By Vera Stewart | Photos by Amy J. Owen
Summer calls for entertaining and certainly we all want to be enjoying the weather and gathering with friends and family. Bite size is the thread of our company, as catered events have called for those menu ideas during our 37-year history. I’m always looking for ways to revitalize the old favorites and, in many cases, it’s just a matter of a great new way to present.
For something as familiar as a deviled egg, I love to dress it up with bourbon bacon and create a display palette that lends itself to bold creativity. For the eggs, they’re nestled right back in the chicken coop!
For all of you that long for the chicken salad now famous from our café, make a batch to have on hand for sandwiches but keep a box of the phyllo shells in your freezer and BAM: cranberry chicken salad bites for last minute appetizers.
Summer’s main menu item in the South is the bacon lettuce & tomato sandwich and our bacon & tomato spread pops with flavor, especially topped with candied bacon. You know how messy that sandwich can be so you might want to even try these bite sized versions for a picnic.
And finally, if bite size seems like a lot of work, there is nothing better than a great new dip and Gruyere has a real wow factor.
SWEET LITTLE BLT’S
• 8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
• 2 Tbsp Hellmann’s® mayonnaise
• ¾ tsp garlic powder
• 1 Tbsp green onions, diced
• ½ cup cherry tomatoes, cut for garnish
• 1 cup candied bacon (recipe below)
• White sandwich bread
- Stir the cream cheese and mayonnaise until smooth.
- Add the garlic powder and mix well.
- Fold in the green onions.
- Using a biscuit cutter, cut pieces of bread in circles and toast.
- Spread the dip on top of the toasted bread.
- Place small pieces of candied bacon on top of dip.
- Place small piece of cherry tomato on top.
BOURBON BACON DEVILED EGGS
Prep Time: 30 minutes | Yield: 24 eggs
• 12 whole eggs, hard cooked and peeled*
• 2 tsp Durkee sauce
• 2 Tbsp Hellman’s mayonnaise
• 1 tsp French’s yellow mustard
• 1 Tbsp Wickles relish
• 1 cup Bourbon bacon (recipe below)
• Salt and pepper, to taste
1. Slice the eggs in half lengthwise. Pop the yellow yolks into a small bowl. Mash with a fork until fine.
2. Add in the mustard, Durkee sauce, relish, and mayonnaise and stir well until it is completely combined. Use salt and pepper to taste.
3. Either fill a piping bag with mixture or use a teaspoon to fill the eggs.
4. Store in the refrigerator until ready to eat. They will last 4-5 days.
*Tip: I place my eggs in a large saucepan and cover with water (1” over eggs). Heat to high and allow the water to boil. Turn off heat immediately, cover the pot and let sit for 20 minutes. Rinse with cold water and peel.
• 1 lb. bacon
• 4 Tbsp pure maple syrup
• 1 Tbsp bourbon
• ½ cup brown sugar
• 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1. Mix maple syrup, bourbon, brown sugar and mustard in a bowl.
2. Coat bacon in the mixture.
3. Line a cookie sheet with parchment or foil and a baking rack.
4. Place bacon on top of rack and bake at 350 for 15 minutes.
5. Flip bacon and bake an additional 10 minutes or until it starts to stiffen.
6. Let cool before cutting into small pieces.
CRANBERRY ALMOND CHICKEN BITES
Yield: 30 | Prep Time: 25 to 30 minutes
• 2 ½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, raw (approx. 4)
• 1 cup slivered almonds, toasted
• 1 to 1 ½ cups Craisin’s dried cranberries
• 1 cup celery, diced
• 1 cup green onions, diced
• 2 cups Hellmann’s® mayonnaise
• 2 teaspoons curry powder
• ½ teaspoon white pepper
• 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
• 2 packages Phyllo shells
1. Boil the chicken breasts in salted water for about 10 to 12 minutes, until a thermometer inserted in the thickest breast registers 165F.
2. Let the chicken cool and cut into ½-inch chunks.
3. In a large bowl, combine the chicken, almonds, cranberries, celery, and green onions.
4. In a separate bowl mix together the mayonnaise, seasonings, and lemon juice.
5. Mix the mayonnaise mixture into the chicken mixture until well blended. The color should be a very pale yellow.
6. Store in the refrigerator and allow the flavors to meld overnight.
7. Bake phyllo shells according to package.
8. Fill phyllo shells and serve. You will have leftover chicken salad to serve with crackers, celery, on a sandwich, and so on!
9. Keep leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 6 days.
ARTICHOKE GRUYERE DIP
Prep Time: 25 to 30 minutes | Cook Time: 15 to 20 minutes | Yield: Makes 1 ½ quart casserole dish
• 2 cups Parmesan cheese, shredded
• ½ cup Asiago cheese, shredded
• ¼ cup Gruyere cheese, shredded
• 2 teaspoons minced garlic
• 2 ½ cups Hellman’s mayonnaise
• 7 oz canned artichokes, quartered and roughly chopped
• 4 green onions, sliced
• 1 teaspoon kosher salt
• ½ cup heavy cream
• ¼ cup whole milk
• ½ cup breadcrumbs
1. Preheat the oven to 375 °F and prepare a small casserole dish with cooking spray.
2. In a large bowl, mix together the Parmesan, Asiago, Gruyere, and garlic.
3. Add in the mayonnaise, artichokes, green onions, and salt. Slowly stir in the milk and heavy cream.
4. Transfer the cheese mixture to the prepared casserole dish. Top with the breadcrumbs, sprinkling evenly over the top.
5. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, stir gently halfway through.
6. Serve warm with crackers or pita chips.
Watermelon & Mozzarella Caprese Skewers
Watermelon – cut into 1” cubes
Fresh Basil (chiffonade cut)
Appears in the June/July 2021 issue of Augusta Magazine.