Holiday Appetizers


Tis the season for appetizers!  I thought I would share  a few of my recent favorites with you!

I had a very large board crafted for my daughter’s small engagement party and for the recent ATOP wine event with Chateau Pommard and I just love the way it works for tasty tidbits.


I like to line up 3 or 4 selections in rows on the board for a unifying look.  You can see  that I included 2 types of sandwiches, Chicken Tart-lets and miniature Bistro Salads with Blood Orange Vinaigrette.

Small salads made in plastic cups

Making salads in cups with small wooden forks is a simple do ahead idea that allows you to offer tasty vegetables without the traditional veggie tray.

Beef and Blue Cheese Crostini is always a favorite so for the party I modified it into a sandwich.

Open faced beef and blue cheese sandwich

The layers were built on French bread; lettuce and tomatoes were added for a pop of color.

Beef and blue cheese sandwiches

The sandwiches were sliced into smaller, 3-4 bite sizes.

small sandwiches tied with string

To make the small sandwiches an easy grab and go appetizer, just add a strip of brown butcher paper and tie them with string.


I love making Spicy Chicken Tart-lets because they are so cute.  They are also super easy to eat at a party and everybody loves them.


Bistro Salads with Blood Orange Vinaigrette 

1 head romaine lettuce chopped

1 tomato chopped

1 avocado chopped

¼ cup dried cherries

¼ cup toasted pecans


½ cup fresh squeezed blood orange juice and its zest

½ cup extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 shallot minced

1 teaspoon sugar

1 heaping teaspoon Dijon mustard

Salt and pepper

Toss salad ingredients in a bowl.  To prepare dressing, add all ingredients to a glass jar and shake vigorously.  Dress salad and serve.


Beef and Blue Cheese Crostini

Beef Marinade

2 cloves garlic

¼ cup Worcestershire sauce

2 tablespoon olive oil

¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper

1 pound deli roast beef thinly sliced.


1 French baguette cut into thin slices

3 tablespoon olive oil


½ cup sour cream

1 tablespoon prepared horseradish

¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1/3 cup blue cheese crumbles

2 tablespoons chives

Prepare beef by placing all marinade ingredients and beef in a zip top bag.  Refrigerate several hours.  Prepare sauce my mixing sour cream, horseradish and pepper in a small bowl.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Brush both sides of French bread slices with olive oil and arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet.  Bake until bread it beginning to brown and turn over to brown the other side.  Remove from oven and allow bread to cool.  Assemble the crostini by adding beef, a small amount of sauce and then sprinkle with both blue cheese and chives.  Serve at once.

Spicy Chicken Tart-lets

1 baked chicken breast, shredded

1 package puff pastry, thawed

½ cup frozen corn

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

¾ cup salsa

¼ cup red onion, finely diced

2 tablespoons pickled jalapenos, diced

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon chili powder

½ teaspoon garlic powder

1 slightly beaten egg

Preheat oven to 375. Place chicken in a medium bowl, add spices and mix well.  Add remaining ingredients reserving puff pastry and mix.  Unfold and roll pastry sheets out on a flour surface to about 10 x 12 inches.  Using a 3-inch biscuit cutter cut rounds of pastry, 12 per sheet. Place a spoonful of the chicken mixture in the center of each circle.  Top with a second circle and using a fork press the two circles together.  I like to pinch a crinkled pattern on the crust edge, like a pie crust edge.  Brush the tart-lets with egg wash and prick tops with fork to let steam escape.  Bake on a greased baking sheet for 10-12 minutes until golden brown.


Artichoke Cheese Bake

Artichoke Cheese Bake

Artichoke Cheese Bake

Need a simple go-to appetizer?  My Artichoke Cheese Bake never disappoints a crowd.

Artichoke Cheese Bake before it goes into the oven.

It really is so simple to make, just mix the ingredients, put it in a baking dish and pop it in the oven.  Really people go crazy for this stuff!  Try it the next time someone asks you to bring an appetizer to a party!

For more fantastic appetizer recipes, consider joining me for an upcoming class, Ultimate Appetizers on  November 14th, just in time for holiday party inspiration!

Artichoke Cheese Bake.

Artichoke Cheese Soufflé Bake

2 8-ounce packages of cream cheese

1 cup of grated Parmesan cheese

1 cup of mayonnaise

2 cloves garlic, pressed

1 cup chopped frozen artichoke hearts

1 red pepper chopped

Dash cayenne

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Using an electric mixer, cream together cream cheese, mayonnaise and Parmesan cheese for 2-3 minutes.  Fold in vegetables, garlic and cayenne.  Pour mixture into a deep baking dish and bake 25-30 minutes, until brown and bubbly.  Serve with crackers or French bread.



Brie with Buttered Pecan Cherry Compote- Appetizer 3


Cherry pecan compote over brie

When it’s appetizer time, nothing satisfies like brie served with a decadent topping.  My Brie with Buttered Pecans and Cherries is hard to beat.  The tart fruit and warm pecans complement the creamy texture of brie perfectly.

Serve this tasty bite with apple, French bread or crackers for a happy crowd!

Stay tuned next week when I will be sharing some of my favorite sweet bites to enjoy with your friends and families.

