Bite by bite: Festive appetizers for your holiday gatherings


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Posted Online: Dec. 11, 2012, 9:11 am
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By Sarah J. Gardner, sjgardner@qconline.com
If you love eating cookies, the holiday season clearly is your time to shine. I know. I am in the cookie lovers' camp. Thin and buttery or studded with chocolate and nuts, slathered in icing or sandwiched with jam, the wealth of cookie confections is never more on display than during the holidays -- which, if you're not careful, quickly can lead to cookie burn out.

The solution? A variety of treats, both savory and sweet, at your next holiday party. If you are looking for appetizers that won't suffer in comparison when set out next to your famous Santa-shaped snickerdoodles, try any one of these crowd-pleasers. Your guests will be delighted.

Inside-out apple strudel bites

2-3 tart, crisp apples, such as Granny Smith or Jonathan apples
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons brandy
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1/3 cup raisins
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
2 packages (2 ounces each) frozen mini phyllo cups


Peel, core and finely dice the apples. Place in a bowl with the lemon juice and brandy; toss to coat to prevent browning. Add lemon zest, cinnamon and brown sugar. In a food processor, pulse walnuts to a coarse, crumbly texture resembling corn meal. Add walnuts to the apple mixture and stir to combine. Refrigerate for four hours or more (up to 24 hours) to allow flavors to combine.
When ready to eat, place individual phyllo cups on a baking sheet and bake for three to five minutes at 350 degrees (just until golden brown -- be careful not to scorch). Allow to cool before transferring to a serving dish. Spoon heaping tablespoons of the apple mixture into the phyllo cups. Serve at room temperature.

Recipe by Sarah J. Gardner, Radish editor

Spiced Pineapple Chunks

2 large cans (20 ounces) pineapple chunks
1 tablespoon sugar
1/3 cup cider vinegar
1 cinnamon stick
6 whole cloves
2 cardamom pods


Drain pineapple, reserving one cup juice. In a saucepan, combine the reserved juice with the sugar, vinegar, cinnamon, cloves and cardamom. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Uncover and discard cinnamon, cloves and cardamom. Add pineapple. Return to a boil; cook and stir for two to three minutes. Remove from heat, allow to cool, and store in cooking liquid in a covered container. When ready to serve, arrange pineapple chunks on a rimmed plate and drizzle with the cooking liquid (can be re-warmed). Place a container of toothpicks nearby for easy snacking.

Recipe adapted from Taste of Home magazine.

Festive Lentil Dip

1 cup red lentils

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 1/2 cups peeled, cored, diced apples, pears or a combination of both
3 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1/4 cup raisins
2 teaspoons garam masala

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup apple cider
1/2 teaspoon salt

In a medium saucepan, bring the lentils and 21/2 cups water to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer until the lentils are very soft and most of the water absorbed — about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a skillet and sauté the onions, apples (and/or pears) and garlic with a dash of salt, for about five minutes on medium heat. Add raisins and garam masala. Continue to sauté for 10 minutes more, until tender.
Combine lentils, onion mixture, lemon juice and apple cider, and using an immersion blender or food processor, puree to a slightly chunky texture. Add salt to taste. Serve either chilled or at room temperature with chips or a vegetable platter.

Recipe adapted from "Moosewood Restaurant New Classics."



















 



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  Today is Thursday, July 31, the 212th day of 2014. There are 153 days left in the year.

1864 -- 150 years ago: A corps of surgeons now occupies the new hospital quarters at the Garrison Hospital on the Rock Island Arsenal. A fence has been installed to enclose the prison hospital.
1889 -- 125 years ago: B. Winter has let a contract to Christ Schreiner for a two story brick building with a double store front on the south side of 3rd Avenue just west of 17th Street. The estimated cost was $4,500.
1914 -- 100 years ago: Germany sent simultaneous ultimatums to Russia and France, demanding that Russia suspend mobilization within 12 hours and demanding that France inform Germany within 18 hours. In the case of war between Germany and Russia, France would remain neutral.
1939 -- 75 years ago: Civil service offices at the post office and the Rock Island Arsenal were swamped as more than 700 youths sought 15 machinist apprenticeships at the Arsenal.
1964 -- 50 years ago: Last night, American Legion Post 246 in Moline figuratively handed over the trousers to a female ex-Marine and petticoat rule began. Olga Swanson, of Moline, was installed as the first woman commander of the post .
1989 -- 25 years ago: The Illinois Quad City Civic Center captured the excitement and interest of a convention of auditorium managers this weekend in Reno, Nev. Bill Adams, civic center authority chairman, said the 10,000-seat arena planned for downtown Moline has caught the eye of construction firms, suppliers, management teams and concession groups.








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