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Friday, January 31, 2014

Sesame Salmon Croquettes

Sesame Salmon Croquettes
Fragrant fresh ginger gives these easy two-bite nibbles a bright punch of flavor. Can't find fresh ginger? Substitute with 1/2 tsp. ground ginger.

  • 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 (1-lb.) salmon fillet 
  • 2 1/2 cups panko (Japanese breadcrumbs), divided 
  • 2 large eggs 
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced 
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro 
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise 
  • 2 teaspoons loosely packed lime zest
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice 
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
  • 1 (1.62-oz.) jar toasted sesame seeds
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted 
  • Ginger Rémoulade
  1. 1. Cut lemon in half. Squeeze juice from lemon into a 3-qt. saucepan. Add lemon halves, 2 Tbsp. salt, and 6 cups water, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add salmon fillet (cut into 2 pieces, if necessary); cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer 4 minutes. (Center of salmon will be raw.) Carefully transfer salmon to a large bowl, and cool completely (about 10 minutes). Remove and discard skin, and flake salmon.
  2. 2. Preheat oven to 425°. Stir 1/2 cup panko and next 11 ingredients into flaked salmon.
  3. 3. Stir together melted butter and remaining 2 cups panko. Spoon 1 tsp. panko mixture into each cup of a lightly greased 24-cup miniature muffin pan. Add 1 Tbsp. salmon mixture to each muffin cup. Top each with 1 tsp. panko mixture.
  4. 4. Bake, in batches, at 425° for 10 minutes or until topping is golden brown. Serve warm with Ginger Rémoulade.
Note: We tested with McCormick Gourmet Collection Toasted Sesame Seed.
Total time does not include Ginger Rémoulade.
Make Ahead: Prepare recipe as directed. Cool completely, and freeze in zip-top plastic bags. Bake at 350° for 10 to 15 minutes or until warm.

Roasted Shallot Dip

Caramelized sweet shallots and silky mascarpone cheese add new-school touches to onion-soup dip. No need to waste time peeling all the shallots; after roasting, the papery skins easily slip away. Serve with Rosemary Salt-and-Vinegar Chips.

  • 1 1/2 pounds shallots, unpeeled and root ends trimmed
  • 3 garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 (8-oz.) container sour cream
  • 1 (8-oz.) container mascarpone cheese
  • 1/3 cup thinly sliced fresh chives
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons whole grain Dijon mustard
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Dash of hot sauce
  • Garnishes: cooked and crumbled bacon, lemon zest, chopped fresh chives

1. Preheat oven to 425°. Cut shallots in half. Toss together shallots and next 2 ingredients in a jelly-roll pan; sprinkle with desired amount of salt and pepper. Bake 45 to 50 minutes or until shallots are light brown and skins are charred, stirring twice. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack (about 30 minutes). Remove and discard papery skins from shallots and garlic, and coarsely chop shallots and garlic.

2. Stir together sour cream and next 7 ingredients; fold in shallot mixture. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cover and chill 4 to 48 hours. Stir before serving. Add salt and pepper to taste just before serving, if desired.

Note: Make Ahead: Prepare recipe up to 2 days in advance; chill in airtight container. Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes before serving.

Chicks in a Blanket

Dough-wrapped chicken-apple sausages are best fresh from the oven, so bake one batch at a time and serve warm.

  • 1 (8-oz.) can refrigerated crescent rolls
  • 1 (12-oz.) package mini smoked chicken-and-apple sausages (24 links)
  • Parchment paper
  • 1 egg yolk, lightly beaten 
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds (optional)
  • Spicy Mustard Sauce

1. Preheat oven to 375°. Unroll crescent rolls; separate into triangles. Cut each triangle into 3 long triangles.

2. Place 1 sausage link on wide end of each triangle; roll up triangles around sausages, starting at wide end. Place, point sides down, on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.

3. Brush rolls with egg yolk. If desired, stir together sesame seeds and next 2 ingredients, and sprinkle over rolls.

4. Bake at 375° for 14 to 15 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with Spicy Mustard Sauce.

Note: We tested with Aidells Chicken & Apple Sausage Minis.

