{Things I Love} :: Holiday Entertaining

So we are full swing in the midst of the holiday season – the most wonderful time of the year! Food, cocktails, friends, family, traveling, gifts, and a whirlwind of social activities can sometimes be a little crazy and exhausting, so I’ve rounded up a few of my favorite things to help make your holiday entertaining a little easier, stylish and a whole lot more fun (and tasty!)

Wishing you all a safe and happy holiday and amazing New Year 2018!

xo Kristen 

Entertainers Gift Box

Entertainers Gift Box 

Who doesn’t love a cozy and fantastic party with a gorgeous cheese board as a centerpiece? This Entertainer’s Gift Box is perfect for a cocktail party bursting with classic goodies like Marcona almonds from Spain, an olive wood serving bowl, sweet and savory spreads: Orange and Fig Jam, Pepper Jelly and Mango Chutney and Cracked Pepper gourmet wafer crackers.

Entertainers Gift Box

The perfect accompaniment for an assortment of cheese, prosciutto, salami, fruit and nibbles – and a beautiful addition for your holiday table!

$60, UncommonGoods.com

Marble and Wood Serving Board

Marble and Mango Wood Serving Board Set

This Marble and Mango Wood Serving Board Set is perfect for entertaining and goes hand and hand with the Entertainer’s Gift Box to display all that delicious cheese, crackers, salami, nuts and spreads! One side is marble and one side is wood, making it attractive and functional at the same time.

Marble and Mango Wood Serving Board

Pair fresh bread and crackers on the wood board with cheese on the chilled marble, or sushi on the cool side with tempura vegetables on the wood. The on-point arrow design unifies the two sections, integrating the contrasting materials. Foam pads on the bottom protect your tabletop. It makes a stylish addition to your tablescape or distinctive hostess gift.

Marble and Mango Wood Board

$55, UncommonGoods.com

Reclaimed Wood Cookbook Stand

Reclaimed Wood Cookbook Stand

This rustic Reclaimed Wood Cookbook Stand is a beautiful addition to your kitchen and handy tool to view recipes on your iPad or to hold a traditional cookbook.

Reclaimed Wood Cookbook Stand

It has a sturdy wood base and back and collapses or expands to lay it flat or prop it up on your counter.

Reclaimed Wood Cookbook Stand

Designed by Stacy Borocz, who has a carefully curated collection of antique and repurposed home furnishings and culinary accents for over a decade. She attends local markets and old homes, barns and warehouses to find the architectural elements for her designs, and no two pieces are exactly alike.

Reclaimed Wood Cookbook Stand

$95 Uncommongoods.com

Melting Pot

Fondue Melting Pot 

This Fondue Melting Pot is perfect for melting cheese to accompany your holiday table – serve with pickles, bread, olives, meat, and vegetables. The Melting Pot Includes a Boska Tapas Fondue Pot, Murray’s Fondue Blend,
Murray’s Sopressata Salami,  Crisp & Co. Grand Dill Pickles and crunchy Cipollini Onions.

$110, MurraysCheese.com

Anthropologie Enchante Wine Coupe

Enchante Wine Coupe

These imported Enchante Wine Coupe glasses by Anthropologie are gilded in a gold design and also come in stemless water glasses, stemmed champagne flutes and a small bowl. A gorgeous way to serve cocktails and snacks and ring in the New Year!

$20, Anthropologie

Winter Solstice Cocktail Kit

Winter Solstice Cocktail Kit

This fun Winter Solstice Cocktail Kit comes with all the right ingredients to serve up these citrusy refreshing drinks for your next holiday party – including the brandy, rum, bitters, orange liqueur and glasses. Simply add fresh fruit and juice and voila! you’ve got an amazing cocktail to entertain your friends with.

WINTER SOLSTICE

1.5 oz brandy
.5 oz rum
.25 oz orange liqueur
.75 oz fresh lemon juice
.5 oz simple syrup
1-2 dashes bitters
Orange wheel, for garnish

DIRECTIONS

1. In a cocktail shaker with ice, combine brandy, rum, orange liqueur, lemon juice, simple syrup and bitters.
2. Shake until blended and well-chilled.
3. Strain into a couple glass and garnish with orange wheel.

