Party Time Recipes

Party Time Recipes

Bacon-Wrapped Poppers

12 fresh extra-large jalapenos, washed and dried

2 oz regular or roasted red pepper

flavored cream cheese

½ freshly roasted red pepper, peeled and sliced into thin strips

24 slices bacon

3 oz pulled pork or cooked Italian sausage, peeled and crumbled

toothpicks

Steam Whistle Killer BBQ Sauce

1 bottle Steam Whistle Pilsner

2 cup Heinz ketchup

¼ cup brown sugar

¼ cup white vinegar

3 Tbsp honey

2 tsp Worcestershire sauce

1 tsp chili powder

1 tsp dried mustard

1 tsp onion powder

1 tsp garlic powder

½ tsp fresh ground pepper

½ tsp ground coriander seed

¼ tsp cinnamon

¼ tsp ground allspice

¼ tsp cayenne pepper

  1. Cut jalapenos in half and remove membrane and seeds.

  2. Use a table knife to gently spread the cream cheese mixture across the jalapeno.

  3. Top cream cheese with pulled pork or crumbled sausage and one strip of red pepper.

  4. Wrap one piece of bacon over the top and spiral it down the side to the bottom of the jalapeno, securing with a toothpick as you go.

  5. Cook over indirect heat for about 30-50 minutes on preheated barbecue at about 300ºF until bacon is cooked and cheese is bubbly. Serve with Steam Whistle Killer BBQ Sauce.

Steam Whistle Killer BBQ Sauce

  1. Add all ingredients into a medium-sized pot. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring constantly; simmer until slightly thick, about 20 minutes. Refrigerate unused sauce.

Crispy Fried Pickles with Buttermilk Ranch

Egg Wash

2 cup milk

2 eggs

1 pinch lemon pepper

1 pinch dill weed

pickle juice

Breading

2 ½ cup cornmeal

1 ½ cup all-purpose flour

½ cup lemon pepper

½ cup dill weed

4 tsp paprika

2 tsp garlic salt

1 pinch cayenne pepper, or more to taste

Ranch Dressing

½ cup buttermilk

½ cup sour cream

3 Tbsp minced parsley leaves

2 Tbsp chopped green onion

1 ½ Tbsp apple cider vinegar

2 tsp freshly ground pepper

1 tsp Dijon mustard

½ clove garlic, minced

mayonnaise

Crispy Fried Pickles Assembly

8 dill pickles, cut into spears

canola oil, for frying

ranch dressing

Egg Wash

  1. For egg wash: In a baking dish, whisk all ingredients together, except pickle juice. Add pickle juice, to taste, and whisk to combine.
    Breading

  2. For breading: Combine all ingredients in a baking dish.
    Ranch Dressing

  3. In a large mixing bowl, stir all ingredients together, except mayonnaise. Add mayonnaise, as needed, to thicken. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
    Crispy Fried Pickles Assembly

  4. Dip pickle into egg wash and then coat with breading. Repeat until no pickles remain, and arrange dipped pickles on a sheet pan lined with waxed paper. Chill for at least 30 minutes.

  5. In a deep fryer, heat oil to 375ºF. Add pickle spears, in batches, to the hot oil and fry for about 3 1/2 minutes or until golden. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Serve with Ranch Dressing.

easy boneless barbecue bits

For the bites:

4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
18-ounce bottle barbecue sauce
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
Kosher salt and ground black pepper

For the dressing:

1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup chopped pickled jalapenos
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
Hot sauce, to taste
Kosher salt and ground black pepper

Trim any visible fat from the chicken thighs, then cut each into 2-inch pieces. Place in a large bowl and stir in 1 cup of the barbecue sauce. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 24 hours.

When ready to cook, in a medium skillet over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Add the smoked paprika and breadcrumbs and cook until the breadcrumbs are toasted, stirring continuously, 3 to 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

To make the dressing, in a small bowl whisk together the sour cream, jalapenos, chives, garlic powder and onion powder. Season with hot sauce, salt and pepper, to taste. Set aside.

Heat the broiler. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and mist with cooking spray.

Use a slotted spoon to remove the chicken from the barbecue sauce, allowing any extra sauce to drain away. Discard the excess marinade. Arrange the chicken pieces on the prepared baking sheet.

Broil the chicken about 6 inches from the heat for 8 to 10 minutes, or until browned and cooked through. Brush the remaining barbecue sauce over the tops of the chicken bites, then sprinkle all over with the toasted crumbs. Serve with the dressing for dipping.

