We put together three of our favorite appetizers that can be prepared in minutes and are sure to please any crowd.
Bacon Wrapped Dates with Blue Cheese
Bacon, regular or thin cut
Large Pitted Dates (from your grocery store's produce department)
Blue Cheese crumbles
Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Place a cooking rack on a tray lined with aluminum foil and arrange slices of bacon on the rack. We want to partially cook the bacon—check the package directions for cooking time and cut the time in half. Remove from oven and let cool.
Open each date and fill with 1 tsp. of Blue Cheese, then wrap the date with one slice of bacon, secure with a toothpick and place on cooking rack. Continue this process until you have filled and wrapped all the dates. Cook the dates at 400 degrees for approximately eight minutes or until the bacon is cooked.
Let cool and enjoy!
Olive Tapenade on Crostini
Sun Dried Tomatoes packed in olive oil
1 ½ tbsp. Lemon Juice
1 Clove Garlic, grated
Pinch Red Pepper Flakes
Salt and Pepper, to taste
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 - 2 tbsp. Anchovy Paste
Tapenade—Drain the Sun Dried Tomatoes and Olives. In a food processor, pulse the Sun Dried Tomatoes, Olives and Olive Oil. Grate in the garlic. Add Lemon Juice, Red Pepper Flakes, Salt, Pepper, and Anchovy Paste. Taste and adjust spices, if necessary.
Crostini—Slice the baguettes into 1-inch slices and place in a plastic bag. In a cup, mix 1/3 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil with Salt and Pepper, to taste. Drizzle the olive oil mixture over the baguettes, close the bag and gently shake, coating the baguettes. Place the baguettes on a tray and cook at 400 degrees for about four minutes, or until lightly browned.
Spread the tapenade mixture on each Crostini and serve.
Each baguette makes about 30 Crostini.
1 ½ cups whole, unsalted Almonds
1 clove grated Garlic
1 tbsp. dried Rosemary
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp. unsalted Butter
Melt butter in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and rosemary and stir a minute, until fragrant. Add the almonds and salt to taste (be generous). Add the Worcestershire Sauce and stir until glossy, about one minute. Place on a tray lined with aluminum foil and cook in a 350 degree oven for approximately eight minutes.
Cool and serve. Can be made up to one day ahead and stored in an airtight container.
From John and Patty at Let's Get Cooking, we'd like to wish you a wonderful holiday season. Be sure to visit our website at www.sweetmemoriescooking.com. Don't miss out the cookbook and iPhone application section.
About this column: John and Patty are proud Italian Americans, and, as one would expect, have been cooking and baking for years. This brother-sister team created Sweet Memories Cooking as a way to preserve their beloved recipes and traditions for family and friends. Their audience is ever-growing, as they welcome anyone and everyone to share their passion for all things food related. They have authored several cookbooks and recently released an iPhone application, which they affectionately call “Time2Eat with John and Patty.” John, a Powder Springs resident, is the former owner of Gifaldi’s Metro Market Café in Marietta, and Patty has a varied background in hospitality and sales. They invite you to “Join the Family” and visit their website at www.sweetmemoriescooking.com.