Saturday, January 9, 2010
This year, I decided to host a little New Year's Eve get together. Just a few close friends with lots of food and drinks. We ended up having a really good time and I'm glad that we all spent it together. So here's part 1 of the spread I put out for my friends. First, shrimp cocktail. This is easy to make. And it tastes so much better than any store bought shrimp or cocktail sauce. I start off with some frozen shrimp. It's best to buy jumbo sized, deveined and peeled shrimp. Here I have large, deveined, and ez-peel shrimp. I bring a pan of salted water to an easy boil. Then I add lemon juice from half a lemon. I also throw the lemon in. Then I add the shrimp and cook until it's opaque and pink. When fully cooked, drain then immediately added to a bowl of ice water. This will stop the cooking and keep the shrimp firm and crunchy. I hate chewy shrimp. While the shrimp dries off, I make the cocktail sauce. I hate premade sauce. I think it's too sweet and I don't like it at all. Making your own sauce will not only impress your guests but it will taste so much better. You probably have most of the ingredients in your kitchen. So what goes into cocktail sauce? Ketchup, chili sauce, tabasco, worcestershire sauce, prepared horseradish, and fresh lemon juice. Add everything together and taste for your own preference. I like it with extra kick so I add a little more horseradish than normal. This ingredient really makes the sauce. Lay everything out in a pretty pattern and you have a nice easy appetizer. You can make this a day ahead since the shrimp is best cold and the cocktail sauce gets better with time. Next, I served some crab salad. Here I have some lump crab meat that's already cooked. To this, I add finely minced carrots, celery, and scallions. I gently mix everything together then I season with Old Bay, salt, and pepper. Lastly, I take the mixture and stuff some endive leaves. It makes a pretty presentation too. Another easy recipe that you can make ahead. This is best served cold or at room temperature. And now to move away from seafood, I made bacon and cheese puffs. When you make finger foods, you have to have something in a puff. So here I rendered some bacon. When crispy, I removed them from the pan. So this recipe only needs 3 ingredients: Pilsbury crescent rolls, cheese, and bacon. I used swiss cheese here. First, I roll out the crescent rolls on a floured surface. Then I add the bacon leaving a 1 inch border. On top of that, I add the cheese. Lastly, I add the second layer of crescent roll on top. Then I made a decorative border by folding the edge onto itself. I baked it in the oven at 375 degrees for about 15 minutes or so until golden brown. I let it cool and then I cut the puff into logs for easy finger foods. This is another easy recipe. And who doesn't like bacon, cheese, and buttery pastry? It's so easy to eat a lot of these. So these are the easier recipes that started off the party. Parts 2 and 3 will show more heartier foods ending with a dessert.