Friday, October 7, 2011

Dining al fresco in my own yard

Autumn in Iowa is such a lovely time of year. Warm breezy days and cool evenings make it perfect for a light dinner on the deck. The Chef and I were celebrating a little good news (more on that to come.....) with a couple cocktails (Jager bombs for me and ice cold brewskis for him) on the deck and I thought a nice light dinner of appetizers would be great.

The first recipe is another one of my "MacGuyver Recipes"- which is an old family inside joke about me taking ice cubes and black pepper and creating a 3 course meal. I've been hearing about something at a local restaurant called Chinese Cheesesticks and knowing what they were, figured I could wing it. That restaurant serves them with marinara sauce, not very "chinese" if you ask me, so I worked some magic on a bottled sauce and came up with a sweet spicy dipping sauce I hope you'll love.

The second is a bittersweet recipe for me, one shared by an old friend with whom I have lost touch. A misunderstanding and some interference from a not-so-nice person caused the friendship to end. I miss her, but I still have the recipe for Sandy's Stuffed Mushrooms to remind me of happier times.

Ok, so, let's start with my version of Chinese Cheese Sticks

1 block mozzarella cheese
1 pkg small wonton skins
oil for frying

Cut mozzarella cheese into small sticks or slabs

On clean work surface lay one wonton wrapper (these are the smaller square ones so cut the cheese slices so they will fit as shown below)

Place one piece of cheese diagonally across the wonton wrapper

Moisten the edges all the way around the wrapper with a little water then tuck the corners over the ends of the cheese

Fold one corner over and roll up to look like a little burrito. Set aside until you've finished all the rolls.

Heat oil in pan or deep fryer until 375 degrees. Fry, turning if necessary until golden brown on both sides.

They brown up quickly and you want to make sure you've sealed them up really good so the melty cheese doesn't leak out. Drain on paper towel and keep warm til all are fried. Serve with dipping sauce.

Pineapple Dipping Sauce

1/4 cup pineapple sundae sauce
1 tb dark rum
salt and pepper
1 tsp crush dried hot pepper flakes (use whatever kind you like)
2 or 3 dashes hot pepper sauce such as Tabasco

Mix all and heat about 30 seconds in the microwave. Stir and serve with cheese sticks. Also would be good with eggrolls or chicken wings !!

Since the Chef and I are mushroom lovers, I thought I'd whip up some of Sandy's Stuffed Mushrooms and see what he thinks- they were, as always, a HIT !!

Sandy's Stuffed Mushrooms

1  oz package whole mushrooms ( a little on the small size works great for one-bite appetizers), wiped clean and stems removed
1 pkg cream cheese with chives (you can use plain cream cheese and add chives, I used a pkg of Boursin cheese - spring onion and garlic flavor)
palmfull shredded asiago or parmesan cheese
1 cup breadcrumbs
additional couple TBs cheese
melted butter
chopped parsley if desired

Allow cheese to soften at room temperature until easy to spread. Mix in palmfull of cheese. Using small spreader, fill mushroom caps with cheese mixture, mounding slightly.

Melt butter and place in shallow dish. Combine bread crumbs with additional cheese and add a little chopped parsley if you like (I think it looks prettier)

Roll the mushrooms in the melted butter and coat with breadcrumb mixture. Place on baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray. Drizzle a little butter over them if desired. Bake at 425 degrees about 15 minutes. If you like, run them under the broiler to brown up a little if needed.

Sprinkle with additional parsley if desired and serve !!

Now tonight the Chef is working some magic on chicken wings....I heard the words "ghost chile" being used in the kitchen.......YIKES !!!!!

No comments:

Post a Comment