Appetizers

Panko Eggplant with Chile-Yogurt Salsa By Ming Tsai

Tuesday, January 18, 2011
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panko eggplant triangles with chile-yogurt salsa

Panko is a Japanese breadcrumb that is becoming more and more popular because it has a crisper, airier texture than most types of bradcrumbs, and I adore using it on this vegetarian appetizer that's perfect for any gathering.

Serves 4

Ingredients
3 Japanese eggplant, halved lengthwise and scored diagonally
1 tablespoon sesame oil
3 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons Sriracha
1 cup panko
1 cup non-fat Greek yogurt
3 scallions sliced thinly
1 large tomato, 1/2-inch dice
8 leaves Thai basil, fine ribbons
1 tablespoon sriracha

Directions
Pre-heat oven to low broil.

Lay out eggplant and season.

Mix together the oils and sriracha.

Brush mixture onto sliced side of eggplant and dip into panko, place on baking dish.

Moisten breadcrumbs on top with a drizzle of olive oil.

Place tray on middle shelf. Cook until golden, brown and delicious, about 15-20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a bowl, combine Greek yogurt, scallions, tomato, basil and Sriracha, season and store salsa in fridge.

To serve, plate with a few tablespoons salsa spooned over hot eggplant.

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chef ming tsaiMing Tsai is the host and executive producer of public television series Simply Ming and chef/owner of Blue Ginger restaurant in Wellesley, Mass.

Shrimp Filled Money Bags By Annie Copps

Thursday, December 2, 2010
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shrimp dumplings

Sometimes called "beggars' purses," we prefer the optimistic "moneybags." I'm talking about a delicious take on Asian dumplings.

This is one of those recipes, that if you are making 20, you might as well make 200 and freeze the balance. They are bite-sized appetizers that are packed with gobs of Asian flavors, they are crunchy and fun—real crowd pleasers. They look exotic and fancy, but in fact, they are rather easy.

In the bowl of a food processor, add a pound of shrimp—I use shrimp in this recipe, but feel free to substitute with an equal amount of scallops, lobster meat, ground pork, or chicken whatever you like. Add fresh ginger, garlic, soy sauce, scallions, cilantro, and water chestnuts and pulse until combined—not too smooth, I prefer them to have a little texture.

Lay out squares of phyllo dough and spoon the mixture into the middle of each square. Then pull edges of phyllo to center and twist to seal. Brush with oil and bake about 15 minutes. Serve hot with a soy based dipping sauce and YOU are a super star.

Yield: 40 pieces
Prep time: 1 hour
Total time: 1 ½ hours

Ingredients
1 pound shrimp, uncooked, shelled, and deveined
2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon cornstarch
3 scallions, finely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
8 water chestnuts, rinsed and finely chopped
20 sheets phyllo dough
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3 dozen fresh chives, blanched, at least 4 inches long

Directions
In a blender or food processor, pulse shrimp, ginger, and garlic together into a paste. Place in a medium bowl. Fold in soy sauce, cornstarch, scallions, cilantro, and water chestnuts.

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Cut phyllo sheets into 4-inch squares. Brush one square lightly with oil. Place a second square on top. (Keep the rest of the phyllo covered with a lightly dampened cloth until ready to use.) Spoon about 2 teaspoons of shrimp mixture into center. Gently pull edges of phyllo to center and twist to seal. Brush each "moneybag" with oil. Place on a parchment- or Silpat-lined baking sheet. Repeat with remaining filling and dough.

Bake 15 to 20 minutes. When cool enough to handle, tie a chive bow around each piece.

Serve hot, with dipping sauce.

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annie coppsAnnie B. Copps is a senior editor at Yankee Magazine. Annie oversees the magazine's food coverage, both as an editor and as a contributor of feature stories and columns.

Tomato Carpaccio with Soy-Vinegar Syrup

Monday, November 15, 2010
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Tomato Carpaccio with Soy-Vinegar Syrup

Whip up this impressive dish in a matter of minutes: Tomato Carpaccio with Soy-Vinegar Syrup will make an elegant appetizer for your next dinner party with almost no work at all.

