For Starters

Elevate your game day snacks with some of our favorite hors d’oeuvres.

We’re right in the throes of football and basketball season, and we know you’re probably having friends over to watch your favorite teams play. Elevate your game day menus with some of our favorite finger foods: forgo the chips and dip with parmesan crisps and goat cheese mousse, trade out your buffalo wings for soy-lacquered quail legs, get rid of those sausage balls and try some pork-endive wraps, and definitely switch out the sliders and brats for pastrami-wrapped beef tenderloin. Now that’s a game plan.

Parmesan Crisps with Goat Cheese Mousse 

½ cup grated Parmesan Reggiano cheese
6 ounces goat cheese
3-5 tablespoons heavy cream
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350. Sprinkle 2 teaspoons of grated Parmesan cheese onto baking sheet lined with parchment paper or surface of non-stick baking sheet. Using fingertips, spread the grated cheese into a 2-inch circle. Repeat process, making about a dozen rounds.

Bake 8 to 10 minutes until golden. Remove using spatula and transfer onto paper towels (for flat crisps) or into clean egg carton cups to form small cups. Let cool. Can be stored in airtight container for up to two days.

For the mousse:
Combine goat cheese and heavy cream using a beater to fluff up the mixture. Spoon small amounts into cooled cheese crisps and serve.

Miniature Pork-Endive Wraps 

1 lb. ground pork
6 cloves garlic, chopped fine
1/2 cup fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons cooking oil
1/2 cup roasted peanuts, roughly crushed
3 tablespoons fish sauce
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons brown sugar
1 fresh red chili pepper, chopped fine
leaves from 4-6 endives
½ red bell pepper, diced fine

Fry the chopped garlic in oil until golden brown. Add the ground pork, peanuts, fish sauce, chopped chili peppers, ground black pepper, brown sugar, and cilantro leaves.

Stir constantly until mixture begins to change color, and moisture evaporates.

After about 20 minutes, the mixture should be well cooked. Turn the heat off, stir in the diced bell peppers and leave to cool.

Separate the endive leaves in to individual pieces. Heap a spoonful of this mixture into an endive leaf. This should be done as close as possible to the time of serving so the leaf does not wilt.

Pastrami-Wrapped Beef Tenderloin with Pickled Mustard Seed 

2 pounds center cut beef tenderloin (1 piece, not filet)    
½ cup transglutaminase meat glue (available at specialty food stores or Amazon)
¾ pound thinly sliced pastrami    
salt and fresh pepper    
¾ cup whole yellow or brown mustard seeds    
1 cup white vinegar    
⅓ cup sugar    
½ teaspoon salt    
2 ounces Dijon mustard

To make pickled mustard seed, place seeds in a small heatproof bowl. In a saucepan, combine vinegar and sugar and bring to boil. Pour the hot liquid over the seeds, stir, cover and set aside at room temperature for at least 4 hours. Can be stored and refrigerated for up to 1 month.

Cut the beef tenderloin into approximately 5-inch logs about 1 inch in diameter. Season with salt and pepper. Keep the logs as round as possible, as they will look and wrap better.

Wearing gloves and on a clean surface, lightly dust the logs with the meat glue. Lay a shingled layer of pastrami (approximately five pieces layered) next to each other and dust those lightly as well.

Place the tenderloin log at the bottom of the pastrami strips and tightly roll up the log as if you were rolling sushi. Wrap this tightly in plastic wrap and twist the ends tightly to create a sausage tightening effect on the log.

Place the logs in the refrigerator for 24 hours. Transglutaminase bonds protein molecules together by linking two amino acids. It needs time to create a strong bond, in this case between the tenderloin and the pastrami.

In a skillet on high heat; just before pan begins to smoke, sauté the logs until golden brown for about 6-8 minutes. You want the outside to be golden and the interior cooked to medium rare. If the outside is golden but the log is still very soft to the touch, place in the oven at 350 for about 4-5 minutes.

Let the logs cool completely and slice to your desired thickness. Slices can be served flat or set upright. Place a dollop of pickled mustard seed and a drop of Dijon on top. Garnish with fresh herbs.

Serves 24

Mini Shrimp Rolls 

pinch kosher salt
1 pound medium shrimp
3 tablespoons olive oil
⅓ cup mayonnaise
1 small celery stalk, chopped
1 small shallot, chopped
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon prepared horseradish
salt and fresh ground pepper
6 mini soft dinner rolls (or potato rolls)
½ stick of unsalted butter, melted
chopped chives or celery leaves for garnish

In medium saucepan, bring 2 tablespoons of olive oil to medium high heat. Gently sauté shrimp and lightly season with salt. Cook until just opaque in center, 3-4 minutes. Drain, spread out and set in refrigerator to cool.

In a bowl, whisk mayonnaise, celery, shallot, remaining oil, lemon juice and horseradish until blended together. Season with salt and pepper. Chop shrimp into small pieces (about ¹⁄3 inch); add to the mayonnaise mixture, stirring until well coated.

Heat flat side of rolls at medium high in a sauté pan or griddle pan. Using small knife, make a ½-inch-deep cut across the top of each of the rolls. Then cut each side of the rolls parallel to the cut you just made, just enough to create a smooth surface from where the rolls were pulled apart.

Using a small spoon, evenly divide the mixture between the rolls. Garnish with chopped chives or celery leaves.

Serves 6

Lacquered Quail Legs 

2 pounds quail legs
1 clove garlic, smashed
½ cup sugar
1 cup water
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
½ cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon corn starch dissolved in 1 tablespoon water
canola, grapeseed or corn oil for frying

In a small saucepan, bring garlic, sugar, water, soy sauce and red pepper flakes to a boil. Stir in dissolved corn starch and bring back to a boil. Cool the marinade and pour into plastic bag or lidded container large enough to hold all quail legs. Refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight.

Heat 3 inches of oil to 360 degrees in a sauté pan or fryer. Drain legs in a colander or on a paper towel. Do not pat dry. Fry 3-4 legs at a time for 2-3 minutes or until deep brown. Drain and serve with dip.

Serves 8

For dip:
½ cup rice wine vinegar
1 cup water
⅔ cup sugar
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon chili garlic sauce
1 tablespoon hot sauce (Texas Pete or Red Rooster)
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup grated carrots

In a small saucepan, bring all the ingredients to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat and cool.

Makes approximately 2 cups
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