Buttery Toasted Pecans

Patiently roasting pecans (the entire 25 minutes!) at 325° to coax out their flavor and essential oils takes them from good to great.

  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 4 cups pecan halves
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 325°. Toss together butter and pecans. Spread pecans in a single layer in a jelly-roll pan; bake 25 minutes or until toasted and fragrant, stirring halfway through. Remove from oven, and sprinkle with salt and pepper, tossing to coat. Cool completely. Store up to 1 week.

Bacon-Grits Fritters

Bacon-Grits Fritters
Grits are treasured like gold in the South. These Bacon-Grits Fritters are the perfect Southern delicacy to introduce to your family and friends. Watch them quickly disappear

  • 1 cup uncooked quick-cooking grits
  • 4 cups milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups (6 oz.) shredded extra-sharp white Cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup cooked and finely crumbled bacon (about 8 slices)
  • 2 green onions, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 cups Japanese breadcrumbs (panko)
  • Vegetable oil

1. Prepare grits according to package directions, using 4 cups milk and 1 tsp. salt. Remove from heat, and let stand 5 minutes. Stir in cheese and next 3 ingredients, stirring until cheese is melted. Spoon mixture into a lightly-greased 8-inch square baking dish or pan, and chill 4 to 24 hours.

2. Roll grits into 1 1/2-inch balls. Whisk together eggs and 1/4 cup water. Dip balls in egg wash, and roll in breadcrumbs.

3. Pour oil to depth of 3 inches in a large, heavy skillet; heat over medium-high heat to 350°. Fry fritters, in batches, 3 to 4 minutes or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Keep fritters warm on a wire rack in a pan in a 225° oven up to 30 minutes. Serve warm.

Make ahead: Prepare recipe as directed through Step 2. Cover and chill in a single layer up to 4 hours. Fry as directed. You may also prepare through Step 2 and freeze on a baking sheet for 30 minutes or until firm. Transfer to a zip-top plastic bag, and freeze. Cook frozen fritters as directed in Step 3, increasing cooking time to 5 to 6 minutes or until golden and centers are thoroughly heated.

Curried Chicken Tea Sandwiches

Curried Chicken Tea Sandwiches
This top-rated recipe was made to serve to a crowd. You and your guests will rave over the distinctive combination of ingredients such as cream cheese, curried chicken, orange marmelade and flaked coconut over wheat bread.

  • 1/2 cup flaked coconut
  • 1/2 cup chopped almonds
  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 2 tablespoons orange marmalade
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 cups diced cooked chicken
  • 12 (1/2-inch-thick) pumpernickel, wheat, or white bread slices
  • 3 tablespoons diced green onions
  1. Bake coconut and almonds in shallow baking pans at 350°, stirring occasionally, 5 to 10 minutes or until toasted.
  2. Stir together cream cheese and next 4 ingredients; gently stir in chicken. Spread evenly on bread slices; trim crusts, and cut each slice into 3 strips. Sprinkle evenly with coconut, almonds, and green onions.

Sweet Potato Squares With Lemon-Garlic Mayonnaise

For a hearty, fun appetizer, arrange cubes of sweet potato and pieces of smoked sausage on skewers and serve with a lemon-garlic mayonnaise. Serve warm or at room temperature. If you choose to serve the squares warm, prepare the mayonnaise first.

  • 2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 32 (1-inch) cubes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 pound spicy smoked sausage, cut into 32 (1/2-inch) pieces
  • 32 wooden picks
  • Lemon-Garlic Mayonnaise
  • Garnish: fresh thyme sprigs

1. Preheat oven to 450°. Place sweet potato cubes on a lightly greased 15- x 10-inch jelly-roll pan. Drizzle potatoes with 2 Tbsp. oil, and sprinkle with pepper and salt. Toss to coat.

2. Bake at 450° for 15 to 20 minutes, turning cubes twice.

3. Cook sausage in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat 3 to 4 minutes on each side or until browned. Drain on paper towels.

4. Place 1 sausage slice on top of 1 sweet potato cube; secure with a wooden pick. Repeat with remaining sausage slices and potato cubes. Serve with Lemon-Garlic Mayonnaise. Garnish, if desired.

