Calorie savings aside, minis are really en vogue right now. I was at an event recently at On20 in downtown Hartford in honor of all the Top Work Places in Connecticut (kudos to my employer, Standard Builders, for making the grade for the past 6 years!) and everything served were minis: from appetizers to desserts, there was an array of minis everywhere- except for the bar. Hmmmmm..... Anyway, one of my favorites that immediately stood out was the frozen S'mores on a spoon. The top of each one was browned by hand with a mini torch. I had to have three to properly evaluate them. All I can say is OMG.... Yuuuuuummmm City!
All these minis and the newspaper article got me to think how we could adapt everyday food into something more elegant, that provides just a taste, especially if you don't want to totally abandon your New Year's resolution. Here are some ideas that I came up with. Feel free to adapt and use to punctuate your next gathering or to celebrate Super Bowl, Daytona 500 (I'll be there!), Valentine's Day, etc. The key is to have fun and be creative!
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.Coat inside cups of two muffin pans with non-stick cooking spray. Divide raw pizza dough into 12 equal pieces, form into balls and shape into 4" rounds around the inside of coated muffin cups. Invert second pan over shaped dough. Bake dough cups for 10 min., remove top pan and bake 10 min. more. Remove from oven and fill with 1 T. sauce, 3 T. mozzarella and 1 t. of your preferred toppings. Return to oven and bake until golden, about 8 - 10 min. Cool in pan for 10 min. before serving.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Use 3" round cookie cutters to cut out refrigerated pie crust dough and line mini muffin tins. Fill with quiche filling of your choice and bake 15 - 20 min. until golden. I like to make these ahead and freeze because they can be reheated later, and they're so much better than those frozen, prepared pigs in a blanket! Mini quiches are always an elegant classic for any occasion.
Mini Mac 'n Cheese Cups
2 c. uncooked elbow macaroni
1 T. butter
1 egg, beaten
1 c. milk
1 1/2 c. shredded cheddar cheese
1 1/2 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 c. seasoned dry bread crumbs
2 t. olive oil
1/2 t. salt
|Mini Mac 'n Cheese Cups|
Mini Cupcakes and Cake Balls
Cupcakes are becoming more and more popular, so why not make minis so that you can try more than one kind? Great idea for a baby or bridal shower or your child's next birthday party. Mix it up with a variety of cake flavors, frosting, toppings and decorations. P.S. how about Cake Balls? Like the mini pie makers, there are cake ball makers everywhere. Use a toothpick to dip into granache frosting and let set. Or if you want an even more decadent version, mix half prepared cake mix with half prepared frosting before cooking. Dip into white or chocolate granache and decorate when set.
|Mini Chocolate Tortes|
Mini Sundaes and Parfaits
Vintage ice cream sundae dishes and parfait glasses are perfect vessels for mini desserts. Similar to the pizza topping bar, create a topping bar for ice cream sundaes. Parfaits are coming back and are lighter now than ever. Why not experiment with some of them? Think of using ingredients like crushed shortbread or gingersnap cookies and lightening up puddings with whipped cream. Don't forget to include fruit like cooked apples and carmel and fun garnishes like carmelized nuts and mini chocolate chips.
|Bloody Mary Shooters|
Ok, so back to my impetus for this post: the Wall Street Journal article. Why not serve up your favorite martini or cocktail in a vintage glass? Ever notice how much smaller they were back in the day? Just watch one of those old classic black and white movies- those cocktail glasses were amazing. Antique shops and eBay are excellent resources for these. I ordered a martini last week and it was so big that I couldn't finish it. And as the aforementioned article stated: ever have the last two sips (nod to my brother-in-law Ted here) of a martini? Uggggghhhhh!! Serving in smaller glasses and keeping the rest of the martini in a chilled shaker is a much better option in my opinion. While on the subject of mini cocktails, have you seen Chili's new Mini Margarita Trio? Very cool indeed..... I'm already thinking Cinco de Mayo!