I love Cocktail Parties. Wine & Cheese night. Any event that has platters of small nibbles that are regularly being presented to me while I sip a glass of wine or a beautiful cocktail (preferably with champagne in it) . I mean, it would be wrong to refuse food that people bring right to me over and over, don’t you think?
I’m not sure why. Maybe because I get to try a little of everything? I am one of those people that when we eat out at a restaurant, wants to try everything that’s been ordered at the table. How else do I know if I want to try it next time? I can’t trust what people tell me!
We recently went out for dinner with some new friends to our new favorite restaurant in Playa. There were six of us and one couple we had just met that evening. When all the food arrived, there was a whole lot “oh my this is good, do you want to try?” Uh, ya. I got to try every meal on the table: fish, gnocchi, steak, fresh pasta …… it was a good night. I know some of you are wincing at this suggestion, and don’t worry, if we ever go out to eat, I won’t ask to try in case you are worried about my germs. But, if you ever offer, I will totally welcome a taste of your meal.
An evening full of appetizers is just that, it’s an evening full of varied tastes, textures, and flavours, and it will always be my favorite evening to host and attend.
This recipe has been a family favorite for what seems like forever and along with my dumplings recipe, this is almost always at our wine and cheese evenings.
Although it is a spring roll, it uses phyllo dough, which is different from your usual wonton wrapper, and it’s also baked, not fried. Don’t get me wrong, I like a fried spring/egg roll more than the average person, but once in awhile, it’s nice to have something that’s baked instead. The filling and sauce can be prepared a few days early. And, what I think is the best, is it’s baked, so no noises and smells of frying something at the last minute. Pop it in the oven and serve.
And this Peanut Chili sauce? It’s to die for. I make it regularly and put it on all sorts of things, it’s instantly a favorite of anybody who tries it.
I’ll be making these for my Oscar party tomorrow!!!
- 2 TAB vegetable oil
- 2 TAB sesame oil
- 2 cups chopped fennel (about 1 large bulb)
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 2 carrots, grated
- 2 inch piece ginger, minced
- 4 garlic cloves, diced
- 1/2 teaspoon fennel seed
- 2 lbs pork sausage
- 2 TAB hoisin sauce
- 1 teaspoon five-spice powder
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 8 sheets phyllo pastry
- 1/2 cup butter, melted
Heat oils in a large skillet over medium heat. Add fennel, onion, carrot, ginger, garlic, and fennel seed and saute until vegetables are tender, about ten minutes. Remove from heat and transfer to large bowl. Cook sausage until no longer pink. Add to vegetabe mixture. Stir in hoisin, five-spice powder, and salt. Cool. (Can be made 2 days ahead)
Place 1 phyllo sheet on work surface. Brush lightly and gently with melted butter. Top with another phyllo sheet. Brush lightly and gently with more butter. Cut into 6 even pieces. Place a generous TAB of filling along one long edge of the square, leaving a slight border edge. Fold sides in and roll up like a cigar. Place seam side down on a large baking sheet. Brush with more butter. Repeat until all rolls are done. (Can make 1 day ahead. Cover tightly and keep refrigerated).
Preheat oven to 400°. Bake until golden, about 15 minutes. Let cool slightly and serve.
Makes 24 spring rolls
CHILI PEANUT SAUCE
- 1/2 cup roasted salted peanuts
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
- 2 TAB creamy peanut butter
- 1 TAB fresh lime juice
- 1 TAB seeded and minced jalapeno
- 1 TAB honey
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
Grind peanuts in food processor. Add remaining ingredients and process until well blended. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and keep refrigerated). Serve at room temperature.