Puff Pastry Cheese Straws
1/2 (17.3-ounce) package frozen puff
pastry sheets (1 sheet), thawed to room temperature
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, or shredded Asiago, cheddar or Gruyere cheese
Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Preheat oven to 400°F. On a lightly floured surface, unfold pastry and roll into
a 14-inch-by-10-inch rectangle. Cut in half lengthwise. Brush both pastry halves
lightly with egg. Top half with cheese and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Place remaining pastry half, egg side down, over filling-topped half. Gently
seal with a rolling pin. Cut crosswise into 28 1/2-inch strips. Twist strips
Place 2 inches apart on a parchment-lined or greased baking sheet. Brush with
egg mixture. Bake for 10 minutes or until golden. Serve warm or at room
White Bean Dip
1 (15.5-ounce) can white cannellini beans, drained
1 1/2 T. olive oil, plus more for serving
1 clove garlic, chopped
Salt and pepper
1/2 t. dried rosemary
1/2 t. dried thyme
Puree all ingredients in food processor. Serve within an hour, or refrigerate
and then bring to room temperature before serving. Drizzle with olive oil. Makes
1 1/2 cups.
Serve with toasted Pita Chips or lightly toasted slices of baguette, that have
been rubbed with garlic.
8 ounces parmigiano-reggiano or aged montasio cheese, grated (about 3 cups)
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper or 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin or dried
rosemary, or to taste
In a medium bowl, combine all the ingredients.
Heat a heavy 10-inch nonstick skillet over moderate heat until hot but not
smoking. Reduce the heat slightly. Using a soup spoon, a measuring cup or a
coffee cup, sprinkle 1 ounce (about 1/3 cup) of the cheese mixture evenly over
the bottom of the skillet to make a thin, lacy pancake. You should not be able
to see the bottom of the skillet. You may have to adjust the heat; the cheese
should sizzle when it hits the pan, but it should not smoke.
Cook the crisp until the fine grains of cheese have melted together and the
edges are just beginning to brown. Remove the pan from the heat and let sit for
30 seconds to 1 minute to set. If the crisp hardens too much, return the pan to
the burner for a few seconds to warm it. With a plastic spatula, gently lift the
crisp up by one edge and slide it onto a wire rack to cool until hardened, about
3 minutes. Repeat with the remaining cheese mixture.
When the crisps are completely cool, they can be carefully stacked and stored in
a tin or box. Serve the crisps whole or broken into large irregular quarters and
arranged standing in a basket.
Mix and Match or make all of them.
Marinated Mozzarella Balls
1 lb. mozzarella balls
2 C. olive oil
1/2 t. thyme leaves
1 t. oregano flakes
1 1/2 t. dried parsley flakes
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 t. paprika
1 1/2 t. dried bell pepper flakes
Combine all ingredients in a 1-quart glass jar. Cover and shake to blend.
Marinate in refrigerator, shaking jar.
Prosciutto-wrapped Shrimp on Fresh Rosemary Skewers
12 6-inch sprigs of rosemary
24 large shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails on
1/4 cup sambuca (anisette liqueur may be substituted)
1/2 cup olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
4 paper thin slices of prosciutto
Preheat oven to 350°F. Gently pull rosemary leaves off the stalks leaving only a
little of the green leaves at the top of the stalk. Set the rosemary leaves
Cut each prosciutto slice lengthwise into thirds. Wrap 1 slice of prosciutto
snugly around the center of each shrimp. Thread 2 wrapped shrimp onto each of
the rosemary stalks and place in a nonreactive dish.
In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the sambuca and olive oil, salt and
pepper to taste and pour over shrimp.
Let marinade 15 to 30 minutes, turning shrimp halfway through.
Place on baking sheet and bake 15-20 minutes or until shrimp are pink and cooked
Green Olives with Sun Dried Tomatoes
1/4 to 1/2 C. marinated sun-dried tomatoes, cut into quarters, halves or slices
3 garlic cloves, chopped
Large pinch of thyme
2 cups Greek or Turkish green olives
Enough brine/olive oil to moisten the mixture
Mix together all ingredients and spoon into jars.
