Who has time during the holidays for complicated dishes? These two fast, easy appetizer recipes will wow your guests (especially the vegetarians) and likely find a way onto your menu on a regular basis.
Clinton Kelly’s Goat Cheese and Red Pepper Mousse Recipe
Enjoy this 5-star appetizer from The Chew cohost Clinton Kelly’s Freakin’ Fabulous Holidays.
8 ounces goat cheese
4 ounces mascarpone or cream cheese
1 12-ounce jar roasted red peppers (drained and roughly chopped)
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2 cloves roasted garlic
Salt and pepper to taste
Chopped chives for garnish
Combine all ingredients in food processor, except chives, and mix until smooth, about one minute.
Chill for 4 hours.
Stir and add to pastry bag or plastic bag with the corner snipped off.
Pipe onto crackers or bruschetta.
Garnish with chopped chives and serve.
Buddy Valastro’s Crostini with Ricotta and Honey
This quick recipe from Buddy Valastro’s new book, Family Celebrations With the Cake Boss. He calls this recipe “one of my favorites” and describes the touch of lemon zest as a little “how you doin’?”, as he told told Rachael Ray when cooking the appetizer for her. Mangia!
8 1-inch-thick slices from a baguette cut on a long bias
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup full-fat ricotta cheese
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt plus more to taste
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper plus more to taste
2 teaspoons honey
Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350ºF. (You can also use a toaster oven preheated to 350ºF.)
Drizzle or brush the baguette slices with 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, then toast until lightly golden and crispy, 8 to 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the ricotta spread. In a bowl, use a rubber spatula to stir together the ricotta, lemon zest, salt, pepper and remaining tablespoon olive oil.
Spoon about 2 tablespoons of the ricotta mixture onto each baguette slice. Top each with about 1/4 teaspoon of honey and finish with salt and pepper. Arrange the crostini on a serving plate or platter and serve.