Cooking Class: Five Elegant Hors d’oeuvres

Elegant Hors d'oeuvres, Midlife Snowbird
Chef Patrick Whetstone expertly demonstrated elegant hors d' oeuvres for the community cooking class
Elegant Hors d'oeuvres Snowbird Recipe
Thick cut candied bbq rubbed bacon topped with garlic sauteed shrimp and fresh minced chives
Bite Sized Potato Salad Hors d'oeuvres Snowbird Recipe
Beautiful bite sized purple potato salad bites stuffed with mustard aioli, hard boiled egg, bacon bits and celery leaves
MInt Pea Crostini Snowbird Recipe
Crusty crostini topped with mint pea spread, marinaded grape tomatoes and basil
Beef tenderloin nacho bites Snowbird Recipe
Beef tenderloin nacho bites topped with white cheddar cheese, pico de gallo and a dollop of avocado mousse
Cream Soup Shooters Snowbird Recipe
Cream soup shooters can be served in plastic shot glasses for a large crowd since most snowbird homes aren't stocked with glass bar ware

COOKING CLASS

Five Elegant Hors d'oeuvres


Five elegant hors d'oeuvres, perfect bite-sized presentations that appeal to every sense. One of the highlights of my year is taking community classes through our city's Parks and Recreation Department. Of all of the years of cooking classes, this one stood out as the best! The hors d'oeuvres we learned to make are beautifully presented, tasty and there is a variety of ingredients and styles. For less stress, make some of the components a day or two in advance and of course commercially prepared ingredients such as pico de gallo and cream of chicken soup are perfectly fine short cuts if you prefer. The recipes shown here are written based on my notes from the class presented by professional Chef Patrick Whetstone. All five are delicious, easy and most definitely suitable for snowbird entertaining. Not only are these hors d'oeuvres festive for the upcoming holidays, they are great for any event year round. Bon appétit!


Snowbird meals tend to be much simpler, using fewer ingredients and a very limited selection of appliances and gadgets to prepare them. Choose the freshest, highest quality ingredients and find alternate ways to make your favorite recipes. Forget about what you don't have to cook with, instead focus on what you can accomplish with what you do have. - Midlife Snowbird


Elegant Hors d'oeuvres

BACON AND SHRIMP SURF 'N TURF

Elegant Hors d'oeuvres, Midlife Snowbird
Thick cut candied bbq rubbed bacon topped with garlic sauteed shrimp and fresh minced chives

18 Pieces

Recommended: Applewood thick cut bacon

6 slices thick cut applewood bacon, cut in thirds

1/4 cup BBQ dry rub* or to taste. A ratio of half brown or white sugar and half spice is preferred. If needed, add sugar to balance the ingredients.

12 medium sized shrimp, uncooked, cut in fourths

2 T. chives, minced

2 T. garlic, minced

1 T. extra virgin olive oil

*A commercially prepared dry rub is fine or use your own recipe

Preparation

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Dredge both sides of the bacon pieces into a bowl of barbecue spice rub, then lay flat on a cookie sheet. Bake for approximately 10 minutes or until the bacon is cooked and blackened. Remove from oven and let cool.

Simmer garlic and olive oil in a small frying pan over low heat until garlic is softened. Add shrimp and saute for about one minute or until no longer translucent. Do not overcook. Remove from heat.

Assemble garlic shrimp piled on bacon, then top with minced chives. Sprinkle with kosher salt. Serve at room temperature.


Elegant Hors d'oeuvres

POTATO SALAD BITES

Elegant Hors d'oeuvres, Midlife Snowbird
Beautiful bite sized purple potato salad bites stuffed with mustard aioli, hard boiled egg, bacon bits and celery leaves

24 Pieces

Recommended: Purple potatoes

12 small purple potatoes, boiled and halved

2 hard boiled eggs, peeled

1/2 cup mustard aioli*

2 pieces bacon, crumbled OR one 4 oz. package real bacon bits

1/4 cup celery leaves

1 t. Kosher salt

1/2 t. Fresh cracked pepper

Mustard Aioli

2 t. garlic, minced

1 T. Dijon mustard

1 t. honey

1 cup mayonnaise

Blend all ingredients, then refrigerate a few hours to blend the flavors.

Preparation

Place eggs in a small pan of salted water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer the eggs 15 minutes. Drain and immerse in cold ice water to chill. Peel eggs and set aside.

Boil potatoes in salted water until fork tender. Drain and let cool. Slice in half lengthwise, then use a melon ball tool or small spoon to hollow the centers. Discard the centers or save for another recipe.

Cut hard boiled eggs into fourths, lengthwise. Then cut each quarter into approximately 5 wedges.

Season hollowed potatoes with salt and fresh cracked pepper. Fill the center with mustard aioli so it's level with the edge of the potato. Top with celery leaves, bacon crumbles and egg. Sprinkle with kosher salt.

Serve chilled or at room temperature.


