During the holiday season, it is always fun to take traditional recipes and put a “spin” on them by incorporating new and interesting ingredients.  I have always been fascinated at the notion of taking foods that often get pin-holed into a specific dining occasion; and then completely reinventing them by throwing traditional technique out the window.

For instance, take one of the more time tested hors d’oeuvres of all time… bacon wrapped sea scallops.  This one is easy to make and always a crowd pleaser – but why not offer your guests something new this year?  I like to start with large, uncooked shrimp.  Shrimp are most often less expensive then scallops and offer a more durable texture that lends itself to various cooking methods.  Try wrapping a Kronos Premium Gyro Slice around the meaty body portion of each shrimp, using a skewer to secure.  You should be able to fit 3 or 4 jumbo shrimp on each skewer.  On a very hot grill or grill pan, cook the skewers on each side for just 15-20 seconds.  The purpose of this step is to “grill mark” the kabob which provides a great visual when serving to your guests.  After marking on each side, transfer to a 425°F oven and bake for an additional 5 minutes, or until the shrimp are fully cooked.  When fully cooked, squeeze the juice of a fresh lemon over the top – remove from the skewers – and plate on your favorite holiday passing platter.  For a healthy and very simple dipping sauce, try mixing equal parts Kronos 0% Fat Greek Yogurt and your favorite Dijon mustard.  Sprinkle in some fresh cut chives and you have the perfect trendy replacement for traditional dijonaise.

Another appetizer commonly seen at holiday gatherings is deviled eggs.  Everyone has their own take on deviled eggs, but typically the hard boiled egg yolks are blended with mayonnaise, mustard and spices to create that rich and creamy filling.  I love the hard boiled egg white as the fancy “finger food” carrier, but let’s consider replacing the cholesterol-rich egg yolks for something more interesting (and healthy).  Try blending Kronos Classic or Roasted Red Pepper Hummus with our  nonfat Greek Yogurt and just a touch of finely diced Kalamata olives.  The yogurt will serve to lighten the texture of the hummus, while giving it that creamy mouth-feel synonymous with your favorite deviled eggs.  The olives will replace the mustard by adding interesting bits of color while providing that briny, acidic taste associated with mustard.  A pinch of ground cumin on top will add that final touch of color, while making this twist on a classic oh-so-Mediterranean.

Food should be fun – don’t be afraid to think outside the box and experiment by spicing up the perennially featured classics.  Your guests will love you for it!

Happy Holidays!

Chef Nick

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