Makes 1 cocktail

$173.50, Mouth.com

The Party Food Bible

The Party Food Bible

The Party Food Bible cookbook is the ultimate resource for all things holiday entertaining.  With over 565 recipes served up on everything from skewers to spoons, for fun and flavorful mini hors d’oeuvres, amuse-bouches, small bites and finger foods, stylish cocktails and desserts, you are sure to find some inspiration for your next holiday cocktail party!

$14 Amazon.com

Moonglow Cocktail Shaker

Moonglow Cocktail Shaker

This Moonglow Cocktail Shaker is a beautiful way to stir, shake and serve all your holiday cocktails in style!

$39 Anthropologie.com

Martini and Sweet Spicy Nuts

Classic Dry Martini

1 2/3 oz Gin
1/3 oz Dry Vermouth

Stir with ice and strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with twist of lemon peel or olives.

Sweet and Spicy Mixed Nuts

1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 cup cashews
3/4 cup pecan halves
1/2 cup almonds
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon water
1-1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
Dash Louisiana-style hot sauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a small bowl, combine the salt and spices; set aside. In a large heavy skillet, melt butter. Add cashews, pecans and cashews; cook over medium heat until nuts are lightly toasted, about 4 minutes. Sprinkle with spice mixture. Add the brown sugar, water, Worcestershire and hot sauce. Cook and stir for 1-2 minutes or until sugar is melted.

Place nuts on a large baking sheet lined with foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes until nuts are golden brown. Remove from oven and let nuts cool before serving. Store in an airtight container.

Makes 2 cups.

Mini Sweet and Savory Tarts

Mini Sweet and Savory Tarts

These Mini Sweet and Savory Tarts I created are perfect for a holiday party! I made sweet mini cranberry apple almond tarts and savory bacon, veggie and cheese tarts but feel free to experiment with the fillings and flavors..so cute and easy to make!

Parmesan Garlic Artichoke Dip

Parmesan Artichoke Dip

This Parmesan Artichoke Dip with Homemade Pita Chips is one of my favorite holiday appetizers. Brimming with creamy cheese, roasted garlic, and tons of savory juicy artichokes with crispy homemade chips for dipping – this one will fly off your holiday table!

Truffle Potato Stacks

Truffled Potato Stacks

These Truffled Potato Stacks are crispy and savory and buttery and delicious! Sliced thin and baked with butter, garlic, parmesan and cheddar cheese and 7 Barrels Truffle Olive Oil in a muffin pan, then dusted with sea salt and thyme and served with tangy and sweet 7 Barrels White Balsamic Vinegar for dipping – they make a perfect appetizer or side dish to your holiday meal!

4 medium potatoes (Russet, Idaho or Yukon Gold)
1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon garlic powder (or 1 garlic clove, minced)
¼ cup butter, melted
¼ cup Seven Barrels Truffle Olive Oil
½ teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 cup sharp white cheddar, finely shredded
Coarse sea salt, for garnish
2 tablespoons fresh herbs, chopped, for garnish (thyme, parsley or rosemary)
1/4 cup Seven Barrels White Balsamic, for drizzling

Preheat the oven 400 degrees F. Wash potatoes and cut them into very thin slices (about 1/8-inch), leaving skins on. You can do this by hand, or use a mandolin to make slicing easier and faster.

In a large mixing bowl, add the potatoes, dried Italian seasoning, garlic, melted butter, Seven Barrels Truffle Olive Oil, kosher salt and black pepper, grated Parmesan cheese and gently toss together.

Layer half the potatoes stacked in layers into a non-stick 12-cup muffin pan (or lightly grease a muffin pan), sprinkle half the shredded cheddar on top. Then layer the other half of the potatoes, stacking them to the top and add remaining shredded cheddar on top.

Cover with foil and place on a baking sheet. Transfer to the oven and roast for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and continue cooking another 20-25 minutes or until the potatoes are crispy golden brown on edges and cooked through. Run a small knife around the edges of the of each stack to release them from the muffin pan.

