Festive Finger Foods

Posted on: Saturday, December 10, 2011

At Christmas time, we look forward to taking the train from Boston to our family’s house in Manchester by the Sea to decorate the tree. The big evergreen starts as a blank canvas and is soon transformed into a glittery display. While the finished product is unique every year, it always has the perfect balance of crazy elementary school ornaments and elegant bulbs. Marni’s favorite ornament is a replica of Dorothy’s ruby red slipper from a family trip to the Smithsonian ten years ago. Kara’s favorite is a dancing gold teddy bear dressed in a red sparkly vest from a close family friend. Characteristically, Marni goes for the classically beautiful piece while Kara goes for the whimsical cute piece.

When trimming the tree, we like to setup little bites on our coffee table that people can grab while focusing on the activity at hand. We usually choose three appetizers that are easy to assemble and have a balance of flavors and textures. The delectable bites are festively plated on red, green and gold dishes, and served with a wintery cocktail or hot toddy in front of the fire.






Manchego Stuffed Apricots Wrapped in Prosciutto

24 large dried apricots
24 1/2-inch cubes of Manchego cheese
8 slices Prosciutto cut lengthwise into thirds
1 t white pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Cut a slit through the apricot and push a cheese cube inside. Wrap with a piece of prosciutto and place seam-side down on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with the white pepper. Bake until the prosciutto slightly crisps and the cheese is melted, about 7 to 8 minutes. Insert toothpicks and serve. These can be served warm or at room temperature.


Artichoke and Spinach Pinwheels

2 sheets thawed puff pastry
1 c jarred artichokes, patted dry and finely chopped
1 box frozen spinach, thawed and drained completely
1/2 c sour cream
1/2 c Parmesan cheese
1/2 c Mozzarella cheese
1 clove minced garlic

salt and pepper throughout

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. In a bowl, combine the artichokes, spinach, sour cream, cheeses, garlic and salt and pepper. On a floured surface, roll out one sheet of puff pastry to a 1/4-inch thick rectangle. Spread an even coat of half the artichoke mixture. Tightly roll the pastry dough into a log. Cut the roll into 1/2-inch slices and place each on a greased cookie sheet. Repeat with the second sheet of puff pastry and remaining filling. Bake for 20 minutes and serve. Makes 22-24 pinwheels. *The uncooked pinwheels can be made ahead of time and kept cool in the refrigerator or freezer before baking.







Rosemary Roasted Shrimp Cocktail with Zesty Cocktail Sauce

2 lbs raw shrimp, deveined, and deshelled
1 T EVOO
1 T chopped fresh rosemary
1 t salt
1 t pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. In a bowl toss the shrimp with the EVOO, rosemary, salt and pepper. Lay the shrimp on a baking sheet and roast for 8 minutes until pink. Serve immediately with a side of Zesty Cocktail Sauce.

Zesty Cocktail Sauce

1/2 c ketchup
2 T lemon juice
3 T creamy horseradish sauce
a few dashes of hot sauce
salt and pepper throughout

Mix the following ingredients and serve alongside the shrimp.

‘Tis the season to sit by the fire, eat some festive appetizers, blast Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas” on repeat, and decorate the tree!

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