Strawberry Mascarpone Bruschetta

Strawberry Mascarpone Bruschetta
Strawberry Mascarpone Bruschetta

1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon lemon juice
12 baguette slices, brushed with olive oil and grilled
1/2 cup strawberries, thinly sliced
Zest of 1/2 lemon

Combine mascarpone, honey, and lemon juice in a small bowl. Spread each baguette toast with some of the mascarpone mixture and arrange a few strawberry slices on top. Sprinkle a few bits of lemon zest over each.

Yield: Serves 6 (makes 12) (serving size: 2 toasts)

Spinach Cheese Bagel Bites

Spinach Cheese Bagel Bites
Spinach Cheese Bagel Bites

4 one-day-old bagels
4 ounces fresh spinach, stems removed, chopped (about 4 cups)
1 cup shredded provolone cheese
3/4 cup shredded Swiss cheese
1/3 cup minced onion
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C).

Split bagels in half horizontally. With a grapefruit spoon, hollow out some of the bread.

Place spinach in microwaveable bowl; sprinkle lightly with water. Cover loosely and microwave on high until spinach is wilted, about 1 minute, 20 seconds. Remove and drain well.

Combine spinach, cheeses and remaining ingredients, except bagels.

Place bagel shells on foil-lined baking sheet. Place about 1/4 cup cheese mixture on each bagel. Bake bagel until cheese has melted and edges are lightly toasted, about 8 to 10 minutes.

Cut each bagel half into quarters to make a total of 32 pieces.

Makes 32 appetizers.

Eggplant with Fruit

Eggplant with Fruit
Eggplant with Fruit

1/4 cup oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 large eggplant
2 large peaches or 3 large apricots
8 oz bread cheese
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons roughly chopped almonds

Heat grill.

In a bowl, whisk together first 8 ingredients until combined. Stir in cilantro and garlic, set aside.

Trim eggplant and slice lengthwise into 1/2″ thick planks. Halve and pit peaches, slice each half into 3 wedges. Slice cheese into four 1/2″ thick planks.

Brush eggplant, fruit and cheese with dressing.

Grill eggplant and fruit until eggplant is cooked through and fruit has grill marks. Grill cheese 2 minutes per side. Arrange eggplant, fruit and cheese on a platter. Garnish with almonds and cilantro. Cube cheese before serving.

Makes 6 servings.

Carrot Cucumber Wraps

Carrot Cucumber Wraps
Carrot Cucumber Wraps

1/2 cup shredded carrot
1 cucumber, peeled, cut into matchsticks
1 cup mint leaves
4 tablespoons salad dressing
4 large flour tortillas
1 cup cilantro leaves
4 teaspoons rice vinegar
1 1/2 cups shredded cabbage
4 large leaves lettuce, tough ribs removed

Place tortillas on a flat work surface. On one side place a lettuce leaf, drizzle with 1 tablespoon dressing. Layer with 1/3 cup cabbage, 2 tablespoons carrot and 12 cucumber sticks. Drizzle with 1 teaspoon vinegar, top with some of the cilantro and mint.

Roll up tightly, wrap in plastic wrap. Twist ends of wrap to secure tightly. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Refrigerate 2 hours.

To Serve—Unwrap rolls, cut each on the bias into 6 pieces. Serve with additional dressing for dipping.

Makes 24 pieces or 4 servings.

Meatball Sliders

Meatball Sliders
Meatball Sliders

1 red onion cut into thin wedges (1 1/2 cups)
2 12 ounce package frozen cooked Italian meatballs (24)
1 24 – 26 ounce jar marinara or pasta sauce (about 2 1/4 cups)
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
6 slices provolone cheese, quartered (6 ounces)
4 roma tomatoes, sliced
24 cocktail buns, split and toasted, if desired

Place onion wedges in a 3 1/2- or 4-quart slow cooker. Top with frozen meatballs.

In a medium bowl combine marinara sauce, balsamic vinegar, and crushed red pepper. Pour over meatballs.

Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 4 to 5 hours or on high-heat setting for 2 to 2 1/2 hours.

Gently stir through mixture in cooker.

Place a cheese and a tomato slice on the bottom of each cocktail bun. Top each with a meatball; replace bun tops.