Serve potatoes hot with a sprinkle of sea salt and chopped herbs, and drizzle them with Seven Barrels White Balsamic vinegar. Note: You can pre-bake these a day or two ahead and reheat them in the oven for 10-15 minutes on 350 degrees F.

Serves 6 (approx. 2 stacks per person).

New Years Soup

New Year’s Soup

A hearty and delicious traditional soup served on New Years Day – with black eyed peas and collard greens and ham for good luck and financial blessings for the New Year.

Ingredients

  • 2 (15.8-ounce) cans black-eyed peas, undrained
  • 3 (14-ounce) cans chicken broth
  • 2 (14-1/2-ounce) cans diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups diced cooked ham
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 cups chopped fresh collard greens
  • Hot sauce for splashing

Instructions

In a 6-quart slow cooker, combine all ingredients except collard greens and hot sauce; mix well. Add collard greens on top.

Cover and cook on LOW 6 to 8 hours, or until greens are tender. Splash with hot sauce before serving.

Recipe by Mr. Food.com

Lobster Pies

Lobster Pies

These luscious Lobster Pies are decadent, delicious and the perfect way to celebrate the holidays and New Year. Bathed in a buttery creamy sherry sauce and filled with tons of fresh lobster and parmesan cheese then baked with a butter crunchy cracker crust. Divine, elegant and oh so good. Indulge!

Holiday Brunch Quiche

Bacon, Cheese & Pepper Quiche with Hashbrown Crust

This is a delicious spin on a holiday brunch quiche – you simply line a springform pan with shredded hash browns and cook until lightly browned, then add your quiche ingredients until bubbly and cheese is melty. Perfect for a New Year’s Day brunch or casual lunch with friends.

Ingredients

For the Hash Brown Crust:

  • 1 large package frozen hash browns, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 egg, whisked
  • A dash of onion flakes, garlic powder and dill seasoning, to taste
  • Sea salt & pepper, to taste

For the Quiche:

  • 3/4 cup red, orange and yellow bell peppers, diced
  • 1/2 cup red onion, diced
  • 8 eggs
  • 1/4 cup 1-2% milk
  • 1/4 cup light cream
  • 1 cup Mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, diced
  • 8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled

Instructions

For the Hash Brown Crust:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Brush a small amount of oil to the bottom of a spring form pan and line with parchment paper, including the sides. Brush with more oil on top of the parchment paper. Set aside.
  3. Combine the hash browns, melted butter, egg and spices in a bowl and place them in the pan pushing them up the sides to make a 1 inch crust for the quiche.
  4. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the hash browns get lightly browned and crispy.

For the Quiche:

  1. In a small pan, over low/medium heat, add a tablespoon of oil and sauté the peppers and onions, for 8-10 minutes or until soft and translucent. Set aside to cool.
  2. In a bowl, combine the eggs, cream, milk, cheese and cooked bacon. Add cooled peppers and onions,  season with salt and pepper and pour into the precooked hash brown crust in the springform pan.
  3. Reduce the heat to 350 and bake for another 45 minutes.
  4. Serve hot or at room temperature, cut into wedges with a side of fruit salad and toasted holiday bread and butter.
 Serves  6-8.

3-Cheese Butternut Squash Tart w/ Bacon

3 Cheese Butternut Squash Tart w/ Bacon

3 Cheese Butternut Squash Tart w/ Bacon

It’s the holidays and we all know what that means..time to cook and bake, and eat all the delicious treats of the season..like this savory
3-Cheese Butternut Squash Tart with Bacon. Can we say yay?

3 Cheese Butternut Squash Tart w/ Bacon

It’s so easy to make with some store-bought puff pastry because who has time to make their own with so many goodies to make and presents to wrap? And delicious holiday food to eat?

3 Cheese Butternut Squash Tart w/ Bacon

It’s got a gorgeous crispy, buttery crust topped with ricotta and Parmesan and Gruyere cheese, roasted butternut squash with maple syrup and of course, bacon. Then it’s topped with a drizzle of balsamic glaze and some fresh thyme along with some sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Sounds pretty perfect to me. 

