oven to 325 F (160 C).  To make crust, melt butter in large saute pan.  Add garlic, cook briefly;  add breadcrumbs, walnuts, salt.  Stir, making sure butter and crumbs are well mixed.  Cool.  Press mixture into bottom of prepared pan.
Blend 2 cheeses until smooth.  Add yolks one at a time until blended.  Blend in cream.  Add mustard - minced shallots.  Blend until smooth.
In another bowl, beat white with cream of tartar util stiff but not dry.  Fold gently into cheese mixture.  Spoon into pan and even the surface.  Bake 1 hour.  Turn oven off and leave cake inside without opening oven door for 1 hour.  Remove cheesecake and cover with damp towel.  Cool to room temp.

Glazed Fruit Topping
2 T unsalted butter (28 g)
2 shallots, minced
1 small tart green apple, sliced with peel
6 dried figs, quartered or sliced (113 g)
Zest of 1 orange and juice of 1/2 the orange
1/3 cup chopped walnuts (43 g)
1/3 cup dried cherries (43 g)
1/3 cup apple jelly (70 g)
Melt butter in saute pan and saute the minced shallots until soft.  Add apples - cherries and simmer on low until apples are just tender. Spoon topping over cheesecake.  Heat apple jelly in a small pan set over low heat until just melted.  Brush jelly over fruit to add shine.  Serve at room temperature.

Appetizer - Vitello Tonnato

This is a lovely appetizer but would also make a great summery luncheon. It's basically Emeril's recipe with a few adjustments.

1 2-2/12 pound veal roast from the leg or loin, boned and tied (or use pork or turkey)
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup white wine
1 cup chopped yellow onions
1/2 cup chopped carrots
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 large sprig fresh rosemary
2 bay leaves
1 t black peppercorns

2 6 oz cans oil-packed solid white tuna, drained
8 anchovies, drained and chopped
2 t capers, rinsed, plus extra for garnish
2 T white wine vinegar
1 T fresh lemon juice or more
(1 T mustard, if desired)
1 t lemon zest
1/2 cup mayonnaise - I buy fresh at Whole Foods
Coarse grained salt
Fresh pepper
Lemon slices

In a soup pot, combine veal through peppercorns. Add water to cover meat and bring to a simmer, cooking until thermometer registers 145-150 F, about 50-60 minutes. Place meat on platter and cool; strain and reserve a cup of cooking broth. Wrap meat tight and refrigerate until well chilled - up to 24 hours. (Great to make ahead).

For sauce, combine tuna through lemon zest in a blender or processor until very smooth. This takes a while. Add mayo and blend. Add 1 T of reserved broth; add more if desired for right consistency to coat meat slices. When making the sauce, add 1/2 the capers, anchovies, and lemon juice and then add small amounts at a time to adjust to taste. Refrig. sauce in tightly sealed container overnight to allow flavors to blend.

To serve, slice meat in thin slices and dip each in sauce, then arrange on platter overlapping only slightly (or spoon sauce over). Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Garnish with lemon slices and capers and parsley and more anchovies if desired.

This is meant to serve 6 as an appetizer but I found that it would serve at least 10.
(The whole thing could be prepared the night before to allow sauce to soak into meat). Serve at room temperature so remove from fridge several hours beforehand.

Appetizer - Brie-Stuffed Mushrooms

6 T unsalted butter
16 medium mushrooms
3 cloves garlic
1/4 c minced parsley
1/4 c minced scallions - green and white parts
s & p
16 pieces of Brie
1/2 c chopped walnuts sauteed in 2 T butter over med heat for 5 mins

Preheat oven to 350. Melt butter in saucepan over med heat. When it begins to foam add garlic thru s&p, cook stirring, 5 mins. Add mushrooms and cook, coating well. Do not cook thoroughly. Remove mushrooms to ovenproof serving platter, place piece of Brie in each, pour remaining ingredients from pan over mushrooms. Bake about 5 mins, till cheese melts. Sprinkle with nuts and serve.

One of my favorites - easy to make ahead and everyone loves them.

