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Video: Entertain for the holidays with hearty apps!

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    >>> we're back at 8:44. this morning on "today's holiday kitchen" easy entertaining. if you want to impress your guests, award-winning chef daniel blaallou is here.

    >> well, it is a tiny bite of something, either spicy, crunchy, warm, cheesy, something that goes wonderful with cocktail. and so -- and it's something usually that would be able to be grabbed by hands.

    >> okay.

    >> and certainly not overfill your mouth.

    >> you have got a couple of great recipes.

    >> yes.

    >> the first is smoked salmon and it sounds very easy. there's a little more to it than that.

    >> i'm making a roll of smoked salmon with some cream cheese inside.

    >> what's in the cream cheese ?

    >> some lemon zest , some chive, a little lemon juice . so i'm putting -- you put the smoked sammlmon on plastic wrap and layer your slices. you layer a layer of cream cheese over.

    >> how do you roll that?

    >> just take the plastic on one side, just pinch the beginning and then create a little roll like this.

    >> you're going to pop that in the freezer?

    >> then you pop that in the freezer a little bit.

    >> why?

    >> just to get it hard so this way you can have like this. and then it can be cut and sliced after that. so that's a little easier to cut and slice and put it on a little piece of pumpernickel. the idea is you can see the layers of cream cheese .

    >> and you garnish with that witle mo with a little dill and some more lemon zest .

    >> a little dill and you can add a little chive or extra herbs there.

    >> by start to finish, this is not a complicated recipe.

    >> very simple. everything is made. and this is about having a little crunchy black olive sort of crackers, like a little crustini.

    >> so you put --

    >> i'm putting water into a dough, which you can use puffed pastry or make what we call a cracker dough, like a crescent dough. then i have black olive that's been drained and i put three lines of black olive paste.

    >> could you buy it store bought?

    >> of course. this is what you would buy if you get it store bought.

    >> okay.

    >> like that. very easy. then you have the layers on top like that.

    >> is this just water?

    >> this is just water. we put that right over like that. mark it slightly. sprinkle a little bit more water over and sprinkle also with a little pepper to give a little hit to it.

    >> and you're going to slice that?

    >> yeah.

    >> so you put that again in the freezer, just to get it hard. until really the dough hardens. then you just cut it in slices like this and you've got this wonderful little --

    >> and you put that on a cookie sheet . how long do you bake that?

    >> about 15 minutes at 350.

    >> that's fantastic the way you get that shape. that's beautiful. come up front and show me some of the other hors d'oeuvres you've prepared. what's this here?

    >> here is a cheese puff . that's what you have as a snack to start. here we have a slice of cucumber with a little uni --

    >> can the average person really make that?

    >> very easy. buy cucumber and fresh uni and here we have our little black olive cracker.

    >> just tell me about the cocktails because you have great recipes in the book.

    >> not only do you have recipes of all those, but also of the cocktails. so here we have a french 75, which is basically champagne, a little bit of bitter and orange.

    >> and that one?

    >> and this one is a ginger -- it's a ginger whiskey-based cocktail.

    >> the crew will be gathering shortly.

    >> absolutely.

    >> you can have all these cocktails at the bar.

    >> happy holidays to you. great

TODAY recipes
updated 11/28/2011 4:12:51 PM ET 2011-11-28T21:12:51

Recipe: Smoked salmon on pumpernickel

  • 4 ounces softened cream cheese
  • 3 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon chopped chives
  • 2 tablespoons chopped dill
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 ounces thinly sliced smoked salmon

In a medium bowl, using a spatula, combine softened cream cheese, lemon zest, lemon juice, chopped chives, chopped dill, and salt and pepper to taste; set aside. Divide smoked salmon into two portions. Lay one portion in a single layer on a 2' sheet of plastic wrap set on a flat surface, forming an approximately 1' long by 4" wide rectangle without gaps. Spread half the cream cheese mixture evenly on top. Roll into a log, like a jelly roll, using the plastic wrap as an aid. Fold the plastic over the log so the ends meet, and with a ruler, press against the log to tighten. Continue rolling up the log in the plastic, and seal and tie off the ends. Repeat with remaining salmon and cheese mixture. Freeze logs, remove plastic, and slice each roll into ¼"-thick discs. Defrost and serve on small pumpernickel toast squares, topping with a piece of diced lemon segment and a sprig of dill.

Serving Size

Makes approximately 60

Recipe: Black olive grissini

  • Black olive tapenade
  • One egg
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • Espelette pepper
  • Fleur de sel
  • Grissini dough
  • 1 pound pasta flour
  • 2 teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil.

Fill a piping bag with a ¼" tip with black olive tapenade. Divide grissini dough* in four and press flat. With a pasta machine, roll one piece of dough through the largest setting, fold in thirds, and repeat twice. Decrease width by one setting; pass the dough through and repeat, continuing to decrease until the dough is 1/16" thick and approximately 2' long by 5" wide. Trim edges into straight lines. Repeat with remaining 3 pieces of dough. Brush two sheets of dough with water and pipe three lines of tapenade horizontally through the middle, leaving a finger's width of space between lines. Place remaining two sheets on top and press lightly between tapenade lines and on edges; freeze. Whip one egg with 1 tablespoon water, and brush on top of dough; sprinkle with espelette pepper and fleur de sel. Cut widthwise into 1/8"-wide sticks to expose the 3 pockets of tapenade; transfer to parchment paper-lined baking sheets, leaving ½" of space between sticks. Rest, covered, in a warm spot for 30 minutes. Bake at 360 degrees F for 8 minutes, rotate tray 180 degrees and bake another 4 minutes until golden brown.

