Christmas is coming quickly, with December arriving this week. We have been preparing for the past month, coming up with new foods, packaging gift baskets and getting ready for the Christmas appetizer and baking blitz. Although I am not mentally ready for Christmas music on the radio, we are well into the Christmas spirit.
Along with Christmas comes entertaining: we are fortunate enough to be included in many family and office celebrations. It doesn’t have to be the whole meal, as sometimes a little bit of help is all one needs to be more relaxed about their own entertaining.
These appetizers are simple and festive, designed for time-sensitive people, and featuring a few star ingredients. Change up that diced cheese platter with something more interesting, while taking up less room in your fridge. Don’t forget, the journey up to Christmas and the spirit of the season are just as important as the day itself.
Pistachio Cranberry Chevre and Cream Cheese Terrine
1/3 block of cream cheese
2/3 block of goat cheese
2 tbsp of whipping cream
Zest of half a lemon
Juice of half a lemon
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup of sundried cranberries
1/4 cup red wine
1 bay leaf
1/2 cinnamon stick
1/4 cup roasted pistachios, chopped
Place cranberries, wine, sugar, and spices in pot, bring to a simmer until thick glossy and shiny. Allow to cool;
Roast pistachios in oven at 350F for approximately 10 minutes, allow to cool and chop roughly;
In mixer, combine cream cheese, goat cheese, whipping cream, lemon and zest. Beat on medium with paddle until smooth;
Line a mini loaf pan with plastic wrap. Place the roasted pistachios in the bottom of the loaf pan. Spread half of the goat cheese mix over the pistachios, drain off the cranberries if there is excess moisture and layer in the cranberries; Add the last of the mix in an even layer. Allow to set;
Serve with variety of crackers or breads.
1/2 pack puff pastry
3 tbsp pesto
2 tbsp asiago cheese
Bocconcini cheese pearls
Sea salt and cracked pepper
Roll chilled puff pastry on lightly-floured surface, in a square form. Spread pesto evenly over the pastry, sprinkle the asiago over the pesto;
Use a pepper grinder to season;
Roll pastry from the top into the middle. Chill in fridge for 15 minutes. Slice into 1/4” thick pieces. Place on parchment-lined tray, then place in 400F oven and turn down to 350 F. Bake until golden;
Once cooled, slice cherry tomato and bocconcini and place on pastry;
Chiffonade the basil and place 3 strands on top of the bocconcini. Sprinkle with sea salt and black pepper;
Place on platter, serve at room temperature.