Holiday Entertaining Guide - Page 42 - Please a party crowd (4)

Holiday Entertaining Guide
- Page 42
Please a party crowd (4)
• 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil, plus more for garnish, optional
• 1/2 cup mini fresh mozzarella balls, cut into quarters
• 1 can (2.25 ounces) sliced black olives, drained
• 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
• 1/4 cup Italian dressing

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Using two 12-cup muffin tins, place one salami slice in each cup. Press salami into cups so it lines the cup. Bake 6 to 8 minutes, or until salami is crisp. Remove from oven and let cool, then place on serving platter.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, mix together the artichoke hearts, roasted peppers, basil, mozzarella, olives, Italian seasoning and Italian dressing. Fill salami cups with artichoke mixture and garnish with extra basil. Serve immediately, or chill until ready to serve.

Cook’s note:The thickness of the salami is important; if it’s too thick or too thin, it won’t hold its shape once it’s baked.

From “Wheel of Fortune Collectible Cookbook” (Mr. Food Test Kitchen; $21.95).

Tested by Susan Selasky for the Free Press Test Kitchen.

Baked brie with maple,
walnuts and dates
Yield: Serves 16
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Total time: 30 minutes

The original recipe called for 3 quartered fresh figs, but they are not widely available, so we substituted sweet dates.

• 1 wheel brie (8 ounces), well-chilled
• 1/4 cup chopped toasted walnuts
• 5 medjool dates, quartered
• 3 tablespoons warmed maple syrup
• Crostini or crackers for serving

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Coat a small ovenproof dish with nonstick cooking spray. Cut the rind off the top of the brie and place the cheese, cut side up, in the prepared dish. Press walnuts into the cut side. Arrange the dates over the top.

Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until warm and just starting to ooze around the edges. Remove from the oven, let cool about 5 minutes, drizzle with syrup and serve with crostini or crackers.

Adapted from “Maple: 100 Sweet And Savory Recipes Featuring Pure Maple Syrup” by Katie Webster (Quirk Books, $22.95).

Tested by Susan Selasky for the Free Press Test Kitchen.

Gracious grapes
Yield: Serves 10
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Total time: 45 minutes

The only trick to this recipe is making sure the grapes are very dry so the cream cheese mixture sticks. You can easily cut the recipe in half.The grapes keep for several days in the fridge.

• 11/2 pounds seedless red or green grapes, or a combination
• 2 cups toasted walnut pieces
• 1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
• 8 ounces block cream cheese (regular or reduced-fat), softened
• 4 ounces Roquefort or other crumbly blue cheese
• 4 to 5 tablespoons heavy cream

Remove the grapes from the stems (you should have about 4 cups). Wash and dry the grapes very well, placing them on a rimmed baking sheet lined with a kitchen towel to dry completely.

Finely chop the walnuts by hand so they are chopped, but not pasty. Put the chopped nuts in a shallow bowl, stir in the parsley and set