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Appetizers, desserts always welcome at holiday parties

Posted: December 13, 2012 - 12:14pm

Here we are in the midst of the holiday season again. It seems like we just boxed up last year’s decorations, doesn’t it? The older I get the faster time flies. I told the Other Fisherman at the rate our life has accelerated, maybe I’ll leave all four seasons of décor up at the same time. He thought that might be a bit tacky. I think it would be quite efficient. Our home would look like party world.

Every year a group of special friends host a dress-up, fancy dinner party and
ornament exchange. We plan a gourmet dinner and glitzy outfits. In our travels during the year we search for that perfect ornament for the exchange, but often find it right here in Homer. It is always fun to open our chosen ornament and see what unique treasure someone has envisioned as the perfect holiday specimen suitable for giving.  The ornaments are as varied as each of our personalities. They run the gamut from big to small, traditional to art deco and are as different in style as can be. I love to try and pair which friend brought which ornament.  

The fun begins with the stealing of ornaments. My prized ornament this year was a round traditional ornament of blue and gold with angels on it brought from New Zealand. I have others on our tree from Russia, Hawaii, Paris and even the far away Christmas land of Alaska. This little ornament is an angel dressed in white fur to keep her warm during the long cold season of winter.

The goodies we make this time of year are as different as each of the ornaments on our traditional Christmas tree. It’s always decorated with treasured memories from 35 years of married life and ornaments handed down from our grandparents and parents no longer with us as well. It is so special to unwrap and hang each unique and special ornament. I adore  the ones the kids made in grade school of salt clay with their little smiling faces on them, especially considering my oldest turned 34 today. I told you time flies.

My favorite unique and fun recipes are for appetizers and desserts. This time of year who hasn’t been asked to
contribute an appetizer when attending a holiday
gathering or come up with a special dessert for Christmas dinner.

The ornament exchange gala dinner kicked off with delicious appetizers. My contribution was soft, comforting potato rolls and a refreshing, light grasshopper pie for dessert.

I’m always on the lookout for unique appetizer recipes, so let’s start this party off with an appetizer that is most unique.

Enjoy the special treasures of this Christmas season and have a blessed and magical Merry Christmas.

Curry and Apricot Chutney Dip

Serves 12

Accompany dip with rounds of toasted French bread, celery, or basic buttery crackers. Serve this and your guests will request this recipe.  The chutney is also wonderful
 with chicken and pork or use your imagination.

Curry Dip: 

1 cup grated cheddar cheese

8 ounces softened cream cheese

1 teaspoon curry powder
(more or less to your preference)

1 teaspoon sherry. 

Blend all ingredients well by hand or in food processor. Spread in a pretty shallow dish or plate and chill for about one hour or until firm.

Apricot Chutney: 

2 cups dried apricots 

1 cup dates or raisins

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup white sugar

1 cup cider vinegar

1 small mild, sweet medium
onion, chopped fine

1 tablespoon finely
chopped fresh ginger

½ teaspoon dry red
pepper flakes

Zest and juice of one lime

1 - 2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 ¼ cups water

½ cup finely chopped green onion, tops only cut diagonally for garnish

2 tablespoons fined diced red pepper for garnish

Plump apricots and raisins or dates by covering with warm water for 30 minutes, then drain. Chop in food processor. Be careful not to make a puree of them.  You just want them diced.

Combine sugars and vinegar, onion, ginger, red pepper flakes, lime zest, lime juice, garlic and water. Bring to boil and simmer uncovered until thickened, about 20 minutes.

Add fruit and simmer until fruit is soft.

Set aside 1 cup of chutney. 

Fill pint size jars with remaining chutney and give as gifts or use in your own recipes. Keep refrigerated.

To serve, top curry dip base with 1 cup cooled apricot chutney spreading a thin layer across the entire dip base. Garnish with green onions and red pepper.

 

Grasshopper Pie

Serves 8

This refreshing mint and chocolate dessert has been around a long time and is a favorite for obvious reasons, as it is a perfect way to follow a heavy holiday meal. 

 

Chocolate Crust: 

1 store bought chocolate cookie crust pie shell

Or you can make your own using 
16 chocolate wafer cookies, crushed and mixed with 4 tablespoons melted butter. 
Pat into bottom and sides of 9 inch pie dish. Refrigerate at least one hour.

Filling:

3/4 cup milk, warmed

24 large marshmallows 

1/4 cup creme de menthe liqueur

2 tablespoons white or brown 
creme de cacao liquer

1 cup unsweetened whipping cream, whipped

1 cup sweetened whipped cream for garnish – add sugargradually and a little vanilla to taste make sweetened

Andes mint/chocolate candies 
or candy canes for garnish or

Hot fudge sauce

In a saucepan, melt marshmallows and milk over medium heat stirring constantly. Remove from heat, transfer to medium size bowl and cool to room temperature. Add the creme de menthe and creme de cacao and mix well. Fold in the whipped cream. Pour the filling into the chilled pie shell and freeze until firm, at least 4 hours.

Slice the pie and add an additional dollop of whipped cream for serving, garnish with chocolate mint wafer candies, chopped, tiny pieces of candy cane or drizzle hot fudge sauce over pie.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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