Pulled Pork Sundae

Pulled Pork

1 cup white sugar

½ cup paprika

2 Tbsp black pepper

1 tsp salt

3 Tbsp chilli powder

3 Tbsp cumin

4 Tbsp granulated garlic

4 Tbsp onion powder

1 tsp dry mustard

7 lb. pork butt

BBQ Baked Beans

1 14 oz can beans with pork in tomato sauce

½ cup brown sugar

⅓ cup BBQ sauce

1 tsp BBQ rub

1 tsp black pepper

Slaw Dressing

½ Tbsp salt

6 Tbsp sugar

⅓ cup apple cider vinegar

2 cup mayonnaise

2 lb. cabbage, shredded

Pulled Pork

  1. Preheat oven to something 300 degrees Fahrenheit.

  2. Mix all the dry ingredients together.

  3. Rub mixture onto pork butt roast and cook slowly in the oven or smoker until the internal temperature reaches 195 degrees Fahrenheit.

  4. Let cool, then pull apart.

BBQ Baked Beans

  1. Mix all ingredients together and cook on medium heat for 30 minutes, stirring often.
    Slaw Dressing

  2. Over medium heat dissolve salt and sugar in vinegar. Remove from heat and let cool.

  3. Add vinegar mixture to mayonnaise.

  4. Mix slaw dressing with shredded cabbage.

  5. Be sure to refrigerate unused portion.

  6. Assembly: Place 6 ounces hot baked beans in bottom of bowl, followed by 2 ounces pulled pork, then 2 ounces coleslaw. Drizzle with your favourite BBQ sauce and sprinkle with BBQ rub. Repeat process for each portion.

Korean-style chicken wings

Gochujang is becoming increasingly common. You should have little trouble finding it in the Asian or international aisle of most larger grocers.

3 pounds chicken wings, split into drummettes and wings (tips discarded)
1 tablespoon baking powder
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
6 tablespoons gochujang (for a milder heat, use 3 to 4 tablespoons)
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
6 cloves garlic, finely grated (about 1 1/2 teaspoons)
1 1/2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
3/4 teaspoon sesame oil
Toasted sesame seeds, to garnish
Chilled cucumber spears dressed with sesame oil and salt, to serve

Heat the oven to 475 F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil, then set a metal rack over it.

Use paper towels to pat dry the chicken wings. In a large bowl, toss the wings with the baking powder and a hefty pinch each of salt and pepper. Arrange the chicken pieces in an even layer on the rack over the prepared pan. Roast for 40 minutes, or until golden, turning the pan after 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the sauce. In a second large bowl, whisk together the gochujang, soy sauce, rice vinegar, honey, garlic, ginger and sesame oil. Set aside.

Once the chicken wings have roasted, transfer them to the bowl with the sauce. Toss until well coated, then return them to the roasting rack. Increase the oven to broil and set the chicken on an oven shelve about 6 inches from the heat. Broil for 2 to 4 minutes, or until the sauce bubbles and chars in places. Transfer to a serving platter, then sprinkle with sesame seeds and accompany with cucumber spears.

Buffalo chicken and kale-stuffed mushrooms

Makes 15 mushrooms

Two 10-ounce packages medium white button, baby bella or cremini mushrooms, stemmed
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
1 tablespoon butter
1 shallot, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 bunch kale, stems removed, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3/4 cup chopped cooked chicken
8 ounces light cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup hot sauce, such as Frank’s
1/4 cup blue cheese crumbles
Olive oil cooking spray

Heat the oven to 375 F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil or kitchen parchment, then mist with olive oil cooking spray.

Use a damp paper towel to wipe the mushroom caps clean, then season them with salt and pepper. Set aside.

In a medium saute pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the shallot and garlic and saute until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the kale and saute until wilted. Add the lemon juice, cover and allow to steam for 1 to 2 minutes. Uncover, remove the pan from heat and stir in the chicken.

In a small bowl, mix together the cream cheese, hot sauce and blue cheese crumbles. Add the kale and chicken mixture to the cream cheese mixture and mix well. Spoon the cheese filling into the mushroom caps, then arrange the filled caps on the prepared baking sheet. Mist the tops lightly with olive oil cooking spray, then bake for 25 minutes, or until tops are golden and mushrooms are tender.

Sweet-and-spicy panko-crusted chicken

Servings: 4

1 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 eggs
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Heat the oven to 450 F. Line a baking sheet with foil and coat it with cooking spray.

