Recipes for your summer party season

eightWest
Caper bruschetta 051216_213713

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) The summer party season is just ahead, and it’s time to find new ideas for fresh and healthy food to serve at your next get-together. Chef Elizabeth Suvedi of Culinary Expedition is sharing some of her recipes.

Join Chef Suvedi for a Culinary Health Cooking Class on Saturday, June 4, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in West Olive. The cost is $75. Register online to save your spot!

Caper Bruschetta

Take this to a party and people will be hounding you for the recipe. It is so simple, yet when you put it all together it looks and tastes like an appetizer you would get at one of those over the top wedding receptions.

Ingredients:

  • 40 half inch slices of crostinis (See “Crostini” Recipe) – from one 12 to 14 ounce baguette
  • 1 ½ cup chopped tomatoes (about 2 medium tomatoes)
  • 1 cup chopped bell pepper (about 1 pepper; any color works, I prefer yellow for the color contrast with the tomato)
  • ½ cup chopped fresh basil leaves
  • ¼ cup minced shallots or red onion
  • 3 tablespoons capers (drained)
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • Salt to taste (I like ¼ teaspoon)
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic reduction (optional)

Directions:

  • In a medium sized bowl, combine tomato, bell pepper, basil, shallots, capers, oil and black pepper.
  • Add salt right before serving and only on the portion you are going to eat.
  • To serve, place four crostinis on an individual serving plate, top each crostini with 1 tablespoon of the bruschetta and then drizzle ½ teaspoon of balsamic reduction on top of all four of the pieces.

You can make the crostini and bruschetta a few hours ahead of time. Then top crostini with bruschetta right before serving. The recipe specifies to plate as individual servings, you can also place them on one large serving plate and allow guests to grab their own. Just don’t plate too early, otherwise the crostinis will get soggy. For parties, put bruschetta in a small bowl and place on a large plate with the crostini pieces surrounding it so people can assemble their own pieces throughout the party so the crostinis do not get soggy.

Yields/Servings: Makes 2 ½ cups of tomato topping. Makes 40 pieces. Serves 10 – 4 pieces each.

How to Store Leftovers: Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator at 41° F or colder. Store bread separate from the tomato mixture. Tomato mixture can be stored for about 2-3 days and bread can be stored for about 5 days. Reheat bread in oven or toaster to bring back crispiness.


Crostini

Sounds fancy, yet so easy and super delicious! Goes great topped with your favorite pesto, tapenade or bruschetta. Make sure the kids don’t steal them all before you put a topping on them!

Ingredients:

  • 1 baguette (12 to 14 ounces) – cut into ½ inch (or smaller) pieces (generally about 35 to 40 pieces)
  • 6 – 8 tablespoons oil (grapeseed, avocado)
  • Salt for sprinkling

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  • Pour oil in a shallow bowl
  • Dip one side of the slice of bread in the oil and then place on a baking sheet with the oil side facing up. Repeat for all pieces of bread.  Use two baking sheets if needed.  Do not layer bread on top of each other.
  • Sprinkle bread with salt.
  • Bake in the oven for about 6 minutes for the first side and about 4 minutes for the second side – until lightly golden.

To save time, I have the store where I buy the bread, slice the bread in their bread slicer on their thinnest setting. If you like your crostini with a softer middle, only cook 3 minutes on each side.

Serving Suggestions: Top with your favorite pesto or bruschetta. Kids love them just as is.

Yields/Servings: Makes 35 to 40 crostini. About ten 4-piece servings.

How to Store Leftovers: Once they have cooled completely, store in an airtight container on the counter for 2-3 days. Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Reheat in a toaster or oven to bring back their crispiness.


Balsamic Reduction

This sauce is so easy to make and it stores for what seems like forever. Drizzling this over your food makes it look like you are a cooking master (which you are!). The perfect finishing touch.

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ cup agave nectar

Directions:

  • In a small sauce pan over medium heat, whisk together balsamic vinegar and agave nectar.
  • Once mixture starts to boil reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes. Until mixture reduces by half.  Whisk every 5 minutes.
  • Turn off heat and let reduction cool slightly.
  • Pour reduction into a small glass storage bowl. Let it cool completely and then cover it.  Store in a dry place and use as needed.

Serving Suggestions:  Drizzle over soups, bruschetta and salads.

Yields/Servings: Makes about ¼ cup. Serves many, since you typically only drizzle about ½ teaspoon on individual servings.

How to Store Leftovers: Store in a cool dry place and use as needed. I am not exactly sure how long this lasts.  I have stored it for up to 1 year in my pantry and it was still good.  Use a clean spoon each time you pull from it so that you don’t leave any food contaminants behind.


Dill Caper Potato Salad

I don’t even like calling this a potato salad because the flavors are so amazing! It is not even close to those dull store-bought potato salads. The capers and dill make this dish exceptional. People will be asking you to bring this to every summer picnic once they try it.

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups ½ inch sized pieces of potato (2 pounds) – leave skin on
  • 1 ½ cup chopped celery
  • 1 cup matchstick carrots
  • 1/3 cup capers – drained (3.5 ounces)
  • ¼ cup minced shallot

Dressing:

  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ½ cup fresh dill
  • ¼ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 1 tablespoon garlic cloves (about 4 large cloves)
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Directions:

  • In a large sauce pan, over high heat, place 6 cups of water and potatoes. Bring to a boil.  Then reduce heat to a slow boil and cook until potatoes are tender when pricked with a fork (about 10 minutes).  Drain and let cool to so they are warm but not hot.  (You can let them cool all the way to room temperature too).  You just don’t want them hot otherwise they will soften the other vegetables.
  • Meanwhile, in a small food processor bowl or blender, puree all of the Dressing ingredients until the garlic if fulling incorporated into the Dressing.
  • In a large bowl, combine the potatoes, celery, carrots, capers, shallots and dressing.

Make sure you zest the lemon before you cut it to squeeze the juice from it.

Yields/Servings: Makes 8 cups. Serves ten ¾ cup servings.

How to Store Leftovers: Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator at 41° F or colder for up to 1 week.

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