Fig and Blue Cheese Tarts


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.


The Very Best Stuffed Grape Leaves


We love Grecian stuffed grape leaves and they serve exceptionally well for a entree when made with rice, ground lamb and sauced in an egg and lemon bath.  But for an appetizer, and that is what we are all about, this recipe is spectacular:

  • One and a half cups of cream cheese
  • One half cup of ground almonds
  • Two tablespoon of dates, chopped
  • Two tablespoons of butter
  • One quarter cup of slivered almonds
  • Twelve to Eighteen Grape Leaves, prepared

Beat the cream cheese together with the ground almonds and dates.  Melt the butter and fry the almonds until golden brown.  Add to the cream cheese mixture.  Lay out grape leaves and spoon filling into each one, folding over to enclose.  Place in foil and heat eight to ten minutes before serving.

Fig and Cream Cheese Won Tons

We took cooking lessons from our friend Dan Pettis some years ago in Shalimar.  What a creative Chef he is, and he has gone on from his early work with Tim Creehan to operating his own successful restaurants in the Florida panhandle with Bistro One20 his flagship in Niceville.  This appetizer is original to Dan and one you will want to file for the future.

  • Two dozen won ton wrappers
  • 3 egg yolks, beaten
  • 1 pound of cream cheese
  • 1/2 pound of dried figs
  • 2 tablespoons of honey
  • 2 cups of Japanese plum wine
  • 1/2 cup of balsamic vinegar
  • Canola oil for frying

Process the cream cheese, figs, and honey until figs are chopped and incorporated.  Put 1/2 of a teaspoon of the mixture on each won ton wrapper, brush with the egg yolks, and fold into a triangle first, then fold in the outside points making a bishop’s hat.  Combine the wine and vinegar and reduce to a syrup.  Fry won tons in canola oil at 375 degrees until crispy and serve with the glaze spooned over.

Stuffed Lychee Nuts

lg211769988A refreshing taste with the most dominant notes of Asian cuisine: the bite and tartness of ginger, the sweetness of lychees, and soy’s saltiness, combined with the comfort of western cream cheese.

1 eight ounce block of cream cheese

1 and ½ tablespoons of Soy sauce

4 tablespoons of minced, candied ginger

1 large can of lychee nuts, well-drained

Cream first three ingredients together and generously pipe into each lychee nut. Chill and serve.

Country Sausage in Lemon Pineapple Sauce


Quick, delicious, and always appreciated. We prefer a Conecuh smoked sausage but a polish kielbasa will do for those unfortunates who cannot find the real thing in their local supermarket.

  • 2 pounds of smoked country sausage
  • 1 box of light brown sugar
  • Juice and zest of one lemon
  • 1 can of crushed pineapple, drained

Slice sausage into bite-size pieces and place in a crock pot with the brown sugar, lemon, and pineapple for an hour on high. Remove to a shallow stoneware serving dish and serve with picks.

An Apple Ball for Kids of All Ages

two apples


Need something sweet for a favorite child’s

birthday party? We copped a taste of this and

found it appeals to folks of all ages. Just make

sure you share with the other kids!

8 ounces of cream cheese

¼ cup of brown sugar

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

1 teaspoon of apple pie spice

2 apples, peeled, cored, and minced

Mix all the ingredients well, roll into a ball,

and chill on waxed paper for an hour or so.

Before serving, coat with chopped peanuts

that have been tossed with a tablespoon of

brown sugar and a half teaspoon of ground

cinnamon. Serve as a spread with animal


Bacon-Wrapped Prunes with Almonds

We all agree that almost anything wrapped in

bacon is a winner but this combination of dried

plums, crunchy almonds, and smoked bacon is

a singular sensation. The spike of black pepper,

tart vinegar, and a hint of sugar brings all the

flavors together.

1 cup of seeded dried prunes

½ cup of red wine vinegar

½ cup water

1 tablespoon of brown sugar

10 black peppercorns

1 teaspoon of fresh rosemary leaves

2 cloves

½ cup of smoked almonds

Smoked bacon slices

Simmer all ingredients, except for the almonds,

for five minutes, drain well and cut each prune

in half and stuff with an almond. Wrap with a

half-slice of bacon and bake, seam-side down,

in a 350 degree oven for thirty minutes.