In a pie pan or a large, shallow bowl, mix together the breadcrumbs, sugar, garlic powder, smoked paprika, onion powder, salt, chili powder and black pepper. Set aside. Crack the eggs into a similar bowl, then lightly beat them with the flour.

Carefully slice each chicken breast in half horizontally to create 2 thin cutlets. To do this, place each breast on a cutting board. Hold the breast in place with the palm of one hand while using a knife to carefully slice across the length of the breast horizontally. One at a time, place each cutlet between 2 sheets of plastic wrap. Use a meat mallet or rolling pin to gently pound each cutlet until uniformly about 1/4 inch thick.

One at a time, dredge each cutlet through the egg-flour mixture until lightly coated. Shake off any excess, then dredge the cutlet through the seasoned breadcrumbs. Set the cutlet on the prepared baking sheet, then repeat the process with the remaining chicken. Mist the tops of the cutlets with cooking spray.

Bake for 7 minutes, then flip the cutlets and bake for another 5 to 7 minutes, or until lightly browned and cooked through.

deviled egg toasts with country ham bits

Servings: 8

Half a baguette (8 to 9 ounces)
1 dozen large eggs
1/3 cup mayonnaise
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
Zest of 1/2 lemon
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Pinch garlic powder
Hot sauce, to taste
Kosher salt
1/2 cup chopped crisped country ham, proscuitto or thick-cut bacon, to garnish

Heat the oven to 250 F. Mist a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray.

To prepare the melba toasts, slice the baguette into thin rounds. Arrange the rounds in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet, then mist the tops with cooking spray. Bake for 25 to 30, or until dried and crisp.

Meanwhile, to prepare the deviled egg topping, place the eggs in a large saucepan. Add enough cool water to cover by 2 inches. Set the pan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. As soon as the water boils, cover the pan, turn off the heat and let sit for 12 minutes. After 12 minutes, drain the eggs and run under cold water until the eggs are cool to the touch. Let sit another 10 minutes.

Peel the eggs. You don’t need to worry about keeping the egg whites intact. Cut each egg in half lengthwise and remove the yolks. Set 4 whites aside on a platter and reserve the rest for another use. Place all 12 yolks and the 4 reserved whites in a food processor. Pulse several times to chop.

Add the mayonnaise, butter, mustard, lemon zest and juice, garlic powder and hot sauce. Pulse until smooth. Taste, then season with salt. Spoon the mixture into a pastry bag or quart-size plastic bag. Snip off one corner of the bag, then squeeze to pipe some of the egg mixture onto each of the melba toasts. Top with pieces of country ham, prosciutto or bacon.

Bean and beef burritos

Servings: 8

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound ground beef
1 teaspoon chili powder
Salt and ground black pepper
Eight 8-inch flour tortillas, room temperature
15-ounce can refried beans
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
Salsa, to serve
Guacamole, to serve

Heat the oven to 400 F. Coat a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with cooking spray.

In a large skillet over medium-high, heat the oil. Add the onion and garlic and saute for 4 minutes. Add the ground beef and saute, breaking it up, until browned, about 6 minutes. Sprinkle in the chili powder, then stir well. Season with salt and pepper, then set aside off the heat.

One at a time, lay a tortilla flat on the counter. Spread about 2 tablespoons of the refried beans evenly over the entire surface of the tortilla. Spoon about 1/4 cup of the ground beef mixture in a line near the edge of the tortilla closest to you, then top that with about 1 tablespoon cheese.

To fold the burrito, start with the edge closest to you, lifting it and rolling it toward the centre. Halfway into the roll, fold both sides toward the centre and over the rolled bottom edge. Now continue rolling the bottom until the burrito is fully formed as a log. The refried beans should hold the burrito together. Place the burrito in the prepared pan, then repeat with the remaining ingredients.

Scatter the remaining 1/2 cup cheese over the tops of the burritos, then bake for 15 minutes, or until lightly browned at the edges. Serve with salsa and guacamole on the side for dipping.

have-it-your-way personal pizzas

For the dough:

3 cups (12 3/4 ounces) all-purpose flour
1/4-ounce package (2 1/4 teaspoons) quick-rising yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon table salt
1 cup lukewarm water (95 F to 105 F)
1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra
1 1/2 cups marinara sauce
3 cups coarsely grated mozzarella, cheddar, Monterrey Jack or other good melting cheese

Optional toppings:

Mushrooms, sliced and sauteed in oil
Salami or prosciutto, cut into thin strips
Roasted red peppers, chopped
Green bell peppers, cut into thin strips
Red or yellow onion, thinly sliced
Loose Italian sausage, browned
Fresh tomatoes, chopped

To prepare the dough, in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade, combine the flour, yeast, sugar and salt. Pulse once or twice. Add the water and oil, then process until a dough forms. It should be soft and slightly sticky. If it is too sticky, add flour, 1 tablespoon at a time. If it is too stiff, add water 1 tablespoon at a time.

