Christmas Appetizers at the Farm

Let’s begin with a small disclaimer. My featured image is not a photograph of our beloved Family Farm. Dad’s pick-em-up is in much better shape, and the barn is a beautiful shade of red with a fairly new roof. I know because painting and re-roofing were family projects not that long ago. I just liked the country feel of the photo, so I thought it would be nice to share.

This year we are fortunate to have three full days of Christmas celebrations. Hubby and Kiddo’s work schedules have given them Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and the day after Christmas off. Christmas Eve we will share an intimate supper as a family before heading off to Midnight Mass. The day after Christmas, I’ll be making a traditional Christmas Supper complete with a ham and all the trimmings.

Sandwiched in between those two wonderful events is our Christmas at The Farm. Christmas at the farm is an open house setting, and people come and go as they please. It works out better for everyone. It also meant we don’t have a set time for a sit-down supper. Dad and his wife usually make a ham the night before, and puts out a spread of cold meats, home-baked breads and assorted Holiday Salads. Yours truly will be bringing a nice assortment of small bites in the form of Holiday Appetizers. While I’m sharing the recipes “correctly”, with step by step instructions, I’ll be preparing mine in stages. We have a long drive to the farm, and I want my piccoli morsi to be as warm and fresh as possible. Just in case you are traveling as well, I’ve made notes about my planned execution to make sure everything is just right.

Nibble for the Farm
Candy Cane Holiday Cheese Spread
Classic Christmas Deviled Eggs
Dip-in-a-Chip Tostito Bites
Pizza Pinwheel Christmas Tree
Roasted Red Potatoes with Caviar

Candy Cane Holiday Cheese Spread
2 packages (8 oz each) Cream Cheese, softened
1/4 cup Butter, softened
2 tablespoons dried Chives
2 tablespoons dried Parsley Flakes
1 teaspoon Garlic Pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried Dill Weed
1/4 teaspoon dried Thyme Leaves
1/2 Red Bell Pepper

Beat cream cheese and butter in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Add chives, parsley flakes, garlic pepper, dill weed and thyme. Beat on low to blend.

Place piece of plastic wrap on baking sheet. Spoon cheese mixture onto plastic wrap to form a candy cane shape. Fold up plastic wrap over cheese to cover completely.
Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight or until cheese is firm.

Note: If you happen to have a cake pan in the desired shape, line it with enough plastic wrap to cover the inside of the mold and excess hanging over to cover the filling. Fill with the cheese spread, smooth the top. Wrap with the excess plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight. This will give the perfect shape.

Unwrap cheese mixture. Place on serving plate. Smooth entire shape with spatula or knife and set aside.

Cut bell pepper in half, remove stem and seeds. Finely mince half of the bell pepper. Garnish “candy cane” with bell pepper stripes. Arrange assorted crackers around the cheese spread. Serve and enjoy.

I’ll be preparing my cheese spread the day before. Christmas Morning, I’ll put the final touches on the candy cane, then arrange the crackers once we’ve reached the farm. 

Classic Christmas Deviled Eggs
Deviled Eggs
14 hard-boiled Eggs
1/4 cup Mayonnaise
1/2 cup Sour Cream
1 teaspoon Dijon Mustard
2 teaspoons Red Wine Vinegar
Kosher Salt to taste
White Pepper to taste

Peel eggs and cut in half lengthwise. Remove egg yolks and place yolks in food processor fitted with a blade. Pulse until egg yolks are a pasty consistency.

Add mayonnaise and mustard and mix until creamy. Mix in red wine vinegar one teaspoon at a time and season to taste. Store filling in refrigerator until ready to fill “colored” egg whites.

Colored Whites
Red Food Coloring, as needed
Green Food Coloring, as needed
2 teaspoon White Vinegar
2 cups Water
2 large Mugs or 2 small Bowls

Mix water, 1 color of food coloring and 1 tablespoon of vinegar into each mug.

Divide egg whites into thirds. Dip one-third into the green coloring, one egg white at a time until the desired color is reached. Remove, turn egg shell up-side-down on paper towels to drain. Repeat with each egg white to be colored green.

Repeat again with the red coloring.

Once the colored shells are completely dry, place into the egg tray, alternating colors between red, white and green.

Fill with egg mixture, piping if desired for a fancy finish.

