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Mediterranean Salsa with Feta Cheese and Roma Tomato Bruschetta

These delectable pick-ups, opposite, come from Junior League member and caterer Georgia Roussos.

1/2 cup basil chiffonade
2 cups seeded diced tomatoes
1/4 cup diced red onions
1/2 cup chopped kalamata olives
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
freshly cracked pepper, to taste
kosher salt to taste
12 crostini, see recipe below
12 Roma tomatoes, sliced
4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup reduced balsamic vinegar,  to taste*

1. To make salsa, combine chiffonade, diced tomatoes, onions, olives, olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and toss. Season mixture with freshly cracked pepper and kosher salt.
2. Spoon salsa over crostini. Top with Roma tomato.
3. Sprinkle with feta cheese.
4. Drizzle with reduced balsamic vinegar. Makes 12 crostini.
* To make reduced balsamic vinegar, simmer 1 cup of balsamic vinegar on low heat until reduced to 1/4 of a cup.


1 loaf French bread,  cut into 3/4-inch slices
herb infused oil, to taste
salt and pepper, to taste
Parmesan cheese, grated, to taste

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1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Arrange bread slices on baking sheet. Brush slices with herb infused oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and grated Parmesan.
3. Bake for 5 minutes, until crisp and lightly browned.

Angels on Horseback

The Roussos’ name has long been associated with crowd-pleasing seafood dishes, above.

12 freshly shucked oysters
12 pieces 3-inch sliced slab bacon
4 cups cornmeal breading
pure vegetable shortening
remoulade sauce, for dipping

1. Wrap oysters in bacon strips. Secure each with a toothpick. Dredge oysters in cornmeal breading.
2. Fill a pot with a basket halfway with shortening. Heat to 350 degrees.
3. Being careful not to overcrowd the pot, fry bacon-wrapped oysters to desired crispiness. (Bacon should be done and oysters firm.) Serve hot with remoulade sauce. Makes 12.

Fried Green Tomato Bites with Crawfish Béchamel Sauce

Roussos’ impressive sauce adds a kick to a Southern classic, above.

12 small green tomatoes,  cut into 1/4-inch slices
5 cups flour
egg wash (3 – 4 eggs with 1 quart milk)
5 pound bag of cornmeal
pure vegetable oil
Crawfish Béchamel Sauce,  see recipe below

1. Dredge tomato slices in flour.
2. Dip in egg wash.
3. Dredge in seasoned cornmeal.
4. In a frying pan, heat vegetable oil to 350 degrees. Deep fry slices in oil for about 3 – 4 minutes, or until crispy.
5. Top the tomatoes with Crawfish Béchamel Sauce. Serves 12.

Crawfish Béchamel Sauce

2 tablespoons butter
1 cup diced onion
1 cup diced red pepper
1/2 cup diced celery
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
salt and pepper
4 cups heavy whipping cream
1 pound cooked crawfish tails

1. Melt butter in sauté pan.
2. Sweat onions, red peppers, celery, garlic and mushrooms in pan until soft.
3. Add thyme, salt and pepper.
4. Add whipping cream and simmer for 5 minutes.
5. Add crawfish tails and simmer for 5 more minutes.

Blue Poppy Wafers

These crackers from the Junior League’s “Bay Tables” cookbook are stars on their own or when used as a utensil for dip.

8 ounces crumbled blue cheese, softened
1/2 cup margarine,  softened
1 1/3 cups flour
1/4 cup poppy seeds
1/4 teaspoon cayenne

1. Beat blue cheese and margarine in a bowl until texture is smooth and creamy. 
2. Add the flour, poppy seeds and cayenne. Beat until a soft dough forms.
3. Shape into a log 2 inches in diameter on a sheet of plastic wrap. Wrap in the plastic wrap. Chill in refrigerator for 2 hours.
4. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. 
5. Cut the dough into 1/8-inch thick slices. Place on ungreased baking sheets. 
6. Bake for 25 minutes, or until crisp. Remove to a wire rack to cool. Makes 4 dozen wafers.

Crawfish Pie

This pint-sized pie, also from the pages of “Bay Tables, ” hits the spot for those craving something a bit savory.

3/4 cup margarine
1/2 cup flour
2 medium onions,  finely chopped
1 green bell pepper,  finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 pound frozen crawfish tails, thawed
dash of cayenne
3 dashes of Tabasco sauce
Tony Chachere’s seasoning,  to taste
green onion tops, chopped
20 individual pastry shells, baked

1. Melt margarine in a saucepan. Stir in the flour gradually. 
2. Stir until roux is light brown. Remove from heat. Set aside.
3. Saute onions, green pepper and garlic in a nonstick saucepan until onions are transparent. 
4. Add undrained crawfish tails. Simmer for 10 minutes. 
5. Add the cooled roux, stirring constantly. Add water to reach desired consistency. Continue stirring constantly. 
6. Stir in cayenne, Tabasco sauce, Tony Chachere’s seasoning and chopped green onion tops. 
7. Cook on low for 20 minutes.
8. Spoon into baked pastry shells. Serve warm. Makes 20 mini pies.

Boursin and Escargot Stuffed Mushrooms

For a more adventurous crew, try this Roussos’ creation using escargot.

5 ounces Boursin cheese
1 teaspoon minced shallots
1 teaspoon minced parsley
1 teaspoon minced celery
salt and pepper 
12 large crimini mushroom caps
4 tablespoons melted butter
12 large canned snails (drained)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Cream Boursin with shallots, parsley, celery, and salt and pepper to taste.
3. Toss mushroom caps in 2 teaspoons of melted butter. Arrange on buttered baking sheet.
4. Place 1 teaspoon of herbed cheese in each mushroom cap. Then top each mushroom with a snail. Drizzle with remaining butter.
5. Bake for 12 – 15 minutes. Makes 12.

November 14: Christmas Jubilee Preview Gala

Greater Gulf State Fairgrounds • 1035 N. Cody Road. 344-4573. 
7 p.m. – 10 p.m. Get a head start on all your holiday shopping at this kick-off party. Listen to the tunes of Roman Street while taking inventory of under-the-tree-worthy goodies. Bid on an item in the silent auction. Notable prizes include an Alabama football package, jewelry from Claude Moore, beach getaways and spa treatments. Nosh on dishes from local chef Georgia Roussos. Satisfy your sweet tooth with a treat from Twist Cupcakes. Tickets are $50 each. Must be 21 years or older to attend. 471-3348.
Georgia Roussos Catering • 1608 Rochelle St. 666-1141. 

text by Mallory Boykin • photos by Elise Poché

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