Appetizers for your Dinner Party!

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Just because holiday season is over, doesn’t mean your dinner parties have to be. Party it up with these recipes below, people!

Baked Brie with Honey

Ingredients:
Small wheel of brie
Honey

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Drizzle honey on brie. Bake for 5-7 minutes until oozing but not melted completely.
Serve with crackers.

 

Kale Walnut Goat Cheese Dip

Ingredients
½ head of kale, stems removed, torn into pieces
1 shallot, chopped
1 clove of garlic
1-2 tbsp of goat cheese
extra virgin olive oil
handful of walnuts
salt and pepper

Lightly sauté kale and shallot in olive oil. Transfer to food processor, toss in garlic clove and splash of olive oil. Blend well, then add goat cheese and walnuts. Blend until mixed together. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

 

Asian Infused Tuna on Toast

Ingredients
1 lb tuna
1 ripe avocado
juice of 4-5 limes
1-2 fresh chillies,
3 tbs sesame oil
1 handful of micro cilantro or fresh cilantro
fresh ginger, grated
Soy sauce, 1 tsp
Finely dice tuna and place in a bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir. Let sit for about 15 minutes for flavors to meld together. Serve on thinly sliced toasted bread.

 

Mulled Apple Cider

Ingredients
1 gallon of apple cider
1 orange, sliced
2 cinnamon sticks
2 star anise
2 whole allspice berries
3 thin slices of ginger root

Place all ingredients in a large pot and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 5-10 minutes and enjoy!

 

Smoked Salmon-Pear Blankets

Ingredients
smoked salmon – 6-8 oz
1 Asian pear, sliced
Juice of 1 lime
12 whole chives
4 oz. goat cheese (chevre)

Prepare an ice bath by filling a large bowl with ice water. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the chives and blanch for 15 seconds. Remove the chives and plunge them into the ice bath (This will make the chives pliable and will help them retain their bright green color).

Combine the goat cheese and lime juice and mix until smooth and well combined. Wrap each pear slice in a piece of smoked salmon, and tie the package with a chive. Top with a dollop of the goat cheese-lime mixture.

 

Rack of Lamb Lollipops with Cilantro Vinaigrette

Ingredients
1 rack of lamb, frenched
3 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
olive oil
salt and pepper
cilantro
1 clove of garlic, minced
zest and juice of 1 lemon

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Season rack of lamb on both sides with rosemary, salt and pepper. Heat a sauté pan to medium-high. Add olive oil. Place fat side down in pan for 5 minutes. Use tongs turn over and cook for another 5 minutes. Slide into oven and cook for 5 minutes. Let rest at least 10 minutes underneath foil before slicing and serving.

Meanwhile, prepare vinaigrette. Add 2 parts olive oil, 1 part lemon juice, lemon zest and chopped cilantro and garlic in small bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon onto lamb lollipops. Yum.

 

Chocolate Covered Pears and Almonds

Ingredients
chocolate for melting
2 pears
almonds

Heat a small pot of water to boil. Place a small glass bowl in the heating pot of water. Place chocolate in glass bowl to melt. Dip fruits in melted chocolate and place on parchment paper. Cool in refrigerator or at room temperature for at least 20 minutes until chocolate hardens

Grilling Tutorial

As a public school teacher, there is nothing more treasured than the time of the year
that we call summer. School’s out, I turn off my alarms, and officially become a lady of leisure.

Some people ask, “Do you get bored with all of your free time?” Umm, NO! Aside from savoring long walks with the dog, riding bikes and generally having no agenda, I love to grill. On hot summer days, it’s easiest to bring the heat of the kitchen outdoors and save having to wash pots and pans by throwing everything on the grill.

At the end of July, Tutorial to Table kicked off its first grilling tutorial on our outdoor terrace in Bedstuy.I ordered all of our groceries on Good Eggs. Shopping on Good Eggs is shopping seasonally. They only offer what’s fresh, local, and in season. Each order comes with something special, like a bouquet of hand picked wildflowers from Pretty Streets Botanicals.

