cock­tail HOUR

Food & Drink - - EN­TER­TAIN­ING WITH KIDS -

CHARD, LEMON & RI­COTTA SIL­VER DOL­LAR PAN­CAKES Savoury, slightly creamy, a lit­tle lemony and ad­dic­tive, too, this easy ap­pe­tizer gets a driz­zle of honey at the last minute to com­ple­ment the earthy greens.

2 tbsp (30 mL) olive oil

2 cloves gar­lic, sliced

Pinch of red pep­per flakes

1 large bunch Swiss chard: stalks re­moved and sliced into ½ inch (1 cm) pieces, leaves torn into 1 inch (2.5 cm) pieces

2 eggs

1½ cups (375 mL) wa­ter

3 cups (750 mL) all-pur­pose flour

1 tsp (5 mL) bak­ing pow­der

1 tsp (5 mL) salt

¼ cup (60 mL) snipped chives

1 tbsp (15 mL) lemon zest

Veg­etable oil for pan fry­ing

¾ cup (175 mL) full-fat ri­cotta cheese Honey for driz­zling

Ex­tra grated lemon zest and fin­ish­ing salt to gar­nish

1 To pre­pare Swiss chard, heat the olive oil in a large skil­let on medium heat. Add gar­lic and red pep­per flakes and cook for about 30 sec­onds. Add the chopped chard stalks, lower heat, cover and cook 2 to 3 min­utes. Add the chopped chard leaves, stir to­gether with stalks, cover and cook for 3 to 4 min­utes more, or un­til chard is ten­der. Sea­son to taste with salt. Re­move from skil­let and set aside to cool. 2 In a medium bowl, whisk to­gether the eggs and wa­ter. Sift in flour, bak­ing pow­der and 1 tsp (5 mL) salt and stir un­til com­bined. Stir in chives and lemon zest. The bat­ter will be quite thick. Stir in the cooked chard.

3 Heat a large non­stick skil­let over medium heat, add a lit­tle bit of veg­etable oil. To make pan­cakes, drop a heaped tbsp (15 mL-plus) of bat­ter in the skil­let and place 1 tsp (5 mL) of ri­cotta in the cen­tre of each pan­cake, press­ing down slightly with the back of the spoon. Cook for about a minute or un­til golden; flip and cook the other side un­til golden. Re­peat this process with re­main­ing bat­ter and ri­cotta, fry­ing a few pan­cakes at a time.

4 Place on a serv­ing plat­ter and driz­zle with honey, then gar­nish with a bit more lemon zest and a sprin­kling of fin­ish­ing salt. Serve at once.

Makes about 20 pan­cakes

GINGER MAR­GARITA

The Mar­garita is a per­fect pair­ing with spicy dishes, and we wanted a smooth te­quila with a good, spicy kick to stand up to the bhaji. Our favourites for this dish are Tromba Blanco (LCBO 271643, $49.70) or Espolon Blanco (LCBO 324848, $39.25), and we bring some added depth with fresh ginger.

In a cock­tail shaker filled with ice, add 1 oz te­quila, 1 oz Coin­treau, 1 oz fresh lime juice, 1 tbsp (15 mL) chopped ginger and a pinch of sea salt. Shake hard and strain into a rocks glass filled with ice. Gar­nish with a lime wedge.

Makes 1 cock­tail

THREE-ONION BHAJI

With red, yel­low and green onions thrown into the mix, these tra­di­tional bhaji are like a cross be­tween onion rings and the ap­pe­tizer course at your favourite In­dian restau­rant. Just sip our Ginger Mar­garita and crunch away.

1¼ cups (310 mL) chick­pea flour

Juice of ½ lemon

¾ cup (175 mL) cold wa­ter

2 gar­lic cloves, minced

2 tsp (10 mL) ginger, finely grated

½ tsp (2 mL) ground turmeric

1 tsp (5 mL) cumin seeds

1 tsp (5 mL) ground co­rian­der

¼ tsp (1 mL) cayenne

½ tsp (2 mL) salt

½ cup (125 mL) cilantro, finely chopped (save a few leaves for gar­nish)

1 medium red onion, thinly sliced

1 small cook­ing onion, thinly sliced ½ bunch green onions, finely sliced (about 4 onions)

2 cups (500 mL) veg­etable oil for fry­ing Mango chut­ney or lime pickle (op­tional)

1 In a large mix­ing bowl, stir to­gether the chick­pea flour, lemon juice and cold wa­ter un­til smooth. Stir in the gar­lic, ginger, turmeric, cumin, co­rian­der, cayenne, salt and fresh cilantro. Stir in the 3 types of onions so they are well coated.

2 Line a bak­ing sheet or large plate with pa­per towel.

3 Heat the oil in a large high-sided pan or a wok, to about 360°F (182°C)—a drop of bat­ter should siz­zle as it hits the oil and then float.

4 Drop a heaped tbsp (15 mL-plus) of bat­ter into the oil for each bhaji, cook­ing 3 to 4 at a time, mak­ing sure they’re not stick­ing to each other. Cook for 3 to 4 min­utes, turn­ing oc­ca­sion­ally, un­til crisp and golden, then drain on pa­per towel and sprin­kle with a pinch of salt while hot from the oil. When done, heap onto a serv­ing plat­ter, gar­nish with a few leaves of cilantro and serve with chut­ney or pickle, if de­sired. Bhaji can be made in ad­vance and warmed up in a 200°F (100°C) oven for 5 to 10 min­utes.

