I don’t know about you, but I typically go one of two ways when I’m on hors D’oeuvres duty; Chips and dip or stress with what will impress.
I like entertaining and I quite like the reputation that guests don’t need to eat before a gathering at my place. Lately I’ve found a few speedy plates that are quick to keep everyone happy and you chatty while you catch up with company.
The eggplant caviar only takes a bit of prep time with the roasting but with a food processor, everything was so speedy quick that I also threw together some whole grain flat bread in the meantime. Sure, you could buy crackers but this way, you not only know what’s in them, but it’s up to you and your taste buds to add what goes on them. Roll them out and cut them into dainty shapes or go fast and fun and leave them just so. They’re thin and crisp and cracking a piece off to spread some paté just lays things back a little.
1 Eggplant, halved and roasted
1 Teaspoon Olive Oil
1 Head Garlic, roasted
Juice of 1/2 Lemon
1 Tablespoon Parsley, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon Salt, or to taste
Black Pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
Halve the eggplant and lightly salt each side.
Lay cut side down in a roasting pan.
Cut the top stem from the head of garlic.
Drizzle over a small amount of olive oil and wrap tightly in foil.
Bake the eggplant and garlic for 30 minutes or until both are tender.
Once cool enough to handle, remove the skin from the eggplant and add the pulp to a food processor.
Squeeze the garlic from it’s skin and add it and the lemon juice to the eggplant.
Pulse to combine.
Add the parsley, salt and pepper, mixing to incorporate.
Adjust seasoning to taste, adding more salt, if necessary.
Serve chilled or at room temperature.
2 Portabella Mushrooms, finely chopped
10 Shitake Mushrooms, 3/4 Cup trimmed and sliced
1 Leek, white and light green parts only, well rinsed and finely chopped
2 Cloves Garlic, minced
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1/2 teaspoon Salt
Freshly Ground Black Pepper, to taste
1/2 teaspoon Dried Rosemary, ground
1/3 Cup Red Bell Pepper, finely minced
3 Tablespoons Brandy
2 teaspoons Parsley, finely chopped
2 teaspoons Chives, finely chopped
1 teaspoon Arrowroot Powder or Cornstarch
Heat the oil in a large sauté pan and add the garlic and leeks.
Once the leeks are soft, add the mushrooms, salt, pepper and rosemary.
Sauté over a medium high setting until the mushrooms are tender and have begun to dry.
Add the peppers and brandy continuing to sauté for 2 minutes more.
Toss in 1 teaspoon of the parsley and remove from heat.
Cool then add to the food processor pulsing to chop.
Firmly press mixture into ramekins.
To make the chive gelée for the topping, add 1/3 cup of water to a small saucepan and bring to a boil.
Add the chopped chives and remaining parsley.
Dissolve the arrowroot powder in 1/4 cup cold water and add, stirring to thicken.
Remove from the heat and cool slightly.
Spoon an even layer over the prepared mushroom paté and refrigerate until set and ready to serve.
WHOLE GRAIN FLAT BREAD CRACKERS
1/2 Cup Whole or Twelve Grain Cereal
1/2 Cup Boiling Water
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Sugar
1/3 Cup Vegetable Shortening
1/3 Cup Soy Milk, or water
1 1/2 Cups Whole Wheat Flour
Pour the boiling water over the cereal to soften
Let sit 20 – 30 minutes.
In a food processor combine flour, salt, sugar.
Cut in the shortening until it is blended into a crumb consistency.
Add the moistened cereal then through the feed tube, drizzle in the milk, bringing the dough together into a soft ball.
Cut the dough two disks and quarter each of those leaving you with eight pieces.
Heat the oven to 400ºF.
Roll each piece as thinly as possible between two pieces of parchment paper.
If desired, lightly spray the rolled dough with oil and top with any desired combination of truffle salt, sea salt and rosemary or parmesan and black pepper.
Bake for 8 – 9 minutes; until crisp but barely golden, watching as they brown quickly.