Sunday, February 24, 2008

Appetizers for Foodie Friends

Last weekend we were invited to share Valentines dinner at the home of one of our foodie friends. Karen, our hostess, asked if I would be willing to make hors d'oeuvres. You betcha! Appetizers or hors d'oeuvres are at the top of the list when it comes to my favorite things to make, making appies for "The Foodies" is the best of all. I can try new things on this gang, they're easy to please and open to trying new things. I used to test run my new recipes, lately I've been brave and thrown the test-run idea out the window.

I made two appies, I hadn't made either of them before. I figured at least one of them would be good. If not...there was always the main course and dessert.... you never starve when you dine with this crowd.

My friend Tami has more photos of the dinner on her blog, she mentioned that she would like it if I posted the recipes, here ya go Tam!


sliced pancetta

Boursin cheese

asian pear

fresh thyme

I found the original recipe on It called for specially sliced pancetta, a bit thicker than the pancetta you find packaged pre-sliced. The odds of finding that here in farm country are ...uh...zeroooo. I went to four stores and finally settled on the only pancetta I could find, packaged and pre-sliced. It's very thin but I just used a butter knife to tease the slices apart, make sure the pancetta is cold when you do this, if it's warm it will tear and stretch. The recipe says to bake the pancetta flat on parchment but I eased the slices into my mini muffin cups and baked them for 12-14 minutes at 400 degrees. The recipe said your oven would be smoky, that didn't happen to me. I put them in the mini muffin tins because I thought they would be easier to eat if the pancetta was shaped like little cups/tarts. Sometimes I like appetizers that are one easy bite, especially if you're standing around having cocktails.

So, the pancetta cups are ready. The original recipe calls for them to be filled with goat cheese, since The Husband isn't too fond of goat cheese I used Boursin. I had to be really careful when I was putting the Boursin into the pancetta cups, they're quite fragile and break easily. At this point I put the cheesy cups into the fridge. Right before I left for the party I sliced little wedges of asian pear and popped the point into the cheese. The original recipe calls for fresh thyme to decorate the top of these tidbits...sure....fresh thyme in rural farm country in Feb, um..that's not going to happen in the stores around here....and the thyme in my garden is leafless twigs right now. I just used some coarsly ground black pepper, I don't know if you would need to do that because the Boursin is quite flavorful as it is. I left the peel on the pear for color, I thought it would add contrast to the cheese and the pancetta.

I liked this recipe, the gang seemed to like them too. My brother-in-law (who is one of my un-official testers) thinks that they would be better they could be served warm, it's a good idea...but I don't know how the heck to do that. You can tell this man doesn't spend a lot of time in the kitchen making fussy little appetizers.

So, below is the photo of the appetizer tray. The Pancetta Crisps are on the left, sorry...the photo isn't the best. I also made Shrimp Puffs, I'm hoping to post that recipe next week. I liked those too, ok...I like almost anything. Guess that's why my jeans are so darn snug.


tami said...

Thank you, Shell. I'll refer Jeff and Kathi to your site as they wanted the recipes...We'll keep watching for the puffs.

Lori said...


It was so nice to look at your blog tonite. The dog is beautiful. Her eyes almost look Asian. I hope you will end up keeping her. I so want a dog but I feel at this time my two year old keeps me busy enough.

I loved the pictures, especially the yellow flowers and the recycled glass fixture. Cool idea. Would love to see a pic of your party barn.

THe pancetta looks yummie.

Shelly said...

Tam - uh oh, now I better get going on those puffs!

Lori - Aw... thanks for all the nice words, the dog is a doll...we're keeping her for sure.
I'm planning to do more party barn posts for sure.