I took a class on hors d’oeuvres recently from Judi Strauss, a local chef. She has one-night classes held in the Beachwood Middle School Home Ec room, or at least those are the ones I take. They’ve all been about watching, learning, and eating – no doing involved. Quite low stress, and quite fun! At this last class, Judi gave us some party food advice. The most useful to me was the following, as I never know how much food to make!
- If you’re serving appetizers before dinner, plan on 5-10 bites per person
- If you’re serving only appetizers, plan on 15-20 bites per person
Judi made us five delicious hors d’oeuvres. I’ve made two, the spinach puffs and the island meatballs with sweet and sour sauce. I made a version of the latter recently for a New Year’s Eve party. They came out quite well, and seemed pretty popular, so I thought I’d write about them.
The final product, ready to party:
- 1lb lean ground turkey
- 1 egg
- 1/3 cup bread crumbs
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 teaspoon dried ginger (2 tsp for grated fresh ginger)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- The original also called for 1/2 teaspoon of allspice and 1/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes, but I didn’t have any of either.
You will also need a 10 oz can of pineapple, or you could go with fresh pineapple and then also buy some pineapple juice, which you will need for the sweet and sour sauce.
For the meatballs, I made the mistake of cutting the onion and breadcrumbs by hand. Next time, I would use my food processor to make sure the onion pieces and breadcrumbs are small enough! As you can see, the pieces were a little large, which made it harder to form nice round meatballs.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine the turkey meat with egg, crumbs, onion, and seasonings. Chill. Prepare some pans for cooking – I like to use foil to save on clean-up, and spray with some oil to avoid sticking. I tend to use jelly roll pans (pans with sides) to avoid spillage.
Take the chilled meat mixture and form into 1 or 1.5 inch balls. Place on the pans, and then bake at 350 for 45 minutes. At some point, about halfway through the 45 minutes, I would take the pans out and flip the meatballs – I neglected to do this, and they were slightly overdone on one side, and rather stuck to the foil.
While the meatballs are cooking, make the sweet and sour sauce (below). After the 45 minutes, take the meatballs out and brush some of the sweet and sour sauce on them, and return to the oven for 10 minutes. Stick each meatball on a skewer/toothpick with a piece of pineapple. Serve with the sweet and sour sauce as a dip. Makes about 30-40.
For the sauce:
Sweet and Sour Sauce
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup white vinegar
- Pineapple juice from the can (should be about 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup)
- 3 Tablespoons ketchup
- 1 Tablespoon flour
- The original recipe called for 2 Tablespoons of cornstarch, which would probably work better – flour was what I had on hand though.
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- A little hot sauce or cayenne, to taste
- The original called for 2 Tablespoons of sherry and 2 Tablespoons of soy sauce as well – but as I did not have these on hand, I left them out. I used a prepared hot sauce instead
Combine all of the ingredients in the saucepan and stir till smooth. I think it would be easiest to add the flour last, and make sure not to dump it in a pile, like I did – I had quite a time trying to undo all of the flour clumps!
Heat (over medium heat) till thickened and bubbly. This may take a few minutes.
Sauce will keep a couple of weeks in the fridge. Makes about 2 cups.
Honestly, I liked the sauce, but didn’t love it, perhaps due to my substitutions/missing ingredients.
Because I was carrying these to a party, I had to make do with sticking the meatballs/pineapples in a container, and the sweet and sour sauce in a separate container. If I was serving these at home, I think putting them on a large plate with the sauce in the middle and meatballs/pineapples all around would look quite nice.