These will keep only about 2 weeks in the refrigerator, either in a sealed jar
or in a covered bowl.
Yields about 2 1/2 cups
Zucchini Sausage Squares
1 lb. zucchini
12 oz. bulk pork sausage or turkey sausage
1/2 C. chopped onion
4 large eggs
1/2 C. grated parmesan cheese
18 Ritz crackers, crushed (about 1/2 cup crumbs)
1 t. dried basil, crumbled
1/2 t. dried oregano, crumbled
1/8 t. black pepper
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1 C. (about 4 ounces) shredded sharp regular or low-fat cheddar cheese
Preheat the oven to 325°F. Wash the zucchini, trim off the stems and shred the
zucchini. Set it aside.
Saute the sausage and onion in a medium skillet, stirring to break up the
sausage, until all pink is gone; drain off all fat.
Whisk the eggs in a large mixing bowl until frothy. Stir in the parmesan cheese,
cracker crumbs, basil, oregano, pepper, garlic, sausage and zucchini.
Spoon the mixture into a greased 7-by-11-inch shallow glass baking dish,
spreading the top smooth. Bake for 25 minutes.
Sprinkle the top with cheddar cheese, and bake 15 minutes longer.
Remove the dish from the oven, cool slightly, and cut into 1 1/2-inch squares.
Marinated Tortellini Skewers
50 uncooked cheese-filled spinach tortellini
3/4 lb. mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
50 grape or cherry tomatoes, or small pitted ripe olives
2/3 C. tarragon vinegar
1/2 C. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled, minced
1 T. sugar
1 t. salt
1/2 t. freshly ground black pepper
2 T. water
Hot red pepper sauce to taste
1 T. fresh chopped parsley
Small wooden skewers or good-quality toothpicks
Cook the tortellini according to package directions. Drain well and cool
In a medium bowl or plastic sealable bag, place the tortellini, mozzarella
cubes, tomatoes and olives. Set aside.
In a glass measuring cup or jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine all the
marinade ingredients. Pour the marinade over the tortellini. Cover and
refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight, stirring occasionally.
Thread one tortellini, a cheese cube, and a tomato or olive on each skewer or
toothpick. Arrange on a serving platter.
Makes 50 appetizers.
Note: Substitute your favorite Italian dressing for the marinade. Mix and match
the tortellini, tomato, olives and cheese as desired.
1 large portobello mushroom, stemmed and sliced very thin
1 tbsp. olive oil
Six 1/2 inch slices Italian bread, cut on a long diagonal
Six 1/2 inch slices mozzarella cheese, cut to fit the bread
1 jar (4 or 5 oz.) roasted red sweet peppers, slivered
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Brush the mushroom slices with the oil. Arrange the
bread slices on a baking sheet and over them with slices of cheese. Bake until
the cheese is half melted, about 4 minutes. Remove from the oven, arrange the
mushroom slices, and sprinkle the slivered peppers over. Return the crostini to
the oven and bake 4 minutes more, or until the cheese is fully melted. Serve
Makes 6 servings.
Pesto-Fontina Tartlets with Red Onions
1 ready-made piecrust dough
2/3 cup diced fontina cheese
2/3 cup pesto
3 tbsp. chopped red onions
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Roll out the dough to half its original thickness and
cut into 24 1-1/2 inch rounds. Fit the rounds into 24 mini muffin cups. Bake
until golden brown, about 15 minutes, and cool.
In a food processor, combine the cheese with the pesto. Fold the onions into the
mixture. Distribute among the muffin cups (the tartlets can be frozen at this
point). Bake until the filling has melted, about 15 minutes. Cool to room
temperature. Remove the tarts from the tins and serve at once.
Makes 24 tartlets.