June 8, 2008

Now that's teamwork! ( Cooking Class - Appetizers)

My friend Dana and I usually like to plan things that will get us into trouble - practical jokes, pranks and general silliness are what we are about. During the month of May we decided to use our planning skills for good instead of evil. A Cooking Class at work, with the theme of appetizers, was what we were able to come up with and it went off without a hitch.

During the class we presented the following recipes. Each one was something that we have as a "stand by" when entertaining.

Ridiculously easy. Add 1/2 c lime and 1/4 c lemon if you don't have Key limes.
Cheese Straws with Cheesy Artichoke Dip (see below)
Another "easy, peasy" recipe. Not exactly low fat but well worth the heavy caloric intake.
Great with Prosecco.
Guacamole and Strawberry Salsa with Corn Chips
Dana taught me this recipe. I have yet to find someone who dislikes these
Cheese Straws
(inspired by The Barefoot Contessa)

1 box frozen puff pastry defrosted overnight in the refrigerator
Flour, for dusting
Butter Spray
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Roll out each sheet of puff pastry on a lightly floured board until it is 10- by 12-inches. Spray butter spray on the surface of the pastry (or you can brush melted butter). Sprinkle each sheet evenly with 1⁄4 cup of the Parmesan, ½ t of salt, Cayenne and pepper. With the rolling pin, lightly press the flavorings into the puff pastry. Cut each sheet crosswise with a floured knife or pizza wheel into 11 or 12 strips. Twist each strip and lay on baking sheets lined with parchment paper.

Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until lightly browned and puffed. Turn each straw and bake for another 2 minutes. Don't over bake or the cheese will burn. Cool and serve at room temperature.

Cheesy Artichoke Dip


2 packages cream cheese, room temperature
1/3 cup sour cream
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 6-ounce jars marinated artichoke hearts, drained, coarsely chopped
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese (about 2 1/2 ounces)
3 green onions, finely chopped

Mix first 8 ingredients in large bowl to blend. Fold in artichokes, mozzarella cheese, and green onions. Transfer to 11x7x2-inch glass baking dish. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)
Bake dip until bubbling and brown on top, about 20 minutes. Serve hot dip with cheese straws, nachos or your favourite veggies.

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