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Fabulous New Year's Eve Appetizers from Fab Chef

New Year's Eve parties are known for two things: good drinks and good food.

And chef Marcus Samuelsson visited "The Early Show" Friday to help with both!

Marcus, author of "New American Table," believes in cooking many different kinds of appetizers to enable your guests to eat as much or as little as they want and still feel good.

He served up recipes for a wide range of amazing appetizers, including crab cakes, meatballs, mini-cornbreads, and whisky fudge, then had a "Black Velvet" champagne/stout drink!

Crab Cakes with Spiced Corn and Pistachio Aioli

3 Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters (about one pound)
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1 pound jumbo lump crabmeat, picked over for shells and cartilage
1 teaspoon mild chili powder
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 teaspoons chopped cilantro
2 teaspoons chopped mint
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons cornstarch
¼ cup panko bread crumbs
6 tablespoons olive oil
Spiced corn
Pistachio Aioli
3 limes, cut into quarters

Preheat oven to 400F

To make the crab cakes, place the potatoes in a medium pot, cover with salted water, and bring to a boil. Add the garlic, then reduce the heat and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Strain the liquid. Transfer the potatoes to a large bowl and mash the potatoes and garlic with a fork. Set aside to cool. Mix in the crabmeat, chili powder, mustard, mayonnaise, cilantro and mint, breaking up any large clumps with your hands. Season with salt and pepper. Form into 24 crab cakes, each about 1 inch in diameter and ½-inch thick.

Combine the cornstarch and panko in a shallow bowl. Dredge each crab cake in panko, pressing to make sure the crumbs stick and coat the crab cakes.

Heat 3 Tbsp of olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Working in two batches to prevent overcrowding the pan, add the crab cakes and sauté until the crust is crisp and golden, about 3 minutes on each side. Heat the remaining 3 Tbsp olive oil and continue with the second batch. Transfer to a baking sheet and bake for 5 minutes. Serve with the spiced corn, pistachio aioli and lime wedges.

Spiced Corn
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup corn kernels, preferably cut from 2 ears fresh corn
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tomatoes, chopped
Juice of 2 limes
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon mild chili powder
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 scallions, white and light green parts, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro

Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the corn and garlic and sauté until the garlic is golden, about 4 minutes. Add the tomatoes, lime juice, soy sauce, and chili powder and season with salt and pepper. Cook until heated through.

Remove from the heat and fold in scallions and cilantro. Set aside to cool.

Pistachio Aioli
3 small Yukon Gold potatoes
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
Juice of 1 lemon
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tablespoons natural pistachios
2 large egg yolks
1/2 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon pistachio oil (see tip)
1 teaspoon yellow mustard
1 tablespoon heavy cream
1 teaspoon chopped tarragon
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Place the potatoes in a small saucepan, cover with salted water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until tender, about 15 minutes. Let cool and peel.

In a separate pot, combine the vinegar, lemon juice and garlic and simmer until 2 Tbsp of liquid remain.

Heat a small sauté pan over medium heat. Add the pistachios and toast until they start to color, about 2 minutes.

Combine the pistachios and the potatoes in a blender. Add the egg yolks, vinegar mixture, olive oil, pistachio oil, mustard and 2 Tbsp water and puree until smooth. Transfer to a bowl.

Stir in the cream and tarragon and season with salt and pepper.

Tip: pistachio oil has a stronger flavor than most nut oils, making it a wonderful addition to vinaigrettes. It's also a great way to dress up a simple grilled meat or fish - for instance elegance, just drizzle a bit of oil over the meat or fish when you remove it from the grill. Look for pistachio oil un upscale food markets, or order it online.

For many more recipes, to go Page 2.

Swedish Meatballs

1/2 cup fine dry bread crumbs
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium red onion, finely chopped
1/2 pound ground chuck or sirloin
1/2 pound ground veal
1/2 pound ground pork
2 tablespoons honey
1 large egg
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup lingonberry preserves
2 tablespoons juice from Quick Pickled Cucumbers or 1 tablespoon pickle juice from store-bought jar
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Prepare the meatballs: Combine the breadcrumbs and heavy cream in a small bowl, stirring with a fork until all the crumbs are moistened. Set aside.

Heat the oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté for about five minutes, until softened. Remove from heat.

In a large bowl, combine the ground beef, veal, pork, onion, honey, and egg, and mix well with your hands. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the bread crumb-cream mixture and mix well. With wet hands (to keep the mixture from sticking), shape the mixture into meatballs the size of a golf ball, placing them on a plate lightly moistened with water. You should have about 24 meatballs.

