Lannae's Food and Travel

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December 23, 2012

Cooking Classes with Chef Laura Wilson

Chef Laura Wilson
Chef Laura Wilson runs the Grow Local Kitchen at the Nashville Farmer's Market, and she offers various cooking classes throughout the year.  A couple weeks ago, Laura offered a class to prepare 10 easy appetizers for any party, and I will summarize some of them here.  I always learn so much from Laura when I take a class from her.  And I learned about easy appetizers that can be made with ingredients found in any normal grocery store, like the Kroger near me on 8th Ave, or the Kroger in East Nashville.   Here are some that of the appetizers that you can make and wow your friends and family.

Truffled Deviled Eggs
Laura started off by making truffled deviled eggs. Super easy.   All you need to do is get a dozen eggs, boil them up and cut them in half.  Mix the yolks with a little mayo and course grain mustard, salt and pepper, and a drizzle of truffle oil.  Put the yolks back into the egg whites, and enjoy.

Bacon Wrapped Dates
The bacon wrapped dates was my favorite.  The ingredients are regular bacon (like Oscar Mayer), dates, toasted almonds (unsalted), and cheese (Gruyere, cheddar, cream cheese or maybe feta).  The method is to bake the bacon for a few minutes until they are "flabby".  Cut the bacon in 1/2.  Take a date and stuff it with an almond and a little piece of cheese.  Wrapped the stuffed date with the "flabby" bacon and secure the bacon with a bamboo or wood skewer.  Bake in a 350F oven for about 7 minutes.  Enjoy!

Spinach Dip and Veggies
The spinach dip with veggies isn't really new.  We all have our favorite spinach dip recipe (Knorr soup mix with drained frozen spinach and sour cream is my easy favorite).   But, the presentation is just so cute and functional at the same time.  Laura Wilson admits she found the presentation on Pintrest, and it is a great idea!  Take a piece of baguette, hallow it out, put a nice dollop of spinach dip in the middle, stand up some raw veggies, and ta-da!  A personal cup of spinach dip.  This way guests do not fumble with messy components of dips and veggies on the buffet table, and all they have to do is grab and go.  They have an cute edible cup of dip.
Feta Stuffed Peppers
The feta stuffed peppers, so simple yet delicious!  The sweet peppers I found in the canned veggie aisle of the grocery store.  The label on mine are pepperanzzi peppers.  They are little sweet peppers, deseeded with a perfect little hallow area for a piece of feta.  Ta-da!  Impress your friends!  Easy-breezy and pretty.  I am making these easy bites for a potluck party, and I am going to surround the stuffed peppers with some olives and crackers.

Ham and Cheese Pinwheels
The last appetizer that I really adore, and can impress friends throughout the year, are the ham and cheese pinwheels.  These are prepare ahead (days, weeks or months!) and just bake when needed.  They are puff pastry rolls with small diced ham and cheese.  The method is to thaw out puff pastry.  Small dice a flavorful ham or bacon and cook up the ham/bacon bits and set aside to cool.  Small dice a nice cheese like a cheddar, Gruyere, or Swiss or any cheese  you like.  Roll out the puff pastry into a rectangle, sprinkle ham/bacon bits and cheese bits on the puff pastry.  Roll up the puff pastry like a jelly roll.  Wrap tightly in plastic wrap so the roll conforms to the roll shape.  Freeze unused portions.  These are easier to cut frozen, or very cold.  So make 2, 4, or 6 rolls at a time (puff pastry boxes come with 2 sheets of puff pastry), and freeze the rolls for later.  Cut the roll into about 1/3 inch disks.  Bake for 20 minutes at 350F.  Ta-da! So, sometime in a month or two, when you have friends drop on by unexpectedly, you can just turn the oven on, slice up a frozen roll of these goodies, and in 20 minutes have a really awesome snack for your guests.

Happy Holidays, Happy New Year!  May your new year be deliciously happy!


At 12/26/12, 8:00 PM, Anonymous Alicia@ eco friendly homemaking said...

Oh all of these look so delicious! I think I would really like to take one of her classes. Looks like so much fun. I wanted to Thank You again for being so thoughtful and sharing your vinegar with me. I tell so many people about it and let them smell it and I am willing to share a little with a few people!! I know that sounds selfish and it kind of is but I call it my "special vinegar" Again I really thank you for it. I hope that this New Year brings you an abundance of blessings!


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