Christmas 2015: Three Christmas appetizers to whet your friends and family's appetites

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By: J.C. Lee
jclee@flavor574.com

(atl10trader / Flickr Image source: https://goo.gl/S1uDZW License: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)

The holiday season means that friends and family will be getting together to enjoy each other’s company and the smorgasbord of delectable treats. But toss the candy cane and kick the gingerbread men out on their crumbly ends, as these appetizers will be sure to satisfy your guests at that upcoming holiday party. They might even make it on their Christmas wish list to Santa.

 

GRAPEFRUIT-BEET-GOAT CHEESE FLATBREAD

(Recipe originally from MyRecipes.com)

What you’ll need:

— 1 1/2 pounds of golden beets.

— 1 pound of pizza dough.

— Vegetable cooking spray

— 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil.

— 1/4 teaspoon of kosher salt.

— 1/4 teaspoon of freshly-ground black pepper.

— 6 ounces of goat cheese, crumbled.

— 2 small grapefruit, peeled and sectioned.

— 2 tablespoons of fresh mint leaves, thinly sliced.

— 1/4 cup of toasted pine nuts.

— 2 tablespoons of honey.

— 1/4 teaspoon of coarse sea salt.

 

What you’ll need to do:

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

2. Trim beet stems until they’re an inch long, and gently wash them.

3. Place the beets on a 9-by-13-inch baking dish.

4. Add a 1/3 cup of water into the dish and cover it with aluminum foil.

5. Bake the beets at 350 degrees for an hour, or until tender.

6. Uncover the baking dish and allow the beets to cool completely, which should take about 30 minutes.

7. Remove the pizza dough from the refrigerator and let it stand for 30 minutes. 

8. Increase the temperature of the oven to 425 degrees.

9. Turn dough out on a lightly-floured surface and roll it into a 13-by-17-inch rectangle that’s about a 1/4-inch thick.

10. Place the dough on a baking sheet that’s lightly greased with cooking spray.

11. Brush the dough with olive oil and sprinkle salt and pepper over it.

12. Bake the dough at 425 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes or until it’s golden brown.

13. Cut up the cooled beets into thin slices.

14. Top the crust with beet slices, goat cheese, grapefruit, sliced mint and toasted pine nuts, but be sure to leave a 1/2-inch border.

15. Drizzle honey over the flatbread, and sprinkle sea salt over it.

 

HOLIDAY ROLL UPS

(Recipe originally from the Food Network)

What you’ll need:

— 2 packages of cream cheese, softened.

— 1 package of ranch dressing mix.

— Freshly ground black pepper.

— 5 flour tortillas.

— 1/2 cup of finely diced green bell peppers.

— 2 green onions, sliced.

 

What you’ll need to do:

1. Thoroughly mix the cream cheese, ranch dressing mix and the black pepper together.

2. Spread the mixture on the flour tortillas.

3. Sprinkle the diced bell peppers and green onions over the tortillas.

4. Roll the tortillas up tightly, wrap it in plastic and refrigerate for at least an hour.

5. Slice them up and serve.

 

BACON CANDY

(Recipe originally from Food & Wine)

 

What you’ll need:

— 1/2 cup packed with light brown sugar.

— 1 1/2 teaspoons of chile powder.

— 20 slices of thick-cut bacon, which should be about 1 1/2 pounds.

 

What you’ll need to do:

1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

2. Line two rimmed baking sheets with foil.

3. Whisk the brown sugar and chile powder in a small bowl.

4. Arrange the bacon strips on the foil and coat it with the mixture.

5. Bake the bacon for 20 to 25 minutes until they are caramelized and almost crisp.

6. Transfer the bacon to a rack set over a sheet of foil to cool before serving.

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