A fun gathering of Google folks and I spent an afternoon last week creating and eating delicious holiday treats. Here’s a sampling of the finished products…and the proud creators! And of course, the recipes the fun food stylists used is right here, too. (Check out the next post for even more great pix!)

Cheese and Date Filled Tartines
½ LB Prosciutto
2 TB Extra Virgin Olive Oil, divided
1 Medium Red Onion, Finely Chopped
6 Large Dates, Pitted and Chopped
¼ Cup Balsamic Vinegar
1 TB Sherry Vinegar
1 (10 oz) Log Goat Cheese
Kosher or Sea Salt and Freshly Cracked Black Pepper to Taste
1 Recipe Tartine Shells

Step One
Sauté the Prosciutto in 1 TB oil until crispy and brown around the edges. Remove from the pan and let drain on a wire rack. When cool, chop coarsely.

Step Two
Heat the oil in a medium saucepan, add the onion and over medium heat, cook and stir until beginning to brown, (about 5 minutes).

Step Three
Add the dates and vinegars to the onion and cook over low heat until the dates are soft and the liquid is syrupy. Remove from the heat and let cool.

Step Four
Add the goat cheese to the date mixture and stir to combine. Taste and season with Salt and Pepper.

Step Five
Place a rounded teaspoon of the cheese and date mixture in each tartine. Garnish with Prosciutto.

The Tartine Shells
1 Loaf Pepperidge Farm Very Thin Sliced Whole Wheat Bread
Non-Stick Spray
3 Mini Muffin Tins
2 ¼” Cookie Cutter

Step One
Preheat the oven to 350F. Spray the muffin tins with Non Stick Spray.

Step Two
Cut each piece of bread with the cookie cutter, and carefully put it into the muffin tin. Bake at 350F for 10 minutes or until the bread begins to brown.

* Tartine is an open faced sandwich

Roasted Curry Cashews

2 – 3 Cups Raw Cashews
2 TB Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Kosher or Sea Salt to Taste
1 TB Garam Masala or Curry Powder

Step One
Place the Cashews on a Sheet Tray. Put in a 350F Oven for 10 minutes, or until beginning to brown.

Step Two
Remove the cashews from the oven and immediately drizzle with the olive oil and season with salt and garam masala.

Grissini wrapped in Prosciutto

Take Grissini (Italian Breadsticks) and wrap the slices of Prosciutto around one end.

Grilled Pineapple and Chili Salsa

1/4 Cup Finely Chopped Red Onion

1 Fresh Pineapple, Cut into ½” Rings
2 TB Dark Brown Sugar

1 TB Minced Seeded Jalapeño
1 TB Chopped Cilantro
1 TB Cider Vinegar
1 TB Honey
½ Tsp Smoked Paprika
Kosher or Sea Salt and Freshly Cracked Black Pepper to taste

Step One
Place the red onion in a bowl of Ice Water and set aside for at least 15 minutes.

Step Two
Sprinkle the pineapple rings with the brown sugar. Oil the grill, and grill the pineapple over medium high heat until grill marks appear. Chop the pineapple.

Step Three
Drain the red onion and pat dry. Mix the rest of the ingredients together, add the red onion and pineapple and salt and pepper to taste. Serve with tortilla chips.

Brandied Apricot Butter on Pumpkin Muffins

Brandied Apricot Butter
¼ LB Unsalted Butter, Softened
1 TB Apricot Brandy
¼ Cup Apricot Jam

Mix all the ingredients together and place in a ramekin.

Pumpkin Muffins
3 Large Eggs
1 15 oz Can Pumpkin
3/4 Cup Canola or Vegetable Oil
½ Cup Water
1 ½ Cups All Purpose Flour
1 Cup Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
1 Cup Sugar
1 ¼ Cup Light Brown Sugar
1 ¼ Tsp Salt
1 ½ Tsp Baking Soda
1 Tsp Freshly Grated Nutmeg
1 Tsp Cinnamon
1 ½ Cups Toasted Chopped Pecans

Step One
Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease and Flour, (or use Baker’s Joy) 4 mini muffin tins.

Step Two
In a large bowl, whisk the 3 eggs. Add the pumpkin, oil and water. Whisk until smooth. Add the flours, sugars, salt, baking soda and spices. Mix well. Stir in the nuts

Step Three. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, bake 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted near the center of a muffin comes clean. Let cool on a rack for 10 minutes, then remove from the pans and let cool completely. Serve with the Brandied Apricot Butter.

