3 Favorite Holiday Appetizers

Today when chatting with Matt Swaim, Sacred Heart Radio, Sonrise Morning Show the conversation turned to holiday entertaining, and how folks in Bible times entertained.

Well, as guests arrived they washed their hands right at the table. Sometimes they carried their own towels; sometimes the host provided them.

Guests may have sat on the floor on cushions, mats or rugs, or at low tables with cushions for seating.

Food was communal for sure and forks? Nonexistent for eating, but used for picking up meat, etc. Most times food was scooped up with lettuces, leaves or bread.

So as we entertain this holiday season, remember it’s not just about the food, but who shares it with you.

ELLEN’S BAKED FETA WITH TOMATOES AND OREGANO

Ingredients

8 oz. block good Feta, sliced or crumbled

3 small cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/4 cup olive oil

Pepper to taste

2 Roma tomatoes, diced

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350.

Place Feta in small oven proof dish, sprinkle with garlic and oregano and then drizzle with oil and season with pepper. Top with tomatoes and bake until cheese is soft and olive oil is bubbling a bit, about 20 minutes or less. Let cool a bit before serving with crostini or pita wedges.

BAKED SWISS & CRANBERRY DIP

Mix together:

One 12 oz. container whipped cream cheese

1/2 jar of apricot preserves (18 oz. jar) 

1-1/2 cups shredded Swiss cheese

6-8 oz. dried cranberries 

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray a shallow casserole. Spread mixture into casserole. Bake uncovered 25-30 minutes. Serve with Triscuits. 

PUMPKIN CHEESE FONDUE

One of Matt’s, from Epicurious.

Ingredients 

1 (15-inch) piece of baguette, cut into 1/2-inch slices (7 ounces total)

1 (7-pound) orange pumpkin

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

1 cup reduced-sodium chicken or vegetable broth

1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg

2 1/2 cups coarsely grated Gruyère (6 ounces)

2 1/2 cups coarsely grated Emmental (6 ounces)

1 tablespoon olive oil

Instructions

Preheat oven to 450°F placing the rack on the lower section.  

Arrange baguette slices on a baking sheet in one layer, then toast in the oven until the tops are crispy (bread should still be pale), about 7 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool.  

Cut a circle around the stem on the top of the pumpkin, about 3 inches in diameter. Remove the top then scrape out seeds and any fibers from inside the pumpkin with a spoon. Save seeds if desired. Season the inside of the pumpkin with 1/2 teaspoon salt. 

Whisk together cream, broth, nutmeg, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a bowl. Add all the cheese together in a separate bowl.  

Place a layer of toasted baguette in the bottom of the pumpkin, then cover with a 1 cup cheese and a 1/2 cup cream mixture. Continue layering bread, cheese, and the cream mixture until pumpkin is filled to about 1/2 inch from the top. Use all of the cream mixtures – you may have some bread and cheese leftover.  

Place the top back on the pumpkin and set it in an oiled roasting pan. Brush the outside of the pumpkin all over with olive oil. Bake until pumpkin is tender, and filling is puffed, about 1:15 to 1:30.  

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