For the month of September, T.W.O. is going to focus on appetizers that don’t involve cheese. Crazy right? I know we all love a charcuterie plate filled with cheese – goat cheese, port salud, manchego and gouda just to name a few, but we are going to think outside the box this month and feature some alternative appetizers. Our first post is filled with veggies – carrots, snap peas and hummus. It’s a light appetizer that won’t fill up your guests prior to dinner. Did we mention it is healthy too? Grab your favorite hummus and lets start appetizing.
The Ultimate Veggie and Hummus Platter
– Rice crackers
– Snap peas
– Romaine lettuce leaves
1. Place romaine lettuce on a serving tray. Top with your hummus.
2. Add your vegetables and crackers.
3. Ready to serve!
It’s easy as 1-2-3!
Everybody ready for some football? You will be after reading this…or not because you will be too consumed in the rich, creamy flavor of this fan-favorite appetizer that will clear the sidelines and take them straight to your kitchen. Here is the play-by-play game plan:
2 – 8 ounce cream cheese
¼ cup sour cream
1/3 cup parmesan cheese, grated
1 – 2 ½ ounce packed smoked sliced beef, chopped*
2 Tablespoons green onions, chopped
1 teaspoon Horseradish
2-3 Tablespoon parsley, chopped
*You can find this in the pre-packaged deli section.
Combine cream cheese and sour cream in a bowl. Mix well until combined. Stir in Parmesan cheese, beef, onion and horseradish. Once mixed, shape the cheese into balls. Depending on your crowd you can make one big one or 2 small ones. Roll in Italian breadcrumbs. Wrap the balls in plastic wrap and refrigerate for a couple hours. For best results, refrigerate overnight.
When you are ready to serve, remove and place on a platter filled with your favorite crackers. It doesn’t matter who wins at this point…you are sure to score a touchdown with your guests with this recipe!
Let’s go for the t.w.o. point conversion….
Next week is Christmas and T.W.O. has the perfect appetizer for you to serve! It’s a festive, light and flavorful spin on your traditional baked brie. Check out how to make this cranberry, brie & caramelized onion tart that will be a crowd pleaser. (Adapted from Stella Artois)
-1 sheet puff pastry, defrosted
-2 tablespoons unsalted butter
-1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
-1 large yellow onion, diced
-¼ cup brown sugar
-¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
-⅓ cup water
-1 cup fresh cranberries
-1 teaspoon oregano
-2 ounces Brie, sliced into ¼-inch-thick pieces
-Freshly ground pepper
In a large, heavy-bottomed skillet set over low heat, melt the butter. Once the butter starts to foam, add olive oil, brown sugar and ground pepper. Cook the onions over medium heat for about 30 minutes. Stir occasionally.
Preheat oven to 425ºF.
In a small saucepan set over medium heat, combine sugar and 1/3 cup water. Stir until the sugar dissolves, then add cranberries. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Drain and set cranberries aside.
While the onions are cooking, take the defrosted puff pastry and lay on a greased cookie sheet. Using a small butter knife score a ½-inch border around the end of the square. This will make a “crust” for the tart.
Once the onions are done, spread the evenly across the puff pastry. Sprinkle oregano and cheese and cranberries on top.
Cook the tart for 15-20 minutes. Once done, remove the tart from the oven and let it sit for 5minutes prior to cutting.
Polenta is a staple of Northern Italy, but has made its debut in all types of cuisine today. It is most noted for it’s versatility and can be a great addition to your next meal! T.W.O. decided to create an appetizer for their family and let us tell you- it was a hit!!
-Fresh buffalo mozzarella
First, line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper and preheat your oven to 425°F. Next, cut your polenta into thin, circular slices. Place the polenta on a lined cookie sheet and season with garlic powder, ground pepper and a dash of cayenne pepper. Then, slice your tomatoes into thin circles and place on the other cookie sheet. Season the tomatoes with Italian seasoning, pepper and dried basil.
Put the polenta and tomato slices in the oven. T.W.O. would recommend putting the polenta slices on the top rack. After about 8 minutes, flip the polenta slices over. Bake the polenta and tomatoes for another 8 minutes. (You might need to keep the polenta in a little longer depending on your oven.) Make sure that the polenta gets crispy. When the polenta and tomatoes are done, place a tomato on top of the polenta and add a slice of mozzarella. Continue this process for the remaining polenta circles. Next, turn your oven to broil and place the polenta “stacks” into the oven for about 3 minutes. Make sure to keep an eye on the stacks so that they do not burn. Once the mozzarella is melted and slightly brown, take them out of the oven. It’s time to serve!!
Summer is not over yet; Peaches are still in season…So it’s time to get into the kitchen with T.W.O. and make these fabulous peach goat cheese crostini! They make a wonderful appetizer that all your guests will enjoy. And you will enjoy them to because they are easy to make so you can spend more time socializing with your guests and not stuck in the kitchen!
First, pre-heat your oven to 425°F. Next, slice your baguette and place on a foil-lined cookie sheet. (The foil makes for an easy cleanup!) Then, slice your peaches into thin wedges and chop your basil into small pieces.
Once the oven is heated, place your bread slices in the oven. After about 3 minutes, check the slices to see if they are golden brown. If so, flip them over to get the other side golden brown. Once both sides are done, take the bread out of the oven and get ready to prepare the crostini! While the bread is still hot, spread your goat cheese on the crostini. Next, place some basil on top of the cheese and finish with the peach slice. Repeat this for the remaining bread slices.
Once all the crostini are assembled, drizzle the balsamic over each piece. T.W.O. also drizzled honey over each crostini and found that it added an extra kick of sweetness. So if you are in the mood for a sweet, but savory treat, add the honey! Now it’s time to serve!
Hosting a last minute dinner party on Friday night? Need an easy appetizer to impress your guests? Well T.W.O has the perfect one for you! It’s gastronomical, quick and the best part is that it is only 4 ingredients! That’s T.W.O. times T.W.O! Wow!! There is no doubt your guests will enjoy this tasteful bite. Take a deep breath, relax- T.W.O has planned your first menu item for this Friday night!
-Fresh Fig, sliced in wedges
-Rosemary Raisin Crackers*
Spread about 1 teaspoon of goat cheese onto a cracker. Place a slice of fig next to the cheese and garnish with some honey! Wah-lah! It’s that easy!
*T.W.O. uses the Trader Joe’s Rosemary Raisin Crackers
Wine pairing suggestion: Rosé or Pinot Noir