Yield: 24 appetizers

Greek Deviled Eggs

Greek Deviled Eggs
Greek Deviled Eggs

6 hard-boiled eggs
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
2 tablespoons chopped black olives
1 teaspoon snipped fresh mint

Peel the eggs and cut in half lengthwise. Remove the yolks and mash them with the mayonnaise and pepper. Stir in the feta, olives, and mint. Spoon the filling back into the whites.

Refrigerate, covered, until ready to serve.

Filo Tomato Tart

Filo Tomato Tart
Filo Tomato Tart

7 sheets filo (Phyllo) dough, thawed
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
7 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1 cup very thinly sliced onion
1 cup shredded fresh mozzarella cheese
8 Roma tomatoes, cut into 1/8-inch thick slices*
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves or basil leaves, minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
cooking-oil spray

* Cut tomatoes very thin so juices evaporate while baking or dough will be soggy.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper and spray paper with cooking-oil spray (or brush lightly with vegetable oil).

Lay 1 sheet filo on paper and brush lightly with a little melted butter. Sprinkle all over with 1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese. Repeat layering five (5) more times (with filo, butter, and Parmesan cheese), pressing each sheet firmly so it sticks to sheet below. Lay the last filo sheet on top, brush with remaining melted butter, and sprinkle on remaining 1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese.

Scatter onion slices across filo, top with mozzarella cheese, and arrange tomato slices in a single layer, overlapping slightly. Sprinkle with thyme or basil and salt and pepper to taste.

Bake until filo is golden brown, approximately 30 to 35 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool 10 minutes, then serve.

Serves many as an appetizer – Makes about 20 3-inch squares.

Ultra Creamy Classic Deviled Eggs

Ultra Creamy Classic Deviled Eggs
Ultra Creamy Classic Deviled Eggs

8 extra-large 2-3 week old eggs, hard-boiled
1 cup Hellmann’s mayo, *start with 3/4 cup if yolks look smaller than usual
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
Dash of white pepper, or to taste
1 teaspoon regular mustard, or to taste
Light dusting of paprika
Crisp-cooked bacon crumbles for garnish if desired
Fresh chives for garnish if desired

In large deep saucepan, place 2-3 week old eggs and add cold water to cover plus an inch. (*Eggs shrink inside as they age and older eggs are perfect for hard-boiling to ensure easy peeling.) Heat over medium-high heat, gently stirring constantly, (*to keep yolks in the center), until water comes to a boil. Cover with tight fitting lid and turn off heat. Let sit for 25 minutes. Pour out water and immediately cover with ice and a little cold water. Chill.

When eggs have chilled, tap each end, then gently tap sides all the way around breaking shell. Shell should practically fall off with no trouble at all. Rinse with cold water to remove any tiny bits of shell left behind. Slice in half lengthwise and remove yolks to a medium-sized bowl. Place whites on a serving plate or egg platter. Mash yolks with a fork until fine and powdery.

Stir in mayo, cream cheese, garlic salt, white pepper and mustard until ultra creamy. Pipe filling into egg halves. Garnish with a light dusting of paprika. Garnish with bacon and chives.

Cheese Puffs

Cheese Puffs
Cheese Puffs

1 cup water
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 eggs
1-1/4 cups shredded Gruyere or Swiss cheese
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

In a large saucepan, bring the water, butter, salt and cayenne to a boil.

Add flour all at once and stir until a smooth ball forms. Remove from the heat; let stand for 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Continue beating until mixture is smooth and shiny. Stir in Gruyere and mustard.

Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls 2 inches apart onto greased baking sheets. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Bake at 425° for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm or cold.

Yield: 4 dozen.

Three Cheese Crostini with Honey

Three Cheese Crostini with Honey
Three Cheese Crostini with Honey

1 French baguette, sliced on an angle
Olive oil, for drizzling
4 ounces goat cheese
4 ounces mascarpone
4 ounces ricotta
1 teaspoon lemon zest
Kosher salt and cracked black pepper
Acacia honey, for drizzling

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Place the baguette slices on a sheet tray and drizzle with olive oil. Toast just until crispy and golden brown, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, combine the goat cheese, mascarpone, ricotta and lemon zest, and season with salt and pepper.

Remove the toasts from the oven and spread the herbed cheese generously over each toast. Drizzle with honey and serve warm.

8 to 10 appetizers