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Video: New Year’s finger foods

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    >> is "today" on nbc.

    >>> this morning in today's holiday kitchen, festive finger foods . if you're ringing in the new year with family and friends at home. clara robinson, host of food network 's five ingredient fix has the perfect appetizers for your party. before we get into your recipe, if you had one tip for holiday entertaining, what would it be?

    >> have fun, have a cocktail. whatever it takes to have fun.

    >> i saw we were doing beef wellington . and i thought, that doesn't sound simple. but we're doing finger wellington.

    >> everything i make has five ingredients, so it is easy. this is beef tenderloin , buy the whole thing, it will save you money. cut it into cubes, they need to be bite-sized. sear them, salt pepper,al i have oil. once it's seared, you pull it off to rest. meantime, throw in crimini mushrooms and shall otts.

    >> why shallots and not onions?

    >> they're milder. cook it down until it looks like this. when you've got that, that's the wellington part of the beef wellington . puff pastry .

    >> this is where it gets complicated.

    >> no, this is so easy. you can buy this stuff anywhere in the frozen food section, thaw it, roll it out. we're going to cut this into thirds i kind of mark it like this and i'm basically, there's no rhyme or reason to this. i just want to make little squares. so i can then -- wrap up these little beef cubes with a little bit of the mushroom and shallot and you've got little basically puff pastry packages.

    >> how do you wrap them?

    >> you're going to help me. a little bit of this on one, okay? and then put a piece of beef. put a piece of beef. a little bit of egg wash on all the corners here so everything sticks. and wrap it up. you can do this however you want. i'm going to do mine like a little envelope and fold it under.

    >> i'm going to do mine like that.

    >> you do yours like a little purse.

    >> great, so easy. you can do this, you can entertain like this.

    >> tell me about baking it so it's not too soggy inside.

    >> you just bake it until it's golden. i like to put a little bit of -- close.

    >> you have to pinch it. it's great, it's puff pastry , it's going to get nice and golden, who cares.

    >> a little bit of egg wash on top. pop it in the oven and boom --

    >> so far, this is pretty easy.

    >> five ingredients, done. in the oven, comes out looking like that. how good does that look?

    >> you've sliced one up. that's what it looks like inside?

    >> yes, yum.

    >> let's see what it tastes like inside.

    >> dig in.

    >> and candy, cashews.

    >> good, right?

    >> mmmm.

    >> and not soggy.

    >> super-easy. rosemary-parmesan shoflatbread. and cosmos, clementine cosmos. you can make the simple syrup and turn them into a cocktail. and spiced candy cash yous. these are awesome and everything is five ingredients. clara robinson, great to have you here. you can head to todayshow.com for more recipes.

    >>> still to come, the newest member of the joy fit club , a 38-year-old mother from virginia beach who dropped 138 pounds.

TODAY recipes
updated 12/28/2009 10:10:21 AM ET 2009-12-28T15:10:21

Recipe: Mini beef Wellingtons

  • 2 pounds beef tenderloin, cut into 24 one-inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
  • 10 ounces cremini mushrooms, stemmed and finely chopped
  • 1 large shallot, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 sheets frozen puff pastry, such as Dufour, thawed

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Pat the beef dry with a paper towel and season all sides with salt and pepper. Quickly sear the beef on two sides only until deep golden brown, about 4 minutes total; do not overcook. Transfer to a plate to cool.

Add the mushrooms and cook until beginning to brown and release liquid, about 5 minutes. Add the shallots and continue cooking until mushroom mixture dries out, is golden brown and shallots are soft, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and cool.

Preheat to the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

On a work surface, roll one sheet of puff pastry to a 10-by-14-inch rectangle. Put teaspoon-sized mounds of mushroom mixture on the pastry, evenly spacing them in 4 rows of 3. Top the mushroom mound with a piece of beef, seared side up. With a sharp knife, cut the pastry into even squares around the meat and mushrooms. Working one at a time, pull two opposite sides of pastry up over each beef piece then fold the ends over the top to make a packet. Invert and place the packets seam-side down on the baking sheet and press them lightly to seal the pastry. Repeat with the remaining beef, mushrooms and pastry.

Bake the Wellingtons until golden brown, 20-25 minutes. Cool at least 10 minutes before serving.

Serving Size

Yield: 24 pieces

Recipe: Rosemary Parmesan shortbread

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup, 2 sticks, unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon water, if needed

Put the flour, sugar, rosemary, salt and Parmesan into the bowl of a food processor and pulse until combined. Add the butter and pulse just until a soft dough forms; the dough should hold together when squeezed with your hands. If not, add the water and pulse until combined.

Spread a large sheet of plastic wrap on a work surface and transfer the dough onto it. Using the plastic wrap as a guide, form the dough into a loose log along one edge of the long side of the sheet. Roll the dough log, twisting the plastic gathered at the ends in opposite directions until the log is tight and compact, about 2½ inches in diameter. Chill in the refrigerator until firm, about 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment sheets or silicone baking mats. Slice the dough log into 1/3-inch-thick slices and place on the lined sheets, about one inch apart. Bake until the edges are just beginning to brown, 12-14 minutes.

Cool on the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely. Store the shortbread in an airtight container at room temperature until ready to serve.

Serving Size

Yield: About 2½ dozen

Recipe: Spiced candied cashews

  • 2 cups raw unsalted cashews
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Put the nuts, sugar, water and salt into a large skillet over high heat. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring frequently, and cook until water is nearly evaporated and liquid gets syrupy, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix the spices together in a small bowl.

After 10 minutes, sprinkle the spices over the nuts and stir well. Continue stirring constantly while the water evaporates completely, about 5 minutes. When there is no longer any sugar syrup left in the bottom of the pan, turn off the heat and stir the nuts vigorously but carefully in the pan until the sugar seizes and the nuts are evenly coated with crystallized sugar.

Turn the nuts out onto the lined baking sheet and spread into an even layer. Cool completely before sifting the excess sugar from the coated nuts and storing in an airtight container.


DO NOT touch the nuts at any time while cooking or just afterward. Cooked sugar is extremely hot and can burn instantly when touched.

Serving Size

Yield: About 4 cups

Recipe: Big Apple bubbletini

  • 1 cup fresh apple cider
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate juice
  • 1/2 cup apple brandy or Calvados
  • 1 bottle Prosecco or Cava, chilled
  • 1 crisp apple, such as Macintosh, for garnishing

Mix the cider, pomegranate juice and apple brandy in a glass measuring cup or pitcher until combined. Chill until ready to serve.

To make a Bubbletini, pour about 1/4 cup of the cider mixture into a chilled martini glass. Top with ice-cold Prosecco. To garnish, either very thinly slice the apple crosswise on a mandolin slicer and float the wheel in the cocktail, or cut thin wedges from the apple and garnish the rim.

Serving Size

Yield: 8 cocktails


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