Elegant Hors d'oeuvres

PEA MINT TOMATO BASIL CROSTINI

Elegant Hors d'oeuvres, Midlife Snowbird
Crusty crostini topped with mint pea spread, marinaded grape tomatoes and basil

24 Pieces

Recommended: Fresh Basil, Mint Leaves

24 pieces ciabatta bread, sliced thin

18 grape tomatoes, quartered lengthwise

5 - 6 fresh basil leaves, cut into chiffonade ribbons

1 cup frozen peas

1/2 cup vegetable stock

1 cup OR 1 bunch fresh mint leaves

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 T. garlic, minced

2 T. onion, diced

2 T. butter or margarine

2 T. white wine

Preparation

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Slice grape tomatoes lengthwise into quarters. Place them in a container and add salt, pepper, basil leave chiffonade plus several tablespoons of olive oil to coat the tomatoes. Chill the marinade in the refrigerator for at least an hour or two to allow flavors to blend.

Place thinly sliced ciabatta bread onto baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Bake approximately 3 or 4 minutes until toasted. Do not overcook. Remove from oven and let cool.

Boil peas in a small pan or microwave until cooked al dente. Drain and let cool.

Simmer onion in white wine, butter or margarine in a small frying pan over low heat until softened. Add garlic to onion and butter. Saute for about one minute more or until softened. Add approximately half of the vegetable stock and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat.

Place peas, mint leaves and sauteed onion mixture into a blender to puree. OR use an immersion blender. The desired consistency is wet sand. It should not be runny. Adjust vegetable stock if more is needed to obtain the proper thickness. Chill mixture in the refrigerator.

Assemble crostini with a thick slather of the pea-mint mixture. Top with marinaded tomatoes. Sprinkle with kosher salt.

Serve at room temperature.


Elegant Hors d'oeuvres

BEEF NACHO BITES WITH AVOCADO MOUSSE

Elegant Hors d'oeuvres, Midlife Snowbird
Beef tenderloin nacho bites topped with white cheddar cheese, pico de gallo and a dollop of avocado mousse

24 Pieces

Recommended: Beef tenderloin

24 small round gourmet tortilla chips

6 ounces beef tenderloin

1/2 cup white cheddar cheese, shredded

2/3 cup pico de gallo*

1/2 cup avocado mousse

2 T. garlic, minced

1 T. extra virgin olive oil

Pico de Gallo Recipe

1/3 cup tomato, diced

1/3 cup red onion, diced

1 T. vegetable oil

1 T. jalapeno pepper, minced

1 T. fresh cilantro, minced

Dash ground cumin, kosher salt, pepper

Finely dice red onion and tomato. Add 1 T. minced jalapeno pepper and 1 T. fresh minced cilantro. Season with kosher salt, fresh cracked pepper and dash of ground cumin. Blend and chill.

Avocado Mousse Recipe

One fresh avocado, pitted and skinned

1/4 cup sour cream

1 lime

1/4 t. Kosher salt

1/4 t. fresh cracked pepper OR white pepper

Puree avocado, approximately 1/4 t. lime zest, 2 T. fresh lime juice and sour cream with immersion blender. Chill in refrigerator.

Preparation

Cut beef tenderloin into a lengthwise strip approximately the diameter of a fifty cent piece. Season with kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper.

Preheat frying pan over medium high temperature. When hot, add vegetable oil. Then brown beef tenderloin until an internal temperature of 165 degrees. Remove from heat and let rest for ten minutes.

Slice beef tenderloin into 24 fifty cent sized pieces

Prepare avocado mousse and chill in refrigerator.

Prepare pico de gallo and chill in refrigerator.

Assemble beef tenderloin onto nachos, sprinkle with kosher salt and fresh pepper, then heap with shredded cheddar cheese. Broil for a minute or two until cheese melts.

Top each nacho with pico de gallo, sprinkle with kosher salt, then dollop avocado mousse on top.

Serve at room temperature.


Elegant Hors d'oeuvres

CHICKEN POT PIE SHOOTERS

Elegant Hors d'oeuvres, Midlife Snowbird
Cream soup shooters can be served in plastic shot glasses for a large crowd since most snowbird homes aren't stocked with glass bar ware

24 Shooters

RECOMMENDED: Puff pastry, plastic or glass shot glasses

1 package puff pastry sheets, cut into round shapes

1 cup chicken or vegetable stock

1 cup heavy cream

1/2 c. chicken breast, diced fine

1 standard carrot, peeled, chopped

1 celery stalk, chopped fine

1/4 cup peas

3 T. butter

2 oz white wine

1 T. onion, diced fine

1 T. flour

1 T garlic, minced

1/2 t. Kosher salt

1/4 t. fresh cracked pepper (or 1/8 t. white pepper)

1 sprig fresh thyme

1 sprig fresh rosemary

PREPARATION

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Roll puff pastry onto flat surface. Use a glass or cutter slightly larger than the diameter of the shot glasses to cut the puff pastry into desired number of round shapes. Dock the puff pastry with a fork to reduce the puffiness when it bakes. Transfer to a lightly greased baking sheet and bake a few minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool.

Saute diced chicken and 1 T. butter in medium frying pan until meat is no longer translucent. Remove chicken and set aside.

Saute butter, carrots, celery and onion in a medium frying pan until carrots and onion soften. Transfer to a medium stock pot.

Add flour and salt to stock pot. Blend well. Then add white wine. Stir chicken or vegetable stock into pot in batches, stirring out any lumps.

Add cream, chicken, peas and the contents from the frying pan. Simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally. Add fresh thyme and rosemary to taste.

Pour soup into shot glasses, leaving space from the rim. Top with puff pastry. Serve warm with or without a small spoon.


 

"One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well."

-- Virginia Woolf, English Writer



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