We started the evening with lots of cuddling with my pooch Bella, then started prepping our dinner together.

Our menu consisted of:
Sriracha Glazed Chicken Skewers
Grassfed Beef Burgers
Charred Corn and Carrot Salad
Grilled Kale and Peach Salad

So, all the recipes are below. I’m going to hook you up with my grilling tips first; these are generally for a charcoal grill, my favorite kind for that yummy, charred taste.

The Tips.

Use a charcoal chimney to start your coals.

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You can buy one at Home Depot for around $15 and they help get your coals blazing. We got ours as a gift from Will, who writes an awesome blog about beer and food tastings. Basically, you fill the chimney with coals, and put paper (could be paper from a brown paper bag or a newspaper) underneath. Light the paper, the smoke and fire will infiltrate and heat the coals. No lighter fluid necessary.Give it about 15-20 minutes and they’re blazing hot and ready to glow.

There will be hot spots and cooler spots.

If you pour your charcoals in the middle, the outer spots are cooler. If you pour them on the left side, the right side will be cooler. In some recipes, you want to be strategic about this because some foods don’t require direct blazing hot heat. Know your hot spots and not-so-hot spots and use your tongs to move things around accordingly. It’s great to get a nice char on your chicken skin in a hot spot, then move it to a cooler spot to cook the inside. It’s not great to leave it in the hot spot, burn the outside and undercook the inside. Grillmaster’s worst nightmare.

Get good utensils.

You can try using your current kitchenware, but grill utensils are designed to be longer so that your hands don’t have to get too close to the heat. You also don’t want to melt any of your current utensils – I recommend these simple tools from Weber. I mainly just use the tongs, the spatula once in awhile, and rarely use the fork.

More oxygen = more heat, less oxygen = less heat.

When you grill with the lid off, the coals are getting gulps of oxygen, which keeps them hot and blazing. When you cover the grill partially, the coals get less oxygen, and cools things down. If you cover the grill completely, including the air holes, you will suffocate your coals. Leave the holes open to keep the grill going (but obviously if you are done grilling and want it to cool, close the holes). I generally only put the lid on when I’m cooking chicken with bone in and skin on that needs a longer duration of time.

You can cook lots of things on a grill using different types of pans you already have.

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Yesterday I grilled Korean-style scallion pancakes on the cast-iron that I threw on the grill. I regularly use a small metal baking pan to grill veggies that are cut up small that I don’t want to lose in the grill. Think about our more primal days – everyone cooked with fire; they just placed a big pot or spit over the fire. There was no low, medium, or high setting. You just figured out the hotter spots and the cooler spots and adjusted your cooking accordingly. There are tons of grilling accessories available to purchase that perform all these functions – again, I say get the tongs at least, and see what you have in your kitchen instead of buying a kabob set, fish basket or kettle rotisserie.

Plan your grilling.

Hot coals

Using charcoals offers a finite amount of time when the coals are at their hottest, and depending on how many you use, can last between 35-45 minutes. Have everything ready to go on a table next to the grill. It’s a pain to have to re-start some coals when you realize that your coals are dying and you still have those burgers to throw on.

That being said, I can’t believe it’s already the middle of August and my summer is coming to a bittersweet end. We still have a nearly full 20 lb bag of charcoals though…I’ll keep holding onto my grilling days as long as I can.

 

The Recipes.

Sriracha Glazed Chicken Skewers
courtesy of Bon Appetit

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½ cup (packed) light brown sugar
½ cup unseasoned rice vinegar
⅓ cup fish sauce (such as nam pla or nuoc nam)
¼ cup Sriracha sauce
2 tsp. finely grated peeled ginger
1 ½ lb skinless, boneless chicken thighs cut into 1 ½” – 2” pieces
8 bamboo skewers, soaked in water at least 1 hour (so they don’t catch on fire when you grill them)

Prepare grill for medium-high heat. Whisk brown sugar, vinegar, chili paste, fish sauce, Sriracha, and ginger in a large bowl. Add chicken and toss to coat. Thread 4 or 5 chicken pieces onto each skewer.

