Simple Little Appetizers for Cold Nights

Goat Cheese, Hazelnut, and Mint Phyllo Triangles 3No one in our small New England town wants to commit to entertaining this winter! After countless storms and resulting cancellations, people are wary of planning too far ahead. My husband is a social animal, though, so I’ve figured out a way to issue some last-minute invites. It works like this. I wait until the local weather team gives the all clear, and then ask a few friends to come over for wine and nibbles. Afterwards, we all go out for dinner together. Simple and stress-free, this has become my social m.o. for the season.

Along with bowls of olives and toasted nuts, I’ve been serving some delectable cheese-filled Greek phyllo triangles. The classic filling for these savory pastries usually includes feta, sometimes cottage or other cheeses plus eggs. I opted for a mixture of creamy chèvre, grated Parmesan, chopped hazelnuts, and fresh mint. A dollop of this flavorful mélange is placed on a corner of a strip of buttered phyllo. Then the phyllo strip is folded Continue reading

A Savory Tart Direct from Paris

Tomato and Chevre Tart 2During our stay in Paris this summer, I made many trips to Quatrehomme, a celebrated cheese shop right around the corner from our rented apartment. After choosing my cheeses, I’d pause at the small counter of take out foods where savory tarts and a good selection of hams and sausages are displayed. One day I bought a slice of a beautiful tomato and goat cheese tart and took it home for lunch. One bite and I was smitten.

The tart with its golden puff pastry crust and its beautiful baked filling of alternating slices of tomatoes, zucchini, and goat cheese was delectable—practically addictive. I bought many more slices over the next few weeks, each time prodding the sales staff to tell me how this tart was made. Finally, one of the young vendeuses shared the recipe explaining that there was a layer of ‘pistou” (Provencal pesto) beneath the cheese and vegetables. Continue reading