Cocktail parties are my favorite. And, no, it’s not because of the cocktails. Okay, it’s partly because of the cocktails, but it’s mostly because, to me, a good party is made up of a range of small bites with a variey of tastes. With the holidays around the corner we’re heading into high-gear party season, so I thought I’d share one of my go-to cocktail party recipes: Mushroom Agrodolce Bites.
These little numbers have a lot going for them — they’re affordable, a cinch to make, and can be made ahead of time — but what I’m drawn to is the sweet-sour flavor. Agrodolce is a sweet-sour sauce hailing from Sicily and though it’s classically made with just onions, here it’s combined with roasted mushrooms for a recipe packed with a mix of sweet-sour and earthy flavors. If you aren’t entertaining anytime soon, serve the mushrooms (without the endive) as a side-dish as they a natural pairing with a variety of cold-weather fare from roasts to slow-cooked foods.
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Like a moth to a flame, when the weather starts to cool off, I start craving comfort food.
Coming from an Italian-American family, the foods I find most cozy take shape in the form of cheese or pasta. Over the years I’ve gone from eating mozzarella at nearly every meal to exercising a bit more restraint, but when the cold weather hits, the craving is still there. The ultimate is when it’s melty and gooey, like in this herbed roasted cheese.
My roasted cheese recipe is a riff on baked Brie (a familiar holiday appetizer) that I turn to when time is short but comfort food is in high demand. It’s such a simple concept but it’s highly versatile and can be used as an indulgent appetizer, a salad centerpiece, or an impromptu take on mac-and-cheese. In my dream world, it would be kosher to throw the melty hunk of cheese inside a whole loaf of bread to make a behemoth version of a grilled cheese, but I haven’t gone there. At least not yet.
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It’s been a crazy month, to say the least. While I’d hoped for crisp fall evenings that I’d spend making the first slow-cooked recipes of the season, it has instead been very busy with my “To Do” list seeming like it’ll never stop growing. It’s times like these that I go simple and quick in the kitchen, but never at the expense of flavor. Just because things are speedy doesn’t mean they should lack flavor, and I turn to high-heat cooking methods like stir frying, sautéing, broiling, and roasting to ensure that doesn’t happen. These sweet-savory quick-roasted grapes fit the bill perfectly.
Continue Reading: Sweet-Tart Quick-Roasted Grapes →