On New Year’s Eve, I can’t think of a better menu than one that consists of an assortment of appetizers. Sure, you could plan the evening as a formal event with a sit-down dinner, but isn’t it more fun to have trays of finger-sized snacks? Not only will you be able to serve a wide array of appetizers, but you also can provide food for your guests throughout the evening.
I find that a mixture of hot and cold appetizers is the best way to plan a menu. Most cold appetizers can be made in advance and just need to be set out when you’re ready. While the hot appetizers may take some last minute work, they usually are the first snacks to disappear.
Today we have three different appetizer recipes that have a sophisticated look and taste but are simple to make. All three of them have been graciously provided by Chef Jason McClure of Sazerac Restaurant in Seattle.
- 8 oz. small button mushrooms
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 Tb. butter
- ½ cup good quality sherry wine
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1Tb. minced chives
- Start with 2 tablespoons of butter in a medium hot sauté pan.
- Add the mushrooms, season with salt and pepper and allow to sauté for 2 – 3 minutes until the mushrooms start to caramelize.
- At this point, add the minced garlic and continue to cook another minute or so until the garlic is toasty brown but not burned. Remove the pan from the stove.
- Add the sherry (Be careful, it could ignite over open flame), allow the alcohol to burn off and the sherry to reduce to just a tablespoon or so of liquid. Stir in the remaining tablespoon of butter, finish with the chives, check seasoning and adjust the salt if necessary, serve immediately.
- This dish will need a loaf of your favorite rustic bread to soak up all the mushroom sherry goodness at the bottom of the bowl.
- 1 loaf of brioche bread
- Aged cheddar, sliced
- Cut the loaf lengthwise into ½ inch slices and place slices of the aged cheddar in between, building two large grilled cheese sandwiches.
- Place the sandwiches directly into a panini press or side by side in a large non-stick pan.
- The bread has enough butter that you won’t need to butter it.
- Toast on both sides over medium-low heat, until bread is golden and cheese starts to ooze.
- Place sandwiches on a cutting board and cut into smaller pieces.
- Smear the tops of the sandwiches with Mostrada and serve!
- *Sweet-savory dried fruit compote or chutney flavored with savory spices can be purchased at many specialty food stores.
- Large slice of feta cheese
- 2-3 cups of rustic tomato sauce*
- Chopped Moroccan olives (or substitute with cherry tomatoes)
- 1 Tb. parsley or dill to garnish
- Loaf of your favorite bread for dipping
- Simply put the sauce in an oven-proof container, place a nice thick slice of Feta on top of the sauce and bake at 400 degrees until the sauce is bubbling and the cheese is slightly browned.
- Garnish with chopped Moroccan olives and flat leaf parsley and a drizzle of really good extra virgin olive oil.
- Enjoy with a loaf of your favorite bread.
- *If you have extra time, the tomatoes can be roasted in the oven. Low on time you could substitute with a good, quality store-bought marinara.