Transfer marinade to a small saucepan. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer until reduced by half (about 1 cup, 7-10 minutes). Grill chicken, turning and basting often with reduced marinade, until cooked through, 8-10 minutes.

 

Grilled Kale and Peach Salad

Ingredients

1 head of kale
2 peaches, halved
1 lemon
olive oil
salt and pepper

Prepare grill for medium-high heat. Massage 1-2 tbsp of oil into whole kale leaves and season both sides with salt and pepper. Brush oil on peaches and place them flesh side down onto grill, grilling for about 5-7 minutes until they have nice grill marks; remove from heat and let cool. Grill greens, turning often, until lightly charred in spots, about 2 minutes.

Transfer to cutting board and let cool slightly. Remove thick ribs and stems from green and discard (or eat if you like them). Tear kale leaves into large pieces. Slice peaches. Combine kale and peaches, and use a squeeze of lemon. Add goat cheese or another cheese if you’d like!

Charred Corn and Carrot Salad

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Ingredients

5 ears of corn, husked
1 bunch of carrots, roughly chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, with seeds, thinly sliced into rings
juice of 2 limes
2 oz. fresh feta cheese
1 handful of cilantro, thinly chopped
4 tbsp of vegetable oil, divided
salt and pepper

Prepare grill for medium heat. Place chopped carrots in a small metal baking pan. Season with salt and pepper and toss with olive oil to coat. Place metal pan on straight on top of grill, tossing occasionally with tongs. Cook for 15-20 minutes, until carrots are fork tender and golden.

Meanwhile, cut kernels from 1 corn cob and toss with jalapeno and lime juice in a large bowl; season with salt and pepper and set aside. Brush remaining 4 ears of corn with 2 tbsp of oil and grill, turning occasionally, until very tender and charred in spots, 10-12 minutes. Let cool. Cut kernels from cobs and add to reserved corn mixture along with carrots, cheese, cilantro and remaining 2 tbsp of oil. Toss to combine and season with salt and pepper.

Loving Day: A Multicultural Potluck

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Loving Day: A Multicultural Potluck

When my boyfriend and I first moved in together about two years ago, we decided to have a multicultural potluck for our housewarming party. I love me a good potluck. It’s a chance for people to showcase their specialties, and reminds me of when I was in an elementary school and students would bring in food from their backgrounds (mmm lumpia and potstickers).

So naturally when Loving Day rolled around, we decided to make it a multicultural potluck. What is Loving Day, you ask? Loving Day celebrates the legalization of interracial marriage in America, made possible by the Supreme Court case Loving v. Virginia decided on June 12, 1967. Mr. and Mrs. Loving were arrested at night while asleep in their home in Virginia for being interracially married. At the time of their arrest, interracial marriage was a felony in Virginia. Forty-seven years later, we celebrate Loving Day, which is a new tradition that celebrates the anniversary of this landmark Supreme Court case. In 2014, when I look around my community of family and friends where interracial love abounds, I am grateful for how far we’ve come, but aware of how we still have a ways to go. I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate it than another multicultural potluck. Here you’ll find recipes for Jamaican Jerk Chicken (with variations based on my grocery store’s limited selection of peppers and a few other seasonings), Japchae (Korean vermicelli noodles with vegetables) and Mandoo (Korean potstickers).