Roll Dough

First, defrost and roll out your dough. Cut 1/2 inch strips around the edges to double up to make a pastry border and brush it with egg wash. Pop it in the fridge for about 30 minutes.

RoastSquash

Next, drizzle olive oil, salt and pepper, and some garlic powder over the butternut squash, then drizzle it with some maple syrup and roast it for about 15 minutes.

Bacon

Cook that delicious bacon, drain and set aside to crumble on the tart later.

Ricotta

Whip up your ricotta with an egg, salt and pepper and some shredded Parmesan cheese.

Add Ricotta

Spread it on top of the tart pastry evenly. (Repeat all steps with the second pastry throughout.)

Add Cheese

Top it with some of that luscious grated Gruyere cheese.

Top w/ Squash

Place the roasted squash on top along with the bacon. Sprinkle some fresh thyme on top.

3 Cheese Butternut Squash Tart w/ Bacon

Then simply bake it for 30 minutes on 375 F, then drizzle it with some balsamic glaze, cut into squares and devour!

3 Cheese Butternut Squash & Bacon Tart

Yield: Makes 2 tarts, serves 12.

Serving Size: 1 tart square (6 per tart)

This delicious savory tart features three luscious cheeses (ricotta, gruyere and parmesan) along with crispy bacon and roasted butternut squash and thyme. It makes a great appetizer for the holidays!

Ingredients

  • 2 large eggs
  • 14 ounces frozen all-butter puff pastry, thawed
  • 2 packages butternut squash, precut into 1-2" cubes
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup or honey
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 6-8 slices bacon
  • 1 pound fresh ricotta cheese
  • 1 tablespoon whole milk or cream
  • 2/3 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup shredded gruyere cheese
  • Balsamic glaze, for garnish
  • fresh thyme, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Roll out 1 piece of puff pastry into a large rectangle. Cut a 1/2 inch border around the edges and place the strips on the edges of the pastry sheet to create a border crust. Prick holes around the pastry to avoid puffing.
  2. Beat 1 egg and brush the pastry edges and repeat same procedure with second pastry sheet; chilling both for 1/2 an hour in the fridge.
  3. While pastry is chilling, preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  4. Cut the butternut squash into small chunks and drizzle with olive oil, maple syrup, salt and pepper and garlic powder.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes and set aside.
  6. Cook bacon according to package directions and drain on paper towels. Crumble once cooled and set aside.
  7. Reduce heat in oven to 375.
  8. Mix the ricotta cheese with one beaten egg, parmesan cheese and additional salt and pepper.
  9. Remove pastry from the fridge and spread the ricotta mixture evenly over the tops of both.
  10. Sprinkle with shredded gruyere cheese and crumbled bacon.
  11. Top both pastries with the butternut squash and sprinkle with some fresh thyme.
  12. Bake for 30 minutes until the pastry is golden brown and puffed around the edges.
  13. Cut into squares after cooling on a rack and serve warm.
  14. Garnish with a drizzle of balsamic glaze on top and additional fresh thyme if desired.
http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2016/12/14/3-cheese-butternut-squash-tart-w-bacon/

3 Cheese Butternut Squash Tart w/ Bacon

Gosh I love the holidays.

3 Cheese Butternut Squash Tart w/ Bacon

Wishing you a great one!

3 Cheese Butternut Squash Tart w/ Bacon

Now back to that tart I just made… 😉

5 Holiday Appetizer Recipes and Colavita Olive Oil Holiday Giveaway!

Holiday Appetizer Recipes & Colavita Holiday Giveaway
Holiday Appetizer Recipes & Colavita Holiday Giveaway

The holidays are here, and what better way to celebrate by throwing a holiday cocktail party with friends and family? I’ve teamed up with Colavita this season to celebrate with all of you, by creating  some delicious Holiday Appetizer recipes using their World Selection and Private Selection Extra Virgin Olive Oils and Flavored Cooking Oil blends. 

Colavita Olive Oil Collection

Colavita Olive Oil Giveaway!