Makes about a dozen bhaji; serves 4

THE 0% CAIPIR­INHA

Who needs al­co­hol? This mock­tail has se­ri­ously grown-up flavour. Al­ter­na­tively, have chilled fruit juices and sparkling wa­ter read­ily avail­able for guests who pre­fer them.

1 lime, chopped

2 tsp (10 mL) cane sugar Ice

2 oz white cran­berry juice 2 oz club soda

1 sprig mint, for gar­nish

1 Add chopped lime and cane sugar to a rocks glass. Mud­dle well. Fill glass with ice. Pour in cran­berry juice and soda. Stir to mix. Gar­nish with mint.

Makes 1 mock­tail

BEET-PARME­SAN PALMIERS Pretty and but­tery, sweet and savoury—and the touch of thyme sig­nals that these aren’t your ev­ery­day palmiers. These are week­end spe­cials.

2 small raw beets, ends trimmed, beets peeled and roughly chopped

1 tsp (5 mL) fresh thyme leaves

½ cup (125 mL) Parme­san, roughly chopped ¼ tsp (1 mL) red pep­per flakes

¼ tsp (1 mL) salt

1 tsp (5 mL) sugar

1 pkg (450 g) all-but­ter puff pas­try

2 tbsp (30 mL) turbinado sugar, op­tional

1 In a food pro­ces­sor, pulse beets, thyme, Parme­san, red pep­per flakes, salt and sugar un­til com­bined.

2 Un­roll 1 sheet of puff pas­try, leav­ing it on its orig­i­nal pa­per.

3 Spread half of the beet mix­ture over the top, then roll the pas­try up tightly along the long side just to the mid­dle, and then re­peat from the other side so that the 2 sides join in the mid­dle, al­most like a heart. Re­peat with re­main­ing sheet of dough and re­main­ing beet mix­ture. Wrap in the pa­per and chill in the fridge for 30 min­utes.

4 Pre­heat oven to 450°F (230°C). 5 Line 2 cookie sheets with parch­ment pa­per.

6 Re­move the palmier roll from the fridge and re­move the pa­per. Us­ing a sharp knife, cut into ¼-inch (5-mm) pieces and place on the cookie sheets. Dis­card the ends. Sprin­kle palmiers with turbinado sugar on 1 side, flip and sprin­kle on the other side. (I like the added sweet­ness and crunch of the sugar. If you want to keep it sim­ply savoury, skip the turbinado sugar.) 7 Bake in the cen­tre of the oven for 8 min­utes, then flip each palmier and bake for about 8 min­utes more on the other side, or un­til the palmiers are golden brown, about 16 to 18 min­utes in to­tal. Trans­fer to a bak­ing rack to cool.

Makes about 32 palmiers

MUSH­ROOM-GRUYÈRE CIGARS

These slightly retro 1970s-era phyllo cigars are a clas­sic match with a tried-and-true Man­hat­tan. They’re also a great make-ahead party hors d’oeu­vre. Sim­ply warm them up to a crisp in a 200°F (100°C) oven when your guests ar­rive.

1 pkg (227 g) crem­ini mush­rooms, chopped 2 medium shal­lots, chopped

2 tbsp (30 mL) un­salted but­ter, plus

¼ cup (60 mL) melted

Salt and pep­per to taste

1 tbsp (15 mL) dry white ver­mouth

¼ cup (60 mL) sour cream

6 phyllo dough sheets (store-bought), thawed and kept in wax pa­per un­der a damp towel ½ cup (125 mL) Gruyère, grated

1 Pre­heat oven to 375°F (190°C).

2 Line 2 cookie sheets with parch­ment pa­per. 3 In a food pro­ces­sor, pulse the mush­rooms with the shal­lots.

4 In a large fry­ing pan, melt 2 tbsp (30 mL) but­ter over medium-high heat. Add pre­pared mush­rooms and shal­lots, sea­son with salt and pep­per, and cook, stir­ring fre­quently, for sev­eral min­utes. Add the ver­mouth, and keep cook­ing slowly, stir­ring of­ten, un­til al­most all the liq­uid has evap­o­rated from the mix­ture; it will be a lit­tle bit stiff but still mushy (this will take 7 to 10 min­utes). Let cool slightly, then stir in sour cream. Taste for sea­son­ing.

5 One at a time, lightly brush each sheet of phyllo dough with melted but­ter and then care­fully slice each sheet into 6 rec­tan­gles, ap­prox­i­mately 4½ x 7 inches (11 x 18 cm). Spoon 1 tsp (5 mL) of mush­room mix­ture at one of the short ends of each rec­tan­gle, smear­ing it into a line. Sprin­kle with a pinch of grated Gruyère. Fold the long edges over slightly and roll up into a lit­tle cigar.

6 Place pre­pared cigars, seam-side down, on cookie sheets. Lightly brush the tops of each cigar with more melted but­ter.

7 Re­peat this process with the rest of the mush­room mix­ture and phyllo sheets, then place in the pre­heated oven and bake for 12 to 15 min­utes, un­til golden brown. Serve warm.

Makes about 36 cigars

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