Fig and Blue Cheese Tarts

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These cocktail tarts look like they just came from the pastry shoppe but guess what?  You made them yourself with a very few ingredients in a very short period of time…perfect for the holidays.  We have used dried figs and dates…try them both ways, they are delicious.

  • Three ounces of cream cheese
  • Two thirds of a cup of crumbled blue cheese
  • One cup of dried figs (or dates), chopped
  • One quarter cup of orange marmalade
  • Two tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
  • One can of refrigerated crescent rolls
  • One half cup of pecans, toasted and chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and mix cheeses until well combined.  Heat vinegar and marmalade and add figs.  Cook about six minutes until the figs are softened.  Cut crescent roll dough into sixteen slices and place on cookie sheets, two inches apart.  Press with a teaspoon to make an indentation and fill with cheese mixture, top with fig mixture, the chopped pecans, and bake for 15 to 20 minutes.  Cool for ten minutes and serve warm.

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Sesame Cents

                                             

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You’ll want to keep these little cocktail cookies on hand year-round.  They are simple to make, keep well in the fridge, and take less than fifteen minutes to bake.  This recipe makes about four dozen depending on the size of the coins.

  • 1/3 cup of butter
  • 1 cup of all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon of onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon of sesame oil
  • 3 cups of sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1/4 cup of sesame seeds, untoasted

Process first five ingredients until dough forms.  Divide it into halves and make rolls about 2 inches in diameter.  Wrap in foil and chill for an hour.  Slice into quarter-inch, coin-like, discs and sprinkle sesame seeds on top of each coin, pressing gently into the dough.  Bake on an ungreased cookie sheet at 400 degrees  in the lower oven for eight to ten minutes or until brown.  Watch carefully to make sure seeds do not burn.

Sundried Tomato and Basil Loaf

This is a tasty dish for a picnic or tailgate crowd.  Keep the loaf wrapped in foil and slice just before serving.  Better make two, for about 30 servings.

  • 2 cups of swiss cheese, grated
  • 3/4 cup of mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh basil, chopped
  • 1/2 cup of sundried tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of spring onions, sliced thinly
  • 1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar
  • 1 loaf of french bread

Cut a thin slice off the top of the bread and hollow out the soft interior.  Combine the other ingredients and fill the loaf, replacing the top slice.  Wrap in foil and bake for 30 minutes in a 350 degree oven.  Wrap in a towel and keep warm in an insulated bag if possible if you are traveling any length of time.

 

Clafoutis for your Fillings

We had our first clafouti at a bed and breakfast in Paris.  The eggy pancake was filled with an apple and cheese mixture and we were sold on the concept.  These  mini-clafoutis are perfect for a cocktail party that requires a creative (like fancy) approach for a favorite filling, be it tapenade, shrimp and bacon, mushrooms, or herbal cheese.  Bake them in a mini-muffin pan and pipe in the filling when cool.

  • 1/4 cup of corn starch
  • 1 and 1/4 cups of milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 cup of whipping cream
  • Sea salt and Cayenne pepper to taste

Whip vigorously until thoroughly combined and fill cups in a mini-muffin pan not more than half full.  Bake at 425 degrees for about 18 minutes and let cool at least 20 minutes before filling.

 

White House Souffled Saltines

These actually were served at the White House during the Kennedy years!  And they are quite delicious.  Set aside some time and don’t plan on doing this for a large party…but it will be worth the effort.

  • Two dozen saltine crackers
  • Four tablespoons of melted butter or olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • Your choice of poppy or sesame seeds, dill or rosemary, or what-have-you

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Float saltine crackers on a rimmed baking sheet filled with ice water.  Let soak for ten to twenty minutes and remove with a slotted spatula, draining excess water.  Very carefully place in a single layer on a buttered baking sheet and brush gently with butter  or spray with olive oil. Sprinkle with your choice of toppings and bake for 25 minutes until puffed and golden.  They may be crisped later in a hot oven for 3 to five minutes.

 

Black Sesame and Blue Cheese Wafers

This is a sensational departure from the well-loved, but

sometimes overworked, Southern cheese straw recipe.

Black sesame seeds may be found in any oriental grocery

if your local corner market does not carry them. The wafers

freeze well and may be recrisped in a 350 degree oven.

½ cup of blue cheese

¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons of all purpose flour

3 tablespoons of cornstarch

2 ½ tablespoons of butter

1 teaspoon of sesame oil

1 teaspoon of black sesame seeds

Freshly ground black pepper

Sea salt

Combine all ingredients, except the sesame seeds,

in a food processor until you have a well-mixed ball of

dough. Roll it into a two-inch diameter log, wrap in

plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Remove to a floured surface and cut into quarter-inch

thick wafers. Place on an oiled baking sheet,

generously press sesame seeds into the top of each

wafer and bake at 375 degrees for ten to fifteen

minutes or until crisp. Let cool before removing with

a spatula to serve or store in a sealed and

refrigerated container.

Bottom of the Bayou Cajun Crackers

Something crunchy, something spicy, something

different. Nibble these Cajun crackers instead

of mixed nuts and be prepared to refill the bowls.

2 bags goldfish crackers
1 bag oyster crackers
1 package of Buttermilk Ranch dressing mix, powdered
1 cup of olive oil
1 tablespoon of Cajun seasoning
1 tablespoon of green onion tops, finely minced


Blend dressing mix, seasoning, onions and oil.

Pour over crackers and toss gently. Let stand for

eight to ten minutes. You may have to toss gently

again to be sure all of the mixture is absorbed. Toast

lightly on a baking sheet in a 275 degree oven

for twenty minutes and remove to a sealed container.

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