Saturday, December 29, 2012

New Year's Eve Appetizer Ideas | Quail Egg Hors D'euvres

Quail Egg and Smoked Salmon Appetizers
By: Chef Cristian Feher

© Cristian Feher 2012 | Quail Egg and Smoked Salmon App
Quail eggs are a lot of fun to cook with. I love to make miniature food every once in a while. It reminds me that it's OK to play your food! 

You can find quail eggs at most Asian grocery stores, specialty food stores, and you can even special order them at your local grocery store. 

These little appetizers are a good conversation piece, as well as a delicious hors d'oeuvre. People love to ooh and ahh at the little tiny eggs! And if you can fry an egg, you are qualified to make this recipe - easy!

- Mini rye or pumpernickel bread
- Norwegian smoked salmon slices
- Chives
- Quail eggs (fresh)


NOTE: For this television segment on Fox 13 I took a serrated bread knife and sawed a straight shallow cut along the surface of the quail eggs, being careful not to go very deep, so that the shells would crack perfectly while still keeping the yolk intact. 

1. Lay your mini-bread slices on a tray

2. Put a slice of smoked salmon on each piece

3. Carefully crack the quail eggs so as not to break the yolk, and fry them on a non-stick pan (sunny-side-up) just like a regular egg.

4. Place cooked quail egg on top of the smoked salmon and garnish with sliced chives.

(OPTIONAL) Sometimes I squirt the smoked salmon with curry mayonnaise for added flavor.

New Year's Eve Appetizer Recipes | Greek Watermelon and Feta Cheese Salad

Greek Watermelon and Feta Cheese Salad
By: Chef Cristian Feher

© Cristian Feher 2012 | Watermelon and Feta Cheese Salad
Fruit and cheese have had a long marriage in the Western culinary world. This salad is just another example of a perfect pairing. 

Watermelon pairs very well with salty cheeses like Havarti, Parmesan and Greek Feta. The addition of fresh herbs, garlic and extra virgin olive oil add to this flavorful and refreshing dish.

- Watermelon Cubes
- Feta cheese slices
- chopped herbs (parsley, oregano)
- Minced garlic (fresh - don't use the jarred stuff)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Extra virgin olive oil


1. Cut the feta cheese into square slices.

2. Using the feta slices as a guide, cut the watermelon cubes the same width and length as the feta slices.

3. Mince the garlic and chop the fresh herbs.

4. Plate the watermelon cubes and put a slice of Feta on each cube. Sprinkle with fresh herbs, garlic and drizzle with olive oil.

5. Season with fresh pepper and salt and enjoy!

New Year's Eve Appetizers | Raw Oysters with Champagne Mignonette

Raw Oysters with Champagne Mignonette
By: Chef Cristian Feher

© Cristian Feher 2012 | Oysters with Champagne Mignonette
Oysters are not for everyone. But to those who have a taste for the ocean, a well-dressed raw oyster hits the spot. 

There are just as many ways to dress an oyster as there are oyster varieties. And while some prefer to eat them with horseradish and Tabasco, or plain lime juice, I enjoy them with a fresh shallot and vinegar mignonette.

A Mignonette is the French classic way to eat raw oysters. Red wine vinegar, is mixed with shallots, sugar, salt and pepper. To this basic mignonette, you can add all sorts of different things like: tarragon, dill, garlic, and diced anise. You can also use many different kinds of vinegars. I enjoy red wine vinegar, and champagne vinegar (both bi-products of the wine making process). 

What oysters are the best? That would be better discussed in an article all of its own. I will say this from personal experience though; I like cold water oysters much better than Gulf oysters.

To open oysters you will need an oyster shucker and a kitchen towel. Using a knife or a screw driver can lead to a badly cut hand. You can find good instructional videos on YouTube on how to properly shuck oysters.

Champagne Mignonette Recipe:

- 1/2 Cup of Champagne Vinegar
- 2oz of Champagne
- 1/4 cup of diced shallots
- Salt and pepper to taste

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Holiday Christmas Appetizers | Festive Chicken Wings Recipe

Festive Holiday Chicken Wings Recipe
By: Chef Cristian Feher

 This appetizer can be as complex, or as easy as you want. You can marinade and deep-fry your own wings, or you can buy pre-cooked chicken wings at your local grocery store - like I did for the Good Day Tampa Bay segment.

I wanted to make these chicken wings “festive” by making them red and green. The red part was easy; most BBQ sauces are red. And you can use any type of BBQ sauce you wish. For really simple “BBQ Sauce”, I like to add a pinch of smoked paprika and Crystal hot sauce to tomato ketchup. Just make sure that the tomato ketchup is made with sugar, and not high-fructose corn syrup. Sugar caramelizes, HFCS does not.

