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Need more ideas on how to put together a quick and easy appetizer spread that will impress your guests, visit our Celebrations Page for ideas on what to stock in a party and gift giving pantry.



Read more about
goat cheese . . .


Read more about
peppercorns in our

Flavor 101 Series . . .

 

Dip Tip:
If you dont have enough dip to fill you favorite dish and make a pretty and fulfilling presentation, try lining your dish/bowl with leaves of butter lettuce this makes it look fuller and adds color.













 

Often its the simplest and easiest treats that make our guests feel welcome at home.  The following three appetizers really dont even have recipes, theyre just quick, easy and tasty.

Brie with Warm Cinnamon Honey
and Toasted Walnuts
The inspiration for this flavor combination came from the classic flavors found in traditional baklava.  Simply place a wedge of room temperature brie on a server that has sides (so that the honey doesnt run over the side), warm about cup honey in the microwave for about 15 seconds and add cinnamon powder to taste (usually 1 to 2 tsp an apple or pumpkin pie spice blend also works). Let honey cool a few seconds and pour over the brie and sprinkle over a few toasted walnuts (toasted at 350 for about 6-8 minutes). This simple dish goes well with apples and pears or mini toasts. 

For a variation, one of our recent seminar attendees suggested topping brie with warm apricot jam which tastes great, too!  We also tried warmed berry preserves served with fresh berries, a bit of sweetened, fresh whipped cream on the side and slices of brioche this tasted great, too and would be wonderful at a summer barbecue or picnic!

Yogurt and Pesto Dip
This simple dip is easy to make in large or small batches and is better for you than heavier sour cream dips since its made with yogurt. We use plain, lowfat organic yogurt and to it add the pesto of our choice either fresh or canned.  Simply stir in the pesto and taste until it is to your liking.   For a marbled effect, dont stir the pesto in completely.  If your yogurt has some liquid whey floating on top, drain this off so that your yogurt stays creamy and thicker.  Yogurt and Pesto dip is great with crudite, as a sauce with oven-roasted vegetables, or with grilled vegetables.

Goat Cheese Rolled in Herbs and Peppercorns
So simple and so tasty we used a tri-color peppercorn mix and fresh chopped rosemary (which keeps its nice pine-needle green color) and rolled a small log of goat cheese into them on a piece of wax paper strategically covering all the way around the log.  This makes for a very holiday inspired appetizer that will impress your guests and can be made ahead of time so easily.  Serve with a variety of water and herbed crackers.

Warm Bean Dip
Its always nice to offer guests a variety of flavors, textures and temperatures on an appetizer spread. Here weve used Mediterranean flavors to create a warm canellini bean dip - but the flavors could be adjusted to make a Mexican black bean dip or even an American-style chili dip.  We took one white one and caramelized it over low heat (this will take a few minutes), warmed a 15 oz can of canellini beans in the microwave for two minutes and placed both in the bowl of a food processor with the juice of one lemon, a salt-free seasoning blend of our choice, 2 tsp chopped fresh sage leaves and enough olive oil to create the creaminess we desired.  Goes great with endive leaves, or pieces of flat bread.  For a black bean dip, substitute raw red onion for the caramelized onions and cilantro for the sage.

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