If additional color is desired, garnish with chopped chives, red bell peppers or other festive final touches.

Thank goodness for covered deviled egg platter. This is one dish that I can make at home and place on the buffet table at the farm without any additional work!

Dip-in-a-Chip Tostito Bites
1 bag Tostitos Scoops Chips
1 can Refried Beans
Bacon Drippings
8 oz Guacamole
1 pint small Red Tomatoes
1 bunch fresh Cilantro

On a large serving platter or serving tray, spread out Tostito Chips, cup opening up. Remove any chips that are broken, leaving the best of the bag to fill.

Heat beans in the microwave with a little bacon dripping. Once warm, place bean mixture into a cookie press or pastry bag fitted with a large star. Pipe some refried beans into each scoop chip. Top with about 1 rounded teaspoon of guacamole over the beans.

Slice tomatoes as needed. Top each chip with a slice of tomato. Sprinkle with a bit of cilantro for garnish.

I’ll have everything ready to assemble, including the beans. The tomatoes will be sliced, placed in a sandwich bag. The cilantro snipped, placed in a separate sandwich bag. The it’s just a matter of piping the beans, dolloping the guacamole, and topping the Tostito Bites with their final garnish. 

Pizza Pinwheel Christmas Tree
2 cans Crescent Dough Sheets
1 cup Pizza Sauce
1/2 cup Pepperoni, diced
1/2 lb. Mozzarella, sliced
2 tablespoons Olive Oil
1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese, grated
1 teaspoon Dried Oregano

Heat oven to 350 degrees and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. On a lightly floured surface, unroll the crescent rolls. Use a pizza cutter to separate the rectangles.

Spread a thin layer of pizza sauce onto each rectangle and set aside. Dice the pepperoni into small pieces and scatter over the crescent dough. Top with sliced mozzarella.

Starting with one long side, roll up each rectangle. Pinch edges to seal. Cut each roll into 8 or 9 slices. Place on the baking sheet in the shape of a tree.

Brush the pinwheels with olive oil, then sprinkle with Parmesan and oregano.

Bake until golden, for 12 to 15 minutes. Serve warm.

For this little treat, it will be assembled right up to the point of baking. Cover with foil, and once at the farm just pop it into the oven. Easy as pie.

Roasted Red Potatoes with Caviar
12 small New Red Potatoes
2 or 3 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher Salt, to taste
1 Lemon, Zest only
Chives as needed
1 1/2 cups Sour Cream
White Pepper, to taste
Caviar as needed

Note: Since such a small amount of caviar is needed as a garnish, domestic Caviar is fine. Don’t break the bank on Beluga. Lump Fish Caviar will look just as pretty.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Coat with olive oil. Set aside until ready to use.
Arrange oven rack to lowest position. Heat oven to 450 degrees.

Slice potatoes in half. Turn potatoes cut-side down. Cut off just enough of the rounded end to keep the potatoes from rolling about on a serving platter. Place potatoes in a bowl. Drizzle with a little olive oil. Season with salt.

Arrange potatoes on baking sheet and bake for 20 to 30 minutes. Check for doneness at 20 minutes. Potatoes should be tender.

While the potatoes roast, cut chives into 1-inch pieces sniped on the diagonal for a clean look. You will need 12 slices. Set aside until ready to garnish.

Zest one lemon with a zester. Set aside until ready to garnish.

Once the potatoes have roasted, remove from oven and allow to cool completely. Using the small end of a melon baller, scoop out a small amount of pulp from each potato, creating a small well. Place the pulp into a small bowl. Add the sour cream and mash until smooth. Season to taste with a little salt and white pepper.

Spoon sour cream-pulp mixture into a sandwich-size zip lock bag and snip of the tip. Pipe mixture into the well of each potato. Top with a pinch of lemon zest and garnish with a piece of chive.

Just before serving, use a demitasse or other small spoon to top each potato with caviar.

The potatoes will be roasted the night before. Then all I need do is bring them  up to the step of adding the caviar. That’s something I’ll do at the farm just before placing the potato platter on the table.

From our house to yours, may this season be filled with new fond memories, old traditions and plenty of love.

Christmas at the Farm2

Author: Rosemarie's Kitchen

I'm a wife, mother, grandmother and avid home cook.I believe in eating healthy whenever possible, while still managing to indulge in life's pleasures.

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