It is always challenging to find local foods to incorporate into our holiday feasts. It also can be a challenge to offer remarkable appetizers to keep your family or guests engaged while the holiday supper is being prepared. Utilizing foods that can be stored all winter, such as dried beans, hearty onions and fruit jams, we can use up local items from our pantry to feed our holiday guests. Combining these pantry staples with fresh New England dairy options, such as cheeses and sour cream, enables us to create extraordinary versions of the classic dips we are all familiar with. This holiday season, dig deep into your pantry and then turn to the bounty of local dairy options to ensure your guests have already had an amazing meal even before dinner hits the table.
WARM GOAT CHEESE
Start to finish: 30 minutes Servings: 6-8
8 ounces fresh goat cheese, room temperature 1/2 cup heavy cream
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature 1/4 cup honey
6 ounces fruit jam (apricot or blueberry) 1/4 cup chopped pistachios
Zest of 1 lemon
Preheat oven to 400 F.
With a stand or hand mixer, whisk together the heavy cream, honey, goat cheese and cream cheese for 5-7 minutes, until smooth. It is very important that the goat and cream cheese be room temperature.
Place the cheese mixture in a baking dish. Note: This will also be the serving dish. Stoneware works best, and a pie plate works well, too.
Place the fruit jam in a microwave-safe dish, cover, and place in the microwave for 30 seconds to soften.
Gently spread the jam on top of the cheese mixture.
Sprinkle the chopped pistachios all over the jam.
Place in the oven for 10-15 minutes until the cheese mixture is slightly bubbly around the edges.
Remove from the oven and sprinkle the lemon zest all over the top of the dish.
This may be served as an appetizer or dessert. Serve with warm, crusty bread or crispy breadsticks.