Holiday Party Appetizers

New Year’s Eve celebrations

Family, friends, food and fun are a great combination for any celebration.  I’ve shared 3 great recipes for your New Year’s Eve celebration from oh so fancy appetizers to egg rolls for good luck but don’t forgot about your health with a great bean dip!

Happy New Year & Be Well…Ellen

Oh So Fancy Appetizers – Crispy Shrimp Rolls

Crispy Shrimp Rolls |


1 cup all purpose flour (250 mL)
1/4 cup cornstarch (60 mL)
2 tsp salt (5 mL)
1-1 1/2 cup soda water (250 – 325 mL)
1 cup sticky rice – medium grain (250 mL)
1 2/3 cup water (350 mL)
1/2 tsp salt (1 mL)
2-3 Tbsp flavored rice vinegar (30-45 mL)
2 Tbsp sesame seeds (black, optional) (30 mL)
12 zucchini, sliced thinly length ways (12 )
2 cups canola oil (500 mL)
12 large shrimp (12 )


To make batter: In a bowl, combine flour, cornstarch, salt and soda water. Set aside.

Rinse rice under cold running water and drain. Combine rice, water, and salt in medium sauce pan. Cover pan and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer gently for 15-17 minutes. Do not stir while cooking. Remove from heat and let stand covered for 3 minutes. Remove lid, cool and stir in flavored rice vinegar.

To assemble, moisten hands with water and place about 1-1 1/2 Tbsp rice on each zucchini slice. Sprinkle with 1/8 tsp black sesame seeds. Place shrimp crosswise to zucchini on top of rice. Roll shrimp up in zucchini. Secure with long skewer. Dip into batter.
Heat canola oil to 375° F in deep fryer. Fry skewers, a few at a time, for 1-2 minutes or until golden brown. Remove and drain on paper towels.

For Good Luck – Phyllo Pastry Spring Rolls

Phyllo Pastry Spring Rolls |

Filling of Pork and Asian Seasonings


4 large dried flower mushrooms (4 )
1 (1 lb) pkg phyllo pastry (1 (500 g) pkg )
2 Tbsp canola oil (30 mL)
1 lbs ground pork (500 g)
1 Tbsp soy sauce (15 mL)
1 Tbsp oyster sauce (15 mL)
1 Tbsp hoison sauce (15 mL)
1 tsp sugar (5 mL)
1 clove garlic, minced (1 )
2/3 cups chopped green onion (150 mL)
1 medium carrot, peeled and grated (1 )
1/4 cup slivered water chestnuts (60 mL)
1/3 cup fresh bean sprouts (75 mL)


Soak mushrooms in boiling water about 30 minutes. Chop finely. Place phyllo pastry on counter to defrost.

Heat canola oil in a large frying pan. Saute ground pork in pan until lightly browned and juices run clear. Stir in soy sauce, oyster sauce, hoison sauce, sugar and garlic. Remove from heat and transfer to a bowl. Add green onion, grated carrot, water chestnuts, bean sprouts and chopped mushrooms. Season mixture with salt and pepper.

Remove phyllo pastry from package, being careful to keep it covered while preparing the spring rolls. Lay each phyllo sheet on counter (longest side parallel to counter edge) and cut in half, perpendicular to counter edge. Brush each piece with canola oil. Place about 3 Tbsp filling along edges closest to counter edge and roll up pastry, folding in the outer edges. Brush remaining edge with canola oil to secure seam.

Place seam side down on baking sheet. Repeat with remaining spring rolls. Brush each finished egg roll with a bit of canola oil and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake at 350 F (180 C) for 15 – 20 minutes, or until nicely browned.

Filling of Shrimp with Vegetable and Sweet Chili Sauce


2 oz very thin rice noodles (57 g)
1 cup finely chopped green cabbage (250 mL)
1/2 cup grated carrots (125 mL)
1/2 cup finely chopped green onions (125 mL)
1/2 cup coarsely chopped bean sprouts (125 mL)
1/4 cup finely chopped red pepper (60 mL)
1/2 lbs cooked shrimp, chopped (250 g)
1 Tbsp fish sauce (15 mL)
2 tsp sweet chili sauce (10 mL)
2 Tbsp canola oil (30 mL)


Cook rice noodles for 2 – 3 minutes in boiling water, until tender. Cool under running cold water. Chop coarsely.

In medium bowl, combine all ingredients, including rice, and mix well.

Prepare spring rolls using shrimp mixture and phyllo pastry, following instructions given above for the ground pork version. Brush with canola oil and bake as previously instructed.

* Vegetarian version can be made by replacing shrimp with 1 cup (more) chopped vegetables and/or rice noodles.
* While rolling the filling into the phyllo pastry, place 1 cilantro leaf in the final inch of the roll, encasing it in the pastry, for a decorative effect.

For Your Health – Cumin and Cilantro Bean Dip

Sun-Dried Tomato Bean Dip |


1 can (19 oz/540 ml) white kidney beans, drained and rinsed (1 )
2 Tbsp canola oil (30 mL)
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar (30 mL)
1 tsp cumin (5 mL)
1 clove garlic, minced (1 )
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (1 mL)
1 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro (15 mL)|
3 Tbsp finely chopped onion (45 mL)
1 tsp lime zest (5 mL)
1/4 tsp pepper (1 mL)


In a blender or food processor, combine all ingredients. Blend or pulse to desired consistency. Transfer mixture to a container. Cover and refrigerate for 2-3 hours to allow flavours to develop.

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