Lightly oil a large bowl. Shape the dough into a ball and place in the oiled bowl, turning the dough to coat evenly with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until double in bulk, about 1 hour.

Once the dough has risen, heat the oven to 500 F. Arrange a rack on the oven’s lowest shelf. Line multiple baking sheets with kitchen parchment. You may need to work in batches.

Divide the dough into 6 equal pieces. On a lightly oiled surface, one at a time roll out each piece of dough into a 9-inch circle. Transfer each piece of dough to a parchment-lined baking sheet. If working in batches, transfer, assemble and bake as many pizzas as you can, then repeat the process reusing the baking sheets.

Top each pizza with about 1/4 cup of marinara, spreading it evenly to within 1/2 inch of the edge of the dough. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup of the cheese. Finish with 3/4 cup of optional toppings.

Bake the pizzas on the oven’s lowest rack until the bottom is golden and the cheese is melted, about 7 minutes. For a crispier crust, roll out each piece of dough into a 9- to 10-inch circle, transfer it to a baking sheet and smooth it out. Bake it for 3 minutes. Remove the crust from the oven, add the toppings, then bake until the cheese is melted, about another 5 minutes.

guacamole

BASIC GUACAMOLE

Servings: 8

2 avocados
Juice of 1/2 lime
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 cup diced tomato
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup diced red onion
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
Hot sauce, to taste

Slice the avocados in half lengthwise around the pits. Twist to separate the halves and remove the pits. Spoon the flesh into a medium bowl. Use a fork to mash the avocado until as chunky or smooth as you prefer. Stir in the lime juice, cumin, tomato, cilantro and red onion. Season with salt, pepper and hot sauce. Serve immediately.

10 FRESH IDEAS FOR GUACAMOLE

Fast and dirty: In place of the tomato, cilantro and red onion, stir in 1/2 cup of your favourite jarred salsa, 1 tablespoon olive brine, and 2 tablespoons chopped green olives.
Mango-balsamic: In place of the tomato, stir in the diced flesh of 1 mango. Use scallions in place of the red onion and 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar in place of the lime juice.
Chipotle-corn: Stir in 1 minced chipotle and 1 tablespoon adobo sauce from a can of chipotles in adobo. Add 1/2 cup corn kernels.
Tzatziki: Use 1 cup finely diced seedless cucumber in place of the tomato and red onion. Use dill in place of the cilantro. Stir in 2 minced cloves garlic.
Roasted garlic and poblano: Roast a head of garlic wrapped in foil with a little olive oil until tender and brown, about 30 minutes at 400 F. Roast a poblano pepper under the broiler, turning frequently, until the skin chars. Carefully remove the charred skin from the pepper, then chop the flesh. Squeeze the garlic pulp from the skin and mash. Mix both into the guacamole, omitting the onion.
Minted cotija: Follow the basic method for guacamole, but use 2 avocados, the lime juice, 3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint, and 2/3 cup crumbled cotija cheese. Season with salt and black pepper.
Maple-bacon: Follow the basic method for guacamole, but use 3 avocados, 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar, 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 2 tablespoons maple syrup, 2 chopped scallions, and 1/2 cup chopped cooked bacon. Season heavily with black pepper.
Ginger-hoisin: Add 2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger and 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce.
Citrus tabbouleh: Replace the tomato and onion with 3/4 cup purchased tabbouleh and the zests of 1 lemon, 1 lime and 1 orange.
Shrimp scampi: Use lemon juice in place of the lime juice and basil in place of the cilantro. Omit the cumin, tomato and onion. Stir in 1 cup chopped cooked shrimp, 2 cloves minced garlic and 1/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese.

