Thanksgiving officially marks the beginning of gastronomic over-indulgence. With the end of the year approaching, the celebrations start: departmental parties, lab parties, neighborhood parties, family get-togethers… every one of them loaded with caloric temptations… This Thanksgiving we took a back seat in the kitchen, as we were guests at a fantastic dinner thrown by our dear friends (and neighbors). Our hostess, knowing how much I love to cook, asked if I’d prepare an appetizer for the Thanksgiving party, a question that I answered with the most enthusiastic yes! I opted for something light and refreshing, to provide a counterpoint to the substantial meal ahead, that included a turkey with chestnut dressing that we won’t soon forget!
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)
mozzarella mini-balls (like these)
30 grape or cherry tomatoes
30 black Kalamata olives, pitted
for the dressing:
2 Tbs olive oil
2 tsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp ground fennel
salt and pepper to taste
When you are ready to start prepping your ingredients, put some music on and go to work: slice the mini-cucumbers 1/8 inch thick, cut the tomatoes and black olives in half. If some olives are too small, leave them whole. Reserve.
Assemble each skewer starting with one small mozzarella ball, half a black olive, another mozzarella ball, a cucumber slice, and finish with half the tomato. Arrange the skewers on a nice serving platter.
Make the dressing by whisking all the ingredients in a small bowl, drizzle over the skewers half an hour before serving.
to print the recipe, click here
Comments: The inspiration for this recipe came from two different sources: “Greek Salad Skewers” from Fine Cooking, and a dressing found in “Small Bites,” but I modified them enough to make it “bewitching.” 😉 One of my changes was to use mozzarella instead of feta cheese because feta tends to crumble and I am forced to eat all the cheese that disintegrates as I stab it. If you don’t find mini-cucumbers, use regular ones, but peel them and cut the slices in halves or quarters, depending on the size.
Fennel seed is the secret for the dressing. I like to use ground and let the dressing sit for a while before using, but next time I’ll use whole fennel seeds and warm them up gently to make an infused oil. Might be even better.
These skewers are very colorful, a nice addition to any cocktail party, but particularly great to open a multi-course dinner. Consider making them for your end-of-the-year festivities.
ONE YEAR AGO: Dundee Cake Bake-Along (and great fun was had by all!)