Holiday Entertaining Guide - Page 40 - Please a party crowd (2)

Holiday Entertaining Guide
- Page 40
Please a party crowd (2)
cups. Fold pastry over filling, pressing corners together to meet in center. Spinach puffs can be assembled 3 hours ahead. Cover puffs and chill.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Beat remaining egg to blend in a small bowl. Brush pastry with egg wash (this will give the pastry a nice sheen). Bake until pastry is golden brown and puffed, about 25 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack; let puffs cool in pan for 10 minutes. Run a sharp paring knife around pan edges to loosen; turn out puffs onto rack to cool slightly before serving.

Adapted from Bonappetite.com

Tested by Susan Selasky for the Free Press Test Kitchen.

Crostini with whipped feta tomatoes
Yield: 20 to 25 appetizers
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Total time: 45 minutes

• 6 ounces good-quality feta, crumbled
• 2 ounces cream cheese, softened
• 2/3 cup good olive oil, divided
• 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
• Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 2 tablespoons minced shallots
• 2 cloves garlic, peeled, minced
• 2 tablespoons good red wine vinegar
• 2 ripe heirloom or cherry tomatoes, ½-inch-diced
• 3 tablespoons julienned fresh basil leaves, plus extra for serving, optional
• 20 to 25 (1/2-inch-thick) diagonal baguette slices, toasted
• 2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts

In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade, place the feta and cream cheese. Pulse until the cheeses are mixed. Add 1/3 cup of the olive oil, the lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and process until smooth.

For the tomatoes, up to an hour before you’re serving, combine the shallots, garlic and vinegar in a medium bowl. Set aside for 5 minutes. Whisk in the remaining 1/3 cup olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Add the tomatoes, stir gently and set aside for 10 minutes. Stir in the basil and taste for seasonings.

To assemble the crostini, spread each slice of bread with a generous amount of whipped feta. With a slotted spoon, place the tomatoes on top. Put the crostini on plates and scatter with the pine nuts. Sprinkle with extra basil and serve.

From “Barefoot Contessa Foolproof” by Ina Garten (Clarkson Potter, $35).

Tested by Susan Selasky for the Free Press Test Kitchen.

Pepperoni and cheese caprese bites
Makes: 24
Preparation time: 35 minutes
Total time: 35 minutes

• 24 mini mozzarella balls
• 24 basil leaves
• 24 pepperoni slices (about 2 inches in diameter)
• 24 cherry or grape tomatoes
• 24 small (3- to 4-inch) skewers
• 1/2 cup or more as needed Italian vinaigrette

Thread the mozzarella ball first, then fold the pepperoni in half and half again and thread onto the toothpick. Next add the basil leaf and finally the tomato. Place on a serving platter and drizzle with the vinaigrette.

Adapted from several recipes at www.pinterest.com

Tested by Susan Selasky for the Free Press Test Kitchen.