The following two appetizer recipes are courtesy of my friend, food consultant and food stylist Yvonne Tremblay. Either (or both!) would be a flavourful addition to your New Year’s Eve menu.
In the weeks before Christmas, Yvonne was busy doing TV interviews/cooking demonstrations as a media spokesperson for Mushrooms Canada. One of the recipes she was demonstrating was Bacon, Walnut and Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms. I was the lucky recipient of some of the leftover filling one day and promptly went home to stuff a few mushrooms.
Bacon, Walnut and Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms
(Makes 32 appetizers)
3 strips of cooked crisp bacon
1/2 container (250 g) spreadable herbed cream cheese
1/2 cup (125 mL) coarsely chopped walnuts, toasted
32 fresh medium mushroom caps
Crumble bacon (about 2 tbsp /25 mL) into a small bowl; mix in cheese and walnuts until well blended. Stuff each mushroom with about 1-½ tsp (7 mL) of mixture. Place on baking sheet; sprinkle with paprika. Broil just until the tops are browned slightly and filling is warm, about 2 to 3 minutes.
* To toast walnuts, heat in a small skillet over medium heat, stirring constantly until browned slightly, about 3 to 5 minutes. Cool.
Nutritional Information: Per Stuffed Mushroom: 29 Calories, 0.9 g Carbohydrate, 1 g Protein, 2.5 g Fat, 0.4 g Fibre
Recipe Source: mushrooms. ca
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The second recipe is from Thyme in the Kitchen (Prentice Hall Canada, 2002), Yvonne’s cookbook on cooking with fresh herbs. You’ll find her website at www.yvonnetremblay.com
Basil Pesto Torte
(Makes 15 to 20 appetizer servings)
If you don’t have a springform pan as the recipe suggests, line a small straight-sided bowl or round casserole with plastic wrap. After chilling, invert torte onto a plate; remove bowl and plastic.
1 pkg (8 oz/250 g) cream cheese, softened
8 oz (250 g) chevre (goat cheese), softened
1/2 cup (125 mL) butter, softened
1 cup (250 mL) basil pesto
1/2 cup (125 mL) toasted pine nuts
1/2 cup (125 mL) chopped sun-dried tomatoes
Basil leaves (garnish)
In food processor or a bowl, mix together cream cheese, chevre and butter until well blended.
In a 7 or 8-inch (18 or 20 cm) springform pan, spread one-third of the cheese mixture. Next spread half of the pesto, another one-third of the cheese mixture, the remaining pesto, and the last layer of cheese. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Arrange pine nuts on top in a spoked wheel pattern; fill in between spokes with sun-dried tomatoes. Garnish centre with fresh basil leaves. Remove sides of pan. Allow torte to warm a bit before serving so it is spreadable. Serve with assorted crackers or melba toast.
* Chill cheese layers before spreading with pesto to get smooth layers.
* May be made several days ahead. Top with toasted pine nuts and sun-dried tomatoes just before serving.
Recipe Source: Thyme in the Kitchen by Yvonne Tremblay, Prentice Hall Canada, 2002