Well part of my inspiration I owe to the Jalapeno Popper thread. SWMBO and I are gonna hang out and I am making a bunch of small 'finger' type foods.
Dolmas (picked the grape leaves the other day)
Lamb Satay skewers
Thai style Shanghai dumplings (something off the top of my head)
My interpretation of the 'White Castle Slyder' ('Castillo Blanco' Slyders) mini cheeseurgers (we are going to watch Harold and Kumar lol)
Steamed red bean buns for dessert
Mango or Guanabana Batido's with Rum
A round of Homebrew (not sure what yet) during the final prep phase.
Yeah it's a lot of food!
10 Jalapenos cored
1/2 lb sharp cheddar shredded
a few oz. tiny diced cured pork loin (I made some Lonzino, figured I'd give it a try cause we ran out of bacon. Not the same thing at all but it should suffice)
1/2 C bread crumbs
Vigorously stir filling until homogenous. Stuff peppers. Chill. Use a bound egg breading to encapsulate. Deep fry @365 until ready
~20 Grape leaves (fresh ones can be boiled in salted water with some distilled vinegar for about 8 to 10 minutes)
~ 3.5 to 4.0 Cups steamed short grain rice
1 Tbs minced fresh Dill
1 Tbs minced fresh Spearmint
handful Sunflower nuts unsalted (traditionally it is pignoli but I didn't have them)
Salt to taste
Juice of 1/2 lemon
grating of lemon zest
Sprinkling of Ouzo (It was sitting there so I figured "why not!" )
Combine all the ingredients in a bowl. Salt to taste. Lay the leaves (shiny side down) on the counter and place about 2 to 3 Tbs of the mixture in the lower 1/3 in a 'log' shape horizontally2. The mix should sit about 1/2 to 1 inch in from each of the sides. Fold the sides in vertically to meet the mixture and then roll it up from the bottom upwards. Place all the Dolmas into a steamer (I use bamboo ones) single layer. Gently steam for about an hour. Cool. Pack tightly in a container, covering the layers with a sprinkling of coarse salt and Olive Oil. Refridgerate.
Marinate thin slices of lamb in Satay sauce (I cheat and use a brand that comes in little cans, excellent quality though). Skewer on small bamboo skewers (the short 6" ones) that have been soaked in water for about an hour. Grill on a really hot grill, these should cook very quickly with good charring. Serve with a sauce made from minced Shallot, diced Cucumber, Crushed unsalted Peanuts, Patis, a little vinegar and some fresh Chopped Thai Basil.
Thai Shanghai Dumplings:
Stack of Shanghai wrappers
~1 lb fresh ground Pork
Small chunk fresh Ginger Root minced
2 Cloves Garlic minced
3 to 4 Kaffir Lime leaves sliced thin
Small bunch Cilantro chopped
Small bunch of Thai Basil chopped
5 medium Shallots
Patis ~ 4 Tbs
dash of salt
Finely ground Thai chilis (I used 5 Thai hots) to taste!
Finely ground Green Cardamom (~ 10 little seeds or the contents of 2 small pods)
In a food processor, pulse the Ginger, Garlic and Shallot and Lime leaves until broken down. Pulse in the Basil and Cilantro. Add the remaining ingredients (except what you want to adjust) and pulse until well combined. To test this, a small amount on a plate in the microwave for about 20 seconds is a good way. Adjust accordingly. I like to work about 6 to 8 wrappers at a time. Lay them on the counter so they warm up (you want them pliable) and then wet the edges with some water. Place about a heaping tsp of the mix in the center of the wrapper. Getting a technique for wrapping is tough! I follow a method I saw on tv where they sort of cup the wrapper in the left hand and then while keeping the mix pressed into the center with the right thumb, work the thumb and forefinger of the left hand around the circumference all the while pinching the wrapper and then twisting and pushing down at the end. Hard to explain looks like this
I freeze them until needed and then steam them for about 20 minutes to 1/2 hour. You can't really overcook them, well sort of...they can sit in the steamer hot for a looong time.
'Castillo Blanco' slyders:
~ 1 lb ground beef
finely minced white onion
American cheese slices
Dill pickle chips
Roll out the hamburger into about a 1/4 inch sheet between two sheets of wax paper. Cut into squares just larger than the mini buns (I used dinner rolls). Freeze.
On a griddle set to medium flame, sweat out the onions in a little oil. Place the frozen patties on top of the onion and when they get close to cooked through, top with an appropriately sized slice of cheese, some pickle chips and then the bun top. Finish assembly on a plate.
Steamed bean buns, I buy them frozen. They get steamed for about 10 minutes.
Batido's are basically the frozen pulp, whole milk, sugar to taste and then some rum in a blender.