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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Wednesday, December 24, 2003

A plentitude of pupu for your next home soiree

By Wanda A. Adams
Advertiser Food Editor

Roasted pepper and goat-cheese canapes are easy to pick up, neat to eat. The tiny open-faced sandwiches, are one of the best-known hors d'oeuvres.

Culinary Institute of America via Associated Press

Here, from a variety of sources, are ideas for super-quick pupu for holiday parties — some of them harking back to cocktail-party times.

Beyond easy

These pupu use store-bought ingredients and require almost no kitchen work.

The block: Simplest pupu ever. Buy one block Philadelphia cream cheese. Place on plate. Pour over pepper jelly, chutney, salsa or other flavorful preserve. Serve with crackers.
— Traditional

Chutney and cheese: My friend Bonnie Judd, who makes awesome mango chutney, serves this appetizer. Place a dollop of chutney on a Triscuit, top with grated cheddar cheese and broil until bubbly.

Zesty spread: I learned to make this mixture from a talented home cook in Seattle. Process together or chop up equal parts sun-dried tomatoes (the oil-cured ones, well-drained) and capers; blend by hand with cream cheese or soft goat cheese. Serve on crisp toasts.
— Wanda Adams

Kim-chee dip: Drain 1 bottle kim chee, reserving liquid. Combine with 2 blocks of Philadelphia cream cheese (lowfat or nonfat is okay). Use kim chee liquid to thin as needed.
— "Pupus to da Max," Bess Press (1986)

Stuffed shirts: Dried dates, figs, persimmons or prunes can be stuffed with creamy or pungent cheeses for an appetizer '50s folks surely would have called "exotic." Cut a slit in the fruit, dig out seed, if necessary, and fill. Try goat cheese with chopped walnuts; camembert with almonds; cream cheese with crystallized ginger and grated lemon peel.
— "The Book of Appetizers" by June Budgen (1986)

Very easy

These pupu take a little hand work but can be prepared in a half-hour.

Mayonnaise toasts: These were a standard of the haole kama'aina in the '50s and '60s, and so easy to make. They're best with a crunchy textured whole-grain bread (honey wheat berry, for example), but any crisp toast will do. Grate 2 tablespoons onion very fine, squeeze off any liquid. Combine onion with mayonnaise. Spread on squares or rounds of whole-grain toast and broil briefly until golden and bubbly. Serve immediately.
— Traditional

Yule logs: Cheese logs or cheese balls are another retro revival. To make them, you need one smooth cheese, such as cream cheese, ricotta or goat cheese (or you can use butter), and a grated hard cheese, such as cheddar or parmesan. Combine those, along with just enough sour cream or mayonnaise to hold the cheese together. Add flavorings: olives, chives, blue cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, goat cheese, herbs, chopped dates, curry powder or other spice. Roll in chopped nuts, dried fruit or a light dusting of paprika. An example: Combine 2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese with 2 tablespoons softened butter and 2 tablespoons curry powder. Roll in chopped peanuts. Drizzle chutney over and serve with crackers, sliced apples or pears, or stalks of celery.
— Knight Ridder News Service

Cheese puolo: A puolo is a carrying case made of ti leaves, but in this case, an 8-ounce tube of crescent-roll dough is the outside, and a round of brie, gouda or other cheese is the center. Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees, lightly flour a flat surface, roll out the chilled dough to a 10-by-10-inch square, place the cheese in the center and fold and crimp the dough around it. Bake on an ungreased baking sheet for 15 to 20 minutes. Place on a board with knife or pie server.
— "Kona on My Plate, A Hawai'i Community Cookbook" by the Kona Outdoor Circle (2002)

Fried poke: Buy 'ahi poke. Heat vegetable or peanut oil in wok or skillet over high heat. Toss in poke, quickly stir-fry until 'ahi just turns color; pour out onto platter, drizzle with juice from poke container and serve with chopsticks. Rice balls are nice with this.


Nothing complicated here, but there's some chopping or grating and perhaps some stovetop or oven time. Under an hour, including cooking time.

Quick canapés: A canapé (French for "couch") is a small, often shaped, bit of bread or toast on which good things rest. They were standard cocktail-party fare in the '40s and '50s. For these, you need soft, thin-sliced white bread (buy a loaf at St. Germain or a similar bakery and have it sliced). Mix together ¥ cup softened butter and 1 minced and mashed garlic clove. Cut shapes in white bread with cookie cutters, or quarter the bread. Cut corresponding shapes in thin-sliced ham and gruyère or other cheese. Spread flavored butter thinly on bread, top with ham and cheese and bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees. Top with half a cherry tomato on each, and serve. You can also just top the bread with store-bought spreads, such as pimento or even Cheez-Whiz, if you want to be really retro!
— Traditional

