Friday, December 31, 2010

Cookie Exchange 2010 – The Menu

Another successful cookie exchange!

Here is the menu I planned…

Salami Crisps with Sour Cream and Basil

5 Layer Mediterranean Dip

Asiago Cheese Puffs

Cherry Tomatoes with Olive Tapenade

Louisiana Crab Dip with Crudites

Stuffed Mushrooms

Spiced Fig Marmalade & Blue Cheese

As always, I did my best to have a variety of flavors, colors, temperatures and textures.  The Salami Crisps are a recipe from Giada De Laurentiis.  These can be done ahead of time and they do take a little longer to cook than the recipe states.  Be sure to line your baking sheets with parchment or foil to make clean up easier.  Also be sure to get a quality salami.

This 5 layer dip is a much healthier alternative to traditional layered taco dips and is a nice change of pace.  I found this recipe at  Basically it’s hummus, feta cheese, tomatoes, cucumbers and olives.  I used plain hummus but you could change it up and use a flavored version.  I used kalamata olives, but if you are not a fan any black olive will do.  And it keep it healthy I served it with multi grain chips.

I love tapenade and instead of doing a crostini with tapenade like I usually do I decided to use cherry tomatoes as the base.  I was short on time so I purchased already made olive tapenade from my local grocery store.  While these were tasty, I think you need to really like the kick that olive tapenade has because the tomatoes do not tone down the flavor like bread does. 

I found this crab dip recipe while I was researching menus for a Mardi Gras party.  I decided to try it again.  Typical cream cheese/sour cream dip recipe.  Honestly, this didn’t taste as well as I remembered it.  But I do think the presentation in the fancy glass bowl looked nice.

I also made some basic stuffed mushrooms but I forgot to take a photo.  Sorry.


The fig marmalade was from one of my cookbooks, The Menu by Davis Laris and Dean Brettschneider.  The book has 15 five-course menus.  This is the first recipe I have tried from the book and was quite pleased with it.  The blue cheese complimented the figs nicely and I think the whole grain crostini were a good choice.

While the fig crostini was good I think the hit of the night (besides the cookies of course!) was the Asiago Cheese Puffs.  A mixture of asiago cheese, mayo, onion, thyme and a dash of cayenne on lightly toasted white bread rounds.  I prefer these hot but they can also be served at room temperature.  Check out for some more easy gourmet recipes and menus.  The site is pretty ad heavy but the author includes photos of every recipe and you’ll be sure to find something to inspire you. 

And there you have it.  Next up…the cookies!

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