Sockeye salmon pops

Yields 12 skewers

Ingredients

200g wild sockeye salmon

Brine
4L water
½ cup kosher salt
¼ cup wild flower honey
3 tbsp Bittered Sling Lem-Marrakech Bitters
1 clove garlic, crushed

4 sliced green onions

Marinade
2 tbsp wild flower honey
2 tbsp Bittered Sling Lem-Marrakech Bitters
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp sesame oil

Dip
1 cup full fat yoghurt
1 tsp sesame oil

Herbal Mix
1/4 cup sliced dill fronds
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp chives, finely sliced

Bring 2L of water with the salt, sugar, onions and garlic to a simmer. Remove from the heat and add the remaining water and bitters. Place in the refrigerator and allow to cool below 4ºC.

Place the salmon in the brine and refrigerate 30 minutes. Remove the fish from the brine and gently rinse in fresh cold water. Pat dry and discard the brine.

Slice the salmon on a bias into ¼ cm thin rectangular slices, yielding approximately 36 slices at 5g. Lay the slices in a casserole dish and pour the marinade over the fish. Allow to marinate for 20 minutes in the refrigerator.

Using a cocktail skewer, thread one side of the fish like a little flag pole. Wrap the fish around the skewer to create a fish-lollipop. Lay the fish pops on a prepared baking pan lined with parchment. Repeat with the remaining slices.

Take the pops by the stick and dip the top first into the yogurt, and then into the herbal mixture. Skewer onto a fruit oasis like a flower reaching for the sun and serve cold.

maple, chocolate, white cherry and lemon fudge

Maple Fudge

The real maple syrup in this recipe produces a creamy confection that is also easy to make.

500 ml (2 cups) maple syrup
175 ml (3/4 cup) half-and-half (10 per cent) cream
30 ml (2 tbsp) butter

Grease a 20-cm (8-inch) square pan.

In a heavy saucepan, combine maple syrup, cream and butter and bring to a boil. Boil, uncovered, until a drop in cold water forms a soft ball (113-114 C/236 to 238 F).

Let cool to lukewarm (43 C/110 F) without stirring. Beat until creamy. Turn into pan. Cut into squares.

Makes one 20-cm (8-inch) square pan.

Chocolate Fudge

This quick fudge recipe cooks much like a marshmallow-based fudge but without the marshmallows. If made as directed, this extra-chocolaty, extra-creamy fudge will be perfect every time.

750 ml (3 cups) semisweet chocolate chips
250 ml (1 cup) butter or margarine, thinly sliced
1.125 l (4 1/2 cups) granulated sugar
1 can (370 ml/12 oz) evaporated milk
5 ml (1 tsp) vanilla extract
750 ml (3 cups) pecans or walnuts, in large pieces (optional)

Butter a 33-by-23-cm (13-by-9-inch) pan or line with buttered parchment paper, leaving a generous overhang.

In a large heatproof mixing bowl, combine chocolate chips and butter.

In a heavy candy kettle over medium heat, bring sugar and milk to a rolling boil, stirring until sugar dissolves and mixture begins to boil. Boil rapidly, stirring constantly to prevent scorching, exactly 8 1/2 minutes.

Remove from heat. Pour hot mixture over chocolate chips and butter. Stir until chocolate and butter are melted and candy is smooth and creamy. Stir in vanilla and nuts, if using. Pour into prepared pan. Refrigerate overnight or until firm. Cut into squares. Store in an airtight container.

Makes about 2.25 kg (5 lb).

Creamy Blond Fudge

The cream and butter make this vanilla fudge rich and the combination of ingredients gives it a creamy but slightly sticky texture.

750 ml (3 cups) granulated sugar
250 ml (1 cup) half-and-half (10 per cent) cream
125 ml (1/2 cup) milk
50 ml (1/4 cup) light (white) corn syrup
30 ml (2 tbsp) butter or margarine
7 ml (1 1/2 tsp) vanilla extract
250 ml (1 cup) pecans or walnuts, in large pieces (optional)

Butter a 20-cm (8-inch) square pan or line with buttered parchment paper, leaving a generous overhang.

In a heavy candy kettle over medium heat, bring sugar, half-and-half, milk, corn syrup and butter to a boil, stirring until sugar dissolves and mixture begins to boil. Cook, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching, to soft ball stage (112 to 116 C/234 to 240 F, with 114 C/238 F recommended).

Remove from heat. Let cool to lukewarm (43 C/110 F), 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Add vanilla. Beat by hand until mixture begins to thicken and lose its gloss. Stir in nuts, if desired. Quickly spread candy into prepared pan. Let cool and cut into squares. Store in an airtight container.

Makes about 1.25 kg (2 1/2 lb).

White Cherry Fudge

A bite of this colourful, ultra-sweet and creamy fudge is just the thing to put you into a festive holiday mood. A few pieces in gift tins adds colour and cheer.

