Thursday, April 5, 2012

springtime hors d'oeuvres

Spring is here and lovely produce such as rhubarb, asparagus and tropical fruit are bright, beautiful and in season for the taking.

I recently did a demonstration for the lovely ladies of Junior Woman's Club of Fort Worth complete with techniques and tricks on making these three simple spring treats:

Crostini with Ricotta, Spicy Rhubarb Jam
& Crushed Pistachios

This rhubarb jam is a little sweet, a little tart and a little spicy.

Make a batch to slather atop morning toast with a touch of butter or top dessert glasses of creamy vanilla pudding with a dollop of this hot pink-hued delight!

Rhubarb Jam:

yields approximately 3 cups jam

3 cups rhubarb, sliced
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
juice and zest of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan. Simmer over medium high heat until reduced and jam-like, approximately 30 minutes. Let come to room temperature then chill in an airtight container. Serve atop toasted baguette with ricotta and toasted, chopped pistachios.

Asparagus & Hummus Tart
with Fresh Basil

This tart is flavorful, beautiful and oh-so-easy to prepare with the help of store-bought puff pastry.

yields 1 tart

1 sheet frozen puff pastry, defrosted but chilled
1/2 cup prepared hummus
1.5 pounds asparagus (about 18 medium spears)
1 Tablespoon olive oil
sea salt to sprinkle atop asparagus

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Unfold and place pastry on a baking sheet. With a sharp knife, lightly score pastry dough 1 inch in from the edges to mark a rectangle. Using a fork, pierce dough inside the markings at 1/2-inch intervals. Spread hummus evenly atop the fork-pierced portion.

  • Trim the bottoms of the asparagus spears to fit crosswise inside the tart shell; arrange in a single layer over hummus, alternating ends and tips. Brush with oil, and season with salt. Bake until spears are tender, 18-20 minutes. Serve warm or room temperature.

  • Coconut Panna Cotta with Tropical Fruit
    & Sugared Kumquats

    Use coconut milk instead of cream for this whimsical play on panna cotta! Ripe and sweet tiny tropical fruit bites are the perfect toppings.

    one 15-ounce can unsweetened coconut milk
    1/4 cup sugar
    1 packet powdered gelatin (about 1.5 teaspoons)
    2 Tablespoons cold water
    small diced kiwi, mango, pineapple, for garnish
    thin-sliced kumquat tossed in sugar, for garnish

    In a small bowl, sprinkle gelatin over the water and stir. Set aside to bloom.

    In a small saucepan, heat the coconut milk and sugar to a soft boil.

    Whisk in as much as a quarter cup of the coconut milk into the gelatin to melt.

    Pour gelatin mixture into the remaining coconut milk and whisk together.

    Fill desired jars, small glasses or bowls and place in refrigerator for 4 hours-overnight to set. Before serving, top panna cotta with tropical fruit and sugared kumquat slices.

    Happy spring!


    1 comment:

    Weekend Cowgirl said...

    Everything looks so good and so very pretty!