*THIS GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED – Congratulations to Manda Kay, the winner of our Colavita holiday giveaway! Hope you cook up lots of goodies with your EVOO & Balsamic Glace! Happy Holidays 🙂

I’ve teamed up with Colavita this holiday season and giving away some of their delicious olive oils and balsamic vinegars so you can celebrate the season by cooking up some holiday goodies of your own! The winner will receive: one (1) 3/4 liter of Colavita Private Selection Fruttato EVOO, one (1) 32 oz Roasted Garlic EVOO plus one (1) 29.5 oz bottle of their Balsamic Glace. 

All you have to do to enter the giveaway is leave me a comment at the end of this post telling me what your favorite Holiday Appetizer to make with olive oil is.

*For extra entries, just follow me on twitter, facebook, pinterest, google+, tumblr or sign up for my newsletter (at the top right hand side of this page) and tell me you did so in the comments section. **As an added bonus, Colavita is also offering a 25% discount to all of my readers on any purchase in their online store. Simply enter the code ‘AG25’ to receive the discount upon checkout!

**This giveaway begins on Sunday, Dec 9th and ends Sunday Dec 23rd at midnight EST, where one person will be selected by random from the comments section below.**

Colavita World Selection Olive Oils are a new collection of extra virgin olive oils exploring the tradition in countries outside of italy from estates and farms in Australia, Argentina, California, Greece, Spain and Portugal as well as other prime olive oil growing nations. Read more about a few of my favorites that I used in my recipes below!

Colavita California EVOO

 

Colavita 100% Californian EVOO

The warm climate in the “Golden State” of California fosters both grape and olive cultivation perfect for wines and olive oils. The Colavita 100% Californian EVOO is pressed from olives grown in the Sacramento and San Joaquin valleys of California. The mild flavor makes this oil perfect for all culinary applications. Enrich your favorite meal with a drizzle of EVOO and a glass of wine.

Read more and get it online

 

Colavita Roasted Garlic EVOO

 

Colavita Roasted Garlic EVOO

Colavita Roasted Garlic EVOO is a product originally created exclusively for BJ’s Wholesale Stores. To many it has become the “gateway product” that exposes customers to the entire Colavita family of products. It is raved about on their online store so we wanted to share it with all of you! It’s the perfect finishing oil and wonderful for enhancing garlic already present in your dish. Try it on Garlic Bread or my Homemade Pita Chips (recipe below).

Read more and get it online

 

Colavita Argentina EVOO

Colavita 100% Argentina EVOO

The Argentina EVOO was a hands-down favorite at this year’s New York Wine and Food Festival. Arbequino, Coratina and Manzanilla olive cultivars grown in the Catamarca and Mendoza regions of Argentina give this EVOO and intense, fruity aroma and taste. Pair this EVOO with soups, roasted fish, grilled vegetables and red meat for an unbeatable duo.

Read more and get it online

 

 

 

Colavita Private Selection EVOO

Colavita Private Selection Fruttato EVOO

Colavita’s Fruttato Oil has recently been inducted into the Colavita “Private Selection” line. This line was created to highlight the products which have received the honor of being marked a Colavita family favorite. It is made by cold pressing new harvest olives just before their peak ripeness. The result is a full bodied EVOO which is slightly pungent with peppery flavor notes.

Read more and get it online

 

 

 

Colavita Roasted Garlic Oil Blend

 

Colavita Roasted Garlic Oil Blend

This Colavita Premium Blend is an all-purpose cooking, frying, and salad dressing oil which combines the delicate hint of roasted garlic in a light Canola Oil and Virgin Olive Oil Blend. It is a versatile oil that is naturally low in saturated fats and has no trans fats.

