Claire Robinson’s Spicy Pecan & Parmesan Cheese Straws

January 12, 2011 at 8:32 am , by

IMG_3435Here is a super-simple tasty appetizer sure to please just about everyone—these cheese straws are tasty and so odiferous that guests will follow their noses to the platter you serve them on. My wife, Lindsay, and I would rate the difficulty level of prepping this recipe as “beginner.” (The recipe is from “Super-Simple Appetizers” in LHJ‘s December 2010/January 2011 issue.) After all, how could you go wrong with one of Claire Robinson’s recipes? They are classic. All you really need apart from the ingredients and a 400°F oven are a clean work surface, a baking sheet with parchment and a rolling pin (see photos below). And if you can lay your hands on a tapered French rolling pin, so much the better, as it will give you greater control of the dough as you roll it out. This holds for any dough you roll, from bread dough for baguettes to piecrust for Mom’s Very Best and Tastiest Apple Pie (the one that has shredded Cheddar cheese incorporated into the dough and a tablespoon of Calvados added to the filling 10 minutes before retrieving the pie from the oven).

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Pestos with Panache

December 1, 2009 at 5:39 pm , by

tartsAs delicious as traditional pesto is on just about everything from appetizers, sandwiches, pastas, and pizzas – sometimes experimenting with flavors will make you appreciate it in a whole new way. Pestos with Panache by Lauren does just this – Lauren’s creations come in 6 different flavors: Fabulous Fig & Gorgonzola , Decadent Dark Chocolate & Ancho Chile, Pumpkin Chipotle, Proscuitto and Smoked Almond, Succulent Strawberry, and Bangin’ Blueberry. My favorites would have to be either the Fig & Gorgonzola or Blueberry, but thBanging_Blueberry_Labeley all have their own unique appeal. Now that the holiday season is in full swing and you’re sure to be thinking about party appetizers and snacks, try a couple of these flavors in place of traditional pesto for a fun alternative that will throw your guests off a bit. Just last weekend, I made appetizer tartlets by baking flaky dough in mini muffin cups and filling them with tomatoes mixed with the blueberry pesto, and topped with goat cheese. While it would’ve been a hit snack anyway, I think the blueberry pesto added an unexpected hint of sweetness that everyone loved – the entire tray disappeared in minutes! Get your own Pestos with Panache here.

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