550 ml (2 1/4 cups) granulated sugar
125 ml (1/2 cup) sour cream
50 ml (1/4 cup) milk
30 ml (2 tbsp) butter or margarine
15 ml (1 tbsp) light (white) corn syrup
1 ml (1/4 tsp) salt
10 ml (2 tsp) vanilla extract
250 ml (1 cup) walnuts, in large pieces (optional)
75 ml (1/3 cup) chopped candied cherries

Butter a 20-cm (8-inch) square pan or line with buttered parchment paper, leaving a generous overhang.

In a heavy saucepan over medium-low to medium heat, bring sugar, sour cream, milk, butter, corn syrup and salt to a boil, stirring until sugar dissolves and mixture begins to boil. Cook, stirring constantly to prevent scorching, to soft ball stage (112 to 116 C/234 to 240 F, with 114 C/238 F recommended).

Remove from heat. Let cool to lukewarm (43 C/110 F), about 1 hour.

Add vanilla. Beat by hand just until candy begins to lose its gloss and hold its shape. Quickly stir in walnuts, if using, and cherries. Immediately turn into prepared pan. (The candy can set very rapidly once it begins to cool so it is important to work quickly. It may be necessary to pat or press candy into pan using the back of a large spoon.)

Let cool and cut into squares. Store in an airtight container.

Makes about 750 g (1 1/2 lb).

Lemon-White Chocolate Fudge

This recipe has enough white chocolate to capture attention, but not enough to overwhelm. For deeper flavour, use up to 340 g (12 oz) white chocolate.

500 ml (2 cups ) granulated sugar
175 ml (3/4 cup) sour cream
125 ml (1/2 cup) butter or margarine
Pinch salt
Freshly grated zest of 2 lemons
250 g (8 oz) white chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 jar (198 g/7 oz) marshmallow creme
5 to 7 ml (1 to 1 1/2 tsp) pure lemon extract
1 to 2 drops yellow food colouring (optional)

Butter a 20-cm (8-inch) square pan or line with buttered parchment paper, leaving a generous overhang.

In a heavy saucepan over medium heat, bring sugar, sour cream, butter, salt and lemon zest to a boil, stirring until sugar dissolves and mixture begins to boil. Cook, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching, to soft ball stage (112 to 116 C/234 to 240 F, with 114 C/238 F recommended).

Remove from heat. Stir in chocolate until melted. Add marshmallow creme and lemon extract. Stir until candy is smooth and well blended. Stir in food colouring, if using. Pour into prepared pan.

Let cool to room temperature, chill and cut into squares. Store in an airtight container.

Makes about 1 kg (2 lb).

Fudge With a Twist

The following suggestions for giving your fudge an element of surprise.

Cranberry Fudge

Add fresh raw cranberries to vanilla fudge candy mixture as it cooks. If desired, stir nuts into candy as it is cooling, before it is poured into a pan. Use a knife to swirl the streaky fudge into a pretty pattern. Alternatively, omit raw cranberries and stir in about 175 ml (3/4 cup) of chopped dried cranberries before pouring fudge into a pan.

Candy Cane Fudge

Crush small candy canes and stir into vanilla fudge as it is cooling, before it is poured into pan. Garnish with more pieces of candy cane. Alternately, add mint flavouring to candy as it cooks. After it is cooked, swirl in a few drops of red and green food colouring. Pour into a pan and decorate with candy cane pieces.

S’mores Fudge

Make a basic chocolate fudge. After it is cooked and spread in a pan, melt marshmallows in the microwave and spread over top of fudge. Top with small graham wafers, graham wafer pieces or sprinkle with coarse graham wafer crumbs.

Cookie Dough Fudge

After vanilla fudge is cooked and somewhat cooled, but before it’s put in a pan, stir fresh chocolate chip cookie dough into the candy. Spread it in a pan and garnish with small chocolate chip cookies or coarse pieces of cookies and sprinkle with more chocolate chips.

sticky marmalade-glazed chicken thighs

Servings: 4

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1/2 cup orange marmalade
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Heat the broiler. Set a wire rack over a rimmed baking sheet. Mist the baking sheet with cooking spray.

In a large skillet over medium-high, heat the olive oil. Add the chicken thighs and brown for 5 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and set aside.

