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A Holiday Party with the Diva of Do-Ahead

Tehere's no last-minute work with this San Diego author-cook-teacher

Written by Caroll Stoner
  • Edmund Barr
  • Edmund Barr

    Champagne Cosmos 

    • 1-1/2 cups Cointreau
    • 1-1/2 cups cranberry juice cocktail
    • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
    • 1 lime, cut into wedgesGranulated sugar
    • 16 fresh raspberries
    • 1 750-ml bottle champagne, chilled

    In large pitcher mix together Cointreau, cranberry juice, and lime juice. Cover and refrigerate until chilled. (Do-Ahead: You can refrigerate this mixture for up to 4 days, or freeze for 6 months.) Rub rim of 8 champagne flutes with cut edge of lime. Dip rims in sugar and refrigerate flutes until ready to serve. Pour 2 tablespoons of juice mixture into each flute, add 2 raspberries per glass and fill with champagne (about 1/3 cup). Serve immediately. Makes 8 (4-ounce) servings.

  • Edmund Barr

    Boiled Shrimp with Bloody Mary Cocktail Sauce

    • 3 pounds fresh or frozen extra large shrimp in shells
    • 6 cups water
    • 2 lemons, cut into wedges
    • 3 tablespoons Old Bay seasoning

    Thaw shrimp, if frozen. Peel and devein shrimp, keeping tails intact. In 4- to 6-quart Dutch oven combine water, lemons, and seasoning. Bring to boil. Add shrimp; remove from heat. Cover and let stand for 15 minutes. Drain shrimp.* Chill at least 1 hour before serving.  Makes 10 to 12 servings.
    *Diva Do-Ahead:  At this point, you can let cool completely, transfer to a zipper-top plastic bag, and refrigerate for up to 2 days.

    Bloody Mary Cocktail Sauce

    • 1/2 cup spicy tomato juice or Bloody Mary drink mix
    • 1/4 cup finely chopped celery
    • 1/4 cup ketchup
    • 1/4 cup bottled chunky salsa
    • 2 tablespoons pepper vodka, lemon vodka, or vodka*
    • 2 tablespoons finely chopped green onion
    • 2 tablespoons snipped fresh cilantro
    • 1 tablespoon lime juice
    • 1/8 teaspoon ground cumin

    In medium bowl combine tomato juice, celery, ketchup, salsa, vodka, green onion, cilantro, lime juice, and cumin. Chill for at least 1 hour before serving. Makes 1 1/2 cups (12 2-tablespoon servings).

    Diva Do-Ahead:  Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or up to 4 days.

    For a Virgin Bloody Mary Cocktail Sauce, omit vodka.

  • Edmund Barr
  • Edmund Barr

    Cucumbers with Smoked Salmon Spread

    • 1 English cucumbers (14 to 16 ounces)
    • 2 ounces lox-style smoked salmon, cut up
    • 2 ounces goat cheese or cream cheese, softened
    • 2 ounces cream cheese, softened
    • 2 teaspoons snipped fresh dill
    • 1/8 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
    • Fresh dill sprigs (optional)

    Cut cucumber into 1/4-inch thick slices. (If desired, place in a zipper-top plastic bag with a paper towel and refrigerate for up to 24 hours.) In food processor bowl combine salmon, goat cheese, cream cheese, dill and black pepper. Cover and process until smooth. (If desired, cover and chill for up to 3 days.) Before serving, place in pastry bag fitted with 1/2-inch wide star tip. Arrange cucumbers in single layer on large serving platter. Pipe some of cheese mixture onto each cucumber round.  If desired, cover and chill for up to 2 hours before serving. Garnish with fresh dill, if desired. Makes 20 to 24 servings (2 pieces per serving).

