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À La Carte

Four hors d'oeuvres your guests will rave about

Festivities Events' Zucchini Roulades

It’s holiday entertaining season! Whether you are an ace in the kitchen or a culinary novice, these appetizers from the area’s standout caterers will have your guests going back for seconds…and thirds.

Festivities Events

Another easy yet delicious zucchini recipe, these Roulades are “very yummy and beautiful for the holidays,” says Festivites co-owner Rosinne Chlala. “They can be made in the morning and kept in the refrigerator until serving that evening.”

Zucchini Roulades
3 long zucchinis
1 lb. fresh mozzarella or 1 log of goat cheese
4 red peppers
(Makes 15 roulades)

1. Slice zucchinis length wise, preferably using a Japanese mandoline, into thin strips. If using knife, slice as thin as possible so that you can roll them without them breaking.
2. Place strips in bowl and season with 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil. Sprinkle salt, pepper and garlic powder and toss.
3. Slice red peppers into thin strips, place in bowl with 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil. Sprinkle salt, pepper and garlic powder and toss.
4. Place red pepper strips on parchment and roast in 450-degree oven for about 10 minutes or until wilted.
5. Grill strips on grill pan, turning once you see the grill marks on each side (about 2 minutes per side).
6. Laying strips on cutting board, place a slice of fresh mozzarella (about 1/2 inch wide and 2 inches long) or goat cheese and three thin strips of roasted red peppers on one side. Roll up the strip and lay roll up seam side down in serving dish.
7. Serve with a balsamic syrup, chimichurri sauce, or basil vinaigrette.

Festivities Culinary Creations and Event Design, Norwalk.

Amanda Smith Caterers

According to Amanda Smith Caterers, “Fun and lavish is what everyone is looking for this year!” The company’s clients are loving soup shots, like this Chestnut Soup with Marrons, Glacées and Crème Fraîche.

Chestnut Soup with Marrons, Glacées and Crème Fraîche
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 onion sliced
1 leek, washed and sliced
1 stalk celery, washed and sliced
1 garlic clove, sliced
2 cups precooked chestnuts, peeled and chopped
4 cups chicken or beef or vegetable stock
Salt and Pepper to taste
5 tablespoons crème fraîche
1 marrons glacées, cut in thin slices or cubes

1. In a large casserole, melt the butter; add the onion, leek, celery and garlic clove. Sauté for about 5 minutes until glistening.
2. Add the chestnuts to the pot and cook together about 10 minutes over low heat.
3. Add the stock, salt, and pepper and cover. Cook over low heat for half an hour.
4. Remove from heat and blend with a hand blender.
5. Return to heat, add 3 Tablespoons of crème fraîche, adjust seasoning and serve in bowl or shot glass with a dollop of crème fraîche and a few pieces of marrons glacéed.

Amanda Smith Caterers, Greenwich.

Marcia Selden Catering and Event Planning

“Our zucchini rounds are not only beautiful, but healthy, flavorful and a breeze to make. They are also the perfect hors’ d’oeuvre to bring to a party,” owner Marcia Selden says.

Cheesy Zucchini Rounds
3 small thin zucchini
1/3 cup crumbled feta, goat or blue cheese
Cherry Tomatoes sliced into 1/2-inch slices
1/4 C. grated Parmesan cheese
Kosher salt and pepper
(Makes 1 dozen)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Line a sheet pan with aluminum foil and spray with nonstick cooking oil.
3. Cut each zucchini into 1-inch rounds.
4. Scoop a small bit out of one side with small melon baller or grapefruit spoon.
5. Place, scooped side up on the baking sheet.
6. Fill each cup with a bit of the crumbled cheese, top with a tomato slice and sprinkle with a tiny pinch of salt and pepper.
7. Finally, top each zucchini cup with parmesan cheese.
8. Bake in the preheated oven for 5-7 minutes or until cheese has melted and is bubbly.
Note: These can be assembled in the morning, covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated. Remove from the refrigerator 1 hour in advance of baking.

Marcia Selden Catering and Event Planning, Stamford.

Urban Chic Inc.

This super-easy-to-make recipe yields 50 bite-sized hors d'oeuvres that offer a beautiful presentation and irresistible deliciousness.

Caprese Grape Tomatoes
25 grape tomatoes
2 buffalo mozzarella balls
16 leaves basil, Chiffonade
1 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon olive oil
(Makes 50 halves)

1. Split each tomato in half the long way and core.
2. Slice a tiny piece off of the round side of the half so it sits flat
3. Rough chop the mozzarella and process in a food processor to a consistency of grated cheese.
4. Chiffonade the basil by laying each leaf flat one on top of the other and roll up like a cigar then slicing as fine as possible with a very sharp knife. Mix half with the mozzarella and reserve half for garnish. Drizzle with Extra Virgin Olive Oil and season to taste with salt and pepper.
5. Mix the balsamic and the honey in a small saucepan. Turn to medium low and reduce by half. Whisk in 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil.
6. Fill the tomato halves and garnish with the remaining basil.
7. Display on a serving platter and drizzle with the balsamic reduction as you serve.

Urban Chic Inc.: Floral and Event Design, Stamford.