Diva Tasting: A Few Appetizers to Start the Holidays….

Some Holiday Starters
Yam Crostini Starter
2 Cups Diced Canned Yams
4 Tablespoons Extra-Virgin Olive Oil, Divided
2 Teaspoons Chopped Fresh Sage
Salt And Ground Black Pepper To Taste
2 Tablespoons Butter
1 Leek, White And Light Green Parts Only, Thinly Sliced
1 French Baguette
1 Clove Garlic
1 (4 Ounce) Log Goat Cheese, At Room Temperature
1 Tablespoon Balsamic Glaze
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Pile the diced yam on the prepared baking sheet. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon oil and toss with your hands to lightly coat. Spread evenly and sprinkle with sage, salt, and pepper.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven until tender, about 10 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, melt butter in a medium frying pan over medium heat. Add leek and cook until softened and beginning to caramelize, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove roasted yams from the oven, add to the pan, and stir to combine.
  5. Slice the baguette at an angle into 1/2-inch slices. Brush both sides of each slice with remaining oil.
  6. Cook the preheated (on medium high) cast iron skillet until lightly browned, about 1 1/2 minutes per side.
  7. Remove from the grill and rub the garlic clove over the top side of each baguette slice 3 to 4 times. Spread goat cheese over each slice and top with a spoonful of the yam-leek mixture. Drizzle lightly with balsamic glaze and serve immediately.
Pear & Parmesan Crostini
1 Tablespoon Butter
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil, Divided, Or To Taste
2 Large Shallots, Chopped, Or More To Taste
1 Firm Bartlett Pear, Chopped, Or More To Taste
2 Teaspoons Chopped Fresh Thyme
Salt And Ground Black Pepper To Taste
1 Baguette
1 Clove Garlic, Halved
5 Tablespoons Grated Parmesan Cheese
  1. Heat butter and 1 teaspoon olive oil in a skillet over medium heat; stir in shallots. Cook and stir until golden brown, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and let cool, 20 to 25 minutes.
  2. Combine pears, 1 teaspoon olive oil, thyme, salt, and pepper with the shallots; stir until evenly mixed. Cover and refrigerate shallot mixture for about 2 hours.
  3. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
  4. Slice baguette into rounds. Rub with garlic and brush with 1 teaspoon olive oil. Place on a baking sheet.
  5. Toast in the preheated oven until golden, 8 to 10 minutes.
  6. Top baguette rounds with shallot mixture and Parmesan cheese.
  7. Turn oven’s broiler on. Return crostini to oven and broil until golden and bubbly, 1 to 2 minutes.
Pear and Brie Tartlets
24 Mini Phyllo Tart Shells
1/4 Pound Ripe Brie Cheese, Cut Into 24 Small Chunks
1 Ripe Pear, Cut Into Small Dice
2 Sprigs Fresh Thyme
2 Tablespoons Honey, Or To Taste
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Line a jelly roll pan with parchment paper.
  2. Arrange tart shells onto prepared pan. Put a piece of Brie cheese into each shell. Sprinkle diced pear and a couple thyme leaves into each shell and drizzle with honey.
  3. Bake in preheated oven until cheese is melted and tarts are golden, 12 to 15 minutes.
Shrimp Turnovers
3 Tablespoons Butter
1 Tablespoon Canola Oil
1/3 Cup Diced Celery Stalk
2/3 Cup Chopped Green Onions
2 Dashes Hot Sauce, Such As Tabasco
1 Teaspoon Minced Garlic
1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
2 Tablespoons All-Purpose Flour
1 Pound Large Shrimp – Peeled, Deveined And Chopped
1/2 Cup Ricotta Cheese
1/3 Cup Cream
1 (16 Ounce) Package Frozen Phyllo Dough, Thawed
1/2 Cup Butter
  1. Melt 3 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium heat, and add the canola oil. Stir in the celery; cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the green onions, hot sauce, and salt; cook and stir until onions are wilted, about 3 minutes. Stir the flour, shrimp, ricotta cheese, and cream into the mixture; cook and stir until the shrimp turn pink, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and cool.
  2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).
  3. Melt 1/2 cup butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat and keep warm. Stack two sheets of phyllo on top of each other, and cut into 3 strips about 3 inches by 12 inches. Brush the top of each strip with melted butter, and place a teaspoon of the shrimp mixture at one end. Fold phyllo dough over the filling, working back and forth from side to side to make a triangle. Seal the end closed with a little water or butter. Place triangle on an ungreased baking sheet. Repeat with remaining phyllo sheets and filling.
  4. Bake in preheated oven until tops are golden brown and flaky, 10 to 15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.
Broccoli Cheese Tartlets Starters
24 Mini Phyllo Tart Shells
8 Ounces Cream Cheese, Softened
1/2 Cup Shredded Asiago Cheese
1 Small Bag of Broccoli Slaw
1 Tablespoon Hot Pepper Sauce
  1. Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Place phyllo cups onto a baking sheet.
  2. Stir together cream cheese, Asiago cheese, broccoli slaw, and hot sauce in a bowl. Spoon mixture into phyllo cups. Bake in preheated oven until golden brown, about 15 to 20 minutes. Serve warm.
Crab and Artichoke Tartlets starters
20 Ounces Lump Crabmeat
12 Ounces Canned Artichoke Hearts, Drained And Chopped
8 oz. Cup Cream Cheese, Softened
1 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
6 Green Onions, Finely Chopped
3 Tablespoons All-Purpose Flour
1/8 Teaspoon Garlic Powder, Or To Taste
Ground Black Pepper To Taste
24 Mini Frozen Tart Shells, Thawed
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
  2. Combine crabmeat, artichoke hearts, cream cheese, Parmesan cheese, green onions, flour, garlic powder, and black pepper together in a bowl.
  3. Spoon crabmeat mixture evenly into tart shells. Place filled shells on a parchment lined baking sheet.
  4. Bake in preheated oven until tart is golden and filling is bubbling, 25-30 minutes.
Sausage Cheese Tartlets
1 Pound Ground Italian Sausage
1/2 Cup Shredded Monterey Jack Cheese
1/2 Cup Shredded Colby Cheese
1/2 Cup Salsa
24 (3.5 Inch Square) Mini Frozen Filo Cups Thawed
1 (16 Ounce) Container Sour Cream
1 Bunch Green Onions, Chopped
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a miniature muffin pan.
  2. Place ground Italian sausage in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat until evenly brown and crumbly. Drain and remove from heat.
  3. Stir Monterey Jack cheese and Colby cheese into the warm sausage to melt. Stir in salsa.
  4. Place cups on a parchment lined baking sheet. Place a heaping tablespoon of the sausage mixture into each cup.
  5. Bake 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until cups brown.
  6. Transfer baked filled filo cups to a serving platter. Dollop each with approximately 1 tablespoon sour cream. Sprinkle with green onions.

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