Feast on appetizers at New Year's parties

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A new year is upon us, and there will be many gatherings of friends and family to help ring it in. A party just would not be complete without a grand buffet of snacks and appetizers to nibble your way up to midnight. The possibilities are endless when it comes to appetizers and finger foods. Include an assortment of hot and cold dishes, items that can be prepared in advance and remember those who have special diet needs and your party will be a grand success.

Sam's Louisiana Crab Dip

Jodi Thompson sent in a few of her favorites to share with you and hopes you will enjoy them as you start off a new year.

This recipe is sure to become one of your favorites. It can be eaten with crackers or thick cut chips.

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup sour cream

3 tablespoons horseradish or horseradish sauce

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

1 tablespoons stone ground mustard

2 teaspoons Tabasco pepper sauce

1 cup lump crabmeat or chopped lump crab meat

In medium bowl, blend all ingredients until well mixed. Stir in crabmeat. Makes about 2 cups dip. Serve with crackers or thick cut chips for dipping.

Rumaki

There are many variations of rumaki, and can be made with pineapple as well.

12 slices bacon, halved crosswise

12 ounces chicken livers, halved

12 whole water chestnuts, halved

Marinade:

1/4 cup soy sauce

1 teaspoon fresh minced ginger

2 tablespoons dry sherry

1 teaspoon sugar

The Rumaki recipe begins with the marinade, of course: combine soy sauce, ginger, sherry and sugar in a small bowl. Add the chicken livers and water chestnut pieces and marinate them in the refrigerator for 1/2 hour. Place one chicken liver piece and one chestnut piece in the center of each bacon-half. Wrap and secure with a toothpick. Place the Rumaki on a broiler pan or shallow baking pan and broil, about 5 or 6 inches from the heat, until the bacon is crisp, about 10 to 15 minutes. Or, you can bake the appetizers in a 375 degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes. Serve hot. Makes 24 appetizers.

Options: add fresh sliced scallions to the combination above. Substitute sea scallops for the chicken livers and/or water chestnuts. Omit marinade and wrap bacon around smoked oysters, stuffed green olives or pineapple chunks. Try 1 medium shrimp with 1 whole water chestnut and a piece of green onion, with or without the marinade.

Chicken Asparagus Roll-Ups

3 whole chicken breasts, split, skinned and boned (1 to 1 1/2 pounds)

6 ounces sliced low-sodium Swiss cheese

10 ounces fresh asparagus (about 18 stalks)

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 1/2 cup no-salt-added vegetable juice

White wine (optional)

1/4 cup onion, chopped

1 medium clove garlic, minced, to taste

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1/8 teaspoon grated lemon peel

1 tablespoon cornstarch

With meat mallet or dull edge of French knife, pound chicken breasts to 1/8-inch thickness. On each chicken breast, place one slice of cheese with about 3 asparagus stalks. Roll-up; secure with toothpicks. In 10-inch skillet over medium heat, in hot oil, cook roll-ups until browned on all sides. Stir in 1 1/4 cups vegetable juice, onion, garlic, lemon juice and peel. Reduce heat to low, cover. Simmer 25 minutes or until chicken is fork-tender, turning once during cooking.

In cup, stir together cornstarch and remaining vegetable juice. Pour into skillet. Cook, uncovered, until thickened, stirring occasionally. Makes 6 servings.

Holiday Party Dip

2-cups sour cream

1 package onion soup mix

1/4 cup cucumber, finely diced

1/4 cup green pepper, finely diced

1/3 cup pimiento, finely diced

Blend ingredients together and chill for at least one hour before serving. Serve with crackers, raw vegetables or chips.

Crab Pizza

If you don't want to make your own crust, try an already prepared crust from the grocery store or ask a locally owned pizza restaurant if you can buy a small ball of dough.

Crust:

3 to 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 package (1/4-ounce) active dry yeast

1 teaspoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup water

2 tablespoons olive oil

Topping:

2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened

2 cans (6 ounces each) crabmeat, drained, flaked and cartilage removed or 2 cups chopped imitation crabmeat

1/4 cup milk

1 cup (4 ounces) crumbled feta cheese

1 teaspoon dried basil

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Swiss cheese, divided

In a large bowl, combine 1 1/2 cups flour, yeast, sugar and salt. In a saucepan, heat water and oil to 120 to 130 degrees. Add to dry ingredients; beat on medium speed for 3 minutes. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.

Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour. Punch dough down; divide in half.

On a floured surface, roll each piece into a 13-in. circle; transfer to two 12-in. pizza pans. Build up edge slightly. Prick dough thoroughly with a fork. Bake crusts at 450 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned.

Combine the cream cheese, crab, milk, feta cheese, basil, oregano, and garlic powder; spread mixture over each crust. Sprinkle each with 1/2 cup Swiss cheese. Bake 10 to 12 minutes longer or until crust is golden and cheese is melted.

Cut into wedges to serve.

Have a fun and safe New Year celebration and until next time, happy cooking.

Susan McClanahan is administrator at the Cape Girardeau Senior Center. Send recipes to her at news@semissourian.com or by mail at P.O. Box 699, Cape Girardeau, Mo. 63701. Recipes published have not been kitchen-tested by Southeast Missourian staff.

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