Ingredients
3-4 large, ripe heirloom tomatoes of different sorts if possible, thinly sliced
1 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup naturally brewed soy sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar
Freshly ground black pepper
Sea Salt

Directions
Lay out tomato slices randomly on four plates or one platter. In a stainless steel saucepan over medium-high heat, combine vinegar, naturally brewed soy sauce and sugar.

Bring to a simmer and reduce by 50%.

Test by drawing line of syrup on a cold plate to see if the line will hold.

Transfer to a cool, heat-proof container and let cool in fridge. Season tomatoes with sea salt, ground pepper and syrup.

Serve.

Spicy Crab Dip By Ming Tsai

Monday, November 15, 2010
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prepared harvard beets

With the chill in the air and football season upon us, I start to think about what snack you can serve that's not just your classic chicken wings. And believe it or not when I think of the New England Patriots, I also think of New England seafood and that's where crab comes into play.

Ingredients
1/2 cup crème fraiche
1 tablespoon sambal
1 tablespoon honey
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons chopped chives
1 pint fresh, picked crab (peekytoe works well)
1 large jicama, peeled and sliced into 1/4-inch planks, 1x4 inch
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Directions
In the chilled bowl, combine everything except jicama, season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste and mix well. Serve in bowl and surround with jicama planks.

Harvard Beets
By Annie Copps

Monday, November 8, 2010
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prepared harvard beets

Some say this recipe is named for the great college, others say it gets the moniker from the town of Harvard, Massachusetts—either way this New England favorite brings sweet and sour together along with the deep and vivid purple that only comes from a beet.

Start with a double boiler—that's a pot of simmering water, with a larger pot nestled on the top—when you cook in the top pot you get a more even and gentle heat. You don't have to go out and spend your paycheck on a set—you can usually jury rig two pots together. So in that top pot, combine some sugar, salt, vinegar and a few cloves once the sauce becomes clear, add sliced beets and cook without boiling for 20 minutes. Fish out the cloves and stir in a wee bit of butter just before serving and you are good to G-O.

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

Ingredients
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup vinegar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 whole cloves
3 cups freshly cooked beets
2 tablespoons butter

Directions
In a double boiler over medium heat, combine sugar, salt, vinegar, corn starch, and cloves. Cook the sauce until it is clear. Slice the beets into ¼-inch rounds. Add the beets to the sauce and cook 20 minutes—do not boil. Remove cloves and add butter just before serving.

Baked Goat Cheese with Pepper Jelly
By Annie Copps

Tuesday, October 12, 2010
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goat cheese with pepper jelly on crackers

It's happened to all of us: Unexpected guests. Whether it's an impromptu party or maybe you even forgot the date—switching gears at the last minute could put even the greatest of hosts into a state of confusion.

No worries. At least when it comes to the food. I always have a log of goat cheese in the freezer (it defrosts very quickly) and there are any number of things you can do with this versatile cheese—which, by the way, New England makes some of the best goat cheese in the nation.

Give a baguette or sliced Ciabatta loaf a good smear of the cheese, then spoon some pesto or chopped herbs (fresh or dry) on top plus a drizzle of olive oil, then throw it in the oven. Even better, add some pepper jelly.

We are quite fond of Westport Rivers Vineyard's Pinot Noir pepper jelly—but use your own or a good quality store bought version. Now go set the table—the guests will be arriving any minute!

Total time: 30 minutes
Prep time: 15 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients
4 ounces creamy goat cheese, shaped into
4 equal patties, about 1/2 inch thick
4 slices ciabatta or other chewy Italian bread, lightly toasted
4 tablespoons pepper jelly

Directions
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Set goat cheese on toasted bread and bake until puffy and warmed all the way through, about 10 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to sit for a few minutes, then spoon pepper jelly over the top.

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annie coppsAnnie B. Copps is a senior editor at Yankee Magazine. Annie oversees the magazine's food coverage, both as an editor and as a contributor of feature stories and columns.

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