A Trio of Easy Cheesy Holiday Appetizers
By Charlotte Culinary Expert, Heidi Billotto
Brie Baked Artichoke
1 whole artichoke for every 3-4 guests
about 3/4 cup Brie or Camembert for each artichoke
Whole Grain Mustard
Trim stems from each artichoke. Boil the artichokes in water laced with a little lemon juice until the artichokes are tender – approx. 40-50 minutes. Drain well and let cool.
(These may be cooked the day before serving)
When artichokes are cool enough to handle, carefully open the outer leaves so that the choke is exposed. Use a teaspoon to remove the choke.
Dip dollops of Brie or Camembert in the mustard and then tuck in between the leaves of the artichoke. Save a couple of tablespoons worth of cheese to stuff into the center of the artichoke where the choke once was. Place the stuffed artichokes in a cake pan or small roasting pan and bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes to warm the artichoke and melt the cheese.
Saint Agur Pistachio Honey Toasts
One French bread baguette
1 cup Saint Agur French blue cheese
coarsely ground pistachio nuts
finely shredded spinach for garnish
Cut the French bread baguette, into ½ inch thick slices, drizzled with EVOO and toasted in a single layer in the oven, turning them once during toasting time ( this can be done several days ahead of time.
Before serving, spread toasts with the blue cheese, top with a sprinkling of pistachio and a drizzle of local honey – serve and enjoy
Spinach Souffle Morsels
1 Tbsp butter
1/3 lb. fresh spinach, minced
1 Tbsp flour
¼ cup whole milk
1 egg, separated
grated Parmesan, Romano or Manchego cheese
2 boxes phyllo dough shells
Melt butter in saucepan and saute spinach until spinach has wilted. Add flour and stir cok until the flour is absorbed into the butter. Add milks and stir until the mixture is thick.
Remove the pan from the heat and transfer the mix to a large bowl. Meanwhile, beat the egg white in a separate bowl until it comes to stiff peaks.
Stir the egg yolk into the spinach mixture and then fold in the egg white.
Sprinkle a bit of the grated cheese into each of the phyllo shells and arrange the shells on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Spoon the soufflé mix into the small phyllo shells.
Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for 15 minutes, then reduce oven heat to 375 and bake 10 minutes more. These may be made early in the day and then reheated to warm.
Serve warm topped with an additional sprinkling of grated cheese.
Variation – substitute the spinach for finely minced mushroom.