Return the skillet to the heat and add the remaining ingredients. Heat until bubbling and thick, 3 to 4 minutes. Return the chicken to the skillet, tossing to coat with the sauce. Simmer for 2 minutes. Arrange the thighs on the prepared rack. Spoon any sauce left in the pan over them. Broil on the oven’s middle shelf for 4 minutes, or until caramelized.

fondue

Chocolate and Raspberry Ripple Fondue

A mix of dark chocolate, cheese and raspberry liqueur make this dessert fondue a sweet finale when paired with sparkling Merlot.

340 g (12 oz) dark chocolate, chopped
175 ml (3/4 cup) 35 per cent cream
30 ml (1 oz) raspberry liqueur
30 g (1 oz) mascarpone cheese

In a small saucepan, melt dark chocolate pieces with heavy cream.

Add raspberry liqueur and mascarpone. Stir until smooth and incorporated.

Pour melted chocolate fondue into fondue pot and serve with fresh berries and pound cake.

Makes 6 servings.

———
Cheddar and Jalapeno Fondue

Spice things up this holiday season with this double cheese and jalapeno fondue, which Tomaszeski says is one of his favourites.

“The cornstarch keeps the cheese from binding together and becoming clumpy. It also helps thicken your fondue and gives it a nice velvety sheen and texture.”

125 ml (1/2 cup) vegetable stock
1 clove garlic, minced fine
2 ml (1/2 tsp) shallots, minced fine
5 ml (1 tsp) Worcestershire sauce
5 ml (1 tsp) Dijon mustard
250 ml (1 cup) shredded aged cheddar cheese
125 ml (1/2 cup) shredded Swiss Cheese
22 ml (1 1/2 tbsp) cornstarch
7 ml (1/2 tbsp) jalapeno pepper, minced

In a fondue pot, heat vegetable stock until warmed through. Add shallots, garlic, Worcestershire sauce and Dijon mustard, stirring to incorporate.

Combine cornstarch with shredded cheddar and Swiss cheese and slowly stir into heated vegetable stock mixture until smooth and creamy.

Add jalapeno and serve with cubes of crusty bread or fresh vegetables.

Makes 6 servings.

———
Peanut Butter and Jam Chocolate Fondue

Sweet and salty are paired in this melted twist on a classic favourite.

340 g (12 oz) milk chocolate
175 ml (3/4 cup) 35 per cent cream
45 ml (3 tbsp) smooth peanut butter
30 ml (2 tbsp) strawberry jam

In a small saucepan, melt chocolate with cream. Add peanut butter and strawberry jam. Stir until smooth and incorporated. Pour melted chocolate fondue into fondue pot and serve with fresh berries and pound cake.

Makes 6 servings.

Egg roulade stuffed with prosciutto, spinach and roasted red pepper

Servings: 8

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus extra
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus extra
1 1/4 cups whole milk, warmed
4 large egg yolks, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
6 large egg whites, room temperature
Pinch of cream of tartar
2 tablespoons olive oil
10 ounces baby spinach
1 teaspoon minced garlic
8 ounces coarsely grated fontina or Gruyere cheese (about 2 cups)
3 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto
3/4 cup roasted red peppers, cut into thin strips

Heat the oven to 350 F. Use a bit of butter to lightly coat a 15-by-10-inch rimmed baking sheet. Line the baking sheet with kitchen parchment, leaving about 1 inch hanging over each of the pan’s shorter sides, then lightly butter the parchment. Sprinkle the parchment with a bit of flour, then tilt the pan and tap gently to spread the flour and discard any excess.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the 5 tablespoons of butter. Add the 6 tablespoons of flour and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Add the milk in a stream, whisking, and bring the mixture to a boil, whisking the entire time. Turn down to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and whisk in the egg yolks, one at a time. Stir in the salt and pepper.

In a separate large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar and a pinch of salt until they form soft peaks. Stir a quarter of the whites into the yolk mixture, then fold in the rest, gently but thoroughly. Pour the batter into the prepared sheet pan and carefully smooth with a metal spatula.

Bake on the oven’s middle shelf, rotating the pan after 7 minutes. Bake for another 7 to 8 minutes, or until golden and firm to the touch. Set the pan on a rack to cool slightly. Increase the oven to 375 F.

While the roulade is baking, in a large skillet over high, heat the oil. Add half of the spinach and cook, stirring, until it starts to wilt, then add the remaining spinach and cook until all the spinach has wilted. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Transfer the mixture to a colander to drain, pressing lightly on the spinach to drain any excess liquid. Season with salt and pepper.

