Every holiday I learn to cook a little smarter and plan efficiently. I always include appetizers that won’t take much effort without sacrificing the taste. A three or a four-ingredient recipe that looks good, saves time, and also is a crowd pleaser. This is one of those recipes that just looks beautiful on the platter with some cheese and crackers while adding some color and natural sweetness to your bites.
- Bocconcini (baby, balls) – 20 (You can also use small mozzarella balls)
- Olive oil – 2 Tablespoons
- Rosemary (cocktail sticks, or trimmed, branches)- 20 sprigs ( I cut the springs in three different pieces)
- Pineapple (fresh or from a tin) – ½ cup
- Chili flakes (red pepper flakes) – 1/4teaspoon
- Rosemary (chopped) – 1 Tablespoon
- Place the olive oil into a frying pan, add the rosemary and place over a low heat. Allow the oil to heat up and as soon it starts to shimmer, remove from the heat and pour the oil into a heatproof bowl.
- Drain the bocconcini balls and placing them in a separate bowl with the chili flakes. Shake gently to ensure each ball has a little chili on it, then set aside.
- Cut the pineapple into 20 small chunks. (or if using tinned just drain the pineapple)
- Place your frying pan back on the heat (no need to wash it) and add the pineapple. Cook over a high heat for 2 minutes then flip and cook on the other side for a further 2 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and tip the pineapple into the warm rosemary oil. Allow to cool.
- Take your cocktail stick (or branch) and push on a baby bocconcini ball. Add a chunk of pineapple and set onto a platter.
- Cover and keep chilled until your party. Just remember to remove them from the fridge at least 15 minutes before you want to eat them.
Sweet and savory all at once. The beauty of crepes is in playing a dual personality. It can be anything you want it to be. I’ve used the crepes to be sweet here but you can put meat, mushrooms, vegetables, etc.
- Flour – 1 cup
- Water – 3/4 cup
- Melted Butter – 2 Tbsp
- Milk – 1/2 cup
- Eggs – 2
- Whisk all the ingredients together in a bowl.
- Take a ladle full of the mixture and evenly pour it into a pan that is on medium heat.
- Let the mixture cook, you can tell that its cooked when the mixture starts to come off the pan.
- Spread your choice of filling, in my case, I used Nutella and bananas.
- Fold the unfilled side of the crepe over and then give it another fold to make it look like a triangle.
- Serve it with some dusted confectioners sugar.
As we slipped into this self-quarantine at the beginning of March. The only meat we had at home was chicken breasts as usual. If anyone has similar ingredients at home, please give this one a try. It is so creamy and easy to prepare. I served it with bread at first but it is just as good with pasta. The recipe says it’s restaurant quality and it really is!
On a side note, I did not have parsley so I threw in some green onions on top with some cilantro. I also used beef stock instead of chicken but you can use water if you don’t have any of these. Feel free to substitute as you see fit.
- Chicken Breast (2 large), or chicken tenders – 1 1/4 lbs
- Salt or to taste – 1/2 tsp
- Black pepper or to taste – 1/4 tsp
- All-purpose flour for dredging – 1/4 cup
- Olive oil – 2 Tbsp
- Unsalted Butter – 1 Tbsp
- Brown button mushrooms halved or thickly sliced if very large – 8 oz
- Onion Powder – 1/2 tsp
- Garlic Cloves Minced – 2
- Dry Marsala Wine (not sweet) – 3/4 cup
- Chicken Stock reduced-sodium – 3/4 cup
- Heavy Whipping Cream – 1/2 cup
- Parsley Finely Chopped – 2 Tbsp
Cut chicken breasts in half lengthwise to make 4 even cutlets. Place between plastic wrap and pound until 1/3″ thick. Season chicken all over with 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper, dredge in flour (shaking off the excess), and then set aside.
Heat a large heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat. Add 2 Tbsp olive oil and 1 Tbsp butter. Once butter and oil are hot, add dredged chicken and saute until golden and cooked through; about 3-4 minutes per side (don’t over-cook). Set chicken aside and tent with foil to keep warm.
Add more oil to the pan if needed along with mushrooms and saute until excess liquid from mushrooms evaporates and mushrooms are golden brown (5 min). Stir in 1/2 tsp onion powder and 2 minced garlic cloves and saute another 30 seconds or until fragrant.
Add 3/4 cup marsala wine, scraping the bottom of the pan. Increase the heat and cook until mostly reduced down (4-5 min) then add 3/4 cup chicken stock and while stirring add 1/2 cup heavy cream in a steady stream. Lower the heat to keep at a simmer and continue to simmer and reduce sauce another 4-5 minutes until slightly thickened. Season sauce with 1/4 tsp salt or season to taste.
Return chicken to pan and sprinkle the tops with 2 Tbsp chopped parsley. Spoon the sauce over the chicken and keep on the heat until heated through and the sauce has thickened to your desired consistency (2 minutes). Keep in mind, the sauce will thicken more as it cools.
Chicken fry from my mom’s recipe
There are a few things that I know from just watching and being around my mom while she cooked. I never really tried to learn cooking from her. But when it came time to do it on my own. I relied on my memory for things that she would make and the rest sort of just happened. This is one of those recipes that I can do with my eyes closed. Her famous Asian inspired chicken fry. She only ever makes this with drumsticks and thighs but you can use whatever you want. You can adjust all these ingredients to your taste. My mom doesn’t have an exact measurement for all the ingredients. But just to give you an idea this is more or less what is required to make it.
P.S. I love you Ammu! Thank you for being you.
- Chicken Drumsticks – 12 pieces
- Flour – 2 cups
- Eggs – 2
- Soy Sauce – 1 cup
- Onions (Finely Chopped) – 2 cups
- Green Chillies – 1 Tbs
- Corn Starch – 1 Tbs
- Salt – 1 Tbs
- Vinegar – 1 Tbs
- Ginger Paste – 1 tsp
- Ground White Pepper – ½ tsp
- Oil for deep frying
- Make sure you wash the Chicken first and let it dry. Prick holes in it with a fork.
- Mix all the ingredients together in a huge bowl except for the oil.
- For best results, it is suggested to keep this mixture in a fridge overnight. The flavor develops increasingly if you let it marinate for a longer time. If you are in a hurry then you can marinate it for an hour and that should also be good enough.
- Take it out and fry it well in oil under medium-high heat. Make sure to thoroughly cook it well on all sides. 2-3 minutes on each side before turning it.
- Serve it while it’s hot.