There was a request for some quick and easy hors d’oeuvres for the holidays, so the Yankee Cuban Sandwich will have to wait until tomorrow. Here are some quick and tasty hors d’oeuvre options, Prosciutto-Wrapped Fruit, Katie’s Roasted Mushrooms, and Romeo y Julietas. It’s always good to have these hanging around in your repertoire. First, there’s the old stand-by of Prosciutto-Wrapped Fruit. I also use chunks of fresh pineapple, mango, pear and papaya, in addition to/instead of the traditional melon chunks. It’s pretty and the flavors are a pleasant surprise. I usually use half a slice of prosciutto, sliced paper-thin and I cut each slice lengthwise for each chunk of fruit. Then, just wrap away. You can do this with dried fruit, too!
Next, we have Katie’s Roasted Mushrooms. These are very simple, but they do need to spend about an hour in the oven. However, they only take about 10 minutes to prepare.
Katie's Roasted Mushrooms
- 2 lbs button mushrooms or baby Portobello mushrooms
- 6-8 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4-1/2 teaspoon garlic granules
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves, crushed between your fingers
- pinch of salt
Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a cookie sheet with foil.
Trim the mushroom stems even with the mushroom. These are nicest when the mushrooms are on the smaller side, as you want to be able to just pop these in your mouth in one fell swoop! Toss the mushrooms with the oil, garlic, thyme and salt. Place on the cookies sheet, stem-end down. Place the pan in the oven and roast for 30 minutes. The mushrooms will release some of their juices. Remove the pan from the oven and turn the mushrooms top-side up. Return the pan to the oven; continue roasting for 20-40 minutes longer or until the mushrooms brown and are tender; season with a bit of additional salt. Don’t over cook them or they will be too chewy. Let cool to very warm room temperature; serve.
NOTE: The roasting can be done ahead; reheat in the microwave until warm, not hot. You may wish to add more salt.
Katie’s Roasted Mushrooms Recipe©Marcia Lahens 2014. All rights reserved.
Last but not least, we have Romeo y Julietas, or squares of guava paste and cheese. I’ve used a sharp, somewhat salty bleu-veined cheese, but Manchego or other slightly hard, slightly salty cheese works very well. You simply cut squares of cheese that are about the same size as the guava paste squares, spear both pieces with a toothpick through them and voilá! Serve at room temperature.
- There is always guacamole, but you will need good avocados.
- Don’t forget about popcorn. Pop some corn; I still use my hot-air popper which I love. When the corn is popped, heat some olive oil or butter, pour it on and sprinkle with Cajun Seasoning or another seasoning blend you like, toss and serve.
- A quick trip through the olive bar in your local supermarket has many options.
- A thick slab of feta cheese in a small cast iron skillet, under the broiled until it just puffs a bit and starts to pick up some color. Remove the pan from the broiler, drizzle with honey or maple syrup and sprinkle with crushed pink peppercorns. Some sliced French bread and your set. There’s never any of this left. It’s “salty-sweet-warm-creamy-with-a-bite” good!
- Pecan halves, blanched almonds, raw cashews or whatever nut you feel like works for this. Put the nuts on a foil-lined cookie sheet, drizzle with olive oil or melted butter, some brown (or white) sugar, some red pepper flakes and salt. Toss everything together, throw the pan in a 350°F oven and roast, stirring 2 or 3 times until they begin to change color and toast. Let cool slightly, then serve. For flavor variations, you can add some rosemary or some cinnamon and allspice or curry powder or simply use the oil and some salt. I think it’s really the toasting of the nuts that makes them so good and everything else is just…well, gravy.
Okay, that gives you a few options to enjoy and still not be too crazy with the hustle and bustle of the holidays. Tomorrow I really will give you the Yankee Cuban Sandwich.