Three Easy Appetizers

I know, I know, it’s so trendy to do things in threes these days, but it works. Here are three really quick appetizers I love making, which are totally simple but the perfect solution for last-minute guests. Our friend Matt is coming tomorrow, and he’s obsessed with #1. I always laugh when he says “I love that recipe!” with so much gusto, and then I remember that some people need more kitchen leadership than others.

My in-laws are having a party for something like 40 people in a few weeks, which is impressive considering one’s recovering from a joint replacement and one’s having a joint replace in a few months. My father-in-law is in charge of cheese, so I thought I’d help out a bit with some ideas.

I’m on the fence about whether this qualifies as a recipe, but I vote that three ideas is as good as a regular recipe, and this isn’t really a democracy.

Here’s #1:

Brie with Honeyed Walnuts and Granny Smith Apples

Three Easy Appetizer Ideas
Recipe #25 of 365

All credit for the third idea goes to Deborah Krasner, an author and friend of mine who runs great culinary vacations in Putney, Vermont and Umbria, Italy. She served these the first night I attended one of her classes in Vermont, and they’ve become a staple in my house.

TIME: 5 minutes each, if you’re a slow chopper.
SERVES: Each is a good hors d’oeuvre for a party of 6 to 8

Idea #1: Brie with Honeyed Walnuts and Granny Smith Apples

Place two handfuls of chopped, toasted walnuts (or pecans) in a bowl. Drizzle about 2 – 3 tablespoons of honey over the nuts, and microwave for about 30 seconds, or until the honey is loose enough to stir into the walnuts. Stir the nuts, pile them on top of a small wheel of brie or camembert, and serve with granny smith apple or pear slices or crackers.

Idea #2: Goat Cheese with Kalamata Olives and Sundried Tomatoes

Place one of the big (10- or 11-ounce) goat cheese logs on an ovenproof serving dish. Cut a slit the long way into the goat cheese, so the log opens up a little. Fill the slit with a few spoonfuls of julienned sundried tomatoes and some chopped Kalamata olives, scattering some of the tomatoes and olives on the top and sides of the logs, too. Add a drizzle of olive oil, and a grinding of pepper, and bake the log for about 5 minutes at 350 before serving (or just serve it at room temp).

Idea #3: Dates with Parmesan and Balsamic

Pile about 15 unpitted Medjool dates on a serving platter. Shave fresh Parmesan cheese over the top, and drizzle with good balsamic vinegar. Eat each date with some of the cheese, dipped in the vinegar. Messy, but delicious.


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