Polenta Cups

I’m sure we’ve all been there (please tell me I’m not the only one!)… you’re at a party, and someone brings out an app, and you literally can NOT Step Away from the Appetizer! This happened to me years ago at our beloved wine tasting group in Portland. Iva-Marie brought these, and I can still almost taste them. Smooth, tangy, crunchy, buttery – yum! It’s so impressive, especially with a glass of wine.

3 cups milk
1 T. unsalted butter
1 t. sugar
1/2 t. salt
1 cup yellow cornmeal
Blue cheese, gorgonzola or camembert
Pine nuts, toasted
Butter

Combine milk, butter, sugar and salt in a heavy saucepan and heat to a simmer. Slowly add cornmeal in a thin stream, whisking constantly. Lower heat and continue stirring until the mixture has thickened and leaves the sides of the pan, about 10 minutes.

Coat mini muffin pan with Pam. After polenta is slightly cooled, use mini ice cream scoop to put polenta in balls into mini muffin tins. Make indent in each one with your thumb. Top each with a bit of cheese, some toasted pine nuts, and a tiny dab of butter.

Bake at 350 till golden, about 8 minutes, till melted and cheese is hot.

This recipe is always a hit at parties, especially with our wine tasting group! 3 cups milk1 T. unsalted butter1 t. sugar

1/2 t. salt

1 cup yellow cornmeal

Blue cheese, gorgonzola or camembert

Pine nuts, toasted

Butter

Combine milk, butter, sugar and salt in a heavy saucepan and heat to a simmer. Slowly add cornmeal in a thin stream, whisking constantly. Lower heat and continue stirring until the mixture has thickened and leaves the sides of the pan, about 10 minutes.

Coat mini muffin pan with Pam. After polenta is slightly cooled, use mini ice cream scoop to put polenta in balls into mini muffin tins. Make indent in each one with your thumb. Top each with a bit of cheese, some toasted pine nuts, and a tiny bit of butter.

Bake at 350 till golden, about 8 minutes, till melted and cheese is hot.

Pecan-Covered Olives

This recipe comes  from Mom.    This has been served at many holiday affairs. People always ask about it, because it is so different, but so easy. It is also great because you have to make it ahead. (Kendra’s friend Robin serves them at Christmas, since they are red and green, and she calls them Jingle Balls. Feel free to steal.)

Pecan-Covered Olives

Good quality green olives with pimiento
Cream cheese, at room temperature
Garlic salt
Chopped pecans

Drain olives and dry them completely on paper towels. With clean hands, take some cream cheese and make a little blanket of it on the palm of your hand. Then put an olive on top, and mold the cream cheese around it, trying to evenly cover it. There is a knack to this, and it gets easier. When you have all the balls done that you want to make, sprinkle them with a little garlic salt on both sides. Roll them in pecans, then roll in your hand to help the pecans adhere. Put these into the refrigerator, tightly covered, for a few hours or up to a day or two. Before serving, simply cut the balls in half with a sharp, thin knife (a paring knife works well).

Marinated Cheese

This recipe is the total package.  Fabulous and pretty.  Great for a shower or a party. 

Marinated Cheese

Serves 8

1/2 c. olive oil
1/2 c. balsamic vinegar
1 – 2 oz. jar pimentos, drained
3 T. green onion, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. basil
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
3 T. parsley
8 oz. sharp Cheddar cheese
1 8 oz. pkg. cream cheese
Club crackers

Combine first ten ingredients in a jar and shake well to mix. You can make this the day before.

Cut a few pieces of cheddar and cream cheese into 1/4 inch slices. Cut each slice into 2-3 bite-sized squares so the cheddar and cream cheese “match” in size. Put a piece of cream cheese on a piece of cheddar, then add another piece of cheddar. Stand these pieces up on the dish. Continue to cut and alternate cream cheese slices and cheddar slices till you are out of cheese.

You can make as many rows as you like or as fit your dish. The morning you will serve it, pour marinade over, cover and chill at least 8 hours.

Serve with crackers or toothpicks.

 

Easy Cheese & Fruit Tarts

These are perfect for brunches, cocktails parties and, especially, picnics. You could also substitute dried cranberries for the holidays. They are another one from my fabulous friend Jennifer.

Easy Cheese & Fruit Tarts

Frozen (defrosted) small pastry shells
1 (15 oz.) can sliced Bartlett pears in syrup, drained
8 oz. wedge Brie cheese
Dried cherries

Follow package directions on shells re: defrosting. Preheat oven to 400F. Chop pears and place in center of pastry shells. Trim away outer edge of Brie and cut cheese into small pieces; place over pears. Top each with 3-4 dried cherries. Bake for 12-15 minutes. Excellent served warm or at room temperature.

Bacon-Wrapped Water Chestnuts

This recipes is good, quick and easy. I keep bacon in my freezer and water chestnuts handy for this sure hit. Stole this recipe from Kim….had to.  Husbands love this one!

Bacon-Wrapped Water Chestnuts

1 package bacon
1 1/2 cans water chestnuts (whole)-cut in half
½ cup catsup
1/3 cup brown sugar

Slice all bacon in half lengthwise. Wrap 1/2 slice bacon around water chestnut. Secure with toothpick half way through water chestnut. If
the 1/2 chestnut is small , sometimes a 1/3 slice of bacon can be used. It needs to be long enough to wrap once and secure with a toothpick.

Bake at 250 for 1 hour in roasting pan.

Mix catsup and brown sugar. Dip all bacon in sauce. Clean up grease and then put foil down and put them onto foil.

Bake at 250 for 30 minutes more. Turn off oven and leave in oven till ready to serve (up to a couple hours).

Let sit for a few minutes before serving.

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