It's beginning to look a lot like nibble season.
I'm talking appetizers, hors d'oeuvres and goodies you can graze on while listening to your favourite carol.
James Beard award-winning chef Michael Schwartz, of Michael's Genuine Food and Drink in Miami, teamed with the International Olive Council to create a selection of awesome appetizers that are not only delicious but touched with that nectar of the gods — olive oil.
Schwartz recommends keeping things simple when creating party food, limiting yourself to perhaps a handful of ingredients like olive oil, citrus, olives, artisan cheeses and high quality protein. These ingredients are versatile and offer limitless possibilities for enhancing foods, says Schwartz, adding the olives, cheeses and meat even make great stand-alone hors d’oeuvres – just arrange on a platter and serve!
Here's a handful of recipes Schwartz created with the International Olive Council.
For additional info and recipes, check out AddSomeLife.org. And enjoy the following:
PROSCIUTTO-OLIVE APPETIZER BITES AND EMPENADA SQUARES
1 3/4 (450ml) to 2 1/2 cups (625ml) reduced-sodium chicken broth
3 Tbsp. (45ml) olive oil
1/4 cup (50ml) finely chopped mushrooms
1 large shallot, finely chopped
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 cup (50ml) Arborio rice
1/8 (.1ml) freshly ground pepper
3 oz. (75g) finely chopped prosciutto
1/2 cup (125ml) finely chopped black olives, such as kalamata
2 Tbsp. (30ml) finely chopped oil-packed sundried tomatoes, well drained
1 Tbsp. (15ml) chopped pine nuts or almonds
2 tsp. (10ml) chopped fresh marjoram or oregano
1/3 cup (75ml) shredded Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 400F. (200C). In medium saucepan, bring chicken broth to a boil. Reduce heat to low; cover and keep broth hot while making risotto.
Heat olive oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add mushroom, shallot and garlic; cook 1 to 2 minutes. Add rice; stir to coat all grains with olive oil. Cook and stir 1 minute.
Stir in 1/2 cup (125ml) hot chicken broth; cook until all liquid has been absorbed, stirring constantly. Adjust heat as necessary to keep rice mixture simmering. Continue to add chicken broth 1/2 cup (125ml) at a time, cooking and stirring constantly until rice is tender with a slight firmness in the centre, 35 to 40 minutes. Stir in prosciutto, olives, tomatoes, pine nuts and marjoram; mix well. Stir in Parmesan cheese.
Shape by level tablespoons 1 to 1 1/2- inch (2.5-3cm) balls (mixture will be sticky). Place on oiled baking sheet. Bake 10 to 15 minutes or until tops are light golden.
3 Tbsp. (45ml) olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1lb. (450g) extra lean ground beef
4 (bottled) pepperoncini, chopped
2 tsp.(10ml) dried oregano leaves
3/4 cup (175ml) quartered pitted black olives
2/3 cup (150ml) quartered (plain or garlic) stuffed green olives
4 medium roma tomatoes, chopped
1/4 cup (50ml) golden or dark seedless raisins, coarsely chopped
1 (17.3 oz.) package puff pastry sheets, thawed according to package directions
1/3 cup (75ml) shredded Monterey Jack cheese
Preheat oven to 400F (200C). Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; cook until onion is tender. Add beef, pepperoncini and oregano; cook and stir until beef is no longer pink, about 6 minutes. Add olives, tomato and raisins. Cook until tomatoes are soft and liquid evaporates, stirring frequently, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat.
Meanwhile, unfold both pastry sheets, place side by side on lightly oiled large baking sheet. Press edges of sheets together to form one crust (about 12 x 18 inches). Prick pastry evenly with fork. Bake 10 minutes; remove from oven.
Spread meat mixture to within 1/2 inch (1cm) of edges of crust. Return to oven; bake 8 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake 2 to 4 minutes longer to melt cheese and until pastry is browned. Sprinkle with chopped avocado, queso fresco cheese, sour cream, snipped cilantro and squeeze fresh lime juice over each before serving, if desired.
Makes about 3 dozen appetizers or 6 to 8 main dish servings.
BRANDADE ON GARLIC TOAST WITH GREEN OLIVE AND PARSLEY SALAD
Brandade is a famous dish of Provence featuring a flavourful puree of salt cod, olive oil, garlic, milk and cream. Salt cod can be purchased at many supermarkets and comes packaged as boneless, skinless fillets.
