Friday, December 31, 2010

Small Bites and Baby Sips for New Year's Eve

For our starters tonight, Mr. Fabulous and I will be eating lots of savory favorites and sipping some of the best wines we had this year ... I made a yummy Pineapple Cream ... heaven ... that I'll slather over some bite size pieces of focaccia, (for recipe, see December 28, 2010 post) with thin slices of Niman Ranch ham. To go with our paper thin slices of smoked salmon, I prepared a complementing multi-herb cream cheese and onion dip, that will get topped with spanked capers, (place capers on work surface and spank with the back of a metal spatula) spanking them intensifies that wonderful caper flavor. From my cookbook, This Book Cooks, I made the crowd-friendly, can't-stop-eating Cheddar and Pecan Pate that gets flooded with Strawberry Preserves. And lastly, we will savor one of my favorite foods; shrimp. I marinate them in a really salty, lemony, garlic and olive oil mixture and serve them with a feisty cocktail sauce.

We plan on eating dinner in front of a roaring fire with Caramel snuggled between us ... with a huge portion of gratitude (no resolutions) just hoping for a happy, healthy New Year! Happy New Year readers!

Cheddar and Pecan Pate with Strawberry Preserves

This recipe always receives rave reviews. It is simple to assemble and can be prepared in advance. It’s a significant yield, making it a great choice if you’re hosting large gatherings or hungry appetites. The flavors in this pate speak for themselves respectively so it is best to serve with a neutral-flavored cracker such as Carr’s® Table Water Crackers®.

Tasting notes: A good quality preserve like Bonne Maman® or homemade strawberry preserves is recommended. I prefer the expeller pressed canola oil 365 brand mayonnaise distributed by Whole Foods Market®. I like its’ close to homemade flavor.

Cheddar and Pecan Pate

One-pound (5 cups) sharp white cheddar cheese, grated

1 cup pecans, chopped

¾ cup onion, minced

1 cup mayonnaise

Dash of cayenne pepper

A few grindings fresh ground black pepper

In a large bowl, combine cheddar cheese, pecans, onion, mayonnaise, cayenne and black pepper.

Transfer to a serving platter and form pate into an oval shape. Using a soup ladle, press the scoop part into the center of the pate making an indentation, this is where the strawberry preserves go. Cover pate and refrigerate until one hour prior to serving.

One 12-ounce (1½ cups) jar strawberry preserves

Chopped fresh chives or thinly sliced green onions for garnish

Allow pate to come to room temperature. Just before serving, fill center and top with strawberry preserves, garnish with fresh chives or scallions. Serves a crowd!