Holiday Appetizer’s

Holiday Appetizer’s

iphone pictures 572The first holiday appetizer I have for you is my baked asparagus wrapped in Prosciutto that has a smear of a cream cheese, sweet onion and Parmesan spread on the Prosciutto. These Proscuitto wrapped Asparagus are one of my favorite appetizers and can be a topping to a salad or a pretty side vegetable to lunch or dinner. I first had these delicious little bundles at my sister-in-law’s, Anita’s house, twenty years ago.  She is an amazing chef who’s always cooking up a storm. They can totally be made a day ahead, placed on a cookie tray and stored in the frig until you need them. The asparagus is blanched and shocked in an ice bath to stop the cooking and to keep that vibrant green color before they are wrapped with Proscuitto. You want to make sure you buy “Proscuitto di Parma” for this holiday appetizer because it’s the best and most delicate in flavor.  There are other tasty Prosciutto’s out there but they won’t be as tender as the Parma and may get too salty or waxy after baking.

The second quick and easy, gourmet tidbit i have for you are my holiday crostinis with Gorgonzola, fresh chopped tomato, basil and garlic that bakes for seven minutes. These take the same amount of time as the asparagus-Prosciutto appetizer’s. How convenient is that? You can buy already crumbled Gorgonzola at the market in small plastic containers. A little chopping of cherry or grape tomatoes and basil and voilà! The crostinis are beyond simple to make and you can check out that recipe by the hyper-link.

The last wicked easy and delicious holiday appetizer I have for you is something a little sweet. It’s a dollop of goat cheese, fig jam, fresh chopped pear and a mint leave all in a pre-baked fillo shell. Yes, I said pre-baked!!! Can you believe that one? This one you serve at room temperature so all you need to do is thaw the pre-baked shells which takes all of two minutes. It just can’t get any easier than that.

You can totally be flexible with these perfect little holiday appetizer’s too. If you don’t like Gorgonzola switch it out with some cubed up fresh mozzarella to top the crostinis and tomato-basil mixture. As for the pre-baked phylo cups, you can always swap out the goat cheese for a slice of brie if that’s more your taste.

I hope these last minute holiday appetizer’s help you out for your party! I wish you all a joyous New Year! You can certainly swap out or add in other hors d’ oeurves if you are feeling ambitious like baked coconut shrimp, zucchini torta, roasted chick peas, or smoked salmon on crostinis with cream cheese-caper spread. Enjoy 😉

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Baked Asparagus Wrapped in Prosciutto

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Ingredients:

  • 20 large asparagus (the bigger the better)
  • 1/4 lb Prosciutto di Parma sliced thinly
  • 4 oz cream cheese room temp (Philadelphia)
  • 1 Tbsp grated vidalia onion (yellow or white is fine too)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 Tsp fresh lemon juice

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 400º.
  2. Hold the asparagus with your fingers in the middle and on the end and bend.
  3. The asparagus will break where it’s supposed to.
  4. Line them up and cut evenly across the bottom so they are all at a consistent length.
  5. Bring salted water to a boil and add in asparagus …Blanch 2 minutes
  6. Drain and put into a ice bath.
  7. Dry the asparagus with paper towels.
  8. At this point you can pop them into a zip lock and into the frig until you are ready for them.
  9. Mix together in a small bowl the room temperature cream cheese, grated onion, Parmesan and lemon juice just til combined
  10. Take a piece of Prosciutto and smear 1 Tbsp of the cream cheese mixture down the length of it.
  11. Place the asparagus on a bit of a diagonal (see photo) and roll up.
  12. Place onto an ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 7 minutes – you are heating thru only
  13. Use a spatula to remove from pan and be sure to flip them over when you plate them to see the lovely caramelization on the under side.
  14. Optional: Drizzle a little olive oil, a fresh squeeze of lemon and some shaves of Parmesan on top for a little extra!

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 TIP:  Using a micro-plane grater or rasp to grate the onion is a wonderful culinary tool which actually started out back in the day as a wood planer for woodworkers!

 

 

Baked Crostinis with Gorgonzola, Fresh Tomato, Basil & Garlic

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 Ingredients:

  • 1 french baguette sliced into 20 – 1/4″ pieces
  • Crostini Recipe
  • 1 cup chopped cherry or grape tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp fresh julienne basil
  • 1 garlic clove put thru garlic press
  • dash salt and pepper
  • 1 small container crumbled Gorgonzola cheese 4 oz. OR diced up fresh Mozzarella

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 400º
  2. Top crostini with tomato-basil mixture and a tsp of crumbled Gorgonzola OR Mozzarella
  3. Bake for 7 minutes

Goat Cheese, Fig Jam, Fresh Pear and Mint in Pre-Baked Fillo Cups

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Ingredients:

  • 1-2 pkg of pre-baked fillo cups (if you can’t find these just buy pre-formed pastry cups that you can quickly bake)
  • 2 oz. goat cheese OR wedge of your favorite dbl cream brie…Saint Albray for example
  • fig jam
  • 1/2 cup fresh chopped pear
  • Wedge of fresh lemon
  • fresh peppermint leaves

Directions:

  1. Chopped the pear and give a squeeze of a wedge of lemon
  2. Thaw the pre-baked fillo cups
  3. Place fresh mint leaf into cups
  4. Place a dollop of goat cheese or slice of brie into the cup
  5. Top with 1/2 tsp of fig jam
  6. Then top with diced fresh pear
  7. Serve room temperature