If you have party plans to make and you’re looking for some light fare for your guests, these recipes are just the ticket. Mostly vegetarian fare, from a crisp, leafy pear and walnut salad with a citrus vinaigrette to a dessert of delicious pumpkin tartlets, these offerings are sure to please your guests and invite compliments galore.
Pear and Walnut Salad
2 heads of Romaine
2 cups of spring greens
¼ cup finely shredded carrots
¼ cup thinly sliced cucumber
3 pears, sliced
¾ cup candied walnuts
½ cup shaved or shredded Parmesan cheese
¾ cup olive oil, mixed with ¼ cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons white Balsamic vinegar
¼ cup orange juice
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons honey
Combine orange juice, salt, pepper, honey and vinegar. Slowly whisk in oil. Cover and refrigerate. Mix together romaine, greens, carrots and cucumber. Place on a serving platter and arrange sliced pears on top. Sprinkle nuts and cheese over salad. Shake up dressing to mix thoroughly and drizzle over salad or serve on the side.
1 lb. sliced Mesquite turkey (make sure turkey is not sliced too thin)
12 oz. cream cheese, softened
½ cup finely chopped roasted piquante peppers (Peppadew is a good choice)
2 teaspoons hot sauce
¼ cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons sour cream
Salt and pepper to taste
Mix all ingredients, except turkey, and refrigerate for 1-2 hours. Spread a generous amount of filling on each slice of turkey; roll up lengthwise and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight. When ready to serve, cut each roll into 3-4 slices and arrange on a platter. Garnish with olives and/or pickles.
Crispy Potato Puffs (Pommes Dauphine) with Sweet Pepper Aioli
1 pound Yukon gold potatoes, scrubbed clean
3 tablespoons butter
½ teaspoon each salt and pepper
½ cup flour
Vegetable oil for frying
Boil potatoes in salted water until tender; drain and set aside to cool. Peel and mash. Spread potatoes in a parchment-lined dish and bake at 300 degrees to evaporate moisture. Remove and set aside.
In saucepan combine butter, and water; bring to a boil on medium high heat. Remove from heat, add flour and stir until well mixed. Reduce heat to medium and return pan to stove; mix until dough forms a ball and pulls away from sides of pan.
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Line a medium baking dish with parchment paper. Spread the potatoes in the dish and bake for 10 minutes, stirring halfway through, to evaporate some of their moisture. Stir for a few more minutes to reduce moisture. Cool slightly.
In separate bowl, beat eggs one at a time, incorporating into potatoes gradually. Add potatoes to dough, with salt and pepper, and mix in well. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Heat oil in large saucepan to 320-340 degrees. Form dough into 1-inch balls; drop in oil and fry for a minute or two; then turns each ball over and continue frying until balls are puffy, crisp, and golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Keep warm in a 200 degree oven while frying up remaining dough. Serve with Sweet Pepper Aioli Sauce.
Sweet Pepper Aioli
2 egg yolks
1 clove of garlic, very finely minced
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup roasted sweet red peppers, pureed (if using peppers that are unpeeled, remove skins before pureeing, or press peppers through a sieve and discard peelings)
1-2 teaspoons mild hot sauce (or more, if you prefer it hotter)
Freshly ground black or white pepper to taste
Place first 5 ingredients I mixing bowl; whisk or beat with electric mixture until well incorporated. Mix olive oil in very slowly, a few drops at a time, until mixture thickens and all oil is incorporated. Add pepper puree, hot sauce and ground pepper. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Pumpkin Cheesecake Tartlets
2/3 cup sugar
2 (8-oz.) packages cream cheese
½ teaspoon vanilla
2/3 cup canned pumpkin
1 teaspoon pumpkin spice seasoning
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons sugar
2 dozen miniature pie crust shells (I use Clearbrook Farms – available on Amazon.com)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, mix cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla until smooth. Add pumpkin, eggs, and pumpkin spice; mix until smooth and creamy. Pour filling into pie shells and bake for 20-30 minutes (until filling is firm). Let sit for 30 minutes to cool, then refrigerate. Mix cream until soft peaks form; add 2 tablespoons sugar and whip until stiffer. Pipe over tarts to garnish.
Serve the above with deviled eggs and a fruit platter. Mimosas make a great accompaniment for those who like a nice pick-me-up; for the non-drinkers, a good citrus ice tea punch will be welcome.