*For the grissini dough: In a medium-size mixing bowl, whisk together the pasta flour and fine sea salt; form a well in the center and set aside. In a small bowl, whisk together warm water, sugar, and active dry yeast; rest 10 minutes, allowing it to foam. Add liquid to the well in the bowl of flour with extra virgin olive oil. Starting in the center, mix with a spoon, gradually pulling the flour into the liquid, then switch to mixing with your hands. Once it comes together, knead on the countertop for 5 minutes until smooth. Wrap in plastic and rest at room temperature 1 hour. Use immediately or store in refrigerator up to 2 days.

Serving Size

Makes approximately 75

Recipe: Peppered ham and gruyère quiche

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • Pinch of fresh grated nutmeg
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 ounces grated gruyère cheese
  • 3 ounces diced ham
  • Crackers
  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 8 tablespoons cold butter
  • 1/4 cup ice water

In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, fine salt, cracked black pepper, a pinch of fresh grated nutmeg, milk, and heavy cream. Stir in grated gruyère cheese and diced ham. Grease two bread loaf pans with softened butter, line with parchment paper, then grease paper with butter. Divide the batter evenly into the two pans and place on a baking tray. Bake at 300 degrees F for 10 minutes, rotate the tray 180 degrees, and continue to bake another 10-15 minutes, or until set. Cool at room temperature, then chill in refrigerator. Turn quiche onto a cutting board and cut into 80 cubes. Place quiche cubes on pâte-brisée crackers* (or use store-bought square butter crackers) and garnish with baby watercress leaves.

* For the peppered pâte-brisée crackers: In a food processor, combine flour, salt, cracked black pepper, and sugar. With the machine running, incorporate cold butter, 1 tablespoon at a time. When the mix resembles fine meal, stream in ice water, or enough to pull the dough together. Form dough into a disc and chill at least 1 hour. Divide in half and shape into squares. Roll each square between parchment paper to form sheets 1/16" thick; freeze. Cut sheets into 1" squares and place 1" apart on parchment paper-lined sheet trays. Bake at 325 degrees F for 10 minutes, then cover with another sheet of parchment paper and place another tray on top, with a weight, to prevent the dough from puffing. Continue to bake another 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown; cool. Baking can be done in batches. Store in an airtight container up to 1 week.

Serving Size

Makes approximately 80. Makes approximately 100 crackers.

Recipe: Gougères with espelette

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon espelette pepper
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon grated gruyère cheese
  • Fleur de sel
  • Cracked black pepper

Bring milk, water, butter, and salt to a boil in a large saucepan. Add flour, and espelette pepper and cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon for 5-10 minutes, until the dough pulls away from the sides of the pan. Cool at room temperature 5 minutes, then beat in eggs, one at a time. Drop 3-tablespoon-size mounds of dough 2" apart onto parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Top each mound with grated gruyère cheese and sprinkle with fleur de sel, cracked black pepper, and more espelette pepper. Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes, rotating the pan 180 degrees halfway through, until puffy and brown. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Serving Size

Makes 25 to 30

Recipe: Dr. Stormy

  • 2 ounces lapsang souchong tea-infused cognac
  • 2 ounces homemade ginger beer
  • 1/2 ounce lemon juice
  • 1/2 ounce simple syrup
  • 1 piece candied ginger
  • Lapsang souchong tea-infused cognac
  • 1 liter of cognac
  • 3 lapsang souchong tea bag
  • Ginger beer
  • 2 1/2 pounds ginger root, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 4 limes
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • Simple syrup
  • 2 cups of water
  • 2 rounded cups of white sugar
  • 8 cinnamon sticks
  • 8 cloves
  • Half a ground nutmeg

Lapsang souchong tea-infused cognac: Steep 3 lapsang souchong tea bags in 1 liter of cognac, covered, for 4 hours at room temperature. Strain the cognac back into its original bottle, and store, sealed, at room temperature.

Ginger beer: In a large pot, bring 2 gallons of water to a boil, then remove from flame. While the water is heating, pulse ginger with a few drops of hot water in a food processor until minced, and add to the boiled water. With a spoon, remove the lime flesh and juice, and drop it into the water along with the ginger peels. Add sugar, stir until dissolved, and let steep, covered, for 1 hour. Strain through a fine chinois or cheesecloth, pour into nonplastic containers, let cool, then refrigerate. Can be kept refrigerated for a few weeks, but is best fresh; the ginger flavor diminishes over time. When ready to serve, pour into a soda siphon.

Simple syrup: Bring to a boil 500 grams (2 cups) of water with 500 grams (2 rounded cups) of white sugar, 8 cinnamon sticks, 8 cloves, and half a ground nutmeg. Let steep in the refrigerator for a day, then strain mixture into a clean, sealed container. Can be kept refrigerated for up to 3 weeks.

In a shaker, combine cognac, lemon juice, and simple syrup with ice. Shake and strain into an ice-filled glass. Add ginger beer using a soda siphon, and garnish with piece of candied ginger.

Recipe: French 65

  • 3 ounces champagne
  • 1 ounce Cointreau
  • 6 drops angostura bitters
  • 1 orange peel

In a mixing glass, combine Cointreau and bitters with ice and stir. Strain into a frozen champagne glass and add champagne. Spritz the cocktail with an orange twist.

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