Sous Chef Kristen Lyons Of the McCully House has made several appetizers for us. She knew we wanted some easy choices and came through with flying colors. Kristen’s emphasis is on light, easy and healthy – a magic combination.

With some prep done ahead and a few basic ingredients, you can have these party pleasers whipped together in no time! They are also the perfect recipes to have early guests help assemble – very easy, beautiful and something new!

Bartlett Pear Chutney with Winter Spices and Ginger, served over Crostini with fresh Chevre
Pear Chutney
– the chutney can be made up to 3 weeks in advance!
1 pound Brown sugar
2 Cup Cider Vinegar
3 pounds Bartlett Pears, unpeeled, cored and chopped into small squares
1 Medium Onion, chopped
1 Cup Golden Raisins or Currants
1/4 Cup Shredded Ginger (microplane works well)
1 Clove Garlic, minced
1/2 Teaspoon Cayenne (or more to taste)
2 Teaspoons Salt
1/2 Teaspoon Cinnamon
1/2 Teaspoon Cloves
2 Teaspoon Mustard Seeds

Mix brown sugar and vinegar in a large pot and bring it to a boil.
Combine ingredients 3-12 in vinegar and sugar, bring back to a boil, then set heat to medium-low.
Cook slowly until thickened, 1-2 hours.

Slice one baguette into about 20 thin slices, round or diagonal.
Brush olive oil onto one side of each slice of bread and place on a baking sheet.
Bake at 350F for 6-8 minutes or until breads are just starting to toast.

To Assemble
Place approximately 1 tablespoon of chevre onto each crostini.
If this appetizer is to be passed, also place a spoonful of the chutney onto the crostini. If it is to be placed on a table, you may arrange the chutney in a bowl in the middle of a tray, then place the chevre covered breads around the chutney.
Garnish with red currants, cranberries, or other colorful berries or flowers.

Chevre and Almond Butter Stuffed Dates

These couldn’t be any easier. They are so simple, but so delicious!

Use 20 dried dates.

With a teaspoon, fill 10 of the dates with the fresh chevre and 10 with almond butter.

Place on trays by themselves or along side the hot bacon wrapped dated.

Garnish with the remaining toasted almonds (you will use 20 for the next recipe).

Toasted Almond Stuffed Dates wrapped in BaconThese are also very simple and can be assembled up to 2 days in advance.

Toast almonds in a 325F oven for 8-10 minutes until you can smell them and the skins begin to crack. Let cool.

Place an almond inside each date. Set aside.

Slice bacon into thirds. Place a date on a small slice of bacon, wrap and secure with toothpick. Repeat until you run out of ingredients.

When ready to serve, place dates on a rack over a cookie sheet. (I often use a cooling rack placed on my cookie sheet. A silicone baking mat or parchment paper helps a lot with clean up.)

Cook at 425F for 6-10 minutes, depending on the thickness of the bacon. You want it to be cooked thoroughly, but not too crispy.

Serve HOT! These hot little dates will fly!

Maralyn’s note: You may want to try Bard Date Company. They grown dates and you can be sure you get fresh ones with their shipments.
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Maralyn D. Hill and Brenda C. Hill

Books By Hills
Success, Your Path to a Successful Book, Our Love Affairs with Food & Travel, Cooking Secrets the Why and How…, Winner and Final Chairman

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