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Crispy Eggplant Tapas

November 2, 2009

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Celebrate the beginning of the holiday season with another party recipe,

compliments of Elizabeth W. Gift Baskets!

CRISPY EGGPLANT TAPAS

When entertaining during the holidays, it’s sometimes fun to serve lots of little plates with an assortment of small samplings of several dishes, rather than serving a traditional appetizer-main course-dessert type menu. If you’re planning a tapas get-together this dish is a good one to include. It’s kind of a low-cal, bite-sized version of Eggplant Parmesan. Of course, you could add a few calories and a lot of flavor by topping each serving with a slice of fresh mozzarella or some shaved Parmesan!

INGREDIENTS

1 large eggplant

3 cups fresh breadcrumbs, preferably whole wheat

¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan

a generous pinch each of salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper

1 egg white

olive oil cooking spray

prepared marinara sauce, warmed

DIRECTIONS

Cut the eggplant into ½ inch slices. Place a large colander in the sink. Salt both sides of each slice and arrange them in the colander. Let them sit for about 20 minutes until they begin to sweat and give up their liquid. (This takes any bitterness away.)

Meanwhile, in a large, shallow bowl or baking dish, mix together the fresh breadcrumbs, Parmesan, salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg white and 1 tablespoon of water.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spray a large baking sheet with cooking spray. Press the eggplant slices between paper towels to dry them off. Cut each slice in half. Dip slices into the egg white, then into the breadcrumb mixture to coat. Arrange coated slices on the prepared baking sheet and spray with cooking spray. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, turning once, until slices are brown and crispy on both sides.

To serve, place 1 or 2 hot eggplant slices on a small plate and top with warm marinara sauce.

FIND A GIFT FOR EVERYONE ON YOUR LIST AT

ELIZABETH W. GIFT BASKETS!

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Happy Entertaining from Elizabeth W. Gift Baskets!

A farmer friend of mine once told me that his favorite sandwich as a child was white bread slathered with mayo and stacked high with nasturtium leaves. My nasturtiums are in full bloom so today I set out to make curried egg salad canapés accented with thin strips of peppery nasturtium leaves. But when I saw how pretty the blossoms were, I ended up with these eye-catching party bites. 

NASTURTIUM BLOSSOMS STUFFED WITH CURRIED EGG SALAD

If stuffing blossoms seems too prissy to you, simply spread the egg salad on cocktail bread or toast points and top with a single nasturtium blossom or thin strips of the leaves. If nasturtiums are unavailable, top the canapés with peppery radish sprouts. 

 INGREDIENTS

(Makes 28. You may have leftover egg salad.)

6 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and halved

1 tablespoon softened butter, plus more for the toast

¼ cup mayonnaise

1 teaspoon curry powder, or more to taste

½ teaspoon Dijon-style mustard

28 freshly picked nasturtium blossoms (Do not wash!)

28 toast rounds

DIRECTIONS

  1. Combine egg yolks and butter in a medium bowl; mash well with fork.  Finely chop egg whites and add to yolks. Stir together mayonnaise, curry powder and mustard in a small bowl; stir into egg mixture. Season with salt and pepper. (Can be made 6 hours ahead. Cover; chill.)
  2. Just before serving, spread toast rounds very lightly with butter. Fill each blossom with a scant teaspoonful of egg salad and place one filled blossom on each toast round. Arrange on a platter and serve. 

 FIND A GIFT FOR EVERYONE ON YOUR LIST AT ELIZABETH W. GIFT BASKETS!

Birthday Banana Cupcakes

March 2, 2009

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Cupcakes cure all! That’s the motto here at Elizabeth W. Gift Baskets. Birthdays provide the perfect excuse to whip up a batch. Don’t know anybody who’s having a birthday? No problem. Let your bananas get a little overripe and you too will have the perfect excuse to make these beauties.

BIRTHDAY BANANA CUPCAKES

I tinted the icing with a drop of red food coloring because the birthday girl loves pink, but leave the icing white and garnish with a slice of banana for a more traditional look.

(Makes 16 cupcakes)

Ingredients

 2 cups cake flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

1 ¼ cups sugar

2/3 cup unsalted butter, softened

2 eggs

1 cup mashed ripe banana

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/3 cup buttermilk

Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe follows)

Directions

 

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin tins with paper liners.
  2. Stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl.
  3. In a large bowl, beat together sugar and butter until well combined. Beat in eggs, mashed banana and vanilla. Beat in flour mixture; then beat in buttermilk. Scrape the batter into the muffin tins, filling each ¾ full.
  4. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes. Let cupcakes cool in the tins for 5 minutes; then move to wire racks to cool completely. Frost with cream cheese frosting.

CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

Using an electric mixer, beat one 8-ounce package of room-temperature cream cheese and ½ stick of room-temperature unsalted butter until light and fluffy. With mixer on low speed, beat in 1 cup confectioners’ sugar a few tablespoons at a time, scraping down bowl as necessary. Add ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract; increase speed to high and beat until frosting is light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Use immediately, or refrigerate for up to one week. Bring to room temperature before using. Makes about 1½ cups.

 

FIND A GIFT FOR EVERYONE ON YOUR LIST AT ELIZABETH W. GIFT BASKETS