November 9th 2012

3 really easy appetizers for entertaining

The time between Thanksgiving and Christmas is destined for holiday entertaining. This is when we have friends over for casual get togethers, fancier dinner parties, and joy-filled occassions with our loved ones. It’s a time to decorate, simple, drink, laugh, and enjoy ourselves while bringing everything together that we love around the holidays.

Though sometimes sitting in the kitchen for a few days, preparing dish upon dish, is fun, other times we just want to relax and smile, put out a few bags of chips, and open a bottle of wine.

Luckily, we can step it up from the basic chip and container of dip, and throw together a few appetizers that our guests will love — and just take us moments in the kitchen.

Spiced Pickled Shrimp Recipe

Cooking mixture:
6 cups water
1 red onion, quartered
3 bay leaves
1 cinnamon stick
4 garlic cloves, mashed
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 teaspoon celery seeds
2 pounds peeled and deveined shrimp, tails on

Remaining ingredients:

2 red onions, quartered and thinly sliced
1 1/4 cups orange juice
1 cup white wine
1/4 cup lemon juice
4 bay leaves
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon unrefined cane sugar
1 teaspoon celery seeds
1/2 cup roughly chopped fresh Italian parsley

To prepare the cooking liquid, put all of the ingredients, minus the shrimp, in a large pot. Bring to boil over high heat. Once boiling, remove from heat and add the shrimp. Let sit until the shrimp are bright pink, about 2 minutes. Drain and rinse in cold water.

Transfer the shrimp to a large bowl. Add the remaining ingredients, minus the parsley. Toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate at least 5 hours. Stir in parsley before serving. Serve with toothpicks.

Roasted Sweet Potato Dip

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
6 fresh sage leaves
6 fresh thyme sprigs
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Toss the potatoes with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt. Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast, stirring occasionally, until the sweet potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.

Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly. While they are cooling, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of the oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the sage, thyme, and garlic. Cook until fragrant and toasted. Remove from heat and set aside.

Transfer the sweet potatoes to a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Add the broth, mustard, and vinegar, along with the sage, the leaves from the thyme, and the garlic. Puree, scraping down the sides with a rubber spatula as needed. Season with additional salt, and freshly ground black pepper, to taste. Serve warm or cool with tortilla chips or fresh vegetables.

Sweet-Spicy Roasted Curry Almonds Recipe

1 tablespoon olive oil or grapeseed oil
2 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons spicy curry powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 pound whole almonds

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Toss all of the ingredients together. Spread evenly in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet.

Roast the almonds, stirring every 5 to 7 minutes, until fragrant and golden brown, about 20 minutes total. Remove from oven and cool to room temperature before serving.

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Andrew's Biography

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Andrew loves art and design, and pursues his studies in his final year at the Ontario College of Art and Design. He loves seeking out new artists and giving them their dues, and in his spare time, focuses on his own abstract sculpture.