It seemed like it had been forever since I’d had a night with friends, even though we’d tried several times, it was Holiday Season and someone was always otherwise engaged and unavailable or out of town. I finally organized a small gathering on my first free evening of the year, set out a few simple appetizers, ordered Macarons from a local bakery and opened several varieties of wine. It was wonderful to see everyone, and to have a chance to catch up on lives and holiday travel and celebrations, and when it came to an end, I provided containers for taking home leftovers, and was thrilled when a friend later sent a picture of her dinner, which included my Marinated Olives.
1/2 cup olive oil
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tablespoons grapefruit zest
2 tablespoons fresh grapefruit juice
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 tablespoon orange zest
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 cups assorted olives
Stir together olive oil, garlic, grapefruit zest and juice, red wine vinegar, thyme, orange zest, sugar, salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add olives, toss with marinade to coat. Cover and chill 4 to 24 hours.
Recipe adapted from Southern Living, December 2014
WARM BRIE WITH FIG AND PISTACHIO TAPENADE
1 (8-ounce) round Brie
1/2 cup roasted pistachio nuts, chopped
1/3 cup canned figs, chopped, stems removed
2 tablespoons honey
1/4 teaspoon salt
Heat oven to 350F. Place Brie on a baking sheet. Bake for 5 to 7 minutes or just until warmed through. Transfer to a serving platter.
Meanwhile, in a small saucepan combine nuts, figs and honey. Cook and stir over medium-low heat 1 to 2 minutes or until honey is melted and nut mixture is evenly coated.
Spoon nut mixture over Brie. Sprinkle with salt. Serve with crackers, baguette slices and apple slices.
Recipe adapted from Better Homes and Gardens, 2015
RUSTIC SMOKED SALMON PATE
227 grams cream cheese, at room temperature
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
2 shallots, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
3 sprigs of thyme, leaves removed and chopped
200 grams of smoked salmon, chopped
25 grams of butter to top pate
parsley leaves for garnish
Place a small pan over medium-low heat, add the oil, butter, shallots, garlic, salt and pepper and cook for a couple of minutes. Add lemon zest and thyme, when softened, remove from the heat to cool.
Add the shallots and garlic mixture, along with the salmon and chopped parsley, to the cream cheese and combine. Check seasoning before placing mixture into a jar.
Melt butter, pour over the pate and let cool slightly. Then place the reserved parsley leaf on top. Place into the refrigerator until ready to serve. Serve with toasted baguette slices.