Read more and get it online

 

 

 

 

 

 Holiday Appetizer Recipes

Sweet and Spicy Chicken Bites
Sweet and Spicy Chicken Bites

Sweet and Spicy Chicken Bites

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 8-10

These yummy sweet and spicy Asian Chicken bites combine honey, soy sauce, orange and Sriracha to make a fun bite-sized appetizer with a delicious glaze.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Sriracha hot sauce
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice, plus 1 tsp zest
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons Colavita Roasted Garlic EVOO
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 pound skinless boneless chicken thighs, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1 tablespoon Colavita Roasted Garlic EVOO
  • Fresh ground white pepper
  • Dash of red pepper flakes
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons water
  • 1 tablespoon black and white sesame seeds, toasted (for garnish)
  • 1 green onion, sliced thin (for garnish)

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients from honey through minced garlic and place inside a large plastic freezer bag.
  2. Cut up chicken into bite-sized pieces and trim visible fat, place in bag and marinate in refrigerator for at least an hour to overnight.
  3. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  4. Remove chicken from freezer bag, reserving marinade, and place on a greased baking sheet.
  5. Bake for 20 minutes, turning one time until chicken is browned nicely.
  6. Strain marinade and discard solids, and pour into a saucepan bringing to a boil. Reduce heat and cook for about 3 minutes.
  7. Combine water and cornstarch and slowly pour into glace in saucepan. Add fresh cracked white pepper and red pepper flakes, stirring well.
  8. Turn oven up to 500 degrees.
  9. Toss chicken bites with the glaze and broil for about 5 minutes.
  10. Meanwhile, toast sesame seeds for a few minutes in a pan over medium heat and chop green onion.
  11. Serve chicken bites garnished with sesame seeds and green onions with cocktail toothpicks on a small platter or small plates.

Notes

Recipe adapted from Cooking Light March 2003

http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2012/12/09/5-holiday-appetizer-recipes-and-colavita-olive-oil-holiday-giveaway/

 

Caramelized Onion, Ricotta & Pancetta Tart
Caramelized Onion, Ricotta & Pancetta Tart

Caramelized Onion, Ricotta & Pancetta Tart

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes

Yield: 8

This is a lovely tart recipe that combines sweet and savory flavors. The caramelized onions give it a sweet flavor with a hint of fig balsamic vinegar, balanced out by creamy ricotta, nutty Gruyere cheese, fresh herbs and crispy pancetta.

Ingredients

  • 1 package pancetta (8 thin slices)
  • 3 tablespoons Colavita Fruttato EVOO
  • 2 sweet Vidalia onions, halved lengthwise and sliced thin
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • Kosher salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • 1-1 1/2 tablespoons Fig balsamic vinegar (Tavern Direct brand)
  • 1 cup fresh ricotta
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoons dried Fines Herbes (or 2 tablespoons fresh herbs)
  • 1/2 cup shredded Gruyere cheese
  • 1 frozen pie shell, defrosted, or homemade tart dough

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Heat a saute pan over medium heat and cook pancetta until browned but not fully cooked, about 5 minutes. Drain fat from pan and place pancetta on paper towels to drain to the side. Once cooled, chop pancetta into small pieces.
  3. Peel onions, remove top and bottom stems and cut in half lengthwise.
  4. Slice onions thin (about 1/8" thick or desired thickness).
  5. In the same saute pan, add 3 tablespoons olive oil and heat over medium high heat.
  6. Add onions and cook over medium high for about 10 minutes.
  7. Sprinkle brown sugar, salt and pepper over onions and stir well, cook another 10-20 minutes, reducing heat to medium low if onions start to brown too quickly.
  8. Continue cooking and stirring onions over medium low for another 15 minutes, add a few teaspoons of water if desired.
  9. Add the fig balsamic vinegar to the onions, turn heat down to low and let cook until they are caramelized, soft and sweet, up to an hour total.
  10. Combine the ricotta, egg yolk and Fines Herbes together in small mixing bowl.
  11. Spread the ricotta mixture over the pie shell in a 9" tart pan with removeable bottom.
  12. Sprinkle Gruyere cheese over ricotta.
  13. Top with caramelized onions and pancetta.
  14. Bake the tart in the oven for approximately 30-45 minutes until pastry and filling are golden brown, and pancetta is crispy.
  15. Let tart cool on a cooling rack for 10-15 minutes before serving.
  16. Serve tart cut into wedges.

