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31. Great Beginnings!!

Renny Darling

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The Recipes 
-Smoked Salmon Pate Cheesecake in
Dilled Cracker Crust
-Royal Crabmeat Spread with
Dried Tomatoes & Onions
-Hot & Spicy Crusty Chicken Wings with
Hot Apricot Glaze
- Oysters Royale with
Garlic, Herbs & Cheese Crumbs


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Dear Fans,

Isn't it great fun to celebrate the holidays? Sitting around a table, with family and friends, sharing a delectable meal, is one of the true joys and loving pleasures of the culinary experience. But it is only a pleasure if you are THERE, loving and enjoying every moment of it. If you are in the kitchen, hectic and breathless and nervous, you will be wishing the whole affair would be ended...and chances are, your guests will feel sorry for putting you through so much trouble.

I have dedicated myself, in every one of my books, and columns and lectures to the theme of entertaining with style and grace and WITHOUT a trace of worry or fear. The recipes I create are easy, can be prepared in advance and need only to be heated before your party. They do not use rare or exotic ingredients, but can be made with familiar cupboard staples. And above all, they must be very DELICIOUS, or they are not worth the trouble to prepare. A great recipe will add sparkle to your confidence and poise. It will make your guests happy and comfortable, too...happy and relaxed to be with you.

Today, I will share with you, a few hors d'oeuvres that also serve well as a first course or small entrees, that are very exciting and delicious. 2 are cold and 2 are hot. The Salmon Pate Cheesecake and Crabmeat spread are very elegant and delicious. The Red Hot Chicken Wings and Oyster casserole will amaze you.





A Quick Note: Again, sorry for all the weeks without a newsletter. They were sent, but were not delivered. There was an issue between the company who sends them and the email company that sends them to the address. I did not realize this until 6 weeks later. I simply sent them and never checked if they were delivered. Well, things do drag slowly and I have been assured that they have agreed on fixing whatever was wrong and you should receive this email on time. Please confirm that you received this email.


Smoked Salmon Pate Cheesecake in
Dilled Cracker Crust

Truly easy and marvelously delicious is this smoked salmon appetizer, sparkled with chives and dill. It also serves well for a New Year's buffet. Decorate the top with rosettes of Cream Cheese with Chives. Garnish the platter with cherry tomatoes and lemon sliced sprinkled with dill weed.

Dilled Cracker Crust
1 cup cracker crumbs. (Use a tasty cracker like Ritz.)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
6 tablespoons melted butter
1/2 teaspoon dried dill weed

Mix together all the ingredients until blended. Pat the mixture on the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan and bake in a 350° oven for 8 minutes. Allow shell to cool a little before filling.

Smoked Salmon Pate:
1 4-ounce package cream cheese with garlic and herbs
4 ounces cream cheese
3 tablespoons chopped chives
1/4 teaspoon dried dill weed
3 eggs
3/4 cup cream
2 ounces smoked salmon, cut into 1-inch pieces

Beat together first 6 ingredients until blended. Stir in the salmon. Spread mixture into a prepared crust and bake in a 350° oven for 25 minutes, or until the filling is set 1-inch off center. Allow to cool, and then refrigerate. Cut into wedges to serve. Serves 8 as a small entree.

Note: -Entire dish can be prepared earlier in the day and stored in the refrigerator. Can be prepared 1 day earlier and stored in the refrigerator, covered with plastic wrap and then foil.


Royal Crabmeat Spread with
Sun-Dried Tomatoes & Onions

1/4 pound crabmeat, picked over for bones

1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, at room temperature
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup finely chopped green onions or chives
1 teaspoon dried dill weed.

3 tablespoons, very finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes

Flake crabmeat, pick it over and remove any bones. Beat together next 5 ingredients until blended. Beat in the dried tomatoes until blended. Beat in the crabmeat until blended.

Line a 2-cup mold with plastic wrap. (Use a mold without a hole in the center.) Place the crabmeat mixture into the mold and cover with plastic wrap. Press the crabmeat mixture evenly into the mold and refrigerate. To serve, remove top plastic, invert mold onto a serving platter and remove plastic lining. Decorate with lemon slices sprinkled with dried dill weed. Serve with bland soda crackers or toast points. Yields about 2 cups.

Note: Sun-Dried tomatoes are sold in jars, packed in oil.


Hot & Spicy Crusty Chicken Wings with
Red Hot Apricot Glaze

The highly spiced coating adds an uncommon, but interesting, touch to this delectable hors d'oeuvre. The Hot Apricot Sauce is sparkled with nutmeg and cloves and is an especially good accompaniment.

3 pounds chicken wings, tips removed and split at the join. Brush lightly with a little butter. Sprinkle lightly with garlic powder, onion powder and paprika.

Place wings in one layer in a 12x16-inch baking pan, and bake at 350° for about 40 minutes, basting now and again with the juices in the pan.

Now, baste heavily with Red Hot Apricot Glaze and continue basting, and baking for 20 minutes, uncovered, or until wings are deeply glazed. Serve hot and have lots of napkins close by.

Red Hot Apricot Glaze:
1 cup apricot jam, sieved
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon vinegar
2 tablespoons ketchup
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Combine all the ingredients in a saucepan and simmer mixture for 10 minutes. Unused sauce can be stored in the refrigerator and can be used for glazing chicken or pork.

Note: This glaze is hot. If you like it less hot, reduce the amount of cayenne pepper.


Oysters Royale with
Garlic, Herbs & Cheese Crumbs

If you are serving this as a casserole, it is best served as a small entree with hors d'oeuvres and drinks. Simply have a large serving spoon and a few small plates close by. To serve as a first course at dinner, I suggest you make individual servings. This can be prepared in individual ramekins. Simply layer crumb mixture, oysters, crumb mixture and a generous sprinkling of grated Parmesan cheese on top. Heat for about 20 minutes at 350° until heated through. Casserole, or individual ramekins, can be prepared earlier in the day, stored in the refrigerator and heated before serving.

6 cloves garlic, minced
2 onions, finely chopped
6 shallots, minced
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)

1/4 cup dry white wine
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon thyme flakes
1/4 teaspoon sage
salt and pepper to taste

6 cups fresh egg bread crumbs, about 12 slices of bread,
crusts removed and made into crumbs in food processor
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 can (8 ounces) whole oysters packed in water, drained.
Reserve juice.
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

In a Dutch oven casserole, sauté garlic, onion and shallots in butter until onion is soft, but not browned. Add the next 6 ingredients and simmer mixture until wine is almost evaporated. Toss in the crumbs, cheese and cayenne pepper until blended. Now add enough of the drained oyster juice until crumbs hold together.

In a 9-inch round porcelain baker, layer half the crumb mixture, the drained oysters and then the remaining crumbs on top. Sprinkle top with the 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan. Bake in a 350° oven for about 20 to 25 minutes, or until piping hot. Spoon directly from the porcelain baker onto individual small plates. Serves 8.



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