Anyone who entertains is always looking for easy appetizer ideas. A hostess doesn’t have time to sort through her Pinterest folders when friends stop by for a weeknight glass of wine. Here is a good one for the rotation: goat cheese, hot pepper jelly and crackers. You can keep these items on hand for emergencies. Dump the jelly on top of the goat cheese or serve it alongside in a pretty jar. Add crackers. Done.
My grandmother always serves Philadelphia cream cheese with bright green hot pepper jelly and Carr’s table water crackers. If you want to get fancy you can even make this condiment. Last spring my girl La Femme Epicure made Hot Pepper Jelly and gifted me a bottle, the colors of the chilis and subtly sweet heat were divine.
Pretty little chili bits on tangy goat cheese and little brown rice crackers (we are a GF household.)
A lovely couple from Long Beach, CA sent me some jars of their Red Pepper Relish to try. The folks at Merchant & Co. are making really delicious small batch condiments, a great reminder to seek out local products in your market.
FYI- I put this pepper relish along side hard cheeses like manchego and aged cheddar and with out fail one guest says “What is this spicy jam? It’s amazing!”
Flaky buttery puff pastry slathered in a lemony layer of fluffy ricotta cheese topped with sweet zucchini and savory fresh thyme. Sounds good right?
This simple to make (we promise this time) tart is one of our new favorite recipes. We are recommending it as an elegant appetizer in our Dinner Party Blueprints and it is garnering rave reviews at work as a lunch dish paired with a mixed green salad.
Zucchini and Ricotta Tart
Serves 2 for lunch or 4-6 as an appetizer
1 sheet all butter frozen puff pastry, thawed per the package instructions
1 1/2 cups good quality ricotta cheese
zest of one small lemon
salt and pepper
1-2 zucchinis, sliced into 1/4inch thick rounds
1/4 cup grated gruyure cheese
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
1 egg, beaten for egg wash
Defrost the puff pastry sheet according to the package instructions which takes at least 45 minutes. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Lay the rectangle of puff onto a piece of parchment paper on a baking sheet. Using a fork, make pinpricks all around the center of the tart dough leaving a 1 inch border on each of the four sides. Mix the ricotta with a pinch of salt and pepper and the lemon zest. Top the pricked section of the dough with the ricotta cheese into a thin but even layer. Slightly layer the sliced zucchini on top of the ricotta. Sprinkle the zucchini with a dusting of salt, shredded gruyere and chopped fresh thyme. Brush the exposed edges of puff dough with egg wash. Bake at 400 for 30-40 minutes until the dough if puffed and the edges have browned. Try not open the oven door while it bakes, use you oven light if possible. Allow to cool for 10 minutes to room temperature and them slice into wedges or small, bite sized squares.