Notes

If you prefer to make your own tart dough rather than using a frozen pie crust, Martha Stewart has a great recipe for Flaky Tart Dough on her website at http://www.marthastewart.com/319448/flaky-tart-dough

http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2012/12/09/5-holiday-appetizer-recipes-and-colavita-olive-oil-holiday-giveaway/

Parmesan Garlic Artichoke Dip w/ Homemade Pita Chips
Parmesan Garlic Artichoke Dip w/ Homemade Pita Chips

Parmesan Garlic Artichoke Dip

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Serving Size: 8

Hot Artichoke dip is one of my all time favorite holiday dip recipes, and this one is extra special, using Colavita's California EVOO, lemon zest and minced garlic with lots of gooey cheese. Instead of using mayonnaise, I substitute a light sour cream to cut some of the fat and calories. Serve with my homemade baked pita chips or crackers.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons Colavita California extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 package frozen artichokes, defrosted
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • zest and juice from 1/2 lemon
  • Garlic salt with parsley (to taste)
  • Fresh cracked black pepper (to taste)
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup shredded light monterey jack cheese, plus 1/2 cup for topping
  • 1/2 cup light sour cream
  • dash of cayenne (optional)
  • dash of paprika (for garnish)
  • 1 green onion, sliced thin (for garnish)

Instructions

  1. Heat oil in a saute pan over medium high heat. Add artichokes and minced garlic, saute about 5-7 minutes until heated through.
  2. Add lemon juice, zest, garlic salt and pepper, mix well and cook another few minutes, set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, add shredded cheeses and sour cream together in a mixing bowl.
  4. Add sauteed artichokes, garlic and lemon to cheese and sour cream.
  5. Sprinkle with a dash of cayenne (if desired), mix well and transfer to a casserole dish.
  6. Sprinkle additional monterey jack cheese over the top and bake in the oven for about 20-30 minutes until bubbly and cheese is melted on top.
  7. Let cool a few minutes, sprinkle with paprika and green onions. Serve with homemade baked pita chips (recipe follows), crackers or crudites.
http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2012/12/09/5-holiday-appetizer-recipes-and-colavita-olive-oil-holiday-giveaway/

Baked Garlic Pita Chips

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: Makes 36 pita chips

Making homemade pita chips is super easy and way better than buying the storebought kind for your holiday party. Mine are made with whole wheat pita bread, drizzled with EVOO, and sprinkled with garlic salt and cumin for some extra flavor. So delicious and crispy straight out of the oven and so addicting you'll never buy them again! Serve with Hot Parmesan Garlic Artichoke Dip or any of your other favorite party dips.

Ingredients

  • 6 whole wheat pita rounds
  • 2 tablespoons Colavita California EVOO
  • 1 tablespoon garlic salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon cumin

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Cut pita rounds into triangles (6 wedges per pita).
  3. Lay out pita wedges on a baking sheet and brush each wedge with olive oil.
  4. Sprinkle garlic salt and cumin on top.
  5. Flip over pita wedges, repeat coating with oil, salt and cumin.
  6. Place baking sheet(s) in oven and cook pita wedges for about 15 minutes (checking to make sure they don't burn!)
  7. Let cool, and serve with Hot Parmesan Garlic Artichoke Dip.
http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2012/12/09/5-holiday-appetizer-recipes-and-colavita-olive-oil-holiday-giveaway/

Sage, Lemon & Garlic Cocktail Meatballs
Sage, Lemon & Garlic Cocktail Meatballs

Sage, Lemon & Garlic Cocktail Meatballs

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 18 medium or 36 small meatballs

Serving Size: 2-4 per person

Everyone loves cocktail meatballs at holiday parties! These lovelies have a hint of lemon and sage and are light and fluffy, made with ground pork or chicken. They are first browned on the stovetop and then finished in the oven until golden brown. They're delicious alone, or dipped in a hot pepper jelly (Williams-Sonoma brand is great), balsamic pear jam (there's one by Academia Barilla that is to die for) or simply dipped in balsamic vinegar glace.

