I heard about the A to Z Blog Challenge first from my fellow foodie Nicole Cook author of Daily Dish Recipes. Today is the first day of the A to Z Blogging Challenge. You can learn more about it here, or join in the fun.
Since the first alphabet is A – here’s an ode to Appetizers. I love hosting cocktail parties especially as it challenges me to create recipes that range from simple dips to sophisticated creations. Appetizer parties are a versatile medium to impress your guests in a just a few bites and best of all it allows the host to enjoy the party with her or his guest.
Here are two easy yet outstanding appetizers that have had my friend and family squealing in foodie delight!
Meringue Bites with Honey Roasted Grapes
I called these mini clouds of decadence. Light and airy meringues topped with grapes roasted with honey, a dash of creme fraiche and the unexpected crunch from cracked black pepper; you won’t stop at 1.
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 2 large egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon Cognac
- 2 cups seedless red grapes
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1/2 cup crème fraîche
- Freshly cracked black pepper
- Preheat oven to 250°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Whisk sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl.
- On medium high speed, beat egg whites, cream of tartar, and salt in a large bowl until soft peaks form.
- Gradually beat in sugar mixture. Add Cognac and continue beating until mixture is glossy and stiff peaks form.
- Spoon teaspoonfuls onto prepared baking sheet, forming 24 small meringues.
- Bake until meringues are crisp and no longer sticky, 30 minutes. Transfer parchment paper with meringues to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Preheat oven to 450°. Place grapes on a large rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper; drizzle with honey; toss to coat. Roast, stirring occasionally, until grapes begin to burst, 8–10 minutes.
- Whisk crème fraîche till smooth. Place a dollop of cream mixture in meringue centers. Top each with 2–3 roasted grapes. Sprinkle cracked black pepper over and serve immediately.
Hummus with Cilantro-Jalapeno Oil
- 1/4 cup packed cilantro
- 1 jalapeno
- 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp roasted cumin powder
- 1 19-ounce can chick-peas
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1/3 cup well-stirred tahini
- 1/3 cup water
- 1 lemon juiced
- salt to taste
- In a blender or small food processor purée cilantro and jalapeno with 1/4 cup oil.
- Rinse and drain chick-peas.
- Purée chick peas, tahini, garlic, water, lemon juice, and salt Puree in a food processor with remaining olive oil till smooth.
- To serve, combine 2 tablespoons or more of jalapeno oil to the hummus. Sprinkle with cumin powder and serve with warm pita toasts.