Sunday, December 21, 2008

Artie Cooks

Now, most of you know, in Casa de la Vander-dogan, Scott is the cook and I am the decorator/event planner. I might hand the menu choices off to Scott, but that is entirely as deep as I get into actually preparing the food.

Now it's not because I feel like I can't cook - or even that I don't want to cook, it has nothing to do with that at all. Frankly, Scott and I are so good at our perspective tasks when it comes to planning dinners that I don't want to fool with our feng shui.

Tonight, however, at the first annual Christmas Tour of Homes, Scott was unable to prepare scrumptious Amuse-bouche for the Christmas travellers, and I was left to prepare the entire thing. Though he tempted me with the idea of buying bulk frozen "black tie" appetizers from Sams, like: Mini Beef Wellington, Quiche, and Oyster Stuffed Mushroom - I was dying to do something on my own.

So, I called my good friend Isa, and together we came up with a good plan. Spinach Salad garnished with orange zest and citrus dressing in a Parmesan cheese cup. I know - I thought the same thing, Parmesan cheese cup? But they came out just beautifully!


Best part is, it's EXTREMELY EASY! I first layered a pan with a fine mist of olive oil, then sprinkled shredded Parmesan cheese onto the pan in a small mound, about 3" in circumference. Then I put the pan into the oven on 375 until the cheese was melted.

I gave it about 30 seconds to cool, and then used a spatula to take the flat mound of warm cheese and mold it onto inverted votive candle holders. You could use shot glasses, water mugs - anything that will allow for a mold. The votive candle holders I chose were the perfect size for this particular party.

After they were molded, I put them back in the fridge to "cool off" and then before the party I filled them with the spinach salad, orange zest dressing, and garnish.

These were a HUGE hit! We even spent about 30 minutes deciding amongst ourselves the many uses for these cheese cups. Next party, twice baked potatoes served in these beauties! Mm mm. Now - onto the "Main" Appetizer: Pinwheeled Chicken.

I've always loved the look of pinwheeled appetizers. There is something so artistic about its presentation. I took basic stuffing mix, and added hot pepper Italian sausage, granny smith apples - cooked in Captain Morgans Tattoo Rum and Cinnamon, and rolled it into pinwheels with boneless, skinless chicken breasts.

After about 20 minutes in the oven on 375, I browned them in a skillet with a little bit of butter and seasoning, and then garnished with cranberry sauce, with green apple and lemon zest.

The party-goers seemed to really love the dishes. Who knows if they were really that good, only thing we do know is, they sure were pretty!

34 comments:

  1. YAYAYAYAY!!! I'm glad everything went well and everything was such a hit! Food, a three dimensional art form! Chef now goes in your amazing repertoire =)
    xo Isa

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  2. These look amazing! Great job Chef Artie! ☺ Diane

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  3. Hi Artie...If these are really as easy as you said, then I must try them...one thing about it, they are so appetizing looking... Thanks for the ideas! ;-) Bo

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  4. Pretty and unique! I am impressed...now tell me about this tour of homes? Was it just friends? Or your entire community?

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  5. Wow, this is impressive enough for Bon Appetit magazine. Genius. Mmmmmm.

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  6. You're right Artie - they sure do look pretty!! Glad everything was a success and so easy!
    Merry Christmas ~

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  7. Great job Dear One! I do love the cups and potato idea, might steal it from you!!!

    Vander-dogan really tickled my funny bone.

    Hugs, B.

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  8. Artie, these look fabulous and sound delicious! I just may have to try this.

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  9. Artie, you are amazing. I may give these a try!

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  10. Oh, we will all be a big bunch of copy cats for sure! I am going to try my hand at the salad/cheese cups and the pinwheels. One of my son's is a professional chef and the other worked his way through college cooking .... I anticipate a few calls back and forth while I'm in the midst of prep. Good job ... Thank you!

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  11. OMG Artie... Next time I am in NYC we must get together... You’re my hero... everything you do is to perfection... Ok did that give you a FAT head??? No seriously I loved the cheese cups and the chicken pinwheels... I am stealing them both... Love Ya

    (((HUGS)))
    Donna

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  12. What beautiful food! I can't wait to try those cheese cups--they sound so easy, and look so impressive. Thanks for sharing these recipes. laurie

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  13. Artie, Those little cups are darling! You are so creative. I just love stopping by your blog to see what you and Scott are up to. You have so much to share!!

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  14. Wow! Looks so pretty and yummy! I would have loved being a guest at your home:) Happy Holidays!

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  15. I am salivating! Yummy! Can we see some pics of the house tour? Pretty please!

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  16. Artie, both dishes looked amazing and sounded delish! I'm sure they were enjoyed by all! Merry Christmas! ~ Robyn

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  17. Oh, I've made parmesan crisps before but your little cups are amazing!! I will definitely try this!

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  18. Dear Artieness! You can do everything! The food sounds and looks scrumptious! I would like to try my hand at the little Parmesan chesse baskets! How cute these are. Thank you for your understanding! I'm so blessed, I don't have any reason, really to vent! Just get frustrated sometimes! But, Woo Hoo! Progress is being made today - the stairway carpet is going down and this guy is actually matching the pattern! I must sit down or I'll pass out!!
    Dear One, I wish you and Scott and your fuzzy babies a wonderful Merry Christmas. If we lived closer, you may have three hungry folks just show up on your doorstep at noon on Christmas day! lol
    Merry Christmas,
    Shelia ;)

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  19. Oh my gosh, looks wonderfully tasty!
    Wish I had been there to sample, tee hee!

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  20. Artie that salad was so pretty and I know it was tasty too. I would love to have eaten at least two... vickydarnell

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  21. Holy shit, Artie! Those look like something straight out of a gourmet magazine! Oh boy, if they tasted as good as they looked, I think we'll have to put you right up there with Scott in the kitchen dept!

    Justine :o )

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  22. I can't wait to try these. I have a nephew who is a chef. I'm intending to blow his socks off with these.
    They look delicious and the presentation is everything (or so I'm told by His Royal Chefness)!
    Merry Christmas to you and Scott!
    fondly, Carol

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  23. The cheese cups are awesome! I'm definitely going to use this someday! The chicken looks fantastic as well! I'm glad to hear that they were a big hit!

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  24. It doesn't surprise me with your creative passion that you produced such an eye catching delight for the senses.

    The possibility for the cheese cups are endless.
    I think your pinwheels are like no others. I like the sweet and savory combination of chicken, sausage stuffing added to the apple, zest and cranberry sauce. I think you should exercise your culinary talents more often.

    Sweet Christmas Wishes,
    Sara

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  25. I love the recipes! I'll have to try these ASAP.

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  26. You have great style my friend. THanks for the great read.....Adding you to my blogroll.

    regards,
    Pink Pig

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  27. Oh this looks delicious Artie. I'll have to try this soon. I know I've been mia lately..would love to have you stop by.. well.. yes.. bring Scott too, the more the merrier..Happy Holidays!
    hugs ~lynne~

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  28. Can you hear that Artie? It is a genuinely impressed Muse, applauding! Well done, positively Well Done!
    (did you save some for Scott?)

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  29. YUMMY!!! What a great idea too for the cheese cups!!Everything looks delish Artie!! Vanna

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  30. The cups look and sound great! Never seen them before and my imagination is running wild with all the things that could be added. This I have to try.

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  31. you have a partner who cooks......!!!!! I am so jealous......

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  32. Everything looks absolutely scrumptous Artie.

    (Regarding the cheese cups, if you use hors d'oeuvre or shallow muffin tins you will not have to mold them.)

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