November 18, 2010

Of Applications and Appetizers

Let's talk college applications, shall we?  How they're the bane of my existence.  Page after page of information to fill out, straining my brain to answer ridiculous prompts that will supposedly give each school a personal insight to my self without sounding cliche/groveling/desperate.  On top of just plain putting yourself out there for rejection.  This is so not my thing.

And we haven't even gotten to the part where I will be a university student, pursuing an undergraduate degree with a sea of students 10 years my junior.  Assuming that all my hopes and dreams come true, I could potentially be that person in class.  The older one who always sits in the front (why are they always there in the first row?), hand shooting up at every opportunity to ask question after question, offering up more opinions than are necessary.  People, I may just have to fill that role.  I don't mean to offend.  Good for you, front of the class student, for participating and being involved.

Can we just skip to the part where I have the degree, already?  I want to be a part of that club.

Sure, I'm being melodramatic, although not entirely untruthful.  This will all be worth it.  So what, I waited 10 years to go back to school, at least I know I'm going after something I'm passionate for.  I'm ready now to be a serious student.  My brain is prepared to be stuffed, challenged and crammed full of science-y nutrition stuff.  (Yes.  That is the technical term).  But really?  Applications due during holiday season?  I want to think about delicious Thanksgiving meals and all the ways I will stuff myself silly.  Champagne toasts and plates piled high with dressing and turkey and cranberry sauce - in that order.  Pumpkin, or perhaps sweet potato pie with clouds of whipped cream.  Not applications, transcripts and essay prompts.

Are you still there?  I promise I'm done now, I even feel a little better.

Here, let me take a little stress out of your planning at least if you're in charge of an appetizer.  This is it right here!  Absolutely do not look any further!  These open-faced tea sandwiches may not be traditional (?) with their Asian influenced flavors, but they sure are a crowd pleaser.  I've made them on several occasions and each time the entire plate gets inhaled in mere minutes.  The guests are all polite, nicely taking just the one to nibble on while nodding their heads in approval.  "So fresh!" they say.  Then I walk away, smiling, and this must be the point where they stuff 4 more into their mouths at once or else grab a handful for the purse or pocket, because, POOF, the plate is empty.  I don't blame them, they are delicious, but I might recommend you make extras unless you like the pleading looks of hungry guests.

Radish and Chive Tea Sandwiches
Adapted from Bon Appetit, April 2008

I can usually get about 20-24 pieces of baguette covered with this amount of butter, even though the original called for only 16.  Sometimes I cheat and use green onion tops instead of chives, either works, I've never had any complaints.  Use your discretion for how many this will serve, but I brought 24 of these to a dinner party of 8 people and I know they would have eaten more if they had the opportunity.

4 tablespoons butter, room temperature
3 tablespoons minced chives, divided
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
1 teaspoon grated peeled fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
24 1/2-inch-thick baguette slices
10 radishes, thinly sliced
Fleur de sel, for garnish

Mix butter, 2 tablespoons chives, sesame seeds, ginger, and oil in small bowl.  Spread butter mixture over each bread slice. Top with radishes, overlapping slightly. Sprinkle with remaining chives and fleur de sel.

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