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Video: Giada’s kid-friendly Italian finger foods

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    >>> cooking with giada. many of you will host or attend a holiday party this week and giada de laurentiis has great ideas for finger foods everyone will enjoy.

    >> good morning to you. merry christmas .

    >> merry christmas .

    >> we're going to do finger foods . you think do the small food. not something where you have to sit down.

    >> do you host a little christmas party at your house.

    >> i have hosted parties before. but i'm one of those open the chips. why do you ask?

    >> i just like to hear it. okay. so i like to do something just a little bit fancier than that although my husband does love to open a bag of chips and popcorn.

    >> yeah.

    >> okay. so i take a little puff pastry and you cut it into thin little strips with a pizza cutter and knife. this is a italian version of pigs in a blanket .

    >> can you get it anywhere?

    >> at the deli.

    >> okay.

    >> instead of buying it sliced, you buy a big chunk. so you take a piece.

    >> all right.

    >> you try that one. i'll guide you. you take it. you start on one side and you just kind of move it over so that you can get a little bit of that kind of -- yeah, there you go. and it just kind of goes just like that.

    >> oh, that's fun.

    >> that's it.

    >> so then you take it and you put a little egg.

    >> results may vary .

    >> it's even prettier.

    >> you don't have to worry about it. keep it cold until the last minute. brush it with egg wash and that will make everything stick together. then put it on a baking sheet and oops.

    >> that's probably yours.

    >> of course it's mine. so then you top it with cheese and bake it at 375 for 20 minutes .

    >> parmesan if you want to. sometimes it can be a little strong. put it in the oven at 200 degrees and keep all of this warm so you don't have to cook while everybody's at your house.

    >> i serve it with a little bit of mustard. people love this. it's not my favorite but my husband loves it.

    >> it's essential.

    >> my husband loves it. so it's for him.

    >> he's a smart fan. so next, chicken tenders . something for the kids. i have a 5-year-old so i have to think about people coming over with their kids. panko. a bread crumb mixture. some spinach.

    >> wow, sounds windy.

    >> parmesan cheese .

    >> there's the parmesan.

    >> and a little salt.

    >> okay. sorry.

    >> and then we just kind of fix it all together and power and start and this thing doesn't work and it never does -- is it not plugged in.

    >> just imagine.

    >> and this is what it looks like and the idea behind this came up because my daughter loves chicken fingers and doesn't like to eat a lot of greens or spinach.

    >> you tricked her.

    >> yes. so then what i do is i take the chicken which is over there and this is what chicken tenders looks like. sometimes people don't know but you can buy them and they look just like this. i cut it in half and then i put them in buttermilk to tenderize them a little bit and that way the bread crumb mixture can stick to it.

    >> you would dip it and then this. you let the extra buttermilk drip off. it's like doing eggs except i think that's more flavorful.

    >> yeah.

    >> and the egg gives it a really thick crust and i like a nice thin crust. then i put it in here and put it in oil and fry it you want to throw a little bit of the bread crumb mixture into it and if it starts to fry up then it's ready. if it fries up and gets black right away, it's too hot. just throw some in there and we can see how it happens. shallow friday and 3 to 4 minutes . fry these ahead of time. keep them warm until you serve them.

    >> i like that.

    >> make it a little elegant and the kids can catch up if they want to.

    >> real quickly, tell me what this is.

    >> these are little shrimp cakes. they're shrimp with ginger. it's my version of a crab cake but made with shrimp and ginger butter right on top.

    >> giada you always class our

TODAY recipes
updated 12/13/2013 6:30:47 PM ET 2013-12-13T23:30:47

Recipe: Italian pigs in a blanket

Ingredients
  • 1 sheet puff pastry, from a 17.3 oz package
  • 1/2 pound mortadella, cut into 1/2-inch by 1/2-inch by 2 1/2-inch batons
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup (approximately 2 ounces) grated ementaler cheese
  • Dijon mustard to serve, if desired
Preparation

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Roll the sheet of puff pastry to an 11 inch square. Using a pizza wheel or sharp knife, cut the dough into 1/2 inch strips. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Wrap each baton of mortadella in one strip of puff pastry, overlapping the dough slightly with each wrap around and leaving the ends exposed.  Place the rolls on prepared baking sheet leaving an inch between each one. Brush each roll with the egg and top with a good pinch of grated cheese. Place in preheated oven and bake for 25minutes or until golden brown and puffed. Serve warm, with mustard if desired.

Serving Size

Yield: about 18 pigs in a blanket

Recipe: Crispy chicken tenders with piccata sauce

Ingredients
  • For chicken:
  • 1/2 packed cup fresh spinach leaves
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Zest of 1 large lemon
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk, chilled
  • 1 pound chicken tenders, patted dry with paper towels and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • For sauce:
  • 3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, from 1 large lemon
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 1 tablespoon capers, rinsed and drained
  • 2 teaspoons agave
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Preparation

For the chicken: In a food processor, combine the spinach, breadcrumbs, cheese, lemon zest, salt and pepper. Blend until the spinach is finely chopped. Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl. In another medium bowl, toss together the beaten egg and chicken. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken, allowing any extra egg to drip back into the bowl, to the bread crumb mixture. Toss until the chicken pieces are coated.

In a 12-inch, high-sided skillet heat the oil over medium-high heat (the oil is hot enough when a pinch of breadcrumbs sizzles when added to the pan).  Add 1/3 of the chicken and fry for 3 to 4 minutes on each side until golden and crispy. Drain on paper towels. Repeat with the remaining chicken.

For the sauce: In a small saucepan, combine the broth, lemon juice and flour. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Lower the heat and simmer until thick, about 3 minutes. Whisk in the butter until smooth. Stir in the parsley, capers, agave, and salt.

Pour the sauce over the chicken or serve alongside as a dipping sauce.

Serving Size

Makes 4 servings

Recipe: Mini shrimp cakes with ginger butter

Ingredients
  • For shrimp cakes:
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 5 (4 ounces) large button mushrooms, cleaned and stems trimmed, chopped into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and diced into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 2 large shallots, minced
  • 1 pound extra-large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 3 tablespoons plain breadcrumbs
  • 1 large egg
  • Zest of 1/2 large lemon
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • For butter:
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2-inch-long piece fresh ginger root, peeled and finely grated to yield 4 teaspoons
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil, plus extra as needed
Preparation

For the shrimp cakes: In a 12-inch non-stick skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms, carrot and shallots. Cook, stirring frequently until the carrot begins to soften, about 6 to 7 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a food processor. Add the shrimp, breadcrumbs, egg, lemon zest, salt, and pepper. Pulse until combined but still chunky. Using damp hands, form the mixture into 15 patties, each 2 inches in diameter and 1/2-inch thick. Place on a plastic wrap-lined baking sheet and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

For the butter: In a medium bowl, using a rubber spatula, mix together the butter, ginger and soy sauce until combined. Place the mixture on a piece of plastic wrap. Fold the plastic wrap over and form the mixture into a log about 7 inches long and 1 inch in diameter. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes until firm. When ready to serve, slice the butter into 1/4-inch-thick pieces.

In a 12-inch non-stick skillet, heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Add 1/2 of the patties and cook for 3 to 4 minutes each side until golden. Add extra oil, if needed, and cook the remaining patties. Serve the shrimp cakes while still warm with a slice of ginger butter on top.

Cook's note: Use any leftover ginger butter to top chicken or fish.

Serving Size

Makes 15 servings

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