The small things
When we are planning a meal for a large group, we always go big. But sometimes, it’s the small things that will make people talk.
fast grilled shrimp
You can scale this recipe up to accommodate the number of guests. Count one skewer per person. It’s just an appetizer.
450 g shrimp (shell off)
3 tbsp baking soda
2 tbsp salt
100 ml olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
Juice from half a lemon
Pat the shrimp dry.
Place baking soda and salt into a bowl. Put shrimp into the bowl and toss making sure the shrimp are properly coated. Put aside and let stand for 15 minutes.
In another bowl mix a handful of basil, olive oil, garlic and lemon juice. Set aside.
Put 2 to 3 shrimps on a skewer. Preheat a frying pan on medium-high heat so it is nice and hot. Make sure the skewers fit flat in the pan so that the shrimp are in complete contact with the surface. The baking soda will help brown the shrimp and keep it moist.
Once fully cooked, plate the shrimp. Brush with basil, olive oil mix (or one of the two other bastes found below). Serve.
Very tasty and easy to make, this sauce can be used with steak or chicken too. Place 1 1/2 cups Italian parsley, 2 cloves of garlic, 4 tsp dried oregano, 1/4 cup white wine vinegar, 1 tsp red pepper flakes in a food processor. Pulse until everything is finely chopped. Scrape the sides and add 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil. Blend until well combined. Refrigerate for a couple of hours before using. This sauce will keep for up to a week.
punched up sriracha baste
Place 1 cup finely chopped cilantro and one cup of olive oil into a bowl. Whisk until well blended. Add a couple shots of sriracha to taste. Make sure to taste constantly since the spiciness can overpower quickly.
Remove the leaves from the steams – as they dry, the stems become stalky and chewy.
These chips are very tasty and incredibly high in fibre, iron, vitamins D and K, as well as antioxidants and… the list goes on.
600 g kale, stems removed and leaves separated
2 tbsp olive oil
4 tbsp grated pecorino cheese
2 tbsp flax seeds
Salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 275˚F.
Line several baking sheets with parchment paper. Wash and thoroughly dry the cut kale leaves.
Place the olive oil, cheese, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add the kale and toss, making sure to complexly coat each leaf.
Put the kale on the baking sheets, adding a pinch of flax seeds on top of kale. Make sure to leave a good amount of space between the coated leaves.
Place in oven and cook for 25 minutes (or until crisp). Turn the pan half way through to make the drying even.
Transfer to a bowl once done. Serve in decorated Dixie cups.
oven roasted bruschetta
You can make these ahead of time and serve them as guests enter. Make a lot more than you might need. The leftover tomatoes can make a great base for a quick pasta sauce.
500 ml cherry tomatoes
Sprigs of thyme
1 tbsp oregano
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 450˚F.
Toss cherry tomatoes, olive oil, thyme and oregano. Season with salt and pepper.
Place on baking sheet and roast for 15 minutes.
Turn the tomatoes over and roast for another 10 minutes. Take out of the oven and let cool.
Cut the baguette into thin slices. Top with roasted tomatoes. Add a pinch of parmesan and sliced arugula.
Aside from tenderloin, you can also use other cuts of lean beef, like round or sirloin. But don’t stick to beef if you have access to fresh game meats. Elk, venison and bison are rich meats that can make a tartare pop. Remember to always treat raw met with respect (and keep it chilled at all times).
No one ever thinks of serving tartare as an appetizer. It can be a quick way to fill the gap between early comers and a later dinner. Make sure to place a small amount on the toast and don’t put too many out at one time. It’s better to refrigerate and serve them as they disappear. And they will.
400 g beef tenderloin
2 tbsp shallots
2 tsp capers, drained and rinsed
2 tbsp cornichons, chopped
4 tsp olive oil
3 tsp Dijon mustard
2 large egg yolks
Salt and pepper
Place tenderloin in freezer for about an hour. Remove from freezer and cut into sheets. Cut sheets into strips. Hand chop till you get a small cubes. Keep chilled till needed.
Combine the rest of the ingredients (expect eggs) in a large bowl. Add the egg yolks one at a time and blend. You can add a tiny bit of horseradish or chilli flakes if you like it spicy.
Add the chilled beef to the bowl and mix thoroughly using a rubber spatula. Season to taste.
Serve on Melba toast or oven baked baguette crisps.
Something made by hand makes any evening special. This really easy recipe will have them asking for more.
1 1/2 cups Irish whiskey
1 can sweetened condensed milk (300 ml)
1 tbsp chocolate syrup
1/4 tsp instant coffee
1 1/2 cups heavy cream (or 15%)
Add all the ingredients to a large bowl and whisk until well blended. That’s it. Pour into a bottle with a good seal. It can be stored in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. Serve over ice.