Paprika and Piquillo Crostini

½ Cup Coarsely Chopped Piquillo Peppers, (or Roasted Red Peppers)
¼ Cup Chopped Green Onions – Tops Only
2 Tsp Capers, Drained
2 Tsp Smoked Paprika
1 Garlic Clove, Peeled

1 Cup Ricotta Cheese
4 Ounces Light Cream Cheese
½ Cup Freshly Grated Manchego Cheese

Kosher or Sea Salt and Freshly Cracked Black Pepper
2 TB Olive Oil, Divided
1 Baguette, Cut into Spears

Minced Cilantro for Garnish

Step One
Combine the first 5 ingredients in a food processor and blend until almost smooth. Add all three cheeses and 1 TB of the olive oil. Process well. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Step Two
Preheat the oven to 375F. Arrange the spears in a single layer on a baking sheet. Brush with 1 TB of the olive oil and cook until golden – about 15 minutes.

Step Three
To serve, Place one end of the toasted spear in the dip and garnish with minced cilantro.

South Indian Spiced Shrimp
1 Tsp Kosher Salt
1/2 Tsp Ground Black Pepper
1 Tsp Garam Masala
1 Tsp Cumin
1/2 Tsp Cayenne

6 Cloves of Garlic, Chopped
1 Jalapeno, Seeded and Chopped
8 Green Onions, Chopped
1/2 Cup Cilantro, Chopped
Juice and Zest of a BIG Lime

1 Tsp Dark Brown Sugar
1/2 Cup Coconut Milk
1 1/2 LBs Large Shrimp, Peeled and Devined
Bamboo Skewers soaked for at least 30 minutes.
Lime Rounds for Garnish
*Raita for Dipping

Step One Prepare your spices, by measuring them, and placing in a bowl.

Step Two Place the next 5 ingredients in your food processor or blender. Add the spices, sugar and coconut milk. Process until it becomes a paste. Place the shrimp in the spice paste and set aside for an hour.

Step Three Remove the shrimp from spice paste, and thread onto skewers.

Step Four Preheat the grill or a grill pan on high heat. Brush grate or pan with oil, and arrange skewers on hot grate. Cook, turning once until grill marks are seen, and shrimp is done – about 2-3 minutes.

Raita is a “Cooling” dip for spicy Indian food. And, it’s fast and easy to prepare: to 2 cups of plain Greek yogurt, add 1/2 cup minced and drained tomatoes and 1/2 cup peeled, minced and drained cucumber. Add ½ Tsp Cumin and a TB of Lime Juice. Taste for salt, and serve immediately.

(When using vegetables with lots of liquid, like tomatoes, cucumbers or squash, chop the veggies and place them in a colander over a bowl. Salt lightly and let drain for at least 30 minutes before using them. Your finished dish will not turn out watery.)

FAST FOOD FACTS: Garam Masala.
The meaning in Hindi is “Hot” but don’t let the definition scare you away from this flavorful spice blend. It’s typically made with cinnamon, roasted cumin, cloves and black peppers. But, you don’t have to make it – just grab a bottle from the grocery and enjoy experimenting!

Golden Potatoes with Crème Fraiche and Caviar
24 Small Potatoes (Preferably Yukon Golds)
2 TB Olive Oil
Kosher or Sea Salt and Freshly Cracked Black Pepper to Taste

1 Small Dairy Container Crème Fraiche (OR Sour Cream with Added Lemon Juice)
¼ Cup Chopped Chives
Small Jar of Caviar

Step One
Preheat the oven to 400F. Hollow out the potatoes with a melon baller, making little boats, and toss in a bowl w/ a small amount of olive oil and kosher salt.

Step Two
Place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes or until golden.

Step Three
Remove from the baking sheet. Set aside until cooled before filling them. With a small spoon, place a dollop of crème fraiche in each potato and then garnish with chives. Top with a tiny bit of caviar and serve!

Marinated Cherry Peppers stuffed with Asiago
2 Jars Sweet Red Cherry Peppers, Drained
1 Recipe *Red Wine Vinaigrette
4 – 6 oz Asiago Cheese, cut in Cubes
4 oz Prosciutto or Speck, Sliced Thinly – Optional

Cut the stems and remove the seeds from the cherry peppers. Toss the peppers with the vinaigrette and set aside for an hour, or up to overnight. If desired, wrap the cheese in a slice of Prosciutto and stuff inside the pepper OR just place the cheese in the pepper.

*Red Wine Vinaigrette
1 Garlic Clove, Grated
¼ Cup Red Wine Vinegar
1 Tsp Dijon Mustard
1 Tsp Honey or Pomegranate Molasses
¼ – ½ Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Kosher or Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper to taste

Place the first 5 ingredients in a bowl. Drizzle in the olive oil to taste, and season to taste with salt and pepper.

FAST Food Facts
Speck is Smoked Prosciutto.

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