Today’s column features several appetizer recipes and many recipes include bacon. We purchased uncured bacon, (no nitrites). Most of the recipes serve four to six guests. One or two recipes will easily serve a small dinner party. If you’re planning an appetizer party, prepare several additional recipes.
Goat cheese trio — Cut a 12 ounce log of goat cheese crosswise into 3 mini logs. Roll 1 piece in chopped mixed herbs, another in cracked mixed peppercorns and the last in chopped dried cranberries and cashews. Serve with a baguette slices or crackers.
Blue cheese-pecan spread — Mix 1/2 cup softened blue cheese with 2 tablespoons chopped toasted pecans. Spread on celery sticks or crackers and drizzle with honey.
Kale-artichoke dip — Thaw 1 1/2 cups frozen kale and 1/2 cup frozen artichoke hearts; squeeze dry, then roughly chop. Combine with 4 ounces softened cream cheese, 1/2 cup each shredded Swiss cheese and milk, 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese, 1 minced small garlic clove, 1/2 teaspoon salt and a dash of each cayenne and Worcestershire sauce in a microwave-safe dish. Cover and microwave 5 minutes and stir. Serve with pita chips or crackers.
Indian yogurt dip — Mix 1 cup Greek yogurt with 2 tablespoons each chopped cilantro and tomato, 1 tablespoon minced shallot, 1/2 teaspoon each ginger and garlic. Add salt to taste. Serve with crackers and pita chips.
Chunky guacamole — Finely chop 1 small white onion and 1 serrano chile. Mix with 1 cup torn cilantro, 3 diced avocados, the juice of 2 limes. Add salt to taste. It’s also an excellent topping for fish or chicken.
Bacon guacamole — Mash 4 avocados. Add 8 chopped cooked bacon slices, 1/4 cup each chopped red onion and the juice of 1 lime. Season with salt.
Bacon-stuffed tomatoes — Mix 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese, 2 tablespoons cream cheese, 1 tablespoon milk and 3 chopped cooked bacon slices. Stuff into 1-2 small or medium size hollowed out tomatoes.
Bacon-stuffed potatoes — Toss 1 pound baby potatoes with olive oil, salt and pepper. Bake at 450 degrees, 20 minutes. Let cool. Halve and scoop 1/2 teaspoon flesh from each potato. Mash potato with 2 tablespoons each butter and sour cream, and 3 chopped cooked bacon slices. Stuff into the potato halves and top with shredded cheddar. Bake 5-10 more minutes until warm.
Crostini are small thin slices of toasted bread. To make crostini, purchase a long, small diameter baguette. Thinly slice, place bread slices on a cookie sheet, lightly brush top side with olive oil and toast in a 375 degree oven until golden, about 6-10 minutes.
Bacon-tomato crostini — Drain and rinse 1 can cannellini beans. Warm cannellini beans in a skillet with 1/4 cup water and 1 teaspoon each chopped sage and thyme. Mash. Spread onto toasted baguette slices. Drizzle with olive oil and top with chopped cooked bacon and chopped cherry tomatoes.
Bacon-ricotta crostini — Top toasted baguette slices with ricotta and cooked bacon pieces. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons honey mixed with 1 teaspoon smoked paprika.
Bacon-Caesar crostini — Toss 1 chopped romaine heart with 2 tablespoon each mayonnaise and white wine vinegar, and 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard. Season with pepper. Divide among toasted baguette slices. Top with chopped cooked bacon.
Enjoy a tasty appetizer or two.