Your holiday party could be just a family gathering, an open house or a whole gang of people descending on your cozy Rim Country home. Regardless of the group you have to feed, there are things to do to take the hassle out of holiday entertaining and make it just as happy for you as for your guests.
To help streamline holiday entertaining, Terry Morris, director of the Payson Public Library, presented a cooking class Nov. 17 with the theme of “Holiday Fare.”
The class included instruction on making four different appetizers, a sweet and a savory bread pudding and quiche, plus recipes for a number of other dishes.
Use both green and black olives, drained
Olive oil, enough to come about halfway up the depth of the olives in your container (Morris used one of the plastic tubs in which some lunch meat is packaged and had enough olives to fill it about 1/3 full)
Crushed red pepper, sea or Kosher salt, fresh ground pepper, season to taste
Combine ingredients, cover and marinate for at least two hours, longer if possible.
2 to 4 cups cooked shrimp
Olive oil to coat generously
Rice vinegar to coat generously
2 cloves of garlic, chopped fine
Sea or Kosher salt
Combine ingredients in a plastic container, stir well, cover and refrigerate to marinate at least two hours, longer if possible
Radishes on Toast
1 small loaf of artisan bread (Morris
recommends those sold at Safeway)
4 to 6 large radishes
Cut bread into 1/4-inch slices, toast under broiler until lightly browned, turn and toast other side.
Thinly slice radishes.
Butter one side of toasted bread and top with two or three thin slices of radishes, then lightly sprinkle with salt.
Serve warm or at room temperature
Crab in Pastry Shells
Cream cheese, softened
Crab meat, separated and diced
1 green onion, diced
Juice of half a lemon
2 dashes Tabasco sauce
Dash of salt
Small pastry shells (ready-to-use Athens
Mini Fillo Shells were used)
Paprika and fresh parsley to garnish
Combine cream cheese, crab, green onion, lemon juice and seasonings, place in ready-to-use pastry shells, sprinkle with paprika and garnish with a single parsley leaf. Chill before serving.
Jalapeno with Cream Cheese and Bacon
Jalapenos, skin split on one side, seeds
Cream cheese, softened
Bacon, cut in half
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Fill jalapeno cavity with cream cheese.
Wrap jalapeno with half of bacon slice, securing all with a toothpick.
Place individual peppers on cooking sheet and bake until bacon is crisp.
A couple of no-cook appetizers
• Smoked salmon on buttered brown bread
• Endive leaves stuffed with Gorgonzola
• Spicy salami with sliced hothouse
• Cheese straws
Main dishes at holiday parties don’t have to be complicated. Savory quiches and bread puddings are no more difficult to put together than a casserole, but seem a bit more festive.
Herbed Mushroom Bread Pudding
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus softened
butter or vegetable oil cooking spray to
coat baking dish
1/2 cup dried mushrooms, such as porcini,
chanterelles or morels (1/2 ounce)
3/4 cup good white wine (or water)
1 pound assorted fresh mushrooms, such as
buttons, crimini, shiitakes or oyster,
stemmed and thinly sliced
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme, or 2
5 large eggs
1 cup half-and-half
1 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
Dash of Tabasco sauce
Sea or Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper
6 cups bread cubes from day-old country-
style loaf (or combination of croissants,
French bread and sourdough)
2 cups grated Gruyére cheese
Fresh parsley for garnish
To reconstitute dried mushrooms, place in microwave-safe dish or plastic tub, cover with wine (or water), put container in a plastic bag, and place in microwave, heat for 2 to 3 minutes, remove from microwave and set aside.
Lightly butter or spray an 11-inch-by-7-inch baking dish
In a large skillet, melt the 3 tablespoons of butter over medium high heat, add fresh mushrooms and onion and sauté for 3 minutes or until limp.
Place a piece of paper towel in a sieve and drain the reconstituted mushrooms, reserving liquid. Pat the mushrooms dry and add to fresh mushrooms and onion in skillet. Continue to sauté 10 to 12 minutes until the mushrooms have released their liquid and are nicely browned. Add thyme and stir, remove from heat.
In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, mushroom liquor, Worcestershire and Tabasco sauces, salt and pepper.
Arrange half of bread cubes in bottom of prepared baking dish, top with the mushrooms and layer with half the cheese, add remaining bread cubes and rest of the cheese.
Pour egg mixture over bread and mushrooms. Make sure all bread is covered, gently pressing to submerge if necessary.
Cover with plastic wrap and set aside to allow bread to soak up egg mixture.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place pudding on middle rack and bake for about 40 minutes or until a knife inserted near the edge comes out clean. Garnish with parsley and serve immediately.
6 small leeks (about 1 pound), roots and
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 partly thawed 9-inch deep-dish pie shell
1 pound mixed mushrooms, such as oyster
3 large eggs
1 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 cup of grated cheddar cheese (or
combination), lightly packed
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Rinse leeks well and drain. Cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Using fingers, push slices into rings. Set aside. Heat large skillet over medium heat and when warm, add olive oil. Reduce heat to medium low, add leeks and cook for about 5 minutes or until leeks begin to soften and glisten. Remove from heat and set aside.
Using fork, prick pie crust all over and pre-bake about 20 minutes or until brown.
Meanwhile, thinly slice mushroom caps and chop stems. Reheat leeks and add mushrooms, cooking over medium low heat for about 15 minutes or until very soft and fragrant.
Remove pie crust from oven and pour leek-mushroom mix into crust. Set aside. Beat together eggs, milk, salt and pepper and pour over vegetables in crust. Sprinkle grated cheese over top and bake for about 30 minutes, or until set and flecked with brown spots.
Serve warm or at room temperature.
Sweet Bread Pudding with Amaretto Sauce
Modified from Giada’s Family Dinners
Butter for baking dish
1 pound of mixed dry bread (croissants,
French and sour dough), torn into cubes
of about 1-inch in size
1 cup plus of golden raisins
1/3 cup Amaretto
8 large eggs
1-1/2 cups heavy cream or combination of
heavy cream, half-and-half or liquid coffee
creamer (flavor of choice)
2-1/2 cups whole milk
Put raisins in microwave-safe bowl, add Amaretto, put bowl in plastic bag and microwave a few minutes to rehydrate. Remove from microwave and set aside. Lightly butter a 13-inch-by-9-inch-by-2-inch baking dish. Arrange bread cubes in prepared dish. In a large bowl, whisk eggs, cream, milk and sugar to blend. Add raisins and liquor, stir. Pour custard mix over bread and gently press to submerge. Let stand for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and bake the pudding until it puffs and is set in the center, about 45 minutes. Cool slightly, then spoon into dessert bowls and top with Amaretto Sauce (recipe to follow).
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup whole milk
3 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup Amaretto
2 teaspoons cornstarch
Bring the cream, milk and sugar to boil in a small, heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring frequently. In a small bowl, mix the Amaretto and cornstarch to blend, then whisk into cream mixture. Simmer over medium low heat, stirring constantly, until the sauce thickens, about 2 minutes. Keep warm or refrigerate up to three days and reheat.