Master Class: Finger food

You can make your own hors d’oeuvres and still beat the summer heat.

Pastry 370 (photo credit: Dan Peretz)
Pastry 370
(photo credit: Dan Peretz)
Finger food is perfect for cocktails, but preparing it may mean a lot of work. The end result, though, is rewarding and impressive. Chef Miri Arazi, owner of Metuka Room service catering, offers a few ideas for finger foods that can be prepared ahead of time and finished at the last minute.
Use your imagination to create your own take on these basics.
Makes 40-60
✔ 200 gr. butter, cut into small pieces ✔ 21⁄2 cups flour ✔ 1 egg yolk ✔ 1 tsp. salt Prepare pastry in a mixer bowl or by hand. Wrap with plastic film and refrigerate.
Oil muffin baking pan or small individual baking forms.
Divide the pastry in two and roll each part very thin (about 1 mm.), and using a glass cut out discs. Place in the baking forms. Place in the freezer for at least 2 hours.
Heat oven to 160º and bake pastry shells about 20 minutes or until pastry is browned. Remove from baking forms and chill on a rack.
Goat cheese and eggplant filling: ✔ 1 cup sour cream ✔ 1 package goat cheese ✔ 100 gr. roasted eggplant, cubed ✔ Salty goat’s cheese ✔ Salt and pepper ✔ 50 gr. roasted hazelnuts
Mix cream and cheeses together until smooth. This can be done by hand or in a food processor. Add eggplant cubes, mixing by hand. Fill the baked pastry shells. Serve.
Avocado filling: ✔ 2 avocados ✔ Juice of 1⁄2 lemon ✔ 3 Tbsp. olive oil ✔ Salt and pepper ✔ 2 Tbsp. chopped coriander ✔ 100 gr. pomegranate seeds
Halve the avocados, remove pit and peel. Place in a food processor, add lemon juice, oil, salt and pepper. Whiz and mix in the coriander by hand.
Fill the pastry shells and garnish with pomegranate seeds.
Note: Fill these shells with any favorite mixture. Remember: When serving bite-size quiches, the flavors should be more noticeable.
For the pastry:
✔ 75 gr. soft butter ✔ 150 gr. hard white cheese (such as Cana’an or Russian cheese) ✔ 2 cups flour ✔ 1 tsp. baking powder ✔ Pinch salt ✔ 1 tsp. sugar (optional) ✔ 1 Tbsp. oil ✔ 1⁄4 cup cream
For the filling: ✔ 500 gr. peeled sweet potatoes, cubed ✔ Salt and pepper ✔ 1 sprig rosemary ✔ 250 gr. ricotta cheese ✔ 11⁄2 tsp. honey
Topping: ✔ 1 egg, beaten ✔ 1 Tbsp. sesame seeds ✔ 1 Tbsp. nigella seeds (in Hebrew ketzah)
Prepare pastry one day ahead.
Place butter and cheese in the mixer bowl and blend until smooth and soft.
Add flour, baking powder, salt and sugar and work until crumbs form. Add oil and cream and continue mixing only until the pastry forms. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate no less than 24 hours or up to 4 days.
Heat the oven to 180º. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
To prepare filling: Season the potatoes with salt and pepper. Place the rosemary sprig on one of the baking sheets and the potatoes on top. Bake potatoes for 20 minutes or until tested done. Let cool.
In the food processor puree the potatoes, add cheese and honey and work until smooth.
Roll out the pastry to a 40-cm. square.
Using a ruler, divide into five 8-cm. strips.
Using a pastry syringe or spoon, place filling along one side of each strip and roll over to create five filled rolls.
Place the rolls seam side down on the lined baking sheet and brush with egg.
Sprinkle sesame and nigella seeds on top.
Cut each roll into 8 equal parts and bake about 15 minutes. Serve warm.
ANTIPASTI SKEWERS ✔ 2 zucchinis ✔ 2 eggplants ✔ 2 sweet potatoes ✔ 2 white onions ✔ 1 red onion ✔ 1 basket champignon mushrooms ✔ 1 each yellow, orange and red or green pepper ✔ Cherry tomatoes Marinades: For the zucchini and the eggplant, mix olive oil, minced garlic, mint, coarse salt and pepper.
For the sweet potatoes, mix olive oil, coarse salt and pepper, rosemary and za’atar.
For the onions, mix olive oil, honey, balsamic vinegar, sugar and thyme.
For the mushrooms, use balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper.
For the peppers, mix olive oil with garlic and oregano.
For the cherry tomatoes, use a mixture of oil, salt and pepper, rosemary and thyme.
Cut zucchinis, eggplants and sweet potatoes into halves lengthwise; cut onions into quarters; seed and cut peppers into strips. Keep mushrooms and tomatoes whole.
Marinate each vegetable separately and place each kind on a different baking sheet. Bake in a preheated 160º-180º oven until done.
Chill and arrange on wooden skewers, alternating. Serve on a platter or place 2 skewers on each plate. 
Recipes and photos are courtesy of Metuka chain of bakeries and Metuka Roomservice, a catering service available at the branches, for more information please call 1-700-723-723.