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Are you tired of tossing the same old corn chips onto the table with a bowl of store-bought salsa? If so, read on: finger food has come a long way since the days of "pigs in blankets" and pimento-stuffed olives, and some of the most impressive and tastiest dishes are the easiest to make!
Ribs: Baked, not barbecued
Bruce Aidell, author of The Complete Meat Cookbook, suggest ribs as the number-one finger food for family night. "Most people think of ribs as a barbecue item," Aidell says, "but in all of my cookbooks, the ribs are roasted in the oven -- and it's the variety in seasoning that gives them their flavour."?? This recipe from Aidell's cookbook, The Complete Book of Pork, serves 6.
1 tbs. salt
2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1 tbs. chopped fresh sage
1.5 tbs. fennel seeds
2 tbs. chopped fresh rosemary
1 tsp. paprika
2 tbs. olive oil
2 cups water
2 slabs regular spareribs, or 3 slabs back ribs
In a small bowl, mix all of the ingredients together except the water and ribs.
Generously pat the mixture onto both sides of the ribs. Let sit at room temperature for two hours, or wrap the ribs in plastic and refrigerate overnight.
When you're ready to cook the ribs, pre-heat the oven to 150 degrees C.
Put each slab of ribs fat-side up in a large [25 x 35cm] baking dish.
Add 1 cup water into each dish and cover with foil. Cook for 1-1/2 hours and remove the foil.
Increase the heat to 190 degrees C and continue to cook uncovered for a further 30 minutes, or until the rib meat pulls away from the bone.
Remove the ribs from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes. Cut between the ribs and serve immediately.
Barbara Seelig-Brown is a New York City chef, cooking show host and spokesperson for Honeysuckle White® Turkey. For a fresh twist on a classic finger food, she takes nachos to the next level by adding turkey to the traditional Mexican dish, which makes them more substantial and filling. This recipe serves 6.
250g shredded ground turkey meat
1 medium white onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/8 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. coarse ground black pepper
1 bag (200g) corn tortilla chips
1 can (400g) refried beans
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
2 medium tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup guacamole
1/2 cup black olives
1 jar jalapeno peppers
1 cup salsa
1 cup sour cream
Preheat oven to 220 degrees C.
In a frying pan, combine ground turkey, onion, garlic, chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper. Cook over medium heat until turkey is no longer pink, or approximately four minutes. Set aside.
Place tortillas on baking sheet.
Warm beans on the stove-top and place on top of the corn chips.
Top with turkey mixture and grated cheese.
Bake for approximately five minutes, or until cheese melts.
Add as many toppings as you like, including diced tomatoes, guacamole, black olives and jalapenos. Serve with salsa and sour cream.
Pineapple chicken wings
A long-time favourite in the finger food category, chicken wings are that double whammy: they're cheap and convenient. But why settle for the typical teriyaki or standard spicy when you can whip up a much more interesting combination? This recipe, created by chef Robert McGrath in Phoenix, Arizona, serves 6.
1/4 cup crushed pineapple
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tbs. habanero sauce
A pinch salt
2 dozen chicken wings
1/4 cup rice flour
Combine the crushed pineapple, mayonnaise, habanero sauce and salt in a bowl, and whisk until smooth.
Preheat vegetable oil in fry pan at a medium-high heat.
Remove and discard wing tips from wings. Separate each wing into two pieces at the joint; trim excess fat and skin.
Toss chicken wings in a bowl with flour.
Fry wings for 10 minutes or until golden and crispy.
Toss wings with desired amount of pineapple-habanero wing sauce and serve - with plenty of paper napkins!