Thursday, December 3, 2009

Holiday Apps!


  • 4 thick strips bacon, thinly sliced
  • 1 large white onion, thinly sliced
  • Pinch of sugar
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground white pepper
  • 6 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon capers
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley
  • Grated zest of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup creme fraiche or sour cream
  • 1 pound frozen pizza dough, thawed
  • All-purpose flour, for dusting


Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat, stirring from time to time, until browned and crispy. Transfer to paper towels to drain; keep warm. Add the onion slices to the drippings in the skillet; sprinkle with the sugar and season with salt and pepper. Cook until light brown and tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Taste for seasoning.
Combine the scallions, capers and parsley in a food processor. Add salt and pepper to taste and half of the lemon zest; pulse gently to chop and blend. Turn the processor on and add the olive oil through the top in a steady stream. Transfer the scallion pesto to a bowl; set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk the creme fraiche and the remaining lemon zest until smooth. Season with salt and pepper; set aside.
Roll the pizza dough into an 8-by-14-inch rectangle on a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough around the rolling pin and unroll it onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Place in the center of the oven and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until golden brown.
Spread the creme fraeche mixture on the crust. Dot with the onions and some of the bacon drippings from the pan; sprinkle with the bacon. Slice into pieces and drizzle with scallion pesto.

Green Herb Hummus


  • 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves
  • 6 fresh basil leaves
  • 1 medium scallion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Options for dipping: carrot sticks, sliced cucumber and whole-wheat pita chips


Place ingredients in a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse until smooth.
Serve with dippers.

White Bean and Roasted Eggplant 


  • 1 (1 1/2-pound) eggplant or 3 Japanese eggplants, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • Olive oil, for drizzling, plus 1/3 cup
  • Kosher salt, for seasoning, plus 1/2 teaspoon
  • Freshly ground black pepper, for seasoning, plus 1/4 teaspoon
  • 1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/3 cup loosely packed fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from about 1 lemon)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 hothouse cucumber, cut into 1/4-inch thick slices


Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F and place an oven rack in the middle.
Place the eggplant on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown. Set aside to cool.
In the bowl of a food processor, combine the cooled eggplant, beans, parsley, lemon juice, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Pulse until the mixture is coarsely chopped. With the machine running, gradually add 1/3 cup of olive oil until the mixture is creamy. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Place the hummus in a dipping bowl and serve with the cucumber slices. Alternatively, spoon the hummus over the cucumber slices and arrange on a serving platter.

Sugar and Nut Glazed Brie
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup chopped macadamia nuts or pecans
  • 1 tablespoon brandy
  • 1 (14-ounce) round brie
  • Apple wedges, for serving
  • Pear wedges, for serving
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Crackers, for serving


In a small bowl stir together the sugar, nuts, and brandy. Cover and chill for at least 24 hours or up to 1 week.
Preheat oven to 500 degrees F.
Place the brie on an ovenproof platter or pie plate. Bake for 4 or 5 minutes or until the brie is slightly softened. Spread the sugar mixture in an even layer on top of the warm brie and bake for 2 to 3 minutes longer, or until the sugar melts. Brush the fruit wedges with lemon juice and arrange them around 1 side of the brie. Place crackers around the other side.

Spinach Gruyere Puff Pastry


  • 1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed
  • 4 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 4 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated
  • 1 (17 1/2-ounce) package frozen puff pastry sheets, thawed


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Drain spinach well, pressing between layers of paper towels to remove excess moisture.
Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms and cook, for 5 minutes. Stir together spinach, mushrooms and cheese; set aside. Roll 1 pastry sheet into a 13 by 11-inch rectangle. Melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Brush 1/2 melted butter over pastry. Spread 1/2 spinach mixture over butter. Roll-up, jellyroll fashion, starting with the long side. Repeat procedure with remaining pastry sheet, butter, and spinach mixture. (Wrap rolls in plastic wrap and refrigerate up to 2 days, if desired.) Cut rolls into 1/4-inch thick slices. Place on lightly greased baking sheets. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown.
As always tweak these recipes to make them your own, or to use what you have on hand.


  1. The appetizers sound yummy! I have to stop by Trader Joes today for milk and will pick up the pizza dough since their brand is awesome and inexpensive. On days when we are home watching football I like to make snack/appetizer meals with lots of choices to munch the day away.

    The recipe was easy to copy from your blog. Highlight, print with "selection" and it printed perfect with a good, readable size font.

    Thanks for the great recipes.

  2. Wow, you just gave me so many great recipes to try. Perfect for the holidays!