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Bruschetta with Peach Salsa and Melted Brie

(for 12)

Salsa
  • 2 cups fresh peaches, small dice (about 4)
  • ¾ cup red bell pepper, small dice
  • ¼ cup green onions, small dice
  • 2 tbs chopped jalapeno, seeds and ribs removed
  • 2 tbs chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tbs sugar
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • 1 tbs fresh lime juice
1 baguette, cut into slices
4 oz chilled brie, cut into 24 pieces

Combine ingredients for salsa.
Preheat broiler. Arrange baguette slices on a baking sheet. Top each slice of bread with a piece of Brie. Put pan under broiler until cheese is melted and bread is toasted about 3 minutes.
Top each slice of bread with a good-sized tablespoon of salsa. Serve immediately.

CHOCOLATE-HAZELNUT MOUSSE

(serves 4)

  • ½ cup chocolate-hazelnut spread (aka Nutella)
  • ¼ cup crème fraiche*
  • 1 ½ tsp hazelnut liqueur (aka Frangelico) or brandy
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • Sweetened whipped cream, to garnish

In a medium bowl, use an electric beater to mix the chocolate-hazelnut spread with the crème fraiche and liqueur. Beat until smooth. In another bowl, beat the heavy cream until firm peaks form. Using a rubber spatula, fold the whipped cream into the chocolate-hazelnut mixture – until all the streaks disappear. Spoon into small bowls and refrigerate 20 minutes.
*Trader Joe’s has a good product.
Okay – let’s have some fun for a cocktail party or buffet. Spoon mousse into a pastry bag. Crush some chocolate wafers and set aside. Bev Mo sells plastic shooter glasses and small spoons are easy to find on the internet. Make a small “nest” of chocolate wafer crumbs on the bottom of the shooter glass. Pipe in the mousse and refrigerate until you want to serve. Whip some cream and flavor it with sugar and Frangelico. Either use a clean pastry bag or a small spoon and top the mousse with whipped cream and maybe a dusting of chocolate wafer crumbs. Insert the small spoon and serve on a beautiful tray.

Chocolate Chip Macaroons

(qty: many)

  • 1 cup pecan halves
  • 2 7 oz bags of sweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 ¼ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 13/ cup plus 1 tbs all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 ½ tsp pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325 – convection setting.

Place a piece of parchment on a large baking sheet (or lightly butter and flour)

Lightly toast the pecan halves. Cool and rough chop

In a large bowl, combine the coconut, chocolate chips, flour, salt and pecans. Add the condensed milk and stir until evenly moistened.

Mound a tablespoon of the mix and the baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes or until a light golden brown.

Roasted Red Pepper, Parsley and Caper Salsa

This is what I like to call the gift that keeps on giving. Wonderful to serve on a crostini, over fish, beef, chicken or pork. Keeps quite a while.

  • 3 lg red bell peppers
  • 3 tbs Italian parsley, chopped
  • 3 tbs capers, rinsed and drained
  • 1 ½ tbs garlic
  • 2 tbs EVOO
  • 2 tsp balsamic vinegar

Turn broiler to high. Place whole peppers on a cookie sheet and slip under broiler. Char peppers – turning them as they blacken (about 5-7 minutes). Remove from oven and put into plastic or paper bag. Close tightly and set aside for 15-20 minutes. Peppers will steam and loosen skin. Gently peel charred skin off. Halve pepper and clean out seeds. Do not rinse. Chop pepper into small pieces.

Chop parsley. Finely chop garlic.

Combine peppers, capers, parsley and garlic. Add EVOO and balsamic vinegar. Season to taste and let rest. Even better if you can make a day ahead. Serve at room temperature.

Homemade Mayonnaise

Once you taste homemade mayo – the store-bought jar will be crossed off your list forever. It is so easy to make and can become the basis for so many great things…….

Homemade Mayonnaise

  • 1 egg, room temp
  • 1 tbs Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbs lemon juice
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp white pepper
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 cup Canola Oil

In food processor, blend egg, mustard, lemon juice, spices and sugar. Very, very, very slowly and with motor running, drizzle oil into food processor bowl. When mixture emulsifies – you have a basic mayonnaise.

Aioli
Add fresh garlic cloves to taste. Stir into mayonnaise. Serve as a sauce for fish, on warm roasted veggies or on blanched fresh veggies.

Citrus Aioli
Add lemon zest and fresh lemon juice to taste. Orange juice and zest or lime juice and zest are great options as well.

Wasabi Mayo
Add Wasabi powder to taste. If you use wasabi in a powdered form, be sure to make into a paste with water. Stir into prepared mayonnaise. Add a few drops of soy sauce and fresh lemon juice to taste.

Roasted Red Pepper Mayo
Roast peppers and puree with garlic. Stir into prepared mayonnaise.