Roasted Red Pear and Brie Crostini

3 red pears, under ripe but not rock hard. Red looked the nicest after roasting.
Olive oil
2 Brie cheese, sliced
2 French bread, sliced
2 organic oranges, zested (small, thin spirals)

The amounts for ingredients were enough for a large party tray.

Heat oven to 350. Slice pears in half (long ways), core and cut into slices (not too thick; I got about 16 slices a pear). Place on baking sheet and add a little olive oil, make sure pears are completely covered. Cook for about 10 minutes - until soft but not mushy. Take out and let cool.

Place bread on baking sheet, spray with olive oil. Bake until just crisp (about 10 minutes). Take out and let cool.

Assemble in order: Bread, brie, pear, 1-2 pieces of orange zest.

By: K2

Olive & Artichoke Pâté

Artichoke hearts, about ½ of a water-packed jar
¼ to ½ cup pitted Kalamata olives
A few T lemon juice
1 15 ounce can chickpeas (drained)
1-2 T olive oil

In a food processor blend the artichoke hearts, olives, lemon juice, and thyme until it forms a coarse paste. Add chickpeas and olive oil - continue to blend. Don’t over process. Serve on bread toasts or crackers.

Crostini with Roasted Garlic, Brie and Port Soaked Grapes

12 or so garlic cloves, peeled
2 T olive oil
1 1/2 cups seedless grapes, halved
1/4 cup ruby Port (enough to cover grapes)
2 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 baguette, cut into slices, toasted
Brie cheese, rind removed, room temperature
Fresh rosemary sprigs

Preheat oven to 325°F. Combine garlic and oil in small baking dish. Bake until garlic is tender, about 30 minutes. Transfer garlic to processor (or just mash with a fork).

Mix grapes, Port and rosemary in bowl. Let stand at least 15 minutes.

Spread each toast slice with garlic paste; spread Brie over. Top with grapes and herb sprigs.

Smoked Salmon, Fennel Seed and Goat Cheese Toasts

8 oz goat cheese
1.5 T chopped fresh tarragon
1 T fennel seeds, roasted in a dry pan; finely crushed in a coffee grinder
Zest from one lemon, preferably Myer (I use a lemon zester)
1/2 t black pepper
30 thin slices of baguette, toasted in the oven
16 oz hot smoked salmon (not lox); Whole Foods makes good in-house smoked salmon

Mix first 5 ingredients together. Spread on toasts. Top with salmon. Can add some extra lemon peel and tarragon if desired. Great with champagne.


Sun-Dried Tomato Tapenade Crostini

2 cups boiling water
1 cup sun-dried tomatoes, packed without oil (about 3 ounces)
1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted
2 tablespoons dried basil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 garlic clove, minced
2 teaspoons olive oil
72 (1/2-inch-thick) slices diagonally cut French bread baguette (about 2 loaves)
Cooking spray

Combine boiling water and sun-dried tomatoes; cover and let stand 15 minutes or until soft. Drain tomatoes in a colander over a bowl, reserving 3/4 cup liquid. Combine tomatoes, reserved liquid (I added liquid slowly until it seemed to be enough), olives, basil, lemon juice and garlic in a blender or food processor; process until smooth. Place tomato mixture in a small bowl; stir in oil. Cover and chill.

Preheat oven to 350°. Place bread slices on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Lightly coat bread slices with cooking spray. Bake at 350° until done. Cool completely. I let people self-serve: placed tapenade in bowl and the bread on one platter.

Serving size: 3 crostini and 1 tablespoon tapenade. Some feta sprinkled on top might be good.

CALORIES 77 (19% from fat); FAT 1.6g (sat 0.3g,mono 0.9g,poly 0.4g); FIBER 1.3g

From: Cooking Light

Baba Ghannouj

2 medium eggplants, rinsed
4 cloves garlic, peeled
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons tahini
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
Extra-virgin olive oil
Ground sumac (I use grated lemon peel)

Cut eggplant in half and place in a dutch oven or cookie sheet. Peel garlic cloves and add to pan.  Cook in 400 degree oven for about 30-35 minutes, checking after 20. When a knife goes through the eggplant easily, take them out to let cool. Peel eggplant and chop. Throw eggplant and garlic into food processor. Add lemon juice, tahini and salt. Pulse until just smooth (don't over process). Place in serving bowl. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with sumac or lemon peel. Serve with oven baked pita chips: Cut whole wheat pita into smaller pieces; spray with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Bake at 300 on a cookie sheet; check every 5 minutes so they do not burn. In my oven it takes 12-15 minutes.
From: Modified from an Eating Well recipe. Serves: 12
Baba Ghannouj: 32 calories; 1 g fat; 1 g protein; 2 g fiber; 245 mg sodium.

Grilled Jalapeno Poppers

1/2  C  (4 ounces) soft goat cheese
1/2  C  (4 ounces) fat-free cream cheese, softened (used low fat)
1/2  C  (2 ounces) grated fresh Parmesan cheese
1/2  C  finely chopped seeded tomato (used a little more)
2  T  thinly sliced green onions (used a little more)
2  T  chopped fresh sage (used a little less)
1/2  t  kosher salt
16  jalapeño peppers, halved lengthwise and seeded (about 1 1/2 pounds)
Cooking spray
Chopped fresh cilantro

Prepare grill. Combine first 7 ingredients in a bowl, stirring well. Spoon about 2 teaspoons cheese mixture into each pepper half. Place pepper halves, cheese side up, on grill rack coated with cooking spray. Grill peppers 5 minutes or until bottoms of peppers are charred and cheese mixture is lightly browned. Place peppers on a serving platter. Sprinkle with cilantro.

From: Cooking Light
Serving size: 2 pepper halves

Spinach and Artichoke Dip With Bacon

1/2 C non-fat strained yogurt (original: 1/3  cup  fat-free mayonnaise)
2  garlic cloves, minced
1 and a half tubs light whipped cream cheese, softened (original: (8-ounce) package 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened; 1 (8-ounce) package fat-free cream cheese, softened)
2/3  C grated fresh Parmesan cheese
5  center-cut bacon slices, cooked and crumbled
1  14-ounce can quartered artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1  package frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained and squeezed dry

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place yogurt, garlic, cream cheese in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended and creamy. Stir in 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, bacon, artichoke hearts, and spinach. Spread mixture into an 11 x 7-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Serve with crackers, e.g., toasted bread type crackers. Also good with red pepper slices.

From Cooking light (modified)

Red Pepper Hummus

2 red pepper, the long kind (Italian), cut off tops, seed and cut in half length-wise
3-4 T lemon juice
1 T tahini
1 t black pepper
1/2 t salt
2 t ground cumin
2 15 oz cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
3 garlic cloves, quartered

Broil peppers in oven until charred. Place in a ziplock bag to steam. When cooled take off skin and roughly chop. Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth.

From: Cooking Light w/ modifications
Serving size: 1/3 C
Calories: 94
Fat: 3g
Fiber: 3.7g

Japanese Style Dip

1 carton low-fat whipped cottage cheese (2 C)
1 tub low-fat strained yogurt (1/2 C)
Green onions, one bunch, both white and green chopped. Save some green for garnish
1 T rice wine vinegar
1 T soy sauce
a drop of sesame oil
1-2 t ginger (I used prepared in a tube to save time)
Wasabi flavored rice crackers

Place all except crackers in a food processor. Blend until smooth. It comes out a nice pale green color. Place in serving bowl. Very thinly slice the rest of the green ends of onions to use as a garnish. Also good as a sauce for crab cakes.

Alternative: Add some chili paste and serve with plain or sesame rice crackers. Some garlic may also be good.

By: K2