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the meatballs, in batches if necessary, and cook, turning frequently, for about 7 minutes until browned on all sides and cooked through. Transfer the meatballs to a plate and disregard all but 1 tablespoon of fat from the skillet.

Prepare the sauce: Return the skillet to the heat, whisk in the stock, cream, preserves, and pickle juice, and bring to a simmer. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the meatballs to the sauce, reduce the heat to medium, and simmer for about five minutes, until the sauce thickens slightly and the meatballs are heated through.

Quick Pickled Cucumbers
1 English (hothouse) cucumber
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1-1/2 cups water
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
1 cup sugar
1 bay leaf
2 allspice berries

Slice the cucumber as thin as possible (use a mandoline or other vegetable slicer if you have one). Put the slices in a colander, toss them with the salt, and let stand for about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine the water, vinegar, sugar, bay leaf and allspice in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and let cool.

Rinse the salt off the cucumbers, and squeeze out as much moisture as possible. Put the cucumbers in a medium bowl and add the pickling solution; they should be completely covered by the brine. Cover and refrigerate for 3 to 6 hours before serving.

The pickled cucumbers will keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Corn Bread with Tomato Chutney

4 ears fresh corn, shucked
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup polenta
2 tablespoons baking powder
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon mild chili powder
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 tablespoon black onion (nigella) seeds (see Tip)
2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
2 poblano chiles, seeds and ribs removed, chopped
Butter to grease the pans
Tomato Chutney

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the corn and simmer for 20 minutes. Strain. When the ears are cool enough to handle, cut the kernels from the cobs. Place 1 cup of the corn kernels in a bowl and set aside. Place the remaining kernels in a blender and puree. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 375ºF.

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, polenta, baking powder, salt, pepper, chili powder, ginger, cardamom, and black onion seeds. Stir in the brown sugar, chiles, corn kernels, corn puree, and 2 cups water. Mix to combine.

Butter mini muffin tins and fill cups just below the line. Let rest for 20 minutes.

Place the pans in a shallow baking dish filled halfway with water and place in the oven. Bake about 25 minutes.

Turn the loaves out onto a cooling rack and let cool. Serve with the tomato chutney.

Tip: Traditionally found in Indian and Middle Eastern cooking, black onion seeds are making their way into mainstream cooking. They add a sharp, peppery flavor that I really like. Look for them in Middle Eastern and Indian markets or order them online.

Tomato Chutney
1/4 cup olive oil
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
One 2-inch piece ginger, peeled and chopped
2 shallots, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon ground coriander
2 cardamom pods
1 cinnamon stick
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
4 fresh tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1 cup canned stewed tomatoes
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons dark raisins
1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped
1 tablespoon mint, chopped
1 tablespoon basil leaves, chopped
Juice of 2 limes
1 jalapeño chile, seeds and ribs removed, chopped

Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic, ginger, shallots, chili powder, curry powder, coriander, cardamom, and cinnamon stick and cook until golden and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Add the honey and brown sugar and cook until caramelized, 2 to 3 minutes.

Stir in the fresh tomatoes, stewed tomatoes, and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper and simmer for 40 minutes. Remove and discard cinnamon stick.

Remove from the heat and stir in the raisins, cilantro, mint, basil, lime juice, and jalapeño.

For still more recipes, go to Page 3.

Whiskey Fudge

2.2 cups sugar
1/3 cup water
1.5 cups heavy cream
2 oz whiskey
16 oz dark chocolate
1-2 tbsp flaky sea salt

Put sugar and water in a stainless steel pot. Cook the sugar on high heat without stirring until the sugar is golden brown. Take the pot of the heat and add the heavy cream and whiskey. Then put the pot back on the stove. Turn on to high heat and cook until the mixture reaches 230 degrees Fahrenheit. Let it cool down until it reaches 140 Fahrenheit, then add the chocolate and the sea salt.

Take a rectangular mold and cover the inside with plastic wrap. Pour the chocolate mixture in and cover it with the plastic wrap. Put in refrigerator for at least 6 hours.

When serving cut the chocolate with a warm knife in ½ inch squares. Roll the edges in toasted crushed Macademia nuts.

"Early Show" Recipes Galore!

Black Velvet

Brut Champagne or sparkling wine
Stout beer

Fill a Champagne flute halfway with chilled stout beer (try Goose Island's Bourbon County Vanilla Stout) then top off with chilled Brut Champagne or your favorite.

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