Make elegant appetizers for an open house

Think hosting an open house over the holidays will be easy? Think again. With people coming and going, the menu can be more challenging than the guest list. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have a hassle-free open house. Michael Lomonaco, of the newly opened Porter House New York restaurant, was invited on TODAY to shares some elegant, but simple recipes to serve your guests. Try these at home:

Parmesan Cheese Straws
Servings:

Make approximately 60 to 70 cheese straws

Ingredients

    • 1 1/2 cups freshly grated Parmesan
    • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
    • 2 puff pastry sheets, thawed and unfolded

Preparation

Baking Directions:

Honey Spiced Walnuts and Pecans
Servings:

Make approximately 60 to 70 cheese straws

Ingredients

    • 4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter
    • 1 tablespoon chili powder
    • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
    • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
    • 2 cups each, whole walnuts and pecans
    • 1/2 cup honey

Preparation

Baking Directions:

Smoked Ham and Cheese Empanadas
Servings:

Makes 24 to 36 turnovers

Ingredients

    • 1 pound prepared puff pastry
    • 1/2 pound cured, smoked or cooked ham, chopped
    • 1 cup grated Spanish manchego cheese or sharp jack cheese
    • 1 garlic clove, minced
    • 1/4 cup parsley leaves, chopped
    • 1 whole egg, beaten
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 1 tablespoon lime juice
    • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Preparation

Baking Directions:

Bacon-Wrapped Sea Scallops with Wilted Lemon Spinach

Ingredients

    • 1/2 pound thinly sliced, fire-flavored, fruit-wood-smoked bacon, halved crosswise (1 half-slice per scallop)
    • 1 pound large sea scallops (about 10 scallops)
    • All-purpose flour, for dusting
    • Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
    • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
    • 2 tablespoons minced shallots
    • 2 tablespoons small capers
    • 1/4 cup olive oil
    • 1 pound spinach leaves, well washed in several changes of cold water, drained, and squeezed of excess liquid
    • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

Preparation

Baking Directions:

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