Week 12 - Chocolate Covered Cherry Martinis and Appetizers
We got fancy in week 12. We just purchased a mid-century display shelf/sideboard which we are also using as a nifty liquor cabinet. I really wanted to break it in so found a recipe for Chocolate-Covered Cherry Martinis, from the book "The Vintage Tea Party Year", by Angel Adoree. While flipping through the book, I saw a number of other recipes that intrigued me, so Chris and I decided to have a mini party for two and make not one, but 5 recipes for this week.
I love this cookbook. It has recipes and party ideas for a number of different occasions throughout the year including Valentines Day, a Children's Party and Bridal Shower, among others. It has lovely photos and drawings throughout and lots and lots of interesting recipes. The book even has small craft projects and step-by-step instructions for vintage hairstyles. The author is British, so some of the special occasions, like "Guy Fawkes Bonfire Night", aren't celebrated in the US and every once in a while there are ingredients for things that are harder for me to find. But overall, the book is fun and has lots of fabulous ideas.
The Chocolate-covered Cherry Martinis were very easy to make. I'm not much of a drinker and rarely make cocktails, but even I had no issues with making this delicious drink. The cocktail contained chocolate syrup, cherry flavored vodka, creme de cocoa, cream and of course cherries. It tasted just like a chocolate-covered cherry cordial you often find at Christmas time.
For my first appetizer, I made "Date Devils on Horseback" which are stuffed dates wrapped in bacon. The original recipe called for chopped smoked almonds mixed with butter to be stuffed in the dates. I was unable to find smoked almonds, so I toasted some on the stovetop instead. I also made some variations with goat cheese, goat cheese and almonds and goat cheese and roasted jalapeño peppers. All versions were wonderful. As the dates cooked in the oven, their sugars caramelized on the bacon resulting in a smokey, candy-like appetizer. The jalapeño version had a little bit of a kick, but were still very sweet and smokey. I will probably make these again, experimenting with different fillings. The only thing I would do differently here is make sure the bacon pieces were longer as some of bacon shrunk and pulled away from the dates.
The next appetizer was Baba Ghanoush with Flatbreads. We are big fans of Middle Eastern food and I often make hummus and pita, but have always wanted to try Baba Ghanoush. Other than roasting the eggplant, this was very similar to making hummus and was extremely easy. The flatbreads were made from a very simple dough of salt, olive oil and flour, cooked on both sides in a dry frying pan. While not as soft as the pitas I make, they were perfect for dipping and very easy to do.
The last appetizer I made were Goat Cheese Truffles. These were the easiest as they were just balls of goat cheese rolled in different coatings. I chose chopped almonds, fresh parsley and black pepper and a middle eastern spice mix as my toppings. These looked really cute, but were our least favorite of the bunch. I probably wouldn't make them again unless I did some serious alterations to the cheese and coatings. The recipe didn't call for any roasting of the spices, so I coated the balls with raw spices, which wasn't that appealing. I would probably lightly roast the spices next time and maybe mix some spices into the cheese itself.
Overall, these were fun, delicious and easy to make. I'm looking forward to trying some more recipes from this and the author's other two books.
Cookbook: "The Vintage Tea Party Year", by Angel Adoree
Recipe: Chocolate-covered Cherry Martini, Date Devils on Horseback, Baba Ghanoush and Flatbread and Goat Cheese Truffles.
Difficulty: All very easy
Alterations: I didn't have cream for the cocktail so I used half and half instead. I couldn't find smoked almonds for the dates, so I toasted almonds on the stovetop.
Results: Delicious. The only one we weren't crazy about were the Goat Cheese Truffles
Make Again: I've already made the Chocolate-Covered Cherry Martini!