Small plates, past, present and trending

Small plate offerings trending these days to delight the Tiny Tim in all of us.
Expedience a Scrooge would favor.
Done *just so*…
…or else portentious Ghosts may visit.
Whether the Ghost of Christmas Past might interpret small plates as a classic appetizer…economic times notwithstanding.
Classic  Caviar 
a classic presentation requires:
Caviar
3 hard-cooked eggs
1 lemon, sliced into wedges
1 small red onion, diced small
1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
1/4 cup creme fraiche or sour cream
toast points
Ice the caviar
Peel hard-cooked eggs and separate the whites and yolks. Finely chop yolks and whites separately. Surround with small bowls of chopped egg yolks and egg whites, lemon wedges, red onion, chives, crème fraiche, and toast points.
And the Ghost of Christmas Present…Today… Now…might revel in trending meatball or rustic kale small plates.
Spicy Cocktail Meatballs
for the meatballs
1 pound ground beef
1 pound ground pork ( or 2 lbs all beef )
1 cup plain bread crumbs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
2 eggs
1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, finely chopped
2 tablespoons adobe sauce (from can of chipotle peppers in adobo)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon canola oil
for the sauce:
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 cup finely chopped onion
2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
2 cups ketchup
1/4 cup  brown sugar
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
To make the sauce:  
Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the onions and saute until golden brown, about 8 minutes. Add the crushed red pepper and cook 1 minute. Stir in the remaining ingredients and reduce heat to low. Add the browned meatballs to the Dutch oven and toss gently to coat with sauce.
To make the meatballs:
In a large bowl, mix together all the ingredients, except the canola oil. Shape heaping teaspoons of the mixture into 1-inch balls. In a Dutch oven, heat a tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat. Working in batches, wiping pan in between, saute the meatballs, turning frequently for even browning, until cooked through, about 4 to 5 minutes. Place on a paper towel-lined plate to drain.  Serve on small cocktail plates with sauce and trim with sweet pepper rings
Sausage, Kale and Cranberry Rigatoni 
1 pound rigatoni
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 pound hot bulk Italian sausage
1/2 pound sweet bulk Italian sausage
3 cloves garlic chopped
1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
3/4 cup whole berry cranberry sauce
3/4 cup dry red wine
1 1/4 pounds kale, stems removed and chopped
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, to taste
3/4 cup Romano cheese,  plus some to pass at the table
salt and pepper to taste
Boil a large pot of water for the pasta. Add rigatoni and salt and cook al dente.  Drain and reserve 2 ladles of pasta water.
While pasta cooks, heat the olive oil in a large deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add sausage, brown and crumble it, then add garlic and onions  and cook until tender 5 to 6 minutes. Add the cranberry sauce and wine and stir to combine, then reduce a minute. Add kale in bunches and stir to wilt down. Add the reserved pasta water.  Season the dish with salt, pepper, and nutmeg to taste.
Add pasta to the pan with sausage and kale. Top pasta with cheese and toss with kale mixture to combine. Serve immediately with extra cheese for topping.
While the Ghost of Christmas yet to come…
might focus on gourmet mac-n-cheese for dismal times or trending grains like amaranth for healthy nutrition.
Bacon Pimento Macaroni and Cheese 
Nonstick cooking spray
6 bacon slices
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups half-and-half
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
Two 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
One 4-ounce jar diced pimientos, drained
1/2 teaspoon salt
Cracked black pepper
1 pound small penne pasta or macaroni, cooked, drained and kept warm
3 cups shredded smoked Cheddar
Preheat the broiler. Spray five 1-cup ramekins with nonstick cooking spray. In a large Dutch oven, cook the bacon over medium heat until crisp. Remove from the Dutch oven and drain on paper towels. Reserve 1/4 cup bacon drippings in the Dutch oven, and discard any remaining drippings. Crumble the bacon set aside.
Add the butter to the drippings, and heat over medium-high heat until the butter melts. Whisk in the flour, whisking until smooth. Whisk in the half-and-half, and cook until the mixture is thickened and smooth, whisking constantly.
Add the ground red pepper. Stir in the cream cheese and let melt. Add the pimentos and bacon. Season with the salt and pepper. Add 2 cups smoked Cheddar and 2 cups Parmesan.
Spoon the pasta mixture evenly into the prepared ramekins. Top with the remaining 1 cup Cheddar and 1 cup Parmesan. Broil until cheese is lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.
Amaranth pudding 
2 cups amaranth or quinoa, cooked
1 cup apple juice
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup almonds, chopped fine
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
juice of 1/2 lemon
grated rind of one lemon
dash of cinnamon
Combine ingredients in a large sauce pan, cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Pour pudding into individual dessert bowls. Top with a few strawberries or raisins or nuts  and chill.

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One Response to Small plates, past, present and trending

  1. Pingback: Small plates, past, present and trending | menushoppe | Organic Rapeseed Oil

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