Curried Shrimp Tarts

Ready-made pastry shells make preparation of these tarts super-fast. Simply spoon a shrimp-and-cream-cheese mixture and jarred mango chutney into the shells. Top with chopped fresh chives and toasted sweetened coconut.

  • 1 cup chopped cooked shrimp
  • 1/2 (8-oz.) package cream cheese, softened
  • 3 tablespoons chopped green onions
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 3/4 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 15 mini-phyllo pastry shells
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons jarred mango chutney
  • Toppings: chopped fresh chives, toasted sweetened flaked coconut

1. Stir together first 6 ingredients. Spoon mixture into pastry shells. Spoon 1/2 tsp. mango chutney over each tart; sprinkle with desired toppings.

Brown Sugar Fruit Dip

Brown Sugar Fruit Dip
Choose any fresh, seasonal fruit to pair with this creamy dip. We prefer strawberries, pineapple, and grapes. Adding a hint of coffee liqueur to the dip gives it an extra kick of flavor.

  • 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 (8-oz.) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup coffee liqueur (optional)
  • 1 cup frozen whipped topping, thawed
  • Garnish: brown sugar
  • Assorted fruit

1. Beat brown sugar and cream cheese at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Add sour cream, vanilla, and, if desired, coffee liqueur, beating until blended and smooth; fold in whipped topping. Cover and chill 4 hours. Garnish, if desired. Serve with assorted fruit.

Note: For testing purposes only, we used Kahlúa for coffee liqueur.

Warm Turnip Green Dip

Warm Turnip Green Dip
It's Southern tradition to have a little hot sauce with your turnip greens, so be sure to offer guests several brands to choose from on the side.

  • 5 bacon slices, chopped
  • 1/2 medium-size sweet onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 (16-oz.) package frozen chopped turnip greens, thawed
  • 12 ounces cream cheese, cut into pieces
  • 1 (8-oz.) container sour cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • Garnish: dried crushed red pepper
  • Assorted crackers, flatbread, and gourmet wafers

1. Preheat oven to broil. Cook bacon in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat 5 to 6 minutes or until crisp; remove bacon, and drain on paper towels, reserving 1 Tbsp. drippings in Dutch oven.

2. Sauté onion and garlic in hot drippings 3 to 4 minutes. Add wine, and cook 1 to 2 minutes, stirring to loosen particles from bottom of Dutch oven. Stir in turnip greens, next 4 ingredients, and 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese. Cook, stirring often, 6 to 8 minutes or until cream cheese is melted and mixture is thoroughly heated. Transfer to a lightly greased 1 1/2-qt. baking dish. (Make certain that you use a broiler-safe baking dish.) Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese.

3. Broil 6 inches from heat 4 to 5 minutes or until cheese is lightly browned. Sprinkle with bacon. Garnish, if desired. Serve with assorted crackers, flatbread, and wafers.

Note: To make ahead, prepare recipe as directed through Step 2. Cover and chill 8 hours. Bake, covered with aluminum foil, at 350° for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake 30 minutes. Sprinkle with bacon. Serve with assorted crackers and chips.

Warm Spinach-Artichoke Dip: Substitute 2 (10-oz.) packages frozen spinach, thawed and drained, and 1 (14-oz.) can quartered artichoke hearts, drained and coarsely chopped, for turnip greens. Proceed with recipe as directed.

Mini Crab Cakes

Mini Crab Cakes
Garlic-Chive Sauce and a squeeze of lemon juice add zesty flavor to Mini Crab Cakes.

  • 1 (8-oz.) package fresh lump crabmeat, drained
  • 3 whole grain white bread slices
  • 1/3 cup light mayonnaise
  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • Vegetable cooking spray
  • Salt to taste
  • Garlic-Chive Sauce
  • Garnish: lemon slices

1. Pick crabmeat, removing any bits of shell. Pulse bread slices in a blender or food processor 5 times or until finely crumbled. (Yield should be about 1 1/2 cups.)

