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Video: Giada’s fun finger foods for the holidays

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    >>> we are back and it's time to do a little cooking by giada. just a week until christmas eve , whether you neat a quick dish to bring to a holiday party or your own, giada delaurentis has the recipe.

    >> for everybody on the list from the fajita to the vegetarian.

    >> and congratulations on the best-seller. she's still on the list.

    >> hoda asked me yesterday, i have your book, i thought, finally. when i entertain during the holidays, i want people to feel like they can come and go, they don't have to be there at a certain time. the first is the cocktail. kathie would say how beautiful this is. i'm looking for something light.

    >> not as caloric.

    >> not as cal lororicaloric.

    >> cheers.

    >> i'm going to get started on finger foods . these are dates stuffed with hot sausage wrapped in bacon. all the men earlier where like, oh, my goodness. anyhow, you take a date, you can try it. tear a paring knife and take the pit out. i was going to cut this in half. why don't you cut this in half for me, hoda? then you take a half a piece of bacon and wrap it like this.

    >> you can use bacon, you can stuff it with anything you wanted too.

    >> okay.

    >> you put it in a 400 degree oven for 15 minutes . look how beautiful they are.

    >> they are.

    >> that's a small bite, isn't it?

    >> i don't know, let me see, it's a two-biter. i guess i'm the only one eating.

    >> oh, no, i'll try it.

    >> you don't have to.

    >> okay. next for the vegetarian in your life --

    >> oh, my god.

    >> i'm sorry, what's better than sweet and savory and smoky from bacon.

    >> this is unbelievable.

    >> one next.

    >> i'm pacing myself.

    >> small portions.

    >> a vegetable power. tower. vegetarian in your life. you take a slice of country bread. you cut a circle like this with a cookie cutter. i brush both sides and grill them for a few minutes to get a nice warm. hoda.

    >> yep.

    >> you can put it together.

    >> okay.

    >> what i do, i take these japanese eggplants -- have you guys worked with these before?

    >> not those.

    >> you cut them.

    >> look at the size.

    >> they're perfect, you're right.

    >> you brush them with olive oil , look, she's making a tower.

    >> goat cheese with lemon zest . you make towers and put a little toothpick. and look how pretty those are.

    >> adorable.

    >> now, is that a one-biter.

    >> this might be a little -- you got to brpress them down. two bites.

    >> be careful of the toothpick, though.

    >> last but not least, for the person in your life who's looking to be a little bit -- you know, watching their diet for the holidays, sweet potato chips and kale chips in the oven. 450 degrees for about ten minutes.

    >> it's crazy.

    >> for people who are vegans or have dietary restrictions.

    >> unbelievable.

    >> hoda, you've got to try

TODAY recipes
updated 12/17/2013 10:20:22 AM ET 2013-12-17T15:20:22

Recipe: Hot Italian sausage stuffed dates with lemon basil crèma

Ingredients
  • For the sauce:
  • 2 tbsp sour cream
  • 1 tbsp mascarpone
  • 1 tsp lemon zest (from approx 1 lemon)
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp chopped basil
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • For the dates:
  • 12 medjool dates
  • 2 links hot Italian sausage
  • 1/4 lb sliced bacon (about 6 slices)
Preparation

For the sauce, whisk together all of the ingredients. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour to let the flavors marry.

For the dates, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Make a small slit, lengthwise, down the center of each date. Remove the pits and open the dates slightly leaving the bottom in tack. Remove the casing from the Italian sausage.  Cut the slices of bacon in half making 12 shorter slices of bacon. Place two teaspoons of the loose sausage in each of the opened dates. Close the date up and around the sausage. (It will not close completely leaving some of the sausage exposed.) Wrap the date in one of the halved slices of bacon and place on a baking sheet. Continue with the rest of the dates.

Bake the dates for 8 minutes. Remove the tray from the oven and flip each of the dates. Return to the oven and bake for 8 to 10 min more, or until the bacon is crisp.  Serve warm alongside the orange basil crèma.

Serving Size

Makes 12 stuffed dates

Recipe: Grilled vegetable towers

Ingredients
  • 6 (1/2-inch-thick) slices country-style bread
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus 1 tablespoon
  • 1 Japanese eggplant, cut into 16 (1/4 to 1/2-inch thick) rounds
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Zest of 1 large lemon
  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces) goat cheese, at room temperature
  • 16 jarred sun-dried tomatoes, drained
Preparation

Place a grill pan over medium-high heat or preheat a gas or charcoal grill.

Using a pastry brush, brush the bread on both sides with 1/3 cup of olive oil. Using a 1 3/4-inch round  cookie cutter, cut out 4 circles from each slice of bread. Grill the bread rounds for 1 to 2 minutes each side until toasted.

Toss the eggplant rounds with the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil and season with salt. Grill for 3 minutes on each side until tender.

In a small bowl, mix together the goat cheese and lemon zest until smooth. Spread about 3/4 teaspoon of the mixture on 8 grilled bread rounds. Place an eggplant round on each and top with a sun-dried tomato. Repeat the layers and top with the remaining bread slices. Gently press the layers together. Secure with toothpicks and serve.

Serving Size

Makes 8 vegetable towers

Recipe: Baked kale and sweet potato chips

Ingredients
  • 1 medium sweet potato (8 ounces)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 large kale leaves
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Preparation

Position an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Using a mandoline slicer or a sharp knife, slice the potato into 1/8-inch thick slices. Put in a bowl and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Toss well. Arrange in a single layer (without overlapping) on parchment-lined baking sheets.

Bake for 12 minutes. Turn the slices over and continue to bake, checking every 2 minutes, until brown and crisp, 6 to 8 minutes longer. Season the chips with ½ teaspoon of the salt and 1/8 teaspoon of the pepper.

Remove the thick stem from the kale leaves and discard. Cut the leaves into 2- to 3-inch pieces. Put in a bowl and drizzle with the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Toss well. Arrange the kale in a single layer on parchment paper-lined baking sheets.

Bake the kale until crisp and slightly dark on the edges, 10 to 12 minutes. Season with the remaining ¼ teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper.

Let the chips cool before serving.

Serving Size

Makes 4 servings

Recipe: Pomegranate and cranberry bellinis

Ingredients
  • 1 cup ice
  • 1 1/2 cups simple syrup, recipe follows
  • 1 1/4 cups pomegranate juice, chilled
  • 1 cup cranberry juice, chilled
  • 1 (750 ml) bottle Prosecco, chilled
  • 2 limes, thinly sliced
  • 1 bunch fresh mint, for garnish
  • 1/2 cup (2 1/2 ounces) pomegranate seeds, for garnish
  • For simple syrup:
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
Preparation

Place the ice in the punch bowl. Add the simple syrup, pomegranate juice, and cranberry juice. Stir well. Slowly pour in the Prosecco. Garnish with lime slices, mint sprigs and pomegranate seeds and serve.

Serving suggestion: As an alternative to serving from a punch bowl, make the bellini mixture in a 6 to 8 cup capacity pitcher. Divide the pomegranate seeds between 12 champagne flutes. Add 1 slice of lime and 1 sprig of mint to each glass. Pour the bellini mixture into the prepared glasses and serve.

For simple syrup:

In a saucepan, combine water and sugar over medium heat. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has dissolved. Take the pan off the heat and allow the syrup to cool.

Serving

Special equipment: a 6 to 8 cup capacity punch bowl

Serving Size

Makes 8 to 12 servings

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