Goat-cheese and pepper canapés: Buy marinated roasted bell peppers or roast them yourself, cut into strips and marinate in a vinaigrette with chopped pitted olives, thinly sliced red onion, chunks of fresh tomato, chopped cilantro or parsley. Cut rounds from thin-sliced white or wheat bread; place on cookie sheet and toast in 425-degree oven until browned and crisp. Thin goat cheese to a spreadable consistency using a little sour cream; spread rounds with goat cheese, top with a little bell pepper mixture and a leaf of cilantro or parsley.
— "Cooking at Home with the Culinary Institute of America" (2003)

Italian spread: Make this this easy spread: ¡ pound ricotta cheese, 2 tablespoons grated parmesan, ¡ pound diced salami or Italian ham, &Mac253; cup grated mild white cheese (fontina, jack), 2 eggs, 2 tablespoons chopped parsley. Slit bakery or grocery-store focaccia in half lengthwise and slather spread on top; or top store-bought boboli (pizza-like small rounds) with spread. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, until stuffing is heated through, lightly browned.
— "Italy in Small Bites" by Carol Fields (1993)

Polenta poppers: You can find pre-cooked sausage-like rounds of polenta in some grocery store deli sections. Slice into &Mac253;-inch thick rounds. Place on lightly oiled or nonstick cookie sheet. Brush lightly with olive oil and broil 3-5 minutes until firm and lightly crisp. Turn and broil on the other side. Slide onto a platter and top each round with thin-sliced prosciutto and cheese; or scatter a mixture of shaved Parmesan and minced parsley over the whole; or top with a blend of olive oil, minced garlic, chopped fresh tomatoes and salt and pepper.
— Traditional

Sautéed almonds: This Portuguese appetizer is positively addictive. Heat 1&Mac253; cups olive oil in a 10-inch skillet. Place one-half pound blanched almonds (whole, peeled almonds) and sauté, stirring 4-5 minutes, until nuts are a light caramel color. Use a skimmer to quickly remove almonds from oil and drain on paper towels. Add another half-pound almonds to oil and repeat. Toss almonds with &Mac253; teaspoon salt and &Mac253; teaspoon cayenne.
— "The Food of Portugal" by Jean Anderson (1986)

Pau hana prawns: Crush 2 cloves garlic, combine with 3 tablespoons olive oil, the juice of 1 lemon, salt and pepper. Brush this over 1&Mac253; pounds cleaned, raw prawns in the shell. Grill or fry the prawns, turning and brushing with garlic marinade. Serve immediately on a large platter; eat with fingers. Serve with good French-style bread. (You can double the marinade, heat the part you don't use for brushing, then drizzle it on the shrimp before you serve; sop juice up with bread.)
— "Kona on My Plate, A Hawai'i Community Cookbook" by the Kona Outdoor Circle (2002)

Bacon-wrapped everything: Devils on horseback, angels on horseback, rumaki — there are many names for the the classic 1950s family of hors d'oeuvres that is composed of half-slices of bacon wrapped around delectable bites. Here's how: Combine 1 cup soy sauce and 1 cup brown sugar to make marinade. Cut bacon slices in half horizontally. Wrap bacon around water chestnuts or oysters; secure with toothpicks. Marinate 1 hour in soy sauce/brown sugar mixture; bake in rimmed baking pan or on rack over baking pan at 375 degrees for 25 minutes; turn and bake another 20 minutes. You also can wrap bacon around dates (don't laugh; it's delicious), dried figs or olives — no need to marinate these.
— Traditional

Christmas quesadilla: The Mexican quesadilla — a grilled tortilla sandwich, in effect — is a versatile last-minute technique. Just spread something good on one tortilla, top it with another and quickly cook in a lightly oiled skillet over medium-high-heat, until the tortilla crisps slightly and blossoms with lightly browned circles. Carefully turn and repeat. Serve on cutting board and cut into strips. Fillings: store-bought rotisserie or precooked chicken with cheese and chilies or salsa; grated cheddar and chutney; whole or refried beans, cheese and chopped tomatoes; grilled vegetables and cheese. Have sour cream, guacamole, salsa on the side.
— Traditional

Tomato jam: This is rather like the delicious tomato dip they serve with the crispy grilled crackers at Palomino. Yum! Cook together 1 (15-ounce) can chopped tomatoes in purée, 1 minced clove garlic, 1 tablespoons grated fresh ginger, 1 tablespoon vinegar (apple cider, white or rice) and 2 teaspoons sugar until cooked down to a slightly jam-like consistency. Taste and adjust seasoning. Serve with toasts or crackers. (Sprinkle in a little minced feta, if you like.)
— "Cooking Thin with Chef Kathleen," by Kathleen Daelemans (2002)