I wanted to make the green sauce stand out, so I chose to make a spinach pesto, as spinach tends to stay bright green a lot longer than basil.

And no matter what flavor, I love to dip my wings in buttermilk ranch dressing - which is what I put in the middle of the platter.

Super-Simple BBQ Sauce Ingredients:
- 2 cups of tomato ketchup (per 16 wings)
- 1/4 tsp of smoked paprika
- A dash of Crystal hot sauce


1. Mix the ketchup, paprika, and hot sauce.

2. Cook, or heat your chicken wings. Put them in a large bowl and toss with the Super-Simple BBQ Sauce. Serve with ranch dressing on the side.

Spinach Pesto Sauce Ingredients:

- 2 cups of baby spinach leaves
- 1 tsp of dry basil
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 1/3 cup of salted roasted peanuts
- 1/4 to 1/3 cup of olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste

1. Put all ingredients into a food processor and process until it’s a smooth paste. If too dry add more olive oil. Test for salt and season accordingly.

2. Cook, or heat your chicken wings. Put them in a large bowl and toss them with some of the pesto. Serve with ranch or blue cheese dressing.

Holiday Christmas Dessert Ideas | Candy Cane Dessert Shooters

Festive Holiday Dessert Shooters Recipe
By: Chef Cristian Feher

I guarantee that your guests will clean you out of these! You can make them with, or without, alcohol. I like to put peach schnapps or peppermint schnapps in mine.
Yields: about 10-14 shots

- 12oz Whipped Cream Cheese
- 3/4 Cup of cane sugar OR 1/2 cup of honey
- 1/3 Cup of milk
- 2 cups of strawberry glaze
- 10-12oz of frozen raspberries, thawed
- Candy canes
- Fresh mint

- Electric mixer
- Immersion blender OR food processor


1. In a bowl, combine the cream cheese with the milk and sugar/honey. Blend together with an electric mixer until very smooth. I like to put them into squeeze bottles or a container from which you can pour easily.

2. In another container, or in the food processor, process the raspberries and strawberry glaze until smooth. You can choose to add 1oz of alcohol if you wish (like peach schnapps). Put this into a squeeze bottle or a easy pour container.

3. In a shotglass, alternate layers of berry sauce and white sauce. Top with a sprig of mint and stick a candy cane in it!

Holiday Christmas Appetizers | Pine Cone Smoked Almond Cheese Ball Recipe

Pine Cone Smoked Almond Cheese Ball Recipe
By: Chef Cristian Feher

This is a really nice looking centerpiece for your next holiday get-together. Serve with mixed crackers and garnish with rosemary sprigs and red berries.

- 16oz cream cheese, softened
- 8oz of shredded cheese of choice (I use shredded manchego)
- 1/4 tsp of smoked paprika
- 2 tsp of Crystal hot sauce
- Smoked almonds
- Red berries
- Rosemary sprigs


1. Mix the cream cheese, shredded cheese, smoked paprika and hot sauce with an electric mixer until it forms into a ball. Put in a ziploc bag and refrigerate for 4 hours.

2. Take the cheese out and shape it like a pinecone onto a plate.

3. Stick almonds into the cheese ball to make it look like the seeds of a pine cone. Garnish by sticking some rosemary sprigs on the back, and a red berry.

Holiday Christmas Appetizers | Chorizo and Bocconcini Pinchos with Red Pepper Chimichurri

Chorizo and Bocconcini Pinchos Platter Recipe
By: Chef Cristian Feher

Pinchos Ingredients:
- 3 chorizo sausages (pre-cooked)
- 2 packages of pearled bocconcini cheese
- 3 large green peppers, large dice
- 4 inch skewers
- watermelon, whole


1. Cut the chorizo into 1/2 inch-thick coins. Cut the peppers into 1 inch diced pieces.

2. Skewer two pieces of bocconcini, followed by a green pepper piece, and a chorizo coin.

3. Cut a watermelon in half, scoop out the red flesh and stuff it with paper towels. Put on a serving tray face down. Cut a hole into the top to put in a small dip bowl.

4. Stick the skewers “pinchos” onto the watermelon, and fill the little bowl with chimichurri dipping sauce (recipe below).

Red Pepper Chimichurri Sauce Recipe
By: Chef Cristian Feher

Ingredients for the chimichurri sauce:

- 1 handful of fresh parsley
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 1 chopped red pepper
- 1 tbsp of fresh thyme
- 1 tbsp of fresh oregano
- 1 cup of olive oil or more
- Salt and pepper to taste


1. Put all ingredients into a food processor and blend together until smooth. Season properly with salt and pepper.