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(Paul Fraughton | The Salt Lake Tribune) Honey is drizzled over a yule log appetizer.
These 'apps' are fast: Throw a holiday party with ease
Cooking » Easy to make bites that look festive for your party.
First Published Nov 27 2012 03:59 pm • Last Updated Nov 29 2012 08:11 am

Donna Kelly, a prosecutor in the Utah Attorney General’s office, and Sandra Hoopes, a college mentor, know what it means to be busy.

But that hasn’t kept these 50-something sisters from entertaining family and friends. Nor did it keep them from writing 200 Appetizers, a new cookbook with ideas and recipes on how to throw an appetizer party with ease.

At a glance

Goat cheese yule log

1 (10-12 ounce) log of goat cheese, room temperature

4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

1/2 cup diced pistachios

1/4 cup diced sweetened dried cranberries

1/4 cup minced parsley

1/4 cup honey

In a medium bowl, mix goat cheese and cream cheese together. Roll into a log, 4 to 5-inches long. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour or until firm. Combine pistachios, cranberries and parsleys on a plate. Unwrap cheese log and roll in mixture pressing down so that it adheres to the cheese.

Place on a serving plate and drizzle with honey. Serve with crackers, toasted bread slices or toasted pita triangles.

Servings » Makes 1 log

Source: 200 Appetizers by Donna Kelly and Sandra Hoopes

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The authors recently singled out "five fast apps" from the book that can be put together in about 10 minutes for holiday parties and potlucks. The offerings include colorful gift-wrapped shrimp bites, a rustic cheese spread, and a turkey cranberry bruschetta that isn’t the "dainty bite" you might expect from an appetizer book, said Hoopes.

"It’s a mini holiday meal" she said, with turkey, cucumber slices and cream cheese and garnished with cranberry sauce and a deep-fried sage. It’s the kind of "dude food" that will keep guests — especially the males in the group — from leaving the party hungry.

Maybe the easiest and most festive looking "fast app" is the goat cheese log rolled in colorful pistachios and dried cranberries and drizzled with honey (see recipe at left, and more at bottom of this story). Similar to a cheese ball, it’s a winner "because anything with goat cheese impresses," said Kelly.

200 Appetizers is the seventh cookbook for Kelly, a Provo resident. She also has authored Quesadillas, French Toast and 101 Things To Do With Chicken. About a year ago, she even submitted 100 recipes for an appetizer book, but the editors at Gibbs Smith Publishing in Layton decided they wanted 100 more recipes.

"I immediately thought of Sandy," Kelly said of her younger sister who lives in Phoenix and attended a culinary school.

Each author brings her own expertise to the book. Kelly, for example, was responsible for recipes in the "Mediterranean Mix" chapter, while Hoopes created the offerings in the "East Meets West" section. The sisters collaborated on the "South of the Border" sections, something they write about regularly on the Everyday Southwest blog they co-author.

"Cooking isn’t just about fuel for your body," said Kelly. "It’s about who you are and where you came from. When I get to cook with someone it’s much more rewarding. Especially when its someone you love and admire."

Kelly and Hoopes say they have been cooking together for about 45 years. Growing up in Tucson with six siblings, each had their own job at dinnertime. Kelly, the oldest, was in charge of making the salad. Hoopes, a middle child, was the cheese grater.

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When you live in the southwest, joked Hoopes, "you have to grate a lot of cheese."

Gift-wrapped shrimp bites

12 medium uncooked shrimp, shelled and deveined

Canola oil spray

2 tablespoons southwest spice rub or chile powder

1/4 teaspoons salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

12-24 green onions, depending on length

1 (6 ounce) jar roasted red peppers

Roll each shrimp into a round, with tail on outside. Push a toothpick or skewer through the center, so the shrimp will hold its round shape while cooking. Lightly spray shrimp with oil. Coat shrimp with spice mixture and place on heated grill pan. (Or place shrimp on an oiled baking sheet and place under the broiler.) Cook one to two minutes per side or until shrimp is opaque. Cool slightly and remove toothpick.

Cut green parts off onions, keeping the green portion as long in length as possible. Reserve white portions of onions for another use. Soften the green onion strips by dipping in boiling water or by heating in an oiled frying pan until bendable, about 1 minute, turning frequently.

Cut peppers into 12 circles or squares, the same diameter as the shrimp.

To assemble, place a pepper piece on top of each shrimp and wrap with an onion strip and tie into a bow or knot. (If the green onions are too short, tie two together; hiding the knot underneath the shrimp.) Serve warm.

Servings » 12

Source: 200 Appetizers by Donna Kelly and Sandra Hoopes

Turkey cranberry bruschetta

Vegetable oil for frying

1 bunch sage leaves

1 baguette, 3 inches in diameter

8 ounces whipped cream cheese

1 English cucumber, thinly sliced

1 pound thinly sliced turkey

1 (12-ounce) can whole cranberry sauce

Pour one-inch of oil in a medium frying pan. Heat to 375 degrees. Fry sage leaves until crispy. Remove and drain on a paper towel.

Slice baguette on the diagonal to make 12-16 oval slices. Spread each slice with cream cheese. Top with cucumber slices and 2 to 3 slices turkey. Garnish with cranberry sauce and fried sage leaves.

Servings » 12-16

Source: 200 Appetizers by Donna Kelly and Sandra Hoopes

Rustic cheese spread

16 ounces assorted cheese bits, such as cheddar, Gruyere or Parmesan

1/2 cup ricotta cheese

2 tablespoons cream cheese, softened

1 clove garlic

2 tablespoon diced flat leaf parsley

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

Dash of cayenne pepper sauce to taste

Salt to taste

Pepper to taste

1/4 to 1/2 cup of water

Place all ingredients, except water, in a food processor and process for about 2 minutes. Add water a few tablespoons at a time until smooth and spreadable. Serve at room temperature with crackers or toasted bread slices.

Servings » makes 3 cups

Source: 200 Appetizers by Donna Kelly and Sandra Hoopes

Elegant ham and sandwich bites

4 thin slices firm white bread, crusts removed

2 tablespoons cream cheese, softened

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

3 slices smoked or regular Gouda cheese

1 Granny smith apple, cored and cut into 1⁄8-inch thick slices

6 slices, paper-thin deli style ham, cut in half

Lightly toast bread slices. Cut each slice into three rectangles. In a small cup, combine cream cheese and mustard. Slice Gouda into rectangles to fit bread.

To assemble, spread a thin layer of cream cheese/mustard mixture on bread pieces. Top with a piece of Gouda and an apple slice. Wrap with a slice of ham, placing seam-side down on a serving plate. Serve immediately.

Servings » 12

Source: 200 Appetizers by Donna Kelly and Sandra Hoopes

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