Awesome Winter Appetizers

These mouth-watering dishes are a great start to any meal. Southern Maryland-This is Living has looked back at 20 years of delicious winter delights and beautifully prepared appetizers.

Try them out and add some pizzazz for your next holiday gathering! Enjoy!
Butternut Squash Soup from Canards Catering & Event Production
(Reprinted from Winter 2011)

2 T. butter
1 medium onion, chopped
1 T. chopped garlic
3 lb. butternut squash, peeled and cut in 1-inch cubes
3-4 C. chicken stock
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 C. heavy cream

Melt butter in heavy duty saucepot on medium flame. Add onion and saute until translucent. Add garlic and cook for two minutes. Add squash and chicken stock, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cover, simmering until squash is tender throughout. Stir in nutmeg, ginger and heavy cream. In small batches, being very careful not to fill higher than 2.3 of capacity, puree soup in a blender, placing a towel over the lid for safety. Let some steam escape as you pulse the machine to a fine puree. When finished, place soup back in pot and stir in cream. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Serves 6.
Shrimp with Beer Bouillon from Nook and Monks
(Reprinted from Winter 2003)

Beer Bouillon
8 C. cold beer
2 C. cold water
2 medium carrots, sliced
2 stalks celery, sliced
1 large onion, sliced
1/2 bunch parsley
5 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
1 lb. medium or large shrimp, in the shell rinsed
1 T. kosher salt
Cocktail sauce, recipe follows
Lemon or line wedges
To make the beer bouillon: Combine the water and beer, carrot, celery, onion, parsley, thyme and bay leaf in a large pot and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer, set a cover on top slightly ajar and cook for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, devein the shrimp.
Strain the beer bouillon into a bowl and then return to the pot. Bring to a boil and add the salt. Drop the shrimp into the liquid and turn off the heat. Cook the shrimp, stirring occasionally, until they curl and turn pink, about 2 to 2 ½ minutes for the medium shrimp, 3 minutes for the large ones. Drain and cool to room temperature. Peel the shrimp if desired. Refrigerate the shrimp if not serving right away.

If refrigerated, bring the shrimp to room temperature 20 minutes before serving. Put cocktail sauce in a medium bowl and surround with shrimp over the edge of an individual cocktail glass and top with sauce. Garnish with citrus wedges and serve.
Cocktail sauce
1 C. ketchup
Zest of 1 lemon (about 1/2 tsp.)
2 T. plus 1 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
4 tsp. prepared horseradish, or to taste, drained
1/4 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
Hot sauce, to taste
Combine the ketchup, lemon zest and juice, horseradish and Worcestershire sauce in small bowl. Add hot sauce, if desired. Mix well, the refrigerate until ready to serve. Yield: 11/2 cups.
Sesame Ginger Beef and Asparagus Roulade from Quality Street Kitchen & Catering
(Reprinted from Winter 2007)
1 lb. asparagus, trimmed and blanched
1 lb. top round or top sirloin, very thinly sliced
2 T. vegetable oil
Salt and fresh cracked pepper
Sesame Ginger Sauce
1 T. soy sauce
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. sesame oil
1/4 C. chopped onion
1 C. demi-glace
Toasted sesame seeds
(As an alternative to the sesame ginger sauce, you can use teriyaki sauce.)
Wrap each asparagus spear with a piece of thinly sliced top sirloin. Sears in frying pan in hot vegetable oil. Remove from pan.
Heat-demi-glace. Add soy sauce, ginger and sesame oil. Drizzle sauce over beef and asparagus roulades. Heat at 375° for approximately 5 minutes. Sprinkle toasted sesame seeds on top and serve.
Mussels Josephine from The Prime Street Grille
(Reprinted from Winter 2010)
1 lb. Prince Edward Island mussels, cleaned and debearded
1 T. extra virgin olive oil
1 T. whole butter
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp. crushed red pepper
3/4 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. pepper
3/4 C. white wine
Combine all ingredients, except mussels and wine, in a pan. Simmer on medium heat until garlic becomes aromatic. Add mussels and wine. Cover and steam until mussels open. Serve immediately.
Heavenly Crab Melts from Hardesty Haven Catering
(Reprinted from Winter 2012)

1 stick butter
1 jar Old English cheese
1 1/2 tsp. mayonnaise
1 T. chopped onion
1/2 tsp. garlic
1/2 lb. crab meat (fresh is best)
Old Bay seasoning
12 English muffins, split in half
Blend first 5 ingredients. Add crab. Spread mixture on English muffins. Cut into quarters, place on baking sheet and freeze until hard. Place in plastic freezer bag. When ready to cook, place on baking sheet and bake at 350° until brown. Sprinkle with Old Bay seasoning and service hot. Makes 96 triangles.
Oysters Rockefeller from Charles Street Brasserie
(Reprinted from Winter 2015)
2 C. béchamel sauce
1 C. fresh baby spinach, chopped
4 T. Parmesan cheese
1/4 C. bacon, cooked crisp and chopped
36 fresh oysters, large, shucked
Seasonal cracker meal, as needed
Salt and pepper
Bring béchamel sauce to a simmer. Add spinach, cheese and bacon; stir to combine and remove from heat. Coat oysters in seasoned cracker meal and deep fry until crisp, about 45 seconds.

Place sauce on platter and top with fried oysters. Garnish with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
Pimento Cheese Dip from Vickie Kite Milburn
(Reprinted from Winter 2016)
24 oz. extra sharp cheddar cheese
1 7-oz. jar diced pimiento
3/4 C. mayonnaise
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. paprika
1 T. apple cider vinegar
Grate the cheese as fine as possible. Add all other ingredients and beat with fork. Refrigerate. Serve with Frito Scoops.