Tag Archives: appetizer

Hoisin Pecan Dates wrapped in Bacon

Knock knock knock.

Gentleman Caller.

In another round of my Tony Award party, I offered my guests these Hoisin Pecan Dates wrapped in delicious Stanton’s pepper bacon. It’s sort of East meets West, Asia meets Texas.

This is also REALLY easy and can be done ahead.

www.Stantonmeats.com

This particular appetizer truly marries sweet, salty and spicy in a flavor explosion that is hard to rival. And despite the richness of the bacon and pecan, it isn’t a total gut bomb.

Let’s get cooking.

What you need:

  • 1/2 cup of your favorite commercially produced Hoisin sauce
  • 1/2 cup pecan pieces (halves and quarters work best, not chopped pieces)
  • 20 large pitted Medjool dates
  • 10 pieces pepper bacon, halved
  • 20 pieces of kitchen twine, 3-4 inches long

Pre-heat oven (preferably on convection) to 400 degrees.

Find something in your kitchen to loosen up the holes in the dates. It can be a chopstick, a shish-k-bob skewer, anything pointy. Get the dates stretched and loosened up a little.

In a small bowl combine the Hoisin sauce and the pecans.

Carefully using your fingers insert the nuts into the dates. Get them just to the point of splitting open.

Take a half piece of bacon and try to wrap it around the date so that most of the surface area is covered. Then take a piece of twine and tie it around the date to secure the bacon. Super easy.

Put a wire rack on a sheet pan. Line the dates up on the wire rack, allowing room around the perimeter of each one.

Put into the pre-heated oven. Watch them like a hawk. You will need to occasionally re-arrange them for consistent browning. Probably this will take 12-15 minutes. But like I said, watch continuously and take them out when the bacon is crispy on all sides. If you are doing this ahead with the intention of re-heating, pull them out a little prematurely, allow them to cool completely, store in a zip top bag and pop them back in the oven for a few minutes just before serving.

These little bites are irresistible, trust me.

Enjoy! That’s all for now.

xo, The Gentleman Caller

Printable PDF here:  The Gentleman Caller’s Hoisin Pecan Stuffed Dates Wrapped in Pepper Bacon

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The Gentleman Caller’s Asahi Poached Shrimp – Dear Evan Crustacean

Knock knock knock.

Gentleman Caller.

The Gentleman Caller threw a Tony Awards party, and if you haven’t seen the video yet, it was eh-pic. EPIC.

Hosted at my friend George’s beautiful Houston home, a small and friendly gaggle got together to drink, eat, vote for our favorites and root for friends and acquaintances.

This is one of the many offerings from that evening. It’s a basic twist on a shrimp cocktail. But you know good and well that The Gentleman Caller can’t leave well enough alone with a classic. This spin is Asian-inspired, flavor forward, and will wow your friends.

What you need:

  • 21.4 ounces Dry Asahi beer
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon whole peppercorns
  • lemon peel from one large lemon, removed with vegetable peeler
  • the juice from the peeled lemon
  • 2 lbs 16/24 rock shrimp or whatever your favorite is, peeled and de-viened (yes, I usually poach shrimp peel-on. Not today.)

In a saucepan, combine all ingredients except shrimp. Bring to a gentle boil. It shouldn’t roll. Just bubbles.

Add the shrimp. Poach for EXACTLY 3 minutes. Remove swiftly with a spider into a bowl of ice. Allow to cool.

Transfer into a zip-top bag until you are ready to plate with some paper towels. Keep them dry.

In contrast to ketchup-y generic cocktail sauce, we are going to go with a wasabi aeoli.

What you need:

  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 4 tablespoons prepared wasabi (should be very thick paste)
  • zest of 1/2 a lemon (Meyer if available)
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 teaspoon chives
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 cups Kewpie mayonnaise, or whatever is your favorite (try to find Kewpie)

Combine all ingredients in a food processor. Let ‘er rip till smooth. It will be a lovely shade of light green.

Plate creatively to show off the beautiful little crustaceans and your gorgeous sauce. Enjoy!

Printable PDF here: Asahi Poached Shrimp

Be sure and see the other insanely delicious appetizers and small bites from my 2017 Tony Award night!

This The Gentleman Caller signing out.

Dear Evan Crustacean on Pinterest

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The Gentleman Caller’s Beanie Ween with Lardon Spoon Appetizer

Knock knock knock.

Gentleman Caller.

It seems, according to the TV cooking shows and commercials, that people are thinking about the upcoming Super Bowl. Now, I think that’s fun and all, and the halftime is usually an event, but it ain’t exactly the Tony Awards. Feel free to laugh at that sentence.

If you follow me regularly here, you know I am always trying to breed low-brow to high-brow. I am still trying to deduce a Spam chateaubriand.

That’s a joke.

But someone who shall remain nameless dared me. Challenged me. Threw down a gauntlet via social media. My initial response was NEVER NO NEVER. But the more I ruminated, the more intriguing the idea became.

So today I offer you Beanie Ween (shoved full of spaghetti noodles) and Lardon (and french fried onions) Spoon Appetizer.

What you need:

  • 4 good quality hot dogs, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1/3 package of spaghetti noodles, broken into thirds
  • 1/2 of a large white onion, chopped
  • 11 ounce can of Pork and Beans
  • 1/3 cup lardon or coarsely chopped bacon chunks (www.Stantonmeats.com)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon hickory powder (www. kalustayans.com – see shopping guide)*
  • 1/2 teaspoon malabar (coarsely ground black pepper)
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon siracha**
  • 4 tablespoons ketchup
  • 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of beer (I give you permission to drink the rest)
  • 1 cup french fried onions

*Can substitute 1/2 teaspoon hickory liquid smoke.

**This is the barely spicy version. I would ideally go for 2-3 teaspoons.

This is the fun part. Take your 1 inch wieners and stick the spaghetti pieces through them. Use about 5-6 per wiener. If you have kids or non-cooks around who like to “help,” this is a great assignment.

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.

Bring about a quart of water to a boil in a sauce pan. Boil the “noodle wieners” for 6-7 minutes, just until the noodles start to bend. Remove and set aside.

In a sauce pan, cook the lardon until quite crispy. Remove from the pan. Add the onion to the bacon grease in the pan and sauté till translucent. Add the “noodle wieners”. Allow the wiener part to caramelize a little in the bacon grease. Don’t go crazy, just a light caramelization will do.

Turn off the heat. Add the can of Pork and Beans. Add all the remaining ingredients, stir to combine, adding the lardon back in the last couple of stirs.

Spoon into a pie plate lined with foil and sprayed with cooking spray. I actually used an aluminum one because, well, I am lazy.

See the big chunks of delicious pork and the course ground pepper? Flavor!

Put into the pre-heated oven for 10-12 minutes. Check it, see how loose it looks. This is probably when you want to add the french fried onions. Sprinkle them on top, bake 8-10 more minutes, just until the onions start changing color.

Remove from oven.

Pre-set tablespoons or appetizer spoons on your serving piece.

Quenelle* the mixture using teaspoons into a football shape and ease into the pre-set serving spoons.

Don’t be intimidated by fancy French words… you can quenelle as well.

*Yeah, I am fancy. Get two spoons and with one, take a scoop, while with the other you sort of roll them back and forth between spoons to achieve an oval kind of football shape.

Try to get a french fried onion on top and make sure you can see the lardon.

Dazzle your guests! They are going to think you are KLASSY. I think you are, too.

Printable PDF: THE GENTLEMAN CALLER’S BEANIE WEEN WITH LARDON SPOON APPETIZER

More soon.

xo,

The Gentleman Caller