Appetizer - Prosciutto-Wrapped Shrimp with Orange Marmalade

Serves 4 as first course

1/4 cup orange marmalade
4 t soy sauce
4 t fresh lemon juice
1 t minced fresh ginger
1 large garlic clove, minced
2 scallions, finely chopped
12 jumbo shrimp, shelled, deveined and butterflied
12 thin slices prosciutto (about 4 oz)
2 T vegetable oil

In a bowl, mix marmalade through scallions. Add shrimp and toss to coat. Lay a slice of prosciutto on a work surface and fold in half lengthwise. Wrap the prosciutto around the middle third of one shrimp. Repeat.
In a large skillet, heat oil until shimmering. Add shrimp, cook over mod heat, turning once or twice, until golden and cooked through, about 8 mins. Transfer to place and serve warm or at room temp. (Can be made ahead and kept at room temp for 2 hours.)

Appetiser - Snails

Drain 2 TINS OF 24 SNAILS each. In enamel saucepan, bring to boil 1 CUP DRY WHITE WINE, reduce to 1/2 cup over high heat. Add snails, simmer, covered 8 minutes. Drain snails, reserve wine. In large skillet, saute 6 SHALLOTS and 3 GARLIC CLOVES, ALL MINCED, in 6 T BUTTER for 2 minutes. Add 5 TOMATOES - peeled, seeded, chopped, 1/2 t BASIL, S & P. Simmer 10 mins till most liquid evaporates. Add reserved wine, boil over mod-hi heat, stirring constantly, 5 minutes. Reduce heat to very low, keep sauce warm. In skillet, saute snails in 1/4 CUP BUTTER 3 minutes. Add snails to sauce. Put slice of FRENCH BREAD, toasted and buttered, on each of 6 plates. Top with snails. Garnish with PARSLEY.

Appetizer - Mussels with Aquavit, Cream, Tarragon

Serves 4-6 as first course, 2 as main course

1 T unsalted butter
3 T finely chopped shallot (1 med)
1 garlic clove, smashed
1 t fennel seeds
1 t chopped fresh thyme
1 T aquavit or brandy
2 t tarragon white wine vinegar
1 T chopped fresh tarragon
2 lb. mussels, scrubbed and beards removed
2 T heavy cream or creme fraiche

Heat butter in 4-5 qt. heavy pot over mod heat until foam subsides, then cook shallot and garlic, stirring until shallot is golden, 2-3 mins. Add fennel seeds thru vinegar and 1/2 T tarragon and mussels and cook, covered, over mod high heat until mussels just open wide, checking frequently after 3 mins and transferring opened mussels with slotted spoon to serving bowl. Discard any that do not open in 6 mins. Add cream to cooking liquid and simmer, uncovered, until reduced to 1/4 cup, about 1 min. Season with s & p, pour over mussels and sprinkle with remaining tarragon.

Appetizer - Mussels with Roasted Potatoes

First course or light lunch for 4.

4 large Yukon Gold or russet baking potatoes
6 T evoo
1/2 T kosher salt
1/3 cup finely chopped shallot
3 garlic cloves, minced
Rounded 1/4 t dried hot red pepper flakes
1 cup dry white wine
3/4 cup water
2 lb mussels, scrubbed well and beards removed
3 T chopped fresh parsley

Preheat oven to 450F
Halve potatoes lenthwise and trim a 1/4" thick slice from side opposite cut side of each half to form 8 flat slabs 1/2 - 3/4" thick
Discard trimmings then coat potato slabs with 2 T oil and sprinkle with all of salt. Arrange in 1 layer in large shallow baking pan (1" deep), roast in middle of oven, turning over once halfway through, until golden brown and tender, 25-30 mins.
Shortly before potatoes are done, cook shallot, garlic, red pepper flakes in 2 T oil in deep 12" skillet over mod heat, stirring until softened, abt 3 mins. Add wine and water and bring to simmer. Add mussels and cook, covered, over mod high heat until they just open wide, checking frequently after 3 mins and transferring opened mussels to a bowl. Discard any that remain unopened after 6 minutes.
Whisk parsley and remaining 2 T oil in broth and season with s & p. Divide potatoes among 4 shallow bowls and top with mussels and broth.