Use a bit of butter to lightly coat one side of a sheet of kitchen parchment cut to the same size as the egg sponge. Place the parchment, buttered side down, onto the top of the sponge. Cover with a damp kitchen towel, then carefully invert the sponge onto a work surface. Peel off the parchment from the top of the sponge.

Sprinkle the cheese evenly over the sponge, leaving a 1/2-inch border on all sides. Top the cheese with the prosciutto in an even layer, followed by the spinach. Arrange the red pepper strips in one line down the centre (starting and ending at the short sides).

Starting with one of the longer sides, use the towel to help roll up the sponge, enclosing the filling, jelly roll-fashion. Carefully pick up the roulade and place it seam side down on the baking sheet. Bake it in the middle of the oven until the cheese has melted, 8 to 10 minutes. Use a serrated knife to cut crosswise into 1/2-inch thick slices.

party snacks

Honeyed goat cheese: Set an 8-ounce log of soft goat cheese on a serving plate. Drizzle the cheese liberally with honey, then sprinkle with toasted pecans, chopped fresh tarragon, grated lemon zest and ground black pepper. Serve with crackers or sliced baguette.

Apricot prosciutto beans: Spread a half slice of prosciutto very thinly with apricot preserves. Wrap the prosciutto around several haricot verts (thin French green beans) and a thin strip of roasted red pepper. Make a dozen or so bundles in this fashion, then stack on a serving tray. Sprinkle with ground black pepper.

Bacon-date cream cheese dip: Beat an 8-ounce block of cream cheese with 2 tablespoons of milk until light and fluffy. Stir in 1/2 cup crumbled well-cooked bacon, 1/2 cup chopped dates and 2 thinly sliced scallions. Season with salt and ground black pepper. Top with a drizzle of balsamic glaze.

Avocado shrimp cocktail: In a food processor, combine the flesh of 3 avocados with 1/2 cup cocktail sauce, 2 tablespoons horseradish, the juice of 1 lime, a splash of hot sauce and a bit of salt and pepper. Process until smooth, then transfer to a serving bowl. Top with sliced scallions and serve with cooked, chilled shrimp.

Candied kielbasa bites: Slice 1 pound of kielbasa into thin ovals. Arrange in a single layer on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. In a small bowl, mix together 3/4 cup brown sugar with 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper. Sprinkle evenly over the kielbasa. Bake at 350 F until the slices are golden brown and the sugar is bubbly, about 30 minutes.

Smashed lemon cannellini beans: Drain and rinse a 15-ounce can of cannellini beans. Pat dry with paper towels, then spread on a dinner plate. Roughly smash the beans with a fork or potato masher. Drizzle all over with olive oil and lemon juice. Sprinkle with grated lemon zest, chopped fresh oregano, coarse sea salt, black pepper and smoked paprika. Serve with toasted pita chips.

Marinated mozzarella with anchovy and peanuts: Mash 3 anchovies with a fork in a medium bowl. Add 1/2 cup good olive oil, 1 pound cubed, drained fresh mozzarella, a pinch of red pepper flakes, 2 cloves grated garlic, 1/4 cup torn fresh basil leaves, and 1/2 cup lightly chopped unsalted peanuts. Serve with bread for scooping.

Sweet and spicy cracker bark: Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and coat with cooking spray. Arrange saltine crackers in a single layer covering the entire baking sheet. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine 1 cup butter, 1 cup brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon cayenne (more or less to taste), 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice blend, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper. Bring to a simmer and stir to combine. Pour the mixture over the crackers, spreading until the crackers are evenly covered. Bake at 350 F until golden brown and bubbling, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle the top with 1/2 cup crumbled crisp-cooked bacon and 1/4 cup toasted sunflower seeds. Allow to cool completely, then break into bite-sized pieces.

Spiced nuts: Beat 1 egg white with 1 teaspoon of water until frothy. Add 3 cups of your favourite unsalted nuts and toss to coat. In another bowl, whisk together 1/4 cup sugar, 1/2 teaspoon five-spice powder, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, a pinch of cayenne and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. Toss the sugar mixture with the nuts and spread on a rimmed baking sheet lined with kitchen parchment. Bake at 350 F until fragrant and dry.

Marinated olives: Whisk together 2 tablespoons olive oil, 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, the zest of 1 orange, 2 minced cloves garlic and 2 tablespoons finely minced fresh rosemary. Toss with 2 cups mixed pitted olives. Refrigerate and allow to marinate for at least 4 hours. Bring to room temperature before serving.