 

Jamaican Jerk Chicken

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Serves 4

Ingredients:

1 whole chicken, cut into 8 parts
1 white onion, peeled and quartered
6 green onions, white parts
8 garlic cloves
1-inch piece of ginger, peeled and sliced
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried coriander
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp allspice
1 cup chicken stock
4 jalapeno peppers, stems and seeds removed (or leave some seeds in depending if you like spicy)

Directions:

  1. Place chicken in a large mixing bowl and season chicken pieces with salt and pepper.
  2. Puree the remaining ingredients in a blender or food processor.
  3. Pour marinade over chicken and massage with hands (you may want to use latex gloves to protect your hands from the heat of the peppers).
  4. Cover and chill for at least 1 day and up to 2 days. Let chicken sit at room temperature for 1 hour before cooking.
  5. Build a medium-low fire in a charcoal grill, or heat a gas grill to medium.
  6. Place chicken on grill, skin side up. Cook covered, turning often, until skin is crisp and lightly charred and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest parts of chicken registers 160° (breasts) or 165° (thighs), 30–45 minutes.
  7. Transfer to a platter and tent loosely with foil; let stand for 10 minutes.

Japchae

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Ingredients:

1 lb. package of vermicelli or sweet potato starch noodles
3 scallions, sliced
1 bunch of carrots, sliced thinly
1 red bell pepper, sliced thinly
1 onion, sliced thinly
¼ lb shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and sliced
1 lb of spinach, blanched in hot water and cut into pieces
1 ½ tbs soy sauce 1 tbs sesame oil 2-3 garlic cloves, minced 2 tbs of sugar small handful of sesame seeds 1 tbsp of vegetable oil

Directions:

  1. Cook the noodles according to package instructions. (Generally bring a large pot of water to boil and boil noodles for about 5 minutes, then rinse under cold water.)
  2. Mix soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic cloves and sugar in a small bowl.
  3. In a large saute pan, drizzle 1 tbsp of vegetable oil. Bring pan to medium-high heat, then add onions, carrots, bell pepper, and shiitake mushrooms.
  4. Saute for about 5-6 minutes, until vegetables begin to soften.
  5. Add half of the soy sauce/sesame oil/garlic/sugar mixture to the pan and mix with vegetables.
  6. Add cooked vermicelli noodles and add rest of the soy sauce/sesame oil/garlic/sugar mixture.
  7. Toss to coat all of the noodles and vegetables.
  8. Add blanched spinach. Toss and heat for another 3-4 minutes until fully mixed.
  9. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and add scallions.

 

Mandoo

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(Potstickers or Korean dumplings)

Ingredients:

1 lb ground beef
1 lb ground pork
½ pack of 14 oz soft tofu, drained and squeezed with a paper towel to remove excess moisture
1 lb soy bean sprouts
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 small zucchini, julienned
4 green onions, thinly sliced
1 tbsp of soy sauce
1 tbsp of sesame oil
Salt and pepper
1 package of Korean potsticker or dumpling wrappers

Directions:

  1. Mix first 11 ingredients (everything except for potsticker wrappers) in a large bowl by hand. Mix until everything is well combined together.
  2. Set up a little station for yourself. The bowl of potsticker mixture, your potsticker wrappers and a small bowl of cold water and a plate or tray to place the mandu in.
  3. In one hand, place a potsticker wrapper. Use the other hand to place a small spoonful of mixture into center of wrapper.
  4. Use your fingertips to apply a little cold water to one edge of the skin. This will act as a sealant when you fold it over.
  5. Fold skin in half over filling and press edges together to make ripple shape.
  6. After you make all of your mandu, pour some vegetable oil in a heated non-stick pan on medium heat.
  7. Place about 8 mandu in the pan (you don’t want it to be too crowded.) After about 3 minutes, turn the potstickers over with tongs, a spatula or chopsticks.
  8. Add 2-3 tbsp of water and put a lid on the pan. Cook for a few minutes over medium to medium-low heat. When mandu is golden brown, transfer it to a plate. Repeat with numerous batches of mandu.
  9. Serve hot with a dipping sauce made of equal parts vinegar and soy sauce.