Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Tapas and Cheese

Okay, so I'm a slacker. I haven't posted for days, except for this morning's review of my most recent cake decorating class. So it's time to repent and tell you about Saturday.

On Saturday, we had a few friends over for a Tapas and Cheese Party. Now, when I say tapas, I unfortunately am not referring to the version in Spain. Our goal was more of an appetizer party. Our house is pretty small, so we only had three other families over, one of which opted to leave the kids with a sitter. I told everybody to bring an appetizer or two, and some kind of unusual cheese. We ended up having a pretty impressive spread.

I'm not going to get into what the other people brought. I figure that's up to them to post on their own blogs. I know that at least one of them is on the Utah Open Source Planet. I will, however, cover what I made.

Lamb Phyllo Cups

Now, I wish I had room in this post to write up a tutorial on using phyllo dough, but I don't. I'll make you a deal: you just trust me on this one, and I'll post a tutorial as soon as I can (probably this weekend). Suffice it to say that I had a bunch of phyllo cups. I diced up a red bell pepper and sauteed it in olive oil with a little salt. After it had been going a bit, I added a minced garlic clove and some chopped green onion (because it's what I had). I then added some diced lamb and a little more salt, and browned it up. I finished with a chiffonade of fresh mint, and then spooned it into my little phyllo cups.

Chinese Pork Trumpets

I keep all sorts of weird kitchen tools around. I have little metal cone molds hanging around just for this type of thing. I took some round wonton wrappers, brushed both sides with butter, wrapped them around the cone molds, and baked at about 350F for 8 to 10 minutes, and then allowed them to cool. While they were cooling, I diced up a green chile (an Anaheim, but don't tell anyone) and sauteed it in a mixture of peanut oil and sesame oil, with a little salt. After a couple of minutes, I added a minced garlic clove and a little minced fresh ginger. Then I added some diced pork and and little salt got it started browning. I might have splashed it with a little Worcestershire sauce too. I finished with some more chopped green onion, and allowed to cool before stuffing it into the cones that I'd made.

Dessert Wontons

I had some square wonton wrappers too, and a little fresh fruit hanging around. First, I took a couple of bananas, diced 'em up, and sauteed them in a little butter. After a minute I added some brown sugar, got it all coated and cooked, and let it cool down. Then I took a few fresh strawberries, diced 'em up, and tried to sauteed them in butter. D'oh! I forgot that strawberries contain so much water! I added a few extra strawberries and just cooked out as much of the water as I could. I also added some honey to give them some sweet. I let them cool down too. Then I took some square wonton wrappers, brushed both sides in butter and a little dab of fruit in the centers. The I would take opposite corners, bring them up together, then bring in the other two corners, and pinch them at the seams. I took these and baked them on parchment at 350F for about 15 to 20 minutes.

There was also cheese to be had. I brought some Spanish stuff called Pimento cheese, some (Californian?) stuff with a cocoa powder rind called Vella Jack or something like that, and some English Stilton with Mango and Ginger. All were good, but I really liked the Stilton. This version of it reminded me of some Wensleydale with Cranberries that I had once in New Hampshire. So, that was our "Tapas" party. It was nice to have so much variety, and in such small portions. Rather than just having something like a big old burger and no room left in the stomach for the sides like potato salad or something, we could each try everything, and not feel bad about going back for seconds. It was a good time had by all.

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