Monday, July 16, 2012

Sticks and Balls

I will be making one or both of these for Appetizer Night at the McKeon family reunion upstate this week. It's like summer camp (says the girl who's never been to summer camp) for adults! With a few teenagers thrown in the mix. Lots of lake swimming, card playing, kayaking and solid family hang time. The year Micky first invited me to the gathering, we had only been dating a few months, but everyone was so wonderful and welcoming. I immediately felt like I was brought into the fold and I loved it. We even had a second wedding ceremony there last summer! Now it's something I look forward to every July. And Appetizer Night is definitely one of the highlights. Everyone makes something and it's all bite-sized and delicious. The mozzarella tomato pops above are pretty self-explanatory: cut baby tomatoes in half, spear with toothpick, then add a mozzarella ball. I plan to swipe them all through a puddle of pesto before serving. The baked mozzarella sticks below are a bit more involved. 

[Recipe modified from]
24 part-skim mozzarella string cheese sticks 
2 large eggs, beaten
4 tbsp flour
10 tbsp Italian breadcrumbs
10 tbsp panko crumbs
4 tsp parmesan cheese
2 tbsp dried parsley
olive olive cooking spray 

Cut cheese in half to make 48 pieces and place in freezer until cheese is frozen. In a small bowl, whisk the egg. Place the flour on another small dish. In another bowl, combine breadcrumbs, panko, parmesan, and parsley. Dredge the frozen cheese sticks in flour, shaking off excess, then dip into the beaten egg, then coat with the breadcrumb mixture. Once all cheese sticks are covered, place them on a tray lined with wax paper and freeze until ready to bake. When ready, preheat oven to 400 degrees, line a baking sheet with aluminum foil that has been lightly sprayed with olive oil, and spread out the sticks. Spray the tops of the sticks with a bit more oil then bake for 4-5 minutes until crisp, turning the sticks and baking for an additional 4-5 minutes on the other side, keeping a close watch so that they don't melt. Remove from oven when done and serve with marinara sauce for dipping. 

- Cathleen 

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