As happens every year, the holidays sneak up on me, grabbing me by the apron strings and giving a good shake! Oh, but I do love this season and actually it was the annual holiday party I started throwing in New York back when I was in grad school that made me start thinking seriously of cooking as a vocation. I spent the weeks before my party planning what canapes I would serve, seeking out special ingredients and serving dishes, decorating the Christmas tree, spending way too much money on my humble grad school income. But I loved having guests in my home and sharing food with them during this, the most festive time of year (it also happens to be my birthday mid-month). I’d dress up and play hostess, watch my friends melt into puddles in the floor from too much eggnog (Martha Stewart has a mean recipe).
At one of these parties early on, a big club promoter (I don’t know exactly who he came with, but he was incredibly sophisticated and European and didn’t fit in with the scruffy publishing/Columbia set that was there at all) cornered me and said that I had to do this for a living. Flattered, I demurred having just spent a small fortune on my education, but his encouragement spurred me on to trying more adventurous dishes and striving to be better at everything I did in the kitchen.
Six years later I started at the French Culinary Institute. And still, in all of the cooking I do, canapes and heavy hors d’oeuvres are my absolute favorite things. Fiddly, yes, but beautiful and creative and often very easy. I’ve done a video series of six easy-to-assemble appetizers to help you out this holiday season. The first two have just gone up on the today.com “cooking school” website and I’ll post the others as they come!
Roast Fingerling Potatoes with Caviar & Creme Fraiche: http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/3041421/vp/50027973#50027973
An Antipasti Platter like my mom used to make: http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/3041421/vp/50028010#50028010