Chef Courtney Contos with Chef Contos Kitchen & Store joins us for our Christmas Cooking series with some delicious appetizers.
Sweet or Savory Nut Tarts
3/4 cup pecans or hazelnuts halves, toasted
1 cup mascarpone cheese, room temperature
1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon coarse salt
2 teaspoons rosemary or thyme or cinnamon depending on use
Vegetable-oil nonstick cooking spray
Process pecans in a food processor until finely ground. Beat together mascarpone and butter with a mixer on medium-high speed until smooth. Add flour, pecans, and salt and beat just until dough comes together.
Divide dough into 40 balls (about 1 tablespoon each) and refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.
Working in batches if necessary, lightly coat cups of mini muffin tins with cooking spray. Press balls into bottoms and up sides of cups and refrigerate until firm, at least 30 minutes or up to overnight.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake pastry cups 15 minutes. Press down bottoms of cups with the end of a wooden spoon handle, then continue to bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes more.
bacon jam, sun dried tomato, arugula
pear jam and blue cheese
goat cheese with caramelized shallot
smoked salmon with capers and red onion
Adapted from Martha Stewart
Red Wine Cherries
5 cups tart cherries (unsweetened)
3 cups red wine
2 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup water
1 cup ameretto plus 1/4 cup
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
pinch of salt
Cook all ingredients together except the 1/4 cup ameretto. Cook until syrupy, 10-20 minutes. Add the rest of the ameretto. Place in jar and keep in the fridge for weeks! Use in holiday drinks and desserts