Tomatoes en Papillote with Eggplant Rollatini

Freshly picked tomatoes are dead sexy. Their skin is warm to the touch, smooth, and a rich red that screams to be bitten into. When you do, the flesh inside initially resists before giving way and melting in your mouth … Continue reading

Pear and Gorgonzola Bites

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Earlier this summer I attended a wedding and, true to form, the first thing I did after the ceremony was find the door that the servers were walking out of so that I could nab food in as efficient and yummy a way a possible. My favorite bite of the night was puff pastry with pear, gorgonzola cheese, and caramelized onions. I was determined to figure out how to make it and decided to test it out at a gathering for Nick Troiano at my apartment. I’m proud to say that they came out wonderfully and were super simple to make. Definitely found my new go-to party bite!

Pear and Gorgonzola Bites (20-25) 

  • 1 box frozen puff pastry (I suggest Pepperidge Farm)
  • 2 large onions
  • 1 cup crumbled gorgonzola
  • 2 pears
  1. Slice onions 1/8″ to 1/4″ thick. Caramelize in a medium skillet over low heat with a little olive oil, stirring occasionally. The key here is to give the onions lots of time and not to rush, ideally cook for 1-2 hours.
  2. Remove puff pastry from freezer. Preheat oven to 375F.
  3. Cut pears into a small dice.
  4. Slice puff pastry (not frozen, but still as cold as possible) into medium-sized rectangles, approx. 3.5″ x 1.5″.
  5. Transfer puff pastry rectangles to 2 parchment paper-lined baking sheets.
  6. Place a small dollop of caramelized onions in the center of each rectangle. Top with about 1/2 tsp of pear and 1/2 tsp crumbled gorgonzola.
  7. Place baking sheets in freezer for 15 minutes. This is important because for the puff pastry to puff (which is sort of the point) it needs to go into the oven cold.
  8. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until puffed and golden. Serve warm.

 

Need other party nibbles? Check out these recipes!

Chilled Shrimp Salsa

Polenta Triangles with Honeyed Goat Cheese 

4 Easy Party Bites 

Chilled Shrimp Salsa

As I’ve written about on my other blog, I cater events at my loft sometimes for shits and giggles. For these events, I have a bad habit of trying out recipes that I’ve never done before. I come up with the menu, buy the ingredients, and hope for the best. So far I haven’t had any major catastrophes and it’s generally a lot of fun!
Tuesday night we hosted an event for Nick Troiano, an independent, citizen-funded candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives in Pennsylvania’s 10th Congressional District who also happens to be totally awesome. Since the weather has been unbearably hot lately in NYC, I wanted to put food out that was light, fresh, and healthy without sacrificing bold flavors. Cue the idea for a seafood salsa. This chilled ‘salsa’ is delicious served on thinly sliced cucumber, as a dip for tortilla chips, or as a taco filling with avocado, sour cream, and queso fresco.

Chilled Shrimp Salsa on Cucumber Rounds

Chilled Shrimp Salsa 
*Serves 30-40 as an hors d’oeuvres or 10-15 as an appetizer
2 lb fresh or thawed shrimp, deveined and tails removed
4 cloves garlic
1/2 lemon, sliced
3 Tomatoes, minced
1 red onion, minced
1/3-1/2 cup cilantro, minced
3 limes, juiced
Salt and Pepper to taste
  1. Fill a large pot with water and place over medium/high heat. Add garlic, lemon slices, salt, and pepper and bring to a boil.
  2. Turn heat off, add shrimp, stir gently until shrimp are cooked – about 2 1/2 minutes. Strain shrimp and set aside until cool.
  3. Once cool, chop shrimp into small pieces less than 1/2″ in size.
  4. Combine tomatoes, red onion, cilantro, and shrimp in a bowl. Add lime juice and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Cover and return to fridge until chilled. Serve cold.

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A Twist on A Classic Mignonette

 

 

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Mignonette, the acidic sauce served beside or on top of oysters, helps to balance out oysters salty sweetness. You might not make one often, but having a mignonette in your cooking repertoire is a must. This is especially true as the weather heats up and summer barbecues fill our calendars. When you pick up your oysters, say no to the sickly sweet cocktail sauce and whip up your own quick mignonette. This recipe uses the milder and more nuanced white balsamic vinegar instead of red wine vinegar and makes enough for one dozen oysters, scale up as needed and serve in a small dish.

Mignonette

  • 2 tbsp minced shallot
  • 1 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1/3 cup white balsamic vinegar (or red wine vinegar)
  • 1 tbsp minced parsley

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Serve.

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Watermelon with Grilled Halloumi and Mint

Halloumi cheese is magic. It’s cheese…you can grill. Yes, grill, on heat. Serve it on top of chilled fresh watermelon with a sprig of mint for a light, fresh, and healthy hors d’oeuvre that no one will be able to turn down.

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Watermelon with Grilled Halloumi and Mint (Serves 8) 

  • 1 medium watermelon, chilled
  • 1 container halloumi cheese
  • 16 mint leaves
  • olive oil
  1. Slice watermelon into 1″-1.5″ cubes.
  2. Slice halloumi thinly (about 1/4″). Cut each slice into squares that fit on top of the watermelon cubes, trying to be as uniform as possible.
  3. Grease your hot grill or grill plate with olive oil. Place slices of halloumi on the grill, flip after 2 minutes or when they have grill marks. Grill on both sides and transfer to a plate.
  4. Top watermelon cubes with grilled halloumi. Garnish with a mint leaf.