Mid to late summer is the season for exquisite produce at my local farmers’ market. There are bins at each stand brimming with vegetables in vibrant hues. This irresistible produce was the inspiration for the following recipe for savory vegetable tarts. The tart shells are made with purchased puff pastry sheets that are cut into squares. A creamy spread of goat cheese and Parmesan is smoothed over Continue reading
|Cannellini Bean, Arugula, and Prosciutto Bruschette
|Cannellini Bean, Arugula, and Prosciuto Bruschette
If you need an impressive, yet quick appetizer to serve during the holidays, try these Pistachio and Goat Cheese Grapes. When you bite into one of these delectable morsels, wrapped in creamy goat cheese scented with mint and coated with chopped pistachios, you’ll savor an enticing combination of flavors and textures. The grapes are juicy and sweet, the cheese salty and smooth, and the nuts crunchy with a slight roasted accent. These chic, little starters take only minutes to assemble, hold up beautifully for 2 days in the fridge, and best of all are a hands-down crowd pleaser.
These elegant tarts look as if they take far more expertise to produce than the simple effort that is required. Using purchased puff pastry is what makes them so easy and quick to assemble. Count on 15 minutes to make the filling, and five for cutting out the puff pastry squares. Both the squares and the filling can be prepared several hours ahead so that at serving time you will need only to spoon the asparagus/ mushroom melange onto the pastries, and then bake them for 20 minutes. Serve the tarts as a first course or offer then with a green salad for a summer lunch or light supper.
Years ago when my husband and I were newly married, we were invited to dinner one night by another young couple, both of whom were Italian. Although the entire meal was delicious, the dish I remember best was their gnocchi made with farina. Gnocchi (Italian for dumplings) can be prepared with potatoes, flour, or farina, and are usually enriched with eggs and cheese. Today, flour-based gnocchi are fashionably popular, but farina ones have long been my favorite. These gnocchi, garnished with crumbled gorgonzola, chopped walnuts, and minced fresh rosemary can be assembled ahead and served as a first course or a side dish.
Warm Dates Stuffed with Blue Cheese and Almonds are chic appetizers created by my neighbor and talented cook, Ann Ryan-Small. These savory treats were a huge hit when Ann served them one cold winter day at our monthly book club meeting. The saltiness of the cheese and the sweetness of the dates make an irresistible combination. Continue reading
Okay, if you’re like me, appetizers are the last thing on your mind when planning a Thanksgiving menu. After all, there’s the big bird in the oven, the dressing to tend to, plus all those sides and desserts.
But those little nibbles we offer with glasses of wine do set the tone for the parade of dishes to come. My golden rule: appetizers served on Turkey Day should be simple to make, tasty, and not too filling. Apricot, Bacon, and Blue Cheese Toasts deliver with panache. Continue reading