Friday, December 23, 2011

Holiday Appetizers on NBC 12 with Chef Tess

I adore Syleste Rodriguez! She's every bit as sweet in person as she is on TV. 

 Today on NBC 12 Morning show in Phoenix, AZ,  I showed some magnificent ways to add elegance and charm to your holiday buffets and dinner table by making some awesome appetizers! I hope to share some great ideas with you that will ease the stress of the season. For me, it's all about time with friends and family. 

Remember I'm teaching a free appetizer class on Tuesday, December 27th at Honeyville Farms in Chandler. This is a free class with some great ideas for New Year's Eve munchies using food storage and whole food! Look at my list of  Upcoming Classes for more details.

Today, I'm sharing some of my favorite recipes that have been given to me by those I love. Enjoy! First though, I have to share the latest Painted bread. This bread basket in silver and black is ready for the buffet table! What do you think? Dramatic enough?

The first appetizer I shared today was a plum-pepper-pecan baked brie. A few years ago a beautiful woman named Sylvia Edwards shared This Pampered Chef Recipe with me and it became a fast favorite "go-to" appetizer for holiday events. I've altered it a bit from the original recipe...but love it non-the-less. Sylvia was a much needed boost to my courage at the time. She cheered me forward to starting my business. I only sold with Pampered Chef for about a year, but it changed my self esteem and confidence to see some much needed income. Sylivia is now a missionary on the other side of the world. She made a difference in my life and I know she's changing lives for the better where she is now as well. God bless her! So...Let's talk baked brie.

You hear about baked brie often during the holidays. It's a soft cheese that is slightly nutty with just the right amount of salt. When it's baked it is a wonderfully creamy smooth texture. I couple it with a sweet plum jam and a little heat from fresh jalepeno. Don't worry. If you seed the pepper, the flavor is actually not too hot. This is a dramatic yet simple appetizer that bakes the brie and the French Bread croutons for the warm bubbly hot and sweet baked brie at the same time. It's outstanding with any flavor of jam, but I'm particularly partial to the plum or prickly pear jam if you can find it.
Plum-Pepper-Pecan Baked Brie
1/2 cup pecan halves, chopped and divided1 jalapeño pepper, stemmed and seeded, chopped
1/2 cup red plum jam (sugar free or regular)
1 clove fresh pressed garlic
1 4-inch round (8 ounces) Brie cheese with rind, room temperature
1 loaf (16 ounces) French baguette ( I use
Homemade Sourdough )
Melted butter (about 1/2 cup)
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Combine the jam, jalapeno, garlic and half of the pecans.

Using a bread knife, cut baguette on a bias into twenty-four 1/4-inch-thick slices. Arrange baguette slices around Brie; baste with butter using a pastry brush.
Oh land-o-lakes alive! Have butter. Not every day, but every once in a will not die. Cut Brie in half horizontally. Place one half of Brie, cut side up, onto center of Large Round pizza stone. Spread half of the prickly pear jam mixture evenly over bottom half of Brie using Small Spreader. Top with remaining half of Brie. Spread remaining jam mixture over Brie; sprinkle with remaining pecans.
Bake 8-10 minutes or until baguette slices are golden brown and Brie begins to soften. Remove from oven; let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Next up...the Cheese Ball...err...Pine Cone...

 My sister in law Gwen makes the most amazing cheese ball recipe. It has a touch of pineapple, onion and all the delights of a good cheese ball. This year I'm garnishing it with whole almonds and making it look like a giant pine cone! How fun is that?!
Gwen's Cheese ball (Pineapple Pine cone)
("cheese ball" here is not actually a reference to my brother in law...grin...)yields 2 average cheese balls
2 packages cream cheese (8 oz each)
1 cup extra sharp cheddar cheese
1/4 cup minced celery
1/2 cup minced red onion
4 oz crushed pineapple (squeezed until all the juice is out and it's almost dry)
2 tsp pepper
2 tsp garlic
Allow cream cheese to soften to room temperature. Pot into a Kitchen Aid with paddle attachment. Combine all ingredients on speed 2 about 2 minutes. Scrape cheese mixture out of bowl and form into 2 rough balls. Put on a plate cover with plastic or a glass dome thingy...(sorry for the technical wizardry of the moment there) and chill in the fridge 2-4 hours before serving. I think it's best after 24 hours.

Holy Hot Dip!

 Hot Dip is a wonderful alternative to the cold dips often served with veggies. Ace almost died of happiness last night when I shared this dip with him. He scooped it onto his plate in great piles on top of corn chips...and then licked the whole plate after he was done. It was embarrassing...for the plate. My friend Lisa Villont Shared this recipe with me. Her husband JP made it for a party we attended and I've never loved a hot dip more than this one! It's amazing! Be prepared to serve it with a Thick crackers or croutons as well. It's a hearty dip...hearty dip. Dance when you make it.
JP's Buffalo Chicken Hot Dip
1 8oz package cream cheese, softened
1/2 C Franks Red Hot sauce (original flavor)
1/2 C Ranch Dressing
2 Chicken Breasts cooked and chopped
½ cup grated Mozzarella Cheese
Onion Powder
Mix together the first 4 ingredients * I would also add garlic to that top list, 1 clove minced, or granulated to taste*
Place mixture in baking dish or pie plate, Bake at 350 for 20 mins.  Top with Grated Mozzarella, sprinkle little with onion powder and place under broiler until cheese is toasty and delicious looking.  Remove from oven and sprinkle chopped parsley over top (fresh would be SO nice!) Garnish with Celery leaves.  Serve with Celery, Chips, Bread, Spoons, whatever.  I personally love it with hunks of celery.
 I love putting large veggie sticks in glasses next to the dip instead of a party tray. They are also easier to refill on a buffet and easier to find space for in a jammed fridge when hosting large parties. 
 Olive Wreathes are a beautiful addition to your buffet or table at Christmas. It's almost not a party without olives and cheese! Here's a great way to display the olives. Simply make a fresh herb wreath by laying fresh rosemary, oregano and marjoram in a circle around the outside of a round dinner plate in a thick bed. Artistically arrange your olives on the bed of herbs and garnish with pickled red peppers and fresh mozzarella if desired. A drizzle of infused olive oil or balsamic vinegar will add even more depth and make this an outstanding presentation. You'll want the Olive wreath every year!

Get the printable version of today's appetizer recipe ideas Here.
Enjoy the beautiful weekend. I'm so looking forward to some quiet time with the family. Merry Christmas my dear friends. You make my life more beautiful every single day. 

Always My Very Best,
Your Friend Chef Tess

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Awesome ideas! Thx 4 reposting!