Brie with Fruit Spreads

Our annual Sausage Party is an excuse for me to try new recipes and add to the food-a-palooza that is the buffet. I make Chocolate Chip Cookies, Cream Cheese and Olives, and always something new.

I had over half of a Brie cheese leftover after making Brie & Chutney Bites, and thought about what I could do with it. Brie is a soft cheese with a mild flavor which lends itself to topping with sweet or savory flavors.

I had strawberry preserves leftover from making Mini Victoria Sponges, chutney leftover from the Brie & Chutney Bites, and fig jam in my refrigerator. A variety of flavors and colors, and presto! A new platter for the Sausage Party.

Brie with Fruit Spreads

1 round Brie, rind on

Three jams/chutneys/spreads of your choice

Crackers

I used three small parfait glasses with their small spoons to serve the fruit spreads, one each of fig jam, strawberry preserves, and Major Grey’s Chutney.

Triscuits are my cracker of choice for Cream Cheese and Olives, and they worked well with the Brie and fruit spreads too!

Fast, easy, and adjustable to the flavors you and your family prefer.

Happy Holidays to you and yours!

Brie & Chutney Bites

Our annual Sausage Party was held December 16th. This year friends and family made 180 pounds of Italian pork sausage, and there was a feast of food and drink for everyone to enjoy.

My husband’s family started this tradition. A friend of the family was Italian, and Husband’s parents and grandfather would make a few pounds of sausage. As the younger generation took over and invited friends, we’ve morphed into an annual tradition of our own.

People make their specialties for a snacking potluck; food and drinks are available all day long, and it’s a day for grazing. The only formal meal is dinner: We grill 5 pounds of sausage served in toasted hoagie rolls and topped with onions and peppers. A spicy or horseradish mustard is a tasty addition, too. Husband makes his German Potato Salad, and it’s a fine ending to a fun day.

I always make desserts and take some appetizers. My go-to recipes are Chocolate Chip Cookes and Cream Cheese and Olives. I also made Mini Victoria Sponges. I made spritz cookies for the first time, which turned out well. I also made Brie & Chutney Bites. If you need a fast, three-ingredient recipe, these are delicious.

Brie & Chutney Bites

2 packages filo shells from the freezer case

1 round of Brie, rind on, cut into chunks

1 jar of Chutney, any flavor (I used Major Grey’s Chutney)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Place the filo shells in mini-muffin tins. Into each shell, put one chunk of Brie and a scant teaspoon of chutney.

Bake for 10 minutes; remove from oven. I transported these in the muffin tins and plated them at the host’s home.

Any flavor jam or chutney can be used.

Happy Holidays to all!

Magical Weiss Shrimp

We have a small family, and most often our get-togethers revolve around weddings and funerals. We celebrated a happy occasion two days ago: My uncle’s 80th birthday. Family flew in to Connecticut from as far away as Florida (me) and the Midwest (my sisters and our mother). We had two delicious meals, one at a restaurant Saturday night, and brunch at my uncle’s house Sunday.

Recipes aren’t just about food; sometimes they’re memories, sometimes they’re tradition, and sometimes they’re a family favorite with a back story. The birthday boy – my Uncle Don – served this easy-peasy shrimp dish at Sunday brunch. The original recipe came from his neighbor Mr. Weiss, and now it’s referred to as Magical Weiss Shrimp.

Magical Weiss Shrimp

1 can beer

1 can vinegar (any kind, use the beer can as a measure)

1 can water

1 pound raw shrimp, peeled and deveined (if you like the tails on, that’s fine)

1 bottle Italian dressing (use your favorite)

Bring the beer, vinegar, and water to a boil. Add the shrimp, and when the poaching liquid boils again, remove the shrimp. Put the cooked shrimp in a sealable container (you can use a zip-top plastic bag) with the Italian dressing; refrigerate and marinate at least 24 hours. Can be made two days ahead of time.

Serve in a bowl chilled or at room temperature. These make a lovely addition to a brunch table, or as an easy appetizer.

I enjoy adding fast and versatile recipes to my recipe box, and I bet you do too. Let me know how you like this!

Sliced Ham and Pineapple in Mustard Sauce

I had a lovely weekend visiting two beautiful homes that are now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Friday night Husband and I traveled to Winter Park to celebrate the wedding of Joanna Campbell Slan’s son and his wife. A private wedding was performed in November at Joanna’s Florida home, and the family and friends partied in December at Casa Feliz. It’s a beautiful former private home that is available to tour several times a week and for weddings.

Saturday I attended the Fika Pause at Hallstrom House. Axel Hallstrom built his lovely, two-story home/office at his pineapple plantation, completing it in 1918. He was a Swedish immigrant who came to the Vero Beach/Fort Pierce area in 1903. The Fika Pause is a coffee and pastry break similar to afternoon tea. Delicious Swedish pastries were made by Kelly Thompson, one of the Indian River County Historical Society’s volunteers. After the treats, we were able to tour the house on our own.

Talk about Axel Hallstrom’s pineapple plantation got me thinking about how to use the can of sliced pineapple in my pantry. I had a jar of honey and pineapple mustard, and bought a small sliced ham. A few pantry staples later, I had a fast and easy dinner on the table.

Sliced Ham and Pineapple in Mustard Sauce

1 can sliced pineapple in juice, 1/4 C juice reserved

2T butter

2T brown sugar

2T honey and pineapple mustard (or your favorite mustard)

1 small sliced ham

In a saute pan, heat the reserved pineapple juice with the butter and brown sugar. Add the pineapple slices and simmer for 2 minutes. Remove the warmed fruit from the pan, and add mustard to the pan, stirring it into the juice/butter/brown sugar mixture. Layer the sliced ham in the pan, and top with the warm pineapple, adding any juices from the pineapple to the pan. Baste the ham with the sauce, and warm through on low heat.

Serve with the side dishes of your choice. I had an acorn squash and a spaghetti squash, and cooked both to serve with the ham. Delicious! And leftovers of ham and pineapple for another meal.

What historic houses are in your area? I’d love to hear about them.