Thursday, November 13, 2014


In honor of November being Gluten-Free Diet Awareness Month, it seemed appropriate to put together a tea time on the lighter, healthier side serving more fruits and vegetables and skipping the bread, scones and cakes!  Somehow, I don’t think your guests will miss them – well, maybe the scones, but you could always find a gluten-free scone mix or create your own from scratch.
Here are some adapted recipes to choose from in both the savory and sweet categories, but I’m sure you could adapt some of your own favorites too:
CUCUMBER BOATS: Cut 1 cucumber lengthwise, remove seeds and cut a strip off the bottom of each half to set level and turn upside down on paper towels to drain.  Peel, seed and dice another cucumber, then salt and set aside in colander to drain.  Combine 8oz cream cheese with a minced garlic clove and 1Tbs each fresh chopped dill, basil, thyme and marjoram.  Add diced cucumber to cheese mixture and fill the two cucumber “boats,” then wrap and refrigerate overnight.  To serve: cut each cucumber into 1 1/2 inch pieces and garnish with fresh ground black pepper.
HERB STUFFED PEPPERS: Combine 9oz semi-soft goat cheese (chevre) with 2Tbs snipped fresh garlic chives and 2Tbs chopped sun dried tomatoes.  Cut red, yellow and orange mini sweet peppers in half and fill with cheese mixture.  Garnish with additional fresh snipped garlic chives.

MINI CAPRESE SALAD BITES: Cut and scoop out seeds of a package of cherry tomatoes and drain upside down on paper towels.  Cut fresh mozzarella cheese into bite sized pieces that will fit into the tomatoes.  Rinse and pat dry fresh basil leaves.  To assemble: season tomatoes with salt and pepper, line with basil leaf and top with mozzarella.  Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  Serve at room temperature.
ROAST BEEF ROLL-UPS:  Combine 8oz cream cheese, 1/4c shredded carrots, 1/4c shredded zucchini and 1Tbs chopped fresh dill.  Spread 2Tbs cheese mixture onto thin slices of cooked roast beef, roll up tightly and wrap in plastic wrap.  Refrigerate overnight.  To serve: slice into 1” slices and add toothpick
PROSCIUTTO-PICKLE BITES: For spicy bites: combine 4oz cream cheese with 2Tbs Dijon mustard then spread slice of prosciutto with mixture put quartered dill pickle on edge of slice and roll up, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.  For sweet bites: combine 4oz cream cheese and 2Tbs apricot preserves then spread slice of prosciutto with mixture put mini sweet gherkin pickles on edge of slice and roll up, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.  To serve: cut into 1” slices and add toothpick.
CURRIED CHICKEN APPLE ROUNDS: Combine 4oz cream cheese, 1Tbs orange marmalade, 1tsp curry powder, 1Tbs chopped almonds and then add 1Tbs chopped green onion, 1Tbs minced celery and 1c chopped cooked chicken breast.  Roll into 1” balls and place on a thin Granny Smith apple slice and push down top with sliced almond.
VEGGIE CHEESE BALL BITES:  Combine 4oz cream cheese 1c shredded cheddar, 3/4c finely shredded carrot, 1tsp honey and 1Tbs chopped parsley and then shape into 1” balls and roll in 1/2c finely chopped pecans.  Cover and chill for up to 24 hours then before serving insert toothpick.
PISTACHIO TRUFFLES: In a food processor, combine 4oz cream cheese, 3oz feta cheese, 1Tbs roasted garlic, 2Tbs oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, 2Tbs kalamata olives, 2Tbs fresh basil and 1Tbs fresh oregano until well combined.  Refrigerate mixture overnight, then roll into 1” balls and coat with 1c chopped roasted pistachios.

Combine 4oz cream cheese, 2oz blue cheese crumbles, 1/2c chopped dried cranberries and 1Tbs chopped chives and then cover and refrigerate until slightly firm.  Roll into 1” balls and cover in 1c roasted and chopped pecans.  Skewer with a toothpick.
PAVLOVAS: Beat 2 egg whites on medium speed until soft peaks form, then gradually add 1/3c sugar and beat on high speed until stiff peaks form.  Combine 1/2c powdered sugar and 2Tbs cocoa powder then fold into beaten egg whites.  Pipe onto parchment paper lined cookie sheet in 2” circles creating an indentation in the center of each.  Bake at 200 degrees for 1 to 1 ¼ hours or until crisp.  Cool completely.  Fill with chocolate ganache or fresh fruit.
BASIC CHOCOLATE TRUFFLES: Place 14oz chopped chocolate in bowl.  Bring 1c heavy cream to scalding point and add to chocolate and allow to sit 1-2 mins before stirring then gently whisk until smooth.  Pour into small bowl, cover and refrigerate several hours.  Use melon baller to make truffles
            ORANGE TRUFFLES: Use semi-sweet chocolate chips and add 1Tbs grated orange peel
COATING: cocoa powder
            LEMON TRUFFLES: Use white chocolate and add 1Tbs grated lemon peel
COATING: powdered sugar
            FRUIT & NUT TRUFFLES: Use dark chocolate and add 1c dried cherries, cranberries or raisins and 1c roasted pistachios, pecans, peanuts or walnuts
COATING: cocoa, powdered sugar
BANANA SURPRISE: Cut up banana into slices and put peanut butter between them. Put in freezer for 1 hour then cover in melted dark chocolate and freeze again for 2-3 hours.
PINEAPPLE-PECAN SNOWBALLS: Combine 8oz cream cheese and 1-8oz can well-drained crushed pineapple, fold in 1c chopped pecans and refrigerate 1 hour.  Roll into 1” balls then coat with 3c flaked coconut and refrigerate again overnight.
CARMELIZED STUFFED PECAN BITES: Spread 2c pecan halves on baking sheet and bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes.  Melt 1Tbs butter and 2Tbs honey, and then add pecans until well coated.  Combine 1/4c sugar and 1/8tsp garam marsala or curry powder and toss in pecans to coat.  Cool completely.  Combine 2oz cream cheese and 4oz blue cheese until creamy then spread onto the flat side of a pecan and top with another pecan, flat side down.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.
CARAMEL GRAPES: Dip crunchy green grapes on toothpicks in melted caramels, then dip in finely chopped salted peanuts
DIPPED FRUIT KABOBS: Thread a small wedge of pineapple, slice of banana and half a strawberry onto toothpick then dip one side of the stack into melted chocolate chips and place chocolate side down onto wax paper to set in refrigerator.
HONEYED PEARS & CHEESE: Cut pears into cubes and coat with honey.  Skewer a cube of pear, a cube of gorgonzola cheese and another cube of pear to serve.
Above all, love each other deeply,
because love covers over a multitude of sins.
Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.”
I Peter 4:8-9

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