1 head of garlic
2 1/2 Tbsp.(38ml) extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 lb. (225g) Idaho potatoes, peeled
1/2 lb. (225g) Yukon gold potatoes, peeled
1 lb. (450g) boned and dried salt cod, soaked according to package directions
1 small onion, peeled and quartered
2 cups (500ml) whole milk
2 bay leaves
2 thyme sprigs
2 large eggs
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 350F (180C). Place garlic head on a square of foil and coat with 1/2 Tbsp. (7.5ml) of oil; wrap securely and place in oven, roasting until cloves are soft, about 30 minutes. Allow to cool. Remove cloves from their skins and then mash with a fork.
While garlic roasts, prepare potatoes and cod. Place potatoes in a saucepan, cover with water, and boil over medium-high heat until tender, about 20 minutes.
In a separate saucepan, add cod and onion, and barely cover with milk. Add bay leaves and thyme. Place over medium-low heat and simmer until cod flakes easily, about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove cod with a slotted spoon, transferring it to a plate to cool; leave milk at a very low simmer.
Drain potatoes and set aside. Remove and discard onion from milk. Return potatoes to their sauce pan and mash them. Immediately and quickly break eggs into hot potatoes and stir vigorously until fully incorporated. Beat in 2 or 3 Tbsp. (30-45ml) of other saucepan’s warm milk until mixture is very thick and smooth. Add 2 Tbsp. (30ml) olive oil for flavour and texture. Add roasted, smashed garlic, salt and pepper to taste.
Shred cooled cod as finely as possible, and add to potato mixture. Adjust milk, oil, garlic and salt and pepper as desired. Add parsley and mix well. Set aside in a warm place until ready to serve.
1 Tbsp. (15ml) extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 baguette, cut into 1-inch rounds
Mix 1 Tbsp. (15ml) olive oil with minced garlic. Lay sliced bread on a sheet pan and brush lightly with the oil-garlic mixture. Season lightly with salt and pepper and bake in the oven for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown.
Olive Parsley Salad:
1/4 cup (50ml) finely chopped parsley, plus 1 cup parsley leaves, picked and washed
1/2 cup (125ml) pitted green olives such as picholine, cut in half
1/2 small red onion, sliced very thin
1/2 Tbsp. (7.5ml) extra virgin olive oil
Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling
In a mixing bowl, combine olives, red onion and parsley. Drizzle with olive oil, season lightly with salt and pepper, and mix.
To serve place a scoop of the warm Brandade on a small plate with a spoonful of olive and parsley salad, one slice of garlic toast, and drizzle the whole plate liberally with olive oil.
Serves 6 to 8 as an appetizer.
PORK TENDERLOIN WITH BALSAMIC OLIVE OIL SAUCE
2 small pork tenderloins (about 12-oz. /350g each), patted dry and sliced lengthwise almost all way through, then opened up
3 Tbsp. (45ml) pure olive oil
Salt and ground black pepper
1/4 cup (50ml) balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup (50ml) chicken broth
1 Tbsp. (15ml) extra virgin olive oil
Pork tenderloin is too little to be treated like a roast and too large to be treated like a steak. Butterflying tenderloin lengthwise, however, makes it possible to quickly cook this cut stovetop. If tenderloin is too long for pan, simply cut off thin tail end and cook it in skillet alongside main piece.
Pour pure olive oil into a shallow pan. Dip each side of each tenderloin in oil to completely coat, then sprinkle each side with salt and pepper.
Heat a 12-inch (30cm) heavy-bottomed nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add tenderloins. Cook until pork develops a thick, golden brown crust, about 5 minutes. Turn pork and cook until remaining side develops same crust, about 5 minutes longer. Remove pork from heat and let stand while making sauce.
Add vinegar and chicken broth to skillet; boil until reduced to 1/4 cup (50ml), about 1 to 2 minutes. Whisk in extra virgin olive oil. To serve, slice tenderloins in half lengthwise and then into 1-inch slices. Serve with sauce.
6 servings; about 4-oz. (100g) each
RASPBERRY AND CHOCOLATE SORBETS IN CRISP CINNAMON CUPS
8 egg roll wrappers
2 Tbsp. (30ml) extra light olive oil
3 Tbsp. (45ml) sugar
1 1/2 (7ml) ground cinnamon
8 small (individual) disposable foil pie pans
1 pint raspberry sorbet
1 pint chocolate sorbet
Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375F (190C). Lay pie pans, bottom side up, on two foil-lined baking sheets.
Lay egg roll wrappers on a work surface; brush lightly with olive oil. Turn egg roll skins over and brush with remaining oil. Mix sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle over top. Drape wrappers, sugared side up over the tins to make freeform cups. Bake until crisp and golden, about 9 minutes. Turn onto a wire rack and let cool to room temperature. When ready to serve, fill with sorbet and serve immediately.