Tag Archives: quick appetizers

Pear, Berry and Goat Cheese Hors d’ouevres ¡Que Chévrere!

16 Dec

Once again, I underestimated how much time I had to make food and how much time each item would take. Regular readers know that I am trying not to fuss when guests come over, but I got a bit ambitious for a Lucas and Amanda playdate and ended up slicing and cooking more than talking for a good part of the early evening.

However, my trip into the weeds of food prep was well worth it, if only for this one new, festive appetizer that looks so pretty and explodes with flavor.

Inspired by a holiday recipe I saw in a magazine last time I went to get my hair done, I picked up some Bosch pears. The original recipe called for Camembert, but I couldn’t find it during my very brave (or ill-advised or just plain crazy?) trip to the nearest Costco Warehouse in the middle of the holiday shopping season with its completely lawless parking lot with a just a half an hour before I had to pick up both little lunatics from the daycare. I cut my losses, grabbed some goat cheese, extricated myself from Costco without incident, and hit the refresh button on my recipe plans.

I had just got the litle guys into a groove at home (which involved unforeseen complications, like my son’s grumpy mood, and taking out the old-fashioned spiral corer and peeler for them to prepare their own apples and other such mommy activities) and Amanda was already at the door! But no harm done – the fizzy stuff was cold and all I had to do was some quick assembly for the starters.

Later I bunged Lucas’ favorite Flex-Mex Shredded Chicken chicken in to a pot and all was well (although admittedly the kids were moaning for food by the time I had it all together – why, why, why do kids decide to get hungry EARLY just when you are overwhelmed? And is there any sound more grating — and distracting — than the whine of your little emperor child when you are trying to concentrate on getting him what he wants anyway? Sheesh!)

So, for the holidays, try this with a dry sparkling wine – we had Frexienet, but I might go with a dry prosecco the next time. Amanda, my colleague, Maryanne, and I loved this up and I think you will too!

Pear, Berry and Goat Cheese Hors d’ouevres (makes a light appetizer for two)

1 Bosch Bear, core removed and sliced into thin wedges (I used a push-down apple core-and-slicer and then sliced each segment in half)

1 tsp lemon juice

2 Tbs creamy goat cheese (chevre)

2 Tbs walnuts, chopped fairly fine

1 Tbs lingonberry jam (raspberry or red currant would also work)

Arrange pear wedges on a plate. Sprinkle with lemon juice to prevent browning. Add a dollop of goat cheese. Top with walnuts and a bit of jam. Serve immediately.

Tapas 4: Clams and Chorizo: keeping the salt at bay (haha!)

27 Dec

Clams and chorizo are delicious, gorgeous, easy  and lightning-fast to make, but be forewarned: the brine in the clams is so strong that the dish often turns out too, too salty.

I think I am going to start throwing peeled raw potatoes into the brine to soak up some of the salt; the flavors of this dish also harmonize with garbanzos (chick peas/ceci) so I may try adding a low-sodium can of those.  Kate from England suggests soaking clams in milk, but I usually use the clams in the shell…Any other suggestions are welcome!

Have a lot of good crusty bread available

Clams & Chorizo

3 TBs olive oil

4 cloves garlic, minced

¼ lb chorizo, peeled and coarsely chopped

¾ Cup dry white wine

2 lbs small clams in shells (or cockles or a mix) scrubbed

1 tsp parsley, chopped

Make sure you have tongs handy!

In a large pot, heat oil then briefly sauté garlic (do not brown). Add chorizo and sauté briefly, just until the oil begins to color. Add wine and bring to a boil. (This is where I think I’ll add garbanzos or potatoes in the future) Add clams and cover, then after a couple of minutes, open pot and begin to pull clams out with tongs as they open (they will get chewy if allowed to overcook even by seconds!). Put them in a serving dish with sides. If using potatoes, cook at low heat until they become tender. Stir parsley into the cooking liquid then pour over clams and serve (shells on) with crusty bread.

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