2. Stir together mayonnaise and next 4 ingredients in a large bowl. Gently stir in breadcrumbs and crabmeat. Shape mixture into 16 (2-inch) cakes (about 2 Tbsp. each).

3. Cook cakes, in batches, on a hot, large griddle or nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-low heat 4 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Season with salt to taste. (Keep cakes warm in a 200° oven for up to 30 minutes.) Serve with Garlic-Chive Sauce. Garnish, if desired.

Note: For testing purposes, we used Sara Lee Soft & Smooth Whole Grain White Bread.

Note: Nutritional analysis does not include salt to taste.

Sweet-'n'-Salty Honey Cheese Spread

Sweet-’n’-Salty Honey Cheese Spread
Sweet-'n'-Salty Honey Cheese Spread is ready in only 10 minutes, perfect for last-minute company. A generous drizzle of the sticky sweetener is the finishing touch. Serve with assorted crackers.

  • 1 (10.5-oz.) goat cheese log
  • 1/2 cup roasted, salted sunflower seeds
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 pt. fresh raspberries, blackberries, or blueberries 
  • Garnish: fresh mint leaves
  • Assorted crackers
  1. 1. Press or roll goat cheese log in sunflower seeds, thoroughly covering cheese, including ends. Arrange cheese on a serving platter with any remaining sunflower seeds. Drizzle with honey. Sprinkle with berries. Garnish, if desired. Serve immediately with assorted crackers.
  2. Note: Nutritional analysis includes raspberries.

Green Goddess Dipping Sauce

Parsley, dill, and tarragon pack this creamy sauce with herb-fresh flavor. There's no need for chopping; the sauce is super easy to prepare in the food processor. Serve with boiled shrimp or veggies.

  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed fresh parsley leaves
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon firmly packed fresh dill leaves
  • 1 tablespoon firmly packed fresh tarragon leaves
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • Garnish: fresh dill sprig
  1. Process first 11 ingredients in a food processor or blender 30 seconds or until smooth, stopping to scrape sides as needed. Cover and chill 1 hour before serving. Garnish, if desired. Store in refrigerator up to 1 week.

Mushroom Puffs

Mushroom Puffs
Flaky puff pastry envelopes a rich mix of cream cheese, mushrooms, onions, and Parmesan cheese. You can even assemble and freeze these ahead of time.

  • 1 (8-oz.) package cream cheese, softened*
  • 1 (8-oz.) can mushroom pieces and stems, drained and chopped
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped green onion
  • 1/4 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 (17.3-oz.) package frozen puff pastry sheets, thawed
  • Parchment paper
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper


1. Beat cream cheese at medium speed with a heavy-duty electric stand mixer until smooth. Stir in mushrooms and next 4 ingredients. Cover and chill 1 to 24 hours.

2. Preheat oven to 400°. Whisk together egg and 1 Tbsp. water in a small bowl. Roll 1 puff pastry sheet into a 16- x 10-inch rectangle on a lightly floured surface. Cut pastry in half lengthwise. Spread 1/2 cup cream cheese mixture down center of each rectangle; brush edges with egg mixture. Fold each pastry half lengthwise over filling, and pinch edges to seal. Cut pastries into 10 pieces each, and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Repeat procedure with remaining puff pastry sheet, egg mixture, and cream cheese mixture.

3. Brush remaining egg mixture over tops of pastry pieces; sprinkle with pepper.

4. Bake at 400° for 20 to 25 minutes or until browned. Serve immediately.

*2 (5.2-oz.) packages buttery garlic-and-herb spreadable cheese may be substituted.

Note: To make ahead, prepare recipe as directed through Step 3. Freeze pieces on baking sheet until firm (about 1 hour), and transfer to zip-top plastic freezer bags. Freeze up to 1 month. To bake, place frozen puffs on parchment paper-lined baking sheets, and proceed as directed in Step 4.

Blue Cheese-Bacon Dip Appetizer

Blue Cheese-Bacon Dip Appetizer Recipes
Bake Blue Cheese-Bacon Dip appetizer in four small baking dishes, and place throughout the party area.

