Friday Cocktails and Canapés
Welcome to the weekend ~ almost. It is TGIF. The perfect time to think about a cool, refreshing cocktail to sip by the pool or at the lake or the beach. I know somewhere kids are back in school, but the weather tells me it’s still summer.
Cocktails should be pretty, enticing you to take a sip and savor the flavor. Here are some really pretty ones:
I love the orange garnish with the sprig of thyme
Pretty in pink with a lemon slice
What could be better than a classic Mojito?
Canapés, in case you were wondering, are small, decorative pieces of bread (toasted or not), topped with a savory garnish such as anchovy, cheese or some type of spread. A cracker or baked pastry can also be used as a base. Simple or elaborate, hot or cold, canapés should be bite-size, pretty, and delicious. They are in the same family as hors d’oeuvres and today we use the terms interchangeably. Both are part of the big category of appetizers. Popcorn and pretzels, salsa and chips are appetizers, but not canapés. (Actually, in Texas chips and salsa are a meal.) Typically, canapés are served before a meal with an aperitif or cocktail. But, as we all know, we can make a meal out of grazing at a party of full of delicious bite-sized canapés ~ one of my favorite types of parties.
See how pretty they should be?
This round toasted bread with smoked salmon and finely diced red onion and tiny chives is a classic.
Toasts with pesto, oven-roasted tomatoes, and mozzarella, Yummy!
I love mini-phyllo cups filled with whipped cream cheese and colorful garnishes.
So now I want to share with you a great, refreshing cocktail and one of my go-to canapés.
A take on the colors of Italy, this tiny bite of flavor takes a little time to prepare, but once done they can be set aside until you are ready to serve. They are so pretty and great for warm weather.
20 cherry or grape tomatoes
1/4 pound feta cheese in chunk
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
1 1/4 cups extra virgin olive oil
3/8 teaspoon kosher salt
3/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
20 small basil leaves ~ for garnish
balsamic vinegar ~ for garnish
1. Cut off the tops of each tomato. If necessary, cut off a thin sliver of tomato on the opposite end so that the tomato will stand up. Using a small spoon, scoop out the pulp to make a hollow yet sturdy shell. Sprinkle with salt and turn upside down on a paper-lined rimmed baking sheet for about 15 minutes. Drain off any juice that accumulates in the shells.
2. To make Basil Oil: Place the basil leaves in a small saucepot and cover with the extra virgin olive oil. Heat over medium heat. Remove pot from heat and allow basil to steep at least 30 minutes. Strain oil through a sieve into a squeeze bottle.
3. Cut the feta into small cubes that will fit into the tomato shells.
4. Turn tomato shells right side up. Squeeze a tiny amount of Basil Oil into each tomato. Fill each tomato with a feta cube. Tuck one small basil leave into each tomato.
Serving Ideas : Fill a shallow platter with kosher salt. Place tomatoes on salt. Put the balsamic vinegar in a plastic squeeze bottle and drizzle over tomatoes.
NOTE: Tomatoes and Basil Oil may be prepared ahead of time. Appetizer may be assembled one hour prior to serving.
We discovered this luscious cocktail in New Orleans a few years ago and Sweet Shark has been making it for me ever since. The sweetness of the sugar rim compliments the tartness of the lemon wedge garnish ~ a great summer flavor.
1 1/2 ounces Pisco (a pale, straw-colored South American brandy) or other brandy
1/2 ounces fresh lime juice
1/2 ounces orange-flavored liqueur, such as Cointreau, Triple Sec or Grand Marnier
1/4 ounces Cherry Heering
2 dashes orange bitters
sugar for rimming glass
lemon wedge ~ for garnish
1. Using a lemon slice, “wet” the rim of the glass. Roll edge of glass in sugar to coat. Set aside.
2. In a cocktail shaker, combine all ingredients. Add ice and shake until blended and ice has broken into small pieces.
3. Strain liquid into sugar-rimmed glass. Garnish with a lemon wedge.
NOTE: You can place the sugar-rimmed glass in the freezer until ready to make drink. Great if you are making several drinks.
I hope you’ll try both these recipes. Let me know what you think.
Have a fantastic weekend and stay cool.