Brie with Cherries and pecans 1

Brie with Buttered Pecan Cherry Compote 

1 brie wedge

2 tablespoons butter

¾ cup chopped pecans

¾ cup dried cherries

Juice and zest of 1 orange

¼ cup brown sugar

½ teaspoon vanilla

Pinch salt

In a small saucepan, melt butter.  Brown the pecans in the butter for about 3 minutes.  Add remaining ingredients to saucepan and simmer slowly until mixture is thick.  Pour warm compote over room temperature cheese and serve.




Tomato Basil Tartlet- Appetizer 2

Tomato basil tartlets.JPG

Tomato, basil and cheese is without a doubt my favorite flavor profile.  I have developed many recipes over the years using this trio of ingredients and these Tomato Basil Tartlets are among the best.

This precious 3 bite appetizer is simple to make and always a crowd pleaser.   Enjoy and stay tuned for one more sensational appetizer this week!

Tomato Basil Tartlets

1 sheet puff pastry, thawed

1 cup Gruyere cheese

¼ cup fresh basil cut in a chiffonade

2-3 Roma tomatoes cut in slices

½ teaspoon fresh thyme

2 tablespoons parmesan cheese

Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Cut tomatoes into thin slices, about 1/8 of an inch thick.  Lay tomatoes in a single layer on paper towels and sprinkle with salt.  Roll out puff pastry to eliminate creases.  Using a biscuit cutter cut 12 rounds from the sheet.   Place rounds on greased baking sheet.  Mix the cheese, basil and thyme together in a small bowl.  Put a pinch on each pastry round.  Top with tomato, salt and pepper and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.  Bake for 12-14 minutes until tarts are puffed and beginning to brown.


Apple Crostini- Appetizer 1


It is appetizer season!  Chances are you have been asked to bring an appetizer to at least one holiday party this year.  I would like to share 3 of my favorites with you this week, today, Apple Crostini.

Apple Crostini is my current appetizer crush, when I make theses I cannot stop eating them!  NO need to feel guilty since the cracker is an apple slice!

This is a recipe I developed for Dinner Party 2018 hosted by Lauren Palmer at TAOLB and Marcie and Tracy of Unique Unique Designs and myself. These beautiful photos were taken by Jet Pack Creative, thank you!!

Enjoy and stay tuned for more yummy appetizers later this week!

apple app 2 TAOLB Dinner Party - 39

Apples Crostini

2-3 large red, sweet apples such as Ambrosia or Fuji

½ lemon

4 ounces goat cheese

½ cup pistachios, roasted and chopped

½ cup dried cranberries

¼ teaspoon cinnamon plus more for garnish

1 tablespoon good quality maple syrup plus more for drizzling

Slice apples crosswise, very thin creating apple crackers.  Ambrosia and Fuji apples will not turn brown after they are cut but just to insure, rub each apple slice with lemon half.  In a small bowl combine goat cheese, cranberries, pistachios, reserve 1 teaspoon for garnish, cinnamon and 1 tablespoon syrup and mix well.  Place a scant teaspoon of the mixture on each apple cracker and spread slightly.  Sprinkle with a dusting of cinnamon, pistachios and a few drops of syrup.


Cheese Truffles, Oh My!


“After my first ATOP trip to Paris and the champagne region, meeting food artisans;

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I could not wait to go to Provence where we get to meet the farmers and local producers!” Tonni Callan


Cultivating relationships with French food artisans is something I take very seriously.  I have been working for decades to find the very best experiences France has to offer!


I am excited too, Tonni, about taking my Provence 2018 group to meet the farmers and producers of fine foods and wines of the region.


A Taste of Provence is a bit more relaxed pace.  Unlike Paris, people tend to take their time and get to know one another.


We may even get to milk the goats before seeing how this creamy tart cheese is made.


I was inspired to create my recipe for Goat Cheese Truffles by a visit to a cheese cave in Saint Remy-de-Provence.


I’ll be taking my travelers here to enjoy local wine, some of these luscious morsels and the beautiful cave. Saint Remy, nicknamed the jewel of Provence, will be our home for a week.

There is still time to register for travel with me to Provence in 2019!

And meanwhile, make some of these beautiful treats to enjoy with a bottle of rosé this weekend!


Goat Cheese Truffles 3 Varieties


1 8 ounce package of cream cheese

6 ounce package fresh chevre

Prepare base mixture by combining cheeses and mixing well. Split mixture evenly into 3 small bowls. Proceed with each recipe below.


Paprika Goat Cheese Truffles

¼ teaspoon onion powder

1 clove garlic, pressed

3 tablespoons paprika, divided.

To one of the small bowls of cheese mix onion powder, garlic and ¼ teaspoon paprika and mix well. Shape scant teaspoon sized amounts of cheese into balls.  Place remaining paprika in a shallow dish and roll each cheese ball into the paprika coating all surfaces


Herbed Goat Cheese Truffles

½ teaspoon herbs de Provence

¼ cup finely chopped fresh parsley divided

To one of the small bowls of cheese mix herbs and ½ teaspoon parsley and mix well. Shape scant teaspoon sized amounts of cheese into balls.  Place remaining parsley in a shallow dish and roll each cheese ball into the parsley coating all surfaces.


Lavender Goat Cheese Truffles

¼ teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon creamed honey

¼ cup crushed lavender

To one of the small bowls of cheese mix onion powder and honey and mix well. Shape scant teaspoon sized amounts of cheese into balls.  Place lavender in a shallow dish and roll each cheese ball into the parsley coating all surfaces.