Italian finger foods, including grilled oregano-chicken skewers; polenta cakes with goat cheese and shiitake mushrooms; sausage pigs-in-a-blanket; and classic biscotti.
Polenta Cakes With Goat Cheese and Shiitake
3 cups chicken stock
1 cup fine polenta
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup soft herbed goat cheese
2 tablespoons butter
heaping tablespoon chopped Italian parsley
1 tablespoon oil
4 ounces medium to small shiitake mushrooms, sliced
1 small garlic clove, minced
1. Grease a 8" straight-sided baking pan with a flavorful olive oil. Bring the stock and salt to a simmer in a deep heavy pot. Stream in the polenta, whisking. Switch to a wooden spoon and cook, slowly until polenta is cooked and pulling away from the insides of the pot -- 20-40 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the butter and 1/4 cup goat cheese. Combine well. Fold in the parsley. Pour polenta into the prepared pan, level, wrap in plastic and chill well until firm.
2. Turn polenta out onto a cutting board, trim sides and cut into 1" x 1" cubes. Allow cubes to come to room temperature.
3. In a small non-stick sauté pan, heat the tablespoon oil. Add the shiitakes, a pinch of salt and sauté a few minutes until tender. Add the garlic and sauté another 30 seconds. Pour onto a plate and allow to cool down before handling.
4. Either pipe or spoon a tiny bit of goat cheese on each polenta cube. Top with a slice of shiitake, and tuck in a little pluck of thyme.