  • Edmund Barr

    Mediterranean Pesto Torte

    • 2 11-ounce packages goat cheese, softened
    • 1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • Artichoke Pesto (see below)
    • Dried Tomato Pesto (see below)
    • Marinated artichoke hearts and/or red sweet pepper strips (optional)
    • Baguette slices, toasted if desired; cucumber slices; or plain water crackers

    In large bowl beat goat cheese, cream cheese and garlic with electric mixer on medium speed until mixture is smooth. To assemble, line 6- to 8-cup soufflé dish with plastic wrap. Spoon 1/3 of cheese mixture into bottom of dish, spreading evenly. Carefully lift cheese mixture with plastic wrap and transfer to baking sheet; wrap cheese mixture in plastic wrap. Repeat to make another layer. Line dish with additional plastic wrap so ends extend over sides by about 4-inches. Spoon in remaining 1/3 of cheese mixture, spreading evenly. Fold in ends of plastic wrap to cover cheese mixture. Chill all three layers for 1 hour. Uncover cheese mixture in dish and top with Artichoke Pesto. Add layer of cheese mixture, Dried Tomato Pesto and then remaining cheese mixture. Bring ends of plastic wrap over mixture. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or until firm. When ready to serve, unmold onto serving platter, removing plastic wrap. If desired, garnish with marinated artichoke hearts and/or red sweet pepper strips. Serve with baguette slices, cucumber slices or crackers. Makes 24 servings.

    Artichoke Pesto: Combine one 6-ounce jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained; 2 cloves garlic; 1/4 cup packed fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley leaves; 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted; and 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese in food processor. Cover and process to combine. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil; cover and process 3 to 4 more times. Add more oil if necessary until nearly smooth. Transfer to small bowl. Cover and chill up to 3 days.

    Dried Tomato Pesto: Drain 1/2 cup oil-packed dried tomatoes, reserving oil. Add olive oil to equal 1/4 cup. In food processor combine drained (DRIED??) tomatoes (AND OIL??), 2 cloves garlic, 1/3 cup packed fresh basil leaves and 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Cover and process for 1 minute. With machine running add 1/4 cup olive oil and 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar. Process until thoroughly combined. Scrape down sides of bowl and process for another 30 seconds. Transfer to small bowl. Cover and chill up to 3 days.

    Diva do-ahead: Torte can remain refrigerated for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 6 weeks. If frozen, thaw in the refrigerator for 24 to 36 hours. Let torte stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving.

  • Edmund Barr

    Pesto Tenderloin Crostini 

    • 1 baguette, sliced into 1/2-inch thick diagonal slices
    • 1 cup purchased basil, cilantro or sun dried tomato pesto
    • 6 to 8 ounces thinly sliced roast beef tenderloin (see recipe below) or thinly sliced deli roast beef
    • 1/2 cup Dijon Aioli
    • Chopped chives (optional)

    Spread pesto onto baguette slices (crostini) and top with thin slice of beef tenderloin. Transfer aioli to squeeze bottle or small self-sealing plastic bag. Snip off small corner of bag. Squeeze a thin line onto each crostini in a decorative pattern on top of beef. Refrigerate for up to 3 hours before serving at room temperature. Top with chopped chives, if desired. Makes 24 to 28 crostini.

    Dijon Aioli: In small bowl, stir together 1/3 cups Dijon-style mustard, 2 tablespoons mayonnaise, 1 clove minced garlic and 1 dash bottled hot pepper sauce. Cover and chill for up to 4 days.  Use as sandwich spread or decoration on open-faced sandwiches.  Makes 1/2 cup.

    Roast Beef Tenderloin: Marinate a 1-1/2 pound beef tenderloin roast in 3/4 cup of your favorite marinade for 1 to 2 hours in refrigerator. Remove roast from marinade; discard marinade. Place roast on rack in shallow roasting pan. Preheat oven to 425°F. For medium rare, roast, uncovered, for 35 to 40 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 135°F on an instant-read thermometer.  Cover and let stand for 15 minutes. The temperature of the meat will rise about 10° while standing. (For medium, roast uncovered for 45 to 50 minutes or until meat reaches 150°F. Cover and let stand as directed above.)  Cover and chill overnight.  Thinly slice meat. Use as directed above. Makes 1-1/4 pounds roast beef tenderloin.