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Arizona Cardinals and buffalo mozzarella


It’s Football Season! Today is opening day and our Arizona Cardinals are at home vs. San Francisco. All I can say is, “GO CARDS!!!” Here are three quick and simple hors d’œuvres using buffalo mozzarella. Cow’s milk fresh mozzarella balls may be substituted. The Stacks can be served hot, cold, or at room temperature. If serving cold or at room temperature, use Belgium endive spears to serve the stacks on. If heating, the stacks will be placed on toasted baguette slices. An important thing to pay attention to when preparing this recipe is to try to buy zucchini and eggplant that are similar in size when cut into rounds. Instead of cutting a large ball of mozzarella, bocconcini (tiny little mozzarella balls) may be used. You’ll notice that the baguette, eggplant, and zucchini are all sliced on a diagonal. This gives you a much large piece and better shape to work with, rather than cutting straight down into rounds.

The Prosciutto Picks couldn’t be easier or more convenient. They also may be served cold or at room temperature. Finally, the Meatballs are simply delicious! I like to roll half of the Parmesan cheese before baking and leave half plain, it makes for a more interesting presentation on the platter. You may dollop with purchased Marinara or with the same yummy tomato-pesto sauce used on the Parmesan Chicken recipe from the September 9 post from a couple of days ago.

buffalo mozzarella hor d'oeuvre platter

buffalo mozzarella hor d’oeuvre platter

primary ingredients used for thee hord'oeuvres

primary ingredients used for thee hord’oeuvres

Grilled Vegetable and Buffalo Mozzarella Stacks

1/2 baguette
1 garlic clove, peeled and cut in half lengthwise
2 Belgium endives, leaves separated

1 medium zucchini, ends trimmed on a diagonal
1 medium Japanese eggplant, ends trimmed on a diagonal
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 small ripe heirloom tomatoes
One 4-ounce buffalo mozzarella ball
1/4 cup purchased hummus
14 medium sweet basil leaves

If using a baguette — use a serrated knife to cut bread crosswise on the diagonal into fourteen 1/2-inch-thick slices. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 8 minutes in a preheated 400-degree oven. Remove from oven and rub hot toasts with garlic on one side. Place on a cooling rack and set aside.

Slice the zucchini and eggplant on a diagonal into 14 slices each.

eggplant top, zucchini bottom in grill pan

eggplant top, zucchini bottom in grill pan

Heat a ridged grill pan over medium-high heat. Meanwhile, place zucchini and olive oil in a bowl, and toss to coat. Add the eggplant to the bowl and toss. The eggplant is like a sponge and will pick up all excess olive oil from zucchini as they are tossed. Season with salt and pepper immediately before grilling, do not salt ahead of time or eggplant will release too much moister. Grill all vegetable slices in a single layer, in batches, if necessary, turning when slices have nice grill marks. Transfer to a plate as done.

Meanwhile, slice the tomatoes and mozzarella into similar sizes as the vegetables.

the stages of assembly starting counter clockwise with hummus covered eggplant to center finished stack

the stages of assembly start counterclockwise with hummus-covered eggplant around to the two centers finished stacks

Spread a small dab of hummus on each eggplant slice. Top each with a basil leaf then a slice of mozzarella, then a slice of tomato, and finish with a zucchini slice.

Stacks may be served cold, at room temperature, or heated. If cold or at room temperature, place one stack on each Belgium endive spear, place on a platter, and serve immediately.

If heating, put one stack on top of each baguette slice. Place stacks on a baking sheet and bake in a preheated 400-degree oven for about 8 minutes.

Makes 14

Prosciutto-Mozzarella Picks

One 4-ounce fresh buffalo mozzarella ball
6 thin slices of prosciutto, each cut in half lengthwise (about 2 ounces)
12 small sweet basil leaves
12 cherry or teardrop tomatoes
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar or balsamic syrup
Kosher salt and cracked black pepper to taste
12 appetizer picks or toothpicks

Cut mozzarella ball in half. Cut each half into 6 even pieces for a total of 12 pieces.

Wrap each slice of cheese with a half slice of prosciutto. Place a basil leaf on the seam-side of the prosciutto. Pierce each through the center with a pick. Add a cherry tomato to the end of each pick and place picks on a platter. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and season with salt and pepper.

Makes 12

Mozzarella Meatballs

2 tablespoons olive oil
One 4-ounce fresh buffalo mozzarella ball or 16 bocconcini
1 pound turkey or chicken sausage
1 pound hot or sweet Italian sausage
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
Purchased Marinara sauce, heated
16 appetizer picks

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

Cut mozzarella ball in quarters. Cut each quarter into four even pieces for a total of 16 pieces.

Mix together turkey and Italian sausage with hands until thoroughly combined. Divide into 16 equal parts.

Enclose each piece of mozzarella with sausage to form a meatball. Place Parmesan cheese on a sheet of wax paper; roll 8 of the meatballs in Parmesan cheese. Place all meatballs on the prepared baking sheet, leaving an inch or so between each meatball.

Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes, remove from the oven, and carefully pour off collected grease and liquid into a disposable container… never pour grease in your sink, or a plumber will be a regular visitor to your kitchen! Return to oven for 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and stick a long appetizer pick into each meatball. Arrange on a platter and top each with a small dollop of warmed sauce.

Makes 16

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1 Connor { 09.16.09 at 8:38 AM }

mmmmm…. I miss home food =(…. not that you would ever make something like this on a regular basis or anything but still….

2 Linda Hopkins { 09.16.09 at 12:52 PM }

Very funny! Thanks for the 3 comments! Love YOU!

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