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Champagne and Hors d'Oeuvres

Do you have any suggestions for refreshing drinks made with champagne?

—Debbie Aguiar, Miami, Florida

A passion-fruit cocktail may be precisely what you're looking for. When you purchase passion fruit, look for large, heavy, ripe fruit with a deep-purple color; they can be stored in the refrigerator up to 5 days.

Passion Fruit Champagne Cocktail

Serves 6

1 cup water

1/2 cup sugar

6 ripe passion fruits, sliced in halves

1 bottle well-chilled champagne

1. In a small saucepan, combine water and sugar. Bring to a boil, and cook until the sugar has completely dissolved, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl; after it has cooled, cover, and refrigerate. (Or place syrup over an ice-water bath to cool quickly.)

2. Scoop the seeds and juice from each half of the passion fruit, and pass through a fine strainer. Discard seeds.

3. Fill six glasses halfway with champagne. Pour 1 teaspoon of sugar syrup in each glass. Add 1 tablespoon passion fruit to each glass. Stir gently, and serve immediately.

Do you have any suggestions for hors d'oeuvres to serve at my daughter's wedding?

--Linda Wegweiser, Hollywood, Florida

A passion-fruit cocktail may be precisely what you're looking for. When you purchase passion fruit, look for large, heavy, ripe fruit with a deep-purple color; they can be stored in the refrigerator up to 5 days.

The following recipes appear in the “Martha Stewart's Hors d'Oeuvres Handbook.” For more hors d'oeuvres, visit our Recipe Finder.

Moroccan Salmon Skewers

Makes 2 1/2 dozen

1 1/2 teaspoons whole cumin seeds

1 teaspoon whole coriander seeds

2 teaspoons whole fennel seeds

1 teaspoon coarse salt

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1 3/4 pounds salmon fillet, skin removed, cut into 3/4-inch cubes

1. Preheat the oven to 400°. Combine the cumin, coriander, and fennel seeds with a mortar and pestle, or slightly crush the whole seeds in a spice grinder, pulsing just until coriander is just broken; do not overprocess. (The spices can also be crushed using a heavy cast-iron skillet.) Transfer the seeds to a small bowl, and toss with the salt and pepper.

2. Dip one side of the salmon into the spice mixture to coat heavily. Repeat with all of the salmon squares.

3. Heat a large ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Do not add any oil. Place the salmon cubes, spice side down, into the pan. Cook until the spices are dry, golden, and toasted, about 4 minutes. Immediately transfer the pan to the oven; remove when salmon is just cooked through, about 30 seconds. Transfer the salmon bites to a serving platter, and skewer with toothpicks. Serve warm.

Citrus Dipping Sauce

Makes 1 cup

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1/4 cup fresh orange juice

Zest of 1 lime, 1 lemon, and 1 orange

1/2 cup kafir or sheep's-milk yogurt

1/2 cup plain yogurt

Coarse salt

1. In a small saucepan over high heat, combine the lime, lemon, and orange juices with 1/2 teaspoon of the orange zest. Boil to reduce until thick and syrupy, making about 1 tablespoon. Remove from heat, and let cool.

2. In a medium bowl, combine the citrus syrup and the yogurts. Mix with a spoon until well combined. Season with salt to taste. Keep refrigerated until ready to use. Sprinkle the remaining zest over the top before serving.

Parmesan Poppy Puff Pastry Straws

Makes about 3 1/2 dozen

Puff Pastry, chilled (recipe below)

All-purpose flour, for dusting

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

5 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated on the small holes of a box grater to yield 1 3/4 cups

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 tablespoon plus one teaspoon poppy seeds

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1. Preheat the oven to 425° with the rack in the center. Place the chilled puff pastry on a lightly floured surface. Roll out the dough until it is about 1/8 inch thick, making a 24-by-26-inch piece. Use a sharp knife to trim the edges of the dough; this will help make the straws uniform as they cook. Brush the dough lightly with the melted butter. Sprinkle the dough with 3/4 cup of the Parmesan, 1 tablespoon of the poppy seeds, and 1 teaspoon of the salt.

2. With the short side of the dough facing you, fold the dough in half, bringing the top edge down toward you. Brush the surface of the dough with the egg. Sprinkle with the remaining salt, remaining poppy seeds, and 1/2 cup Parmesan. Using a very sharp knife, cut the dough vertically into 1/2-inch-wide strips. Transfer 6 of the strips onto a baking sheet, spacing them evenly apart. Grab each end of a dough strip with your fingers, and carefully stretch and twist the strip in opposite directions. Continue with the remaining strips of dough. (Unbaked dough should be stored in the refrigerator to stay cool. The straws may be twisted, covered with plastic wrap, and transferred on the baking sheets to the refrigerator before baking.)

3. Bake until golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove and let cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes to firm up. Using both hands, transfer the sticks to a wire rack or serving platter.

Puff Pastry

Makes 2 pounds

3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt

1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled

1 cup ice water

1. Combine the flour and salt in a large, chilled stainless-steel bowl. Slice the butter into paper-thin pieces. Using a pastry blender, or working with your fingertips, cut the butter into the flour until the butter is the size of peas, about 1/2 inch in diameter (do not use a food processor).

2. Using a fork, stir in the water gradually, pressing the dough together with your hands as it becomes damp. Turn the dough out onto a well-floured board, and roll it into a rough rectangle with a short side facing you. The dough will be very crumbly. Fold the dough into thirds, and turn it a quarter to the right. Roll the dough into a large rectangle, 9 by 16 inches, and fold into thirds again. This completes the first double turn. Brush away any excess flour. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap, and chill for 30 minutes.

3. Repeat rolling and folding two more times, chilling for 30 minutes after each double turn. With each turn the dough will become smoother and easier to handle. Roll out and bake as instructed in the recipe. The dough can be stored, wrapped well in plastic wrap, in the refrigerator for up to 2 days, or frozen for up to 3 months. To thaw, place in the refrigerator for 24 hours.

Kafir yogurt

Available at Middle Eastern grocery stores and gourmet-food stores