The Culinary Architect: An afternoon or evening cocktail party

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It’s fall and it’s a wonderful time to entertain friends and family.  
We love having people over on a Sunday afternoon.  
My husband, Daryl, sets up a self-serve bar with champagne and a roaring fire.  
I make the hors d’oeuvres.  
If I do not have someone helping me in the kitchen, I platter everything ahead of time and then set out the delicious foods right before the first guests’ arrival.  
If I do have help, I pre-prepare as much as possible and have my helpers(s) assemble the trays and pass them to our guests.
I allow at least 12 pieces of hors d’oeuvres per-person for a two hour cocktail party.  
Entertaining on a Fall Sunday afternoon is a wonderful way to end the weekend and start a new week.
Menu
Serves 12
Brie with Nuts and 
Dried Fruit
Endive with Gorgonzola 
Mousse
Steamed Dumplings
Cheese Straws
Smoked Salmon on 
Cucumber Rounds
Shrimp Cocktail*
*Recipe Not Given
Brie with Nuts
and Dried Fruit

1 wheel of brie, cold
Nuts, I.e. salted sunflower 
seeds, walnuts, almonds, 
pecans, etc.
Dried fruit, i.e. raisins 
(dark and green), apricots
Flatt Breads
1.  With a cheese plane, remove the top of the brie.  Implant the dried fruits and nuts in a pattern on top of the brie.  
2.  Place brie on a platter, surround with crackers and serve at room temperature.
Endive with
Gorgonzola Mousse

2 endives, cut and 
separated
8 oz. cream cheese
6 oz. gorgonzola cheese
Container of roasted peas 
(optional)
Parsley (optional)
1.  In a Cuisinart, fitted with a steel blade, puree all cream cheese and gorgonzola cheese.
2.  Just before serving, place mousse in a pastry bag, fitted with a star tip and pipe on to endive.  Garnish with fresh herbs
3.  Serve on a bed of roasted peas, if desired.
Steamed Dumplings
Dough
1 Package of round 
wonton wrappers
Cornstarch
Oil for cooking
Hot Water
Filling
2 cups finely chopped 
Chinese cabbage
1 tsp. salt
1 cup ground pork butt
3  tblsps. water with 
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup raw shrimp, shelled, 
deveined and minced
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 1/2 tblsps. soy sauce
1 tblsp. sesame seed oil
1.  To make the filling, place chopped Chinese cabbage in a bowl and sprinkle with salt.  Mix and set aside for 10 minutes.  Place it in a towel and squeeze out the moisture.
2.  In a food processor, fitted with a steel blade, place the cabbage and the erst of the filling ingredients.  Process on/off until all of the ingredients are well blended.  Cover and refrigerate for about an hour.
3.  To make the dumplings, put a teaspoon of filling in the center of a disk.  Wet the inside rim of the disk with a finger that has been dipped in water.
4.  Fold the disk in half and, starting from one end, pinch the edge of the dough in an overlapping fashion.  Place on a cookie sheet, sprinkled with cornstarch.  The dumplings should stand with the pinch edge upright.
5.  15 minutes before serving. Place dumplings in an oiled Bamboo steamer.  Steam over boiling water for 10-15 minutes or until done.
Cheese Straws
1/4 sheet of puff pastry 
(or 1 box)
1/2 cup grated or shredded 
Parmesan cheese
Egg wash
1.  Preheat oven to 425 degrees (convection works best)
2.  On a Silpat, roll dough until one quarter larger.  Brush egg wash on half.  Sprinkle with cheese and fold over.
3.  Brush top with more egg wash and sprinkle with cheese.  (May be frozen at this point.)
4.  Bake in oven until lightly brown, approximately 12-15 minutes.
Smoked Salmon
on Cucumber Rounds

1 package Persian 
cucumbers
4 oz. smoked salmon, 
sliced thinly
1/2  bunch dill
1/4  cup mayonnaise
1.  In a food processor, fitted with a steel blade, combine mayonnaise and 1/4 bunch dill.  Pulse in on/off.  Set aside sauce.
2.  Score cucumbers and cut into one-inch pieces.  Top with salmon, a dollop of sauce and a sprig of dill.
Alexandra Troy is owner of Culinary Architect Catering, a 32-year old Greenvale-based company, specializing in private, corporate and promotional parties.  
For more photos and presentation follow Culinary Architect Catering on Facebook. Please email me photos of your dishes at party@culinaryarchitect.com.
The Culinary Architect: An afternoon or evening cocktail party
The Culinary Architect: An afternoon or evening cocktail party
The Culinary Architect: An afternoon or evening cocktail party
The Culinary Architect: An afternoon or evening cocktail party

By Alexandra Troy

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