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Snacks to share at potlucks, other get-togethers

Onetallchef/Wikimedia Commons

If your guests like seafood, try serving small rounds of bread with a hot crab dip at your next holiday gathering.


The holiday get-togethers are in full swing and one thing that seems to be a requirement is food, at least appetizers if not a full-blown meal. If you are looking for some appetizer recipes to serve guests or to bring to a potluck event, here are some to consider.

At this writing, the weather seems to be in between storms, but that won’t last. Please take extra care when out and about and stay warm and cozy as much as you can. I am enjoying fuzzy slipper socks on the days when I don’t have to leave the house. Cozy days make for good cooking days.

Asian pork rolls

1 tablespoon sesame oil

1 pound ground pork

1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced

4 cloves fresh garlic, minced

1 tablespoon Sriracha sauce

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 can (8-oz.) water chestnuts, drained and chopped

5 green onions, chopped

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1/2 teaspoon black pepper, or to taste

2 eggs, beaten

2 boxes frozen puff pastry (4 sheets in total)

For topping:

1 egg beaten, for egg wash

1/4 cup sesame seeds

For sauce:

1 cup honey mustard

1/4 cup sweet chili sauce

2 tablespoons Sriracha sauce

1. In a large skillet heat the sesame oil. Add the ground pork, ginger and garlic to the skillet and cook until browned and cooked through, breaking it up as it cooks.

2. Stir in the Sriracha and soy sauce and cook for 1 more minute. Add the water chestnuts, green onions, cilantro and stir. Remove from heat and let cool for about 5 minutes.

3. Preheat oven to 425. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Season the meat mixture with pepper and stir in the 2 beaten eggs; set aside.

4. On a lightly floured surface, working with one pastry sheet at a time, cut each pastry sheet into thirds. Brush the edges of each piece of cut pastry with some of the beaten egg. Spread about 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup of the mixture along the center of each cut pastry. Roll each piece forming a log, pinching the ends together. Cut each log into 6 pieces.

5. Transfer the rolls to the prepared baking sheets, brush them with the beaten egg and sprinkle with sesame seeds. You will probably need 2 or 3 baking sheets depending on size.

Bake the rolls for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown.

6. While the rolls are baking, prepare the sauce by whisking all the sauce ingredients together in a medium-size bowl. Serve rolls with the spicy mustard sauce.

Tortilla roll-up tree

2 packages (8-oz. each) cream cheese, softened

1 package ranch dressing mix

1 jar (4-oz.) pimentos, drained and patted dry

1 jar or can (4-oz.) diced green chilies, drained and patted dry

1 can (2.25-oz.) sliced black olives, drained and roughly chopped

2 green onions, chopped

1/4 cup chopped yellow pepper plus a piece cut into a star shape

3/4 cup finely shredded sharp Cheddar cheese

4 12-inch green flour tortillas (usually they are made with spinach)

10 to 12 cherry or grape tomatoes

Salsa, for serving

1. In a large bowl, mix together the softened cream cheese and the ranch dressing mix until evenly combined.

2. Add the pimentos, green chilies, black olives, green onions, yellow pepper, and Cheddar cheese. Stir gently until everything is well mixed.

3. Divide the cream cheese mixture on the four tortillas. Then, using a spatula, spread the mixture on each tortilla in an even layer. Keep the mixture a 1/2 inch from the edge.

4. Roll up the tortillas. Set them on a plate and cover it with plastic wrap. Chill in refrigerator for about 2 hours or until firm. Then using a serrated knife, cut the tortillas into 1/2-inch slices.

5. Stack in layers to form a tree shape. Garnish with cherry tomato ornaments and a yellow pepper star. Serve with salsa.

Biscuit ring with dip

1 can refrigerated biscuits

Extra-virgin olive oil, for brushing biscuits

1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese

2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

1 cup ricotta cheese

3/4 cup frozen chopped spinach, defrosted

1/4 cup mayonnaise

2 teaspoons garlic powder or granules

1 teaspoon kosher salt

Crushed red pepper flakes, for garnish

1. Preheat oven to 350. Halve biscuits and flatten each one out, then roll into a ball and place in an oven-proof skillet seam side down. Arrange in a ring around the skillet. Brush biscuits with olive oil and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon Parmesan.

2. In a large bowl, combine mozzarella, ricotta, spinach, Parmesan, mayonnaise, garlic powder, and salt and mix until combined.

3. Spoon dip into center of skillet and sprinkle with red pepper flakes. Bake in preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until biscuits are done and golden brown and cheese mixture is heated through. Serve warm.

Hot crab artichoke dip

I like to use an equivalent amount of marinated artichoke hearts instead of the water-pack kind.

1 package (8-oz.) cream cheese, softened

1 cup mayonnaise

1 1/2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese, divided

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1 can (14-oz.) artichoke hearts, drained and finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

12 ounces lump crab meat

2 green onions, thinly sliced

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, for garnish

Garlic crostini:

1 baguette, sliced

Extra-virgin olive oil

Kosher salt

1 large clove garlic, with top sliced off

1. Preheat oven to 425. In a large bowl, stir together cream cheese, mayonnaise, 1 cup of Monterey Jack cheese, Parmesan, artichoke hearts, garlic, crab meat, green onions and Worcestershire and season with salt and pepper.

2. Transfer mixture to a 10- or 12-inch oven-safe skillet and sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup Monterey Jack cheese. Bake until golden and bubbly, 15 to 20 minutes.

3. For garlic crostini: On a large baking sheet, drizzle baguette slices with olive oil and season with salt. Bake at 350 until golden and toasted, about 10 minutes. Immediately rub with a whole garlic clove to flavor the bread. (Being careful not to rub so hard the bread crumbles.)

4. Garnish dip with parsley and serve with the garlic crostini. Makes about 8 servings.

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