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GardenSMART :: More Party Hearty Fare is on the Calendar

More Party Hearty Fare is on the Calendar

By Tommy C. Simmons, an enthusiastic cook
Photograph by Tommy C. Simmons

New neighbors have moved in across the street and I haven't gone over to meet them yet. My excuse is not having cooked anything to take to welcome them to the neighborhood. As I say this, my face should be turning bright red in embarrassment, since I've made plenty of time to prepare casseroles and party foods for church and social potluck parties over the past month.

Two, easy-to-make party appetizers can also serve as welcome to the block gifts. In fact, I think I'll double the Winter Fruit Relish and keep a jar in the refrigerator for the holidays. Never know when I'll find a minute (even in December) to pause and introduce myself and welcome the newcomers on the block.

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Winter Fruit Relish and Provencal Roasted Olives are two tasty appetizers to take to parties.

Home kitchen-tested recipe

Winter Fruit Relish

Makes 4 cups. Adapted recipe is from "Apple Cookbook" by Olwen Woodier.

  • 2 sweet apples, such as Golden Delicious, Gala, Ambrosia or Honey Crisp, cored and finely chopped
  • 2 medium pears, peeled, cored and chopped
  • ½ cup pitted dates
  • ¼ cup golden raisins or finely chopped dried apricots
  • ½ cup apple juice
  • 1 tbl. honey
  • ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ¾ cup fresh cranberries, coarsely chopped in a food processor
  • ½ cup chopped pecans, toasted
  • 1 tsp. grated orange zest
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cloves
  1. Combine all ingredients and refrigerate in a covered container or preserve jar.
  2. When ready to serve, spoon over a block of cream cheese or offer as a condiment for ham, turkey or chicken. Also tasty with ginger snaps or a salty sturdy chip or cracker.

A second recipe I rediscovered in my recipe file this season was a lovely roasted olive appetizer. Know you'll love this one, too:

Provencal Roasted Olives

Serves 8 or more. Original recipe is from Lindsay Olives.

  • 1 pint (2 cups) grape or cherry tomatoes
  • 1 cup black ripe pitted olives, drained
  • 1 cup kalamata pitted olives, drained
  • 1 cup Lindsay Queen Olives Stuffed With Garlic, drained
  • 8 whole fresh garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 tbl. herbes de Provence blend
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • Toasted baguette slices or crackers
  1. Heat oven to 425 degrees. Put all the ingredients, except baguette slices or crackers, on a baking sheet pan and toss to combine well.
  2. Roast the olive mixture in the preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until the tomatoes have shriveled and browned slightly.
  3. Cool on the sheet pan and transfer all ingredients to a shallow bowl. Serve at room temperature with toasted baguette slices or crackers. Can serve with toothpicks to make placing olives on baguettes or crackers easier.

Note: If you have trouble finding the specified olives, use any combination that appeals to you. I also like to add two or three bay leaves to the mixture for added Mediterranean flavor.

 


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