Meet Sam Fioretti. 12 years old. Food aficionado. Musician. Life lover. I LOVE this kid. A long awaited chance to spend the entire day cooking with my nephew, Sam, happened on New Year's Eve! Check this out. This guy loves sushi, raw oysters, goat cheese, fresh scallops, frog legs, hot chili and an amazing variety of ethnic dishes. He has a real appreciation for food from the simple to the exotic. Gotta love a guy with an adventurous and highly tuned palate. Mom and Dad, Sharon and Louie, have raised four boys with incredibly fearless appetites. Sam is spending more and more time learning the ropes with Louie on the weekends, preparing really fun and ambitious meals like homemade pasta and meatballs, all types of seafood dishes, homemade gnocchi and more. I'd like to think he's a chip off the old aunt.
With abounding drive and enthusiasm, Sammy and I planned and shopped the night before our cooking day, discussing ideas for what we would cook and how much we would be able to accomplish before heading out to our respective New Year's Eve parties. Sam had already read the cookbook, The Silver Spoon for Children, a Christmas gift from his Aunt Peggy, from cover to cover. We kicked around recipe ideas and decided to prepare a variety of appetizers to share with our families and friends at the evening's festivities. Sam was bringing his "apps" to his Aunt Peggy & Uncle Harry's party and Mark and I were headed to Lars & Tammy's as well as Brian & Sue's.
Our New Year's Offerings included:
Honey Balsamic Roasted Pearl Onions - Little pearls, blanched, peeled, dressed and slow roasted until sweet and sticky.
Oven Roasted Tomatoes - If you know me, you know I love these. Plum tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise, seeded, drizzled with olive oil, sprinkled with herbs, slow roasted until sweet and intensely flavored.
Bacon Wrapped Sea Scallops - Carefully cleaned, inspected and patted dry by Sammy, wrapped in bacon and crisped up on the grill. Individually served on butter lettuce leafs with Sriracha mayonnaise and a wedge of avocado. A KPK fave.
Every party needs Cheese Balls - Goat cheese and cream cheese are combined, formed into small balls by hand (Sammy's hand), rolled in chopped parsley with a bit of lemon zest for freshness and served with crostini.
Marinated Roasted Peppers - These babies did not get peeled in time to make it to Peggy and Harry's, but they did make it to Lars & Tammy's. Red, yellow and orange bell peppers, blistered on the grill (whole), steamed, peeled, and marinated in olive oil and red wine vinegar with fresh basil and garlic. I love these. Peeling them makes them delectable, easier to eat, and easier on the stomachs of those pepper peeler peeps out there. I seem to know a bunch of peeps that like their peppers peeled. Say that 10 times fast. Hey, if it takes longer, I'm all for it. LOL.
Crostini - Great vehicle to get the apps from Point A to Point B. This time, we used whole grain French bread, thinly sliced, brushed with olive oil, sprinkled with kosher salt and baked until crisp.
Nutty Caramel Bars - Shortbread cookie crust topped with a honeyed buttery caramel and a boatload of toasted pecans, almonds and walnuts. The next night at Teri's, we dipped the little bars in melted double chocolate for a more decadent treat.
So, when all was said and done, we were pretty productive and had much fun along the way. Sammy learned a few tricks from me and I learned a lot from the "Bammer", including his description of the sheer unctuousness of a sushi Sunrise Roll topped with a quail egg! Who knew?
Our day together ended in a busy flurry of packaging the fruits of our labor, figuring out our last minute presentation details and shipping off the steaming hot scallops in a car full of fresh smelling family members. LOL. Catering is fun. We had a lovely and memorable day. I knew it was a great success when Sam told me that he planned to save some money and buy himself a Microplane zester. =D (Big Grin).
Love and Happy 2010 from Katie's Passion Kitchen,