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Quick and easy hits for your next holiday party

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Posted: Tuesday, December 11, 2012 11:17 pm

It’s the holiday season! Although, with all of the discouraging reports in the news lately I am feeling a little more like the Grinch or George Bailey than I am Clark Griswold. But, when I dig a little deeper there is so much to be grateful for. The list is long. Now, instead of cursing the heating oil delivery man when I hear the rumble of the engine pull down my driveway, instead I am grateful that I am warm. Instead of choking when I pump 25 gallons of gas into my car at $3.80 per gallon, I am grateful that I have a car that runs, and that continued to run even at 36 below.

December is the month of get togethers. Families gather, friends gather and every Friday seems to be potluck in many offices. This month I am going to offer a few simple, yet delicious, appetizers. Move over, cheese wiz and celery sticks.

Bay Shrimp Ceviche:

1/2 cup fresh lime juice

1 pound salad, bay or cocktail shrimp

1 small white onion chopped

1/2 cup chopped cilantro

2 tablespoons of a Mexican hot sauce

2 tablespoons of ketchup

1 cup of peeled cucumber

1 small diced avocado

Salt

Olive oil

Mix the lime juice, shrimp, onion, hot sauce, ketchup, cucumber in a bowl and chill for an hour. Add cilantro and cucumber, season with salt, drizzle with oil and serve on homemade (or store-bought if you must!) corn tortilla chips.

Endive with Herb Chevre:

4 ounces of fresh goat cheese, (Chevre) softened

3 tablespoons heavy cream

1 tablespoon fresh herbs (I use chives or lemon thyme)

2 heads of Belgian endive

Fresh cracked pepper for garnish

Olive oil for garnish

Stir together goat cheese, cream, and oil in a small bowl until smooth. Stir in chopped herbs Spoon the cheese mixture onto stem ends of endive leaves, dividing evenly. Transfer to a serving platter. Season with pepper, and drizzle with oil. Garnish with herb sprigs. Serve immediately.

Fast Bruschetta:

2 pound tomatoes

1 small yellow onion

6-7 large garlic cloves

1 pound fresh basil

4 tablespoons of good olive oil

1-2 baguettes

Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper

Buy the best looking tomatoes and basil you can get. Dice tomatoes in to a 1/2inch dice, small dice on the onion, chiffonade the basil by stacking the leaves, rolling them and using a sharp knife to cut. A sharp knife will not cause bruising. Mince half the garlic and combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Let this sit for a half hour. Slice the baguette and toast in the oven under the broiler. After toasted, brush with a cut piece of garlic and oil. Top with tomato mixture and serve.

As always, please let me know if you have any questions, or need recipe suggestions. I enjoy hearing from you. Be safe this holiday season.

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