Friday, March 23, 2012

St. Patrick's Day - Green Appetizers and Desserts (that have absolutely no Irish background!)

I had friends over last weekend, and since it was St. Patrick's Day I thought I would try my best to make a green menu.  Here's what we had:

CUCUMBER SMOKED SALMON ROLLS (inspired by this recipe)
1 or 2 cucumbers
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 tsp. Lemon Dilly dip mix
2 green onions, finely chopped
2 tbsp. smoked salmon, diced
juice of 1/2 a lemon
salt & pepper

Using a mandolin or vegetable peeler, thinly slice cucumber lengthwise to create "ribbons".  Mix together remaining ingredients and place a scoop at the end of each cucumber ribbon.  Roll up the cucumber and secure with a toothpick.

1 pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 c. sour cream
1 c. salsa verde
mozzarella cheese, grated
2 green onions, diced

Mix together cream cheese and sour cream and spread in a baking dish.  Cover with a layer of salsa verde, then sprinkle with grated cheese and top with green onions.  Serve with tortilla chips.  (You could add diced avocado and green pepper if you really wanted this to be an extra-green appetizer.)

artichokes hearts, marinated in oil and herbs
cherry tomatoes
fresh basil

AVOCADO BRUSCHETTA (sorry, no picture)
2 avocados, diced
4 tomatoes, seeded and diced
juice of 1 lime
2 tbsp. cilantro, chopped
1/4 c. onion, finely chopped
salt & pepper

Toss everything to gether and serve on toasted baguette slices.

PISTACHIO CRÈME BRÛLÉE (sorry, no picture of this one either)
1 c. raw pistachios (shelled and unsalted)
4 c. whipping cream
10 egg yolks
3/4 c. sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. almond extract
green food colouring (optional)
extra sugar for on top

Grind pistachios in a blender or food processor until they are completely crushed.  Heat whipping cream over medium heat until steaming (don't let it boil, and stir often.)  Add pistachios and let it simmer over low heat for about 15 minutes.  Remove from heat and let it cool to room temperature.  Whisk together egg yolks and sugar, and pour in whipping cream.  Add vanilla and almond extracts and the food colouring.  Pour into 12 ramekins (about 1/2 c. custard mixture in each) and place ramekins in a baking dish that is half-filled with water.  Bake at 325 F for 45 minutes.  Remove from oven and cool.  Refrigerate overnight if you like.  If you refrigerate them, allow them to warm up to room temperature before topping with approx. 1 tbsp. sugar on each one.  Place directly under broiler for a few minutes until sugar melts.  Allow them to cool on the counter before serving.
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