Monday, January 5, 2009

"The Sunset Appetizer Book" & "Southern Living - The Party Snacks Cookbook" & "Square Meals" by Jane and Michael Stern (assorted appetizer recipes)

Date I made these recipes: December 31, 2008

The Sunset Appetizer Book – Recipes for Hors D’oeuvres, Spreads, Dips, Canapes by the Editors of Sunset Books and Sunset Magazines
Published by: Lane Books
© 1965; sixteenth printing January 1975
Recipe: Crab-Water Chestnut Appetizer – p. 49

Southern Living – The Party Snacks Cookbook from the Southern Living Cookbook Library
Published by: Oxmoor House, Inc.
ISBN: 0-8487-0511-4; © 1979
Recipe: Chafing Dish Meatballs – p. 35

Square Meals by Jane and Michael Stern
Published by: Alfred A. Knopf
© 1984
Recipe: Cheese Ball – p. 257-258

Well, my family was in town for New Year’s for the first time ever and we had a lovely time both from a culinary standpoint as well as a family standpoint.

For New Year’s Eve dinner, my husband, sister-in-law and I made homemade manicotti shells (more like a crepe) using my Aunt Rose’s recipe as well as meatballs (also her recipe) and sausage. What a repast!

On New Year’s Day, I pressed my dad into service to make his famous (to us) Chicken Cacciatore recipe. My dad is a great cook and this recipe is now part of my family’s Cucina Costa cookbook, something I put together in 1995 after a family reunion. But just like the manicotti recipe, I can’t give these out to you just yet (or I'd have to kill you!) but I will offer up three appetizer recipes I made to munch on before the cacciatore came out of the oven: Crab-Water Chestnut Appetizer; Chafing Dish Meatballs and a Cheese Ball.

Now the first two recipes came from “legitimate” appetizer books in my vast collection, but no doubt the Cheese Ball recipe taken from Jane and Michael Stern’s cookbook is a puzzler. Here’s what happened: the other day I was in my car listening to The Splendid Table, hosted by Lynne Rossetto Kasper and as usual, the Sterns reported on yet another yummy-sounding restaurant somewhere in America (I LOVE those two). And so I thought maybe I should make something from Lynne’s new cookbook The Splendid Tables’ How To Eat Supper as well as something from one of the Stern’s cookbooks in my collection. But Lynne's new book doesn't include appetizers and so I tabled her (no pun intended) for another day but did go with the Sterns. You should note that the Stern’s recipe is from a section titled “The Cuisine of Suburbia” –nothing says suburban entertaining like a cheese ball (although I live in the city so ???!)

All three of these were very yummy and were promptly snarfed down by my family. We did have a few leftovers as I discouraged people from stuffing themselves before dad’s cacciatore, and so my husband and I are both nibbling on what’s left of the wreckage. If you ask me, that is not a bad way to start a new year.

Crab-Water Chestnut Appetizer – Makes about 3 cups (I made half the recipe)
1 pound fresh crab meat, chopped (or 2 cans of crab meat, drained)
½ cup minced water chestnuts
2 tablespoons soy sauce
½ cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons minced green onions

Combine crab meat with water chestnuts, soy sauce, mayonnaise and onions. Note: this recipe ended up being a little watery and I’m not sure if it was because I used canned (albeit drained) crabmeat or because even ¼ cup of mayo was too much. You might want to play with it a bit.

Chafing Dish Meatballs – Yield: 5 dozen (Note: don’t kid yourself; this recipe made far less than that but they were still good!)
1 pound ground beef
½ cup dry breadcrumbs
1/3 cup mined onion
¼ cup milk
1 egg
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
¼ cup shortening
1 (12-ounce) bottle chili sauce
1 (10-ounce) jar grape jelly

Combine ground beef, breadcrumbs, onion, milk, egg, parsley, salt, pepper, and Worcestershire sauce; gently shape into 1-inch balls. Melt shortening in a large skillet; brown meatballs. Remove meatballs from skillet; drain fat. Heat chili sauce and jelly in skillet until jelly is melted, stirring constantly. Add meatballs and stir until coated. Simmer for 30 minutes. Serve hot in a chafing dish.

Cheese Ball – Serves 8
¼ cup milk
3 ounces blue cheese, cubed
4 ounces Cheddar cheese, cubed (Note: I used crumbled blue cheese and that worked out great but should have used already-shredded Cheddar as the cubes stuck to my Cuisinart blades making it quite difficult to combine the ingredients).
1 small wedge onion
½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
6 ounces cream cheese, cubed
½ cup pecans
4 sprigs parsley

Blend milk and blue cheese in food processor or blender at high speed. Add Cheddar cheese, onion, Worcestershire, and cream cheese. Blend until smooth. Refrigerate at least 3 hours or overnight.

The next day, shape cheese into a ball. Coarsely chop pecans and parsley in blender. Roll cheese ball in nuts and parsley mixture.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

A good story

GK Chesterton: “The poets have been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese.”

Voila: This book is a poetic view of 30 of the best loved French cheeses with an additional two odes to cheese. Recipes, wine pairing, three short stories and an educational section complete the book.

From a hectic life in New York City to the peace and glories of the French countryside lead me to be the co-founder of Ten years later with the words of Pierre Androuet hammering on my brain:

“Cheese is the soul of the soil. It is the purest and most romantic link between humans and the earth.”

I took pen and paper; many reams later with the midnight oil burning Tasting to Eternity was born and self published.

I believe cheese and wine lovers should be told about this publication.