Ingredients

  • 3 slices of bread, crusts removed
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 pound ground pork or chicken
  • 1/4 cup fresh sage, chopped fine
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup onion, minced
  • zest and juice from half a lemon
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon Colavita Argentina EVOO
  • 1 tablespoon Colavita Roasted Garlic Cooking Oil Blend
  • Red Pepper jelly, for dipping (Williams Sonoma brand)
  • Balsamic Pear jam, for dipping (Academia Barilla brand)
  • Colavita Balsamic Glace, for dipping

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Remove crusts from bread and tear into small pieces in a large mixing bowl, add milk and let soak for 10-15 minutes.
  3. Mix in ground pork or chicken, sage, garlic, onion, lemon juice and zest, cheese, pepper flakes, egg, salt and pepper with soaked bread crumbs with your hands in a claw-like motion to keep meatballs light and fluffy.
  4. Roll meat mixture into small to medium size meatballs (small makes approximately 36, medium makes approximately 18).
  5. Heat olive oils in a large saute pan over medium heat (if not using cooking oil blend, mix EVOO with a tablespoon of butter to avoid temperature from getting too high and splattering).
  6. Cook meatballs in batches in the oil for about 5 minutes each batch until meatballs are browned on all sides, drain on paper towels.
  7. Once all meatballs are browned, place them on a large rimmed baking sheet coated with cooking spray to avoid sticking.
  8. Bake in the oven for approximately another 15 minutes until cooked through and to keep warm.
  9. Top with additional garlic salt (if desired), fresh chopped sage, and serve with red pepper jelly and balsamic pear jam, and Colavita Balsamic Glace for dipping.
http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2012/12/09/5-holiday-appetizer-recipes-and-colavita-olive-oil-holiday-giveaway/

Crunchy Zucchini Sticks w/ Yogurt Dill Sauce
Crunchy Zucchini Sticks w/ Yogurt Dill Sauce

Crunchy Zucchini Sticks w/ Yogurt Dill Sauce

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Yield: 8-10

These zucchini sticks are a great appetizer for any holiday party. They have a light crunchy coating of Japanese Panko seasoned bread crumbs and are finished with a splash of lemon and sprinkling of sea salt. They go perfect with the cool and creamy yogurt dill sauce or even a ranch dressing for dipping.

Ingredients

  • CRUNCHY ZUCCHINI STICKS
  • Colavita Roasted Garlic Cooking Oil Blend
  • 4 medium zucchini, cut into half, into long strips
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cups Panko Japanese-style seasoned breadcrumbs
  • Sea salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 2 large eggs
  • Sea salt, for sprinkling, to taste
  • Lemon wedges, for garnish
  • Fresh minced dill, for garnish
  • YOGURT DILL SAUCE
  • 1 cup of Greek yogurt
  • 2-3 tablespoon minced dill
  • Sea salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. CRUNCHY ZUCCHINI STICKS
  2. Heat olive oil over medium high heat in a large deep saute pan, about 2 inches high.
  3. Trim ends off zucchini, cut in half and then in half again lengthwise.
  4. Cut zucchini into large strips about 1/2 an inch thick.
  5. Pour the flour and Panko breadcrumbs into one large bowl and season with salt and pepper.
  6. Beat eggs in a separate bowl.
  7. Dip zucchini sticks in egg, shaking off excess, then dip in bowl to coat with flour and breadcrumbs.
  8. Place coated zucchini on a baking sheet.
  9. Fry in batches until golden brown, draining excess oil on another baking sheet lined with paper towels.
  10. Squeeze some fresh lemon juice on top of zucchini and sprinkle with fresh dill and additional sea salt to taste.
  11. YOGURT DILL SAUCE
  12. In a medium bowl, mix together greek yogurt, dill, salt and pepper to taste.
http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2012/12/09/5-holiday-appetizer-recipes-and-colavita-olive-oil-holiday-giveaway/

*This is a sponsored post by Colavita, but as usual, all opinions expressed are my own. I received 5 bottles of Colavita olive oil samples to create the recipes for this article and holiday promotion. Winners of the giveaway will receive the prizes directly from Colavita by mail and should expect 2-3 weeks delivery time due to the holidays. 

**All photographs, recipes and copy are copyrighted by Kristen Hess/The Artful Gourmet 2012 and cannot be republished without my permission or credit on the reposted original material from this article or website.

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