  • 7 bacon slices, chopped 
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened 
  • 1/3 cup half-and-half
  • 4 ounces crumbled blue cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
  • 3 tablespoons chopped walnuts, toasted
  • Grape clusters
  • Flatbread or assorted crackers

  1. Cook chopped bacon in a skillet over medium-high heat 10 minutes or until crisp. Drain bacon, and set aside. Add minced garlic to skillet, and sauté 1 minute.
  2. Beat cream cheese at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Add half-and-half, beating until combined. Stir in bacon, garlic, blue cheese, and chives. Spoon mixture evenly into 4 (1-cup) individual baking dishes.
  3. Bake at 350° for 15 minutes or until golden and bubbly. Sprinkle evenly with chopped walnuts, and serve with grape clusters and flatbread or assorted crackers.

Marinated Mozzarella

Marinated Mozzarella
These snacks are as simple as sliced cheese. Prepare them ahead of time to allow ample chill time. Be sure to garnish with a sprig of parsley or rosemary for a bit of panache.

  • 3 (8-oz.) blocks mozzarella cheese 
  • 1 (8.5-oz.) jar sun-dried tomatoes, drained and halved
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • Garnish: flat-leaf parsley sprigs or fresh rosemary stems


1. Cut blocks of cheese into 1-inch cubes. Arrange cheese cubes and tomato halves in an 8-inch square baking dish.

2. Whisk together 1/2 cup olive oil, chopped parsley, and next 6 ingredients; pour evenly over cheese cubes. Cover and chill at least 8 hours or up to 24 hours. Transfer mixture to a serving plate. Garnish with fresh flat-leaf parsley sprigs, or spear tomato halves and cheese cubes with short rosemary stems, if desired. Drizzle with marinade, if desired.

Stuffed Mushrooms With Pecans

Stuffed Mushrooms with Pecans Recipes
Guests will be amazed at the better-than-the-restaurant-version taste of these garlicky cheese-stuffed mushroom caps. Garnish with fresh basil for a springlike presentation.

  • 2 medium leeks
  • 1 (16-oz.) package fresh mushrooms (about 24 medium-size mushrooms) $
  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup fine, dry breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup pecans, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • Garnish: fresh basil sprigs


1. Preheat oven to 350°. Remove and discard root ends and dark green tops of leeks. Thinly slice leeks, and rinse thoroughly under cold running water to remove grit and sand.

2. Rinse mushrooms, and pat dry. Remove and discard stems. Place mushrooms, upside down, on a wire rack in an aluminum foil-lined jelly-roll pan. Sprinkle with 1/2 tsp. salt; invert mushrooms.

3. Bake at 350° for 15 minutes.

4. Sauté leeks, shallots, and garlic in hot oil in a large skillet over medium heat 3 to 5 minutes or until tender. Transfer mixture to a large bowl. Stir in 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, next 3 ingredients, and remaining 1/2 tsp. salt until well combined. Spoon 1 heaping teaspoonful leek mixture into each mushroom cap. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Bake at 350° for 10 minutes or until golden. Garnish, if desired.

Tuna-Apple Mini Melts


1 cup mayonnaise  
1/2 cup diced Pink Lady apple*  
1/3 cup finely chopped celery  
2 tablespoons minced red onion  
1 hard-cooked egg, peeled and chopped  
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice  
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt  
1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked pepper  
2 (12-oz.) cans solid white tuna in spring water, drained and flaked  
3 (1.9-oz.) packages frozen mini-phyllo pastry shells, thawed  
12 deli Havarti cheese slices, cut into 4 pieces each  
Garnish: thin Pink Lady apple slices  


1. Stir together first 8 ingredients in a medium bowl. Stir in tuna. Cover and chill 1 hour.

2. Divide mixture among phyllo shells (about 1 Tbsp. each), and place on a 15- x 10-inch jelly-roll pan. Top with cheese pieces.

3. Preheat broiler with oven rack 5 1/2 inches from heat. Broil tartlets 1 to 2 minutes or until cheese is melted. Serve immediately. Garnish, if desired.

*Gala apple may be substituted.

Source: Ashley McMakin, Birmingham, Alabama, Ashley Mac's, Birmingham, Alabama, NOVEMBER 2011

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