Try Mark Bittman’s delicious holiday appetizers

Want to impress your friends at your next holiday party — while staying within budget? Try cooking up homemade Chinese-style dumplings!

Try the recipe from Mark Bittman, New York Times columnist and author of "The Food Matters Cookbook." He also provides two other delicious holiday appetizers.

Shrimp and cilantro shu mai
Servings:

Yields 10 to 12 dumplings

Ingredients

    • 1/2 cup soy sauce
    • 1 tablespoon rice wine
    • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
    • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
    • 1/2 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
    • 1/4 cup roughly chopped scallions, white parts only
    • 1/2 to 3/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
    • 10 to 12 round dumpling skins
    • Salt
    • Juice of 1 lime

Preparation

Baking Directions:

Combine the soy sauce, rice wine, sesame oil and ginger in a bowl. Put half the shrimp, the scallions and half the cilantro in a food processor and pulse. Add just enough of the soy mixture to create a smooth paste, about 1 to 2 tablespoons. Transfer to a bowl. Roughly chop the remaining shrimp and cilantro, add them to the bowl and stir to combine.Lay a dumpling skin on a work surface, moisten the edges with water, and put 1 teaspoon of the filling in the center. Gather the edges of the wrapper up around the filling, squeezing gently, to pleat the sides. Some of the filling should remain exposed. Repeat with the remaining dumpling skins and filling, keeping the dumpling wrappers and dumplings covered with damp towels while you work.Rig a steamer in a large pot over one inch of water and bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Meanwhile, add the lime juice to the remaining soy mixture to make a dipping sauce.Put as many dumplings in the steamer as you can fit in a single layer and cover the pot. Cook until the exposed filling turns pink and the wrappers are tender, which takes four to six minutes, then transfer the dumplings to a serving platter. Repeat with the remaining dumplings. Serve with the dipping sauce.

Dates stuffed with almonds or manchego
Servings:

Yields 24 pieces

Ingredients

    • 24 soft dates, preferably long ones such as Deglet Noor or Halawi
    • 24 whole roasted almonds, preferably salted or 24 small chunks of Manchego cheese

Preparation

Baking Directions:

Use a paring knife to cut a slit lengthwise down the center of each date to remove the pit. You may also be able to use your fingers, which might work depending on the type of date.Slip an almond or a piece of cheese into the cavity of each date and serve immediately.

Vegetables with tangy mayo
Servings:

Serves 10 to 12

Ingredients

    • 3 to 4 pounds assorted mixed vegetables such as asparagus spears (trimmed), green or wax beans, sugar snap peas, cauliflower florets, broccoli florets or small new potatoes
    • 1 cup good quality mayonnaise
    • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
    • Juice and zest of one lemon
    • 1/4 teaspoon pimentón, or smoked paprika
    • Salt

Preparation

Baking Directions:

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and set up a large bowl of ice water. Add one type of vegetable to the water, starting with those that require the longest cooking time. Once added, allow the water to return to a boil and then cook, checking every minute or so to see if the vegetables are done. For vegetables like potatoes this will take a few minutes, for asparagus or beans it may be only a minute or two. Once the first batch of vegetables is crisp-tender, or how you like your vegetables cooked, use a slotted spoon to strain them out and immediately add them to the bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process. When the water has returned to a boil, continue with the next vegetable. (At the end, you might consider saving this cooking water, which will essentially be a pretty good vegetable stock.)When all the vegetables have been cooked, put the mayonnaise in a medium bowl. Add the garlic, lemon juice, zest, and pimentón and mix to combine. Season with salt. Serve the vegetables with the mayonnaise for dipping.

TOP