Category Archives: Appetizers

Homemade Boursin Covered in Christmas Jam

This is one of the easiest and most loved holiday appetizers. All you need to do is whip up a little herbed cream cheese in a food processor or blender, and then pour over a half jar of The Old Mill’s Christmas Jam. Something about the garlic, herbs, and saltiness of the cream cheese mixture known as “Boursin” partners just perfectly with the cranberries, pears, plums, oranges, and cinnamon in the sweet and irresistible jam. The cheese mixture makes enough for two rounds, so serve one and freeze the other. Or, gift it to a friend along with a jar of Christmas Jam! For big parties, make one large round, and cover it with the entire jar of jam.
Makes 8 servings
Prep time: 15 minutes
Chill time: 1 hour

Homemade Boursin:

1 small clove garlic, peeled
4 tablespoons (2 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 tablespoon minced fresh chives or dill
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 jar (10.5 ounces) The Old Mill Christmas Jam
Whole wheat crackers for serving
Directions:
1. For the Boursin, drop the garlic clove into the bowl of a food processor or blender while the machine is running. Turn off the machine. Add the butter, cream cheese, chives or dill, parsley, salt, basil, thyme, and pepper. Blend in pulses until it is smooth.
2. Divide the mixture into two 5-ounce portions. Turn each portion into a ramekin or small bowl lined with plastic wrap. Press down on the mixture with a rubber spatula so that it packs into the ramekin or bowl. Cover the top with plastic wrap. Chill until firm, at least 1 hour.
3. To serve, unwrap one cheese mixture and turn out onto a platter. Spoon half of the contents of the Christmas Jam (about 2/3 cup) over the top. Serve with the whole wheat crackers of your choice. Store the other Boursin and rest of the jam in the refrigerator until time to serve again.
Note: In a pinch for a quick appetizer? Buy a 5-ounce round of Boursin cheese in the supermarket deli section, and pour a half jar of Christmas Jam over the top.

Jalapeno Cornbread Squares with Festive Toppings

Cornbread has been the backbone of the Smoky Mountain foodways for a long time. It was the bread that extended the everyday meal, making simple provisions more filling and interesting. But cornbread can be transported to the modern-day kitchen, too, where it is the perfect foil for festive holiday toppings of black eyed pea relish, pimento cheese, and sweet-hot pepper jelly. These country-style canapés are vegetarian-friendly and an easy do-ahead appetizer for busy holiday entertaining. They are the perfect accompaniment to ham, smoked turkey, even bowls of chili.

Jalapeno Cornbread Squares with Festive Toppings

Makes about 12 servings (about 54 squares)
Prep time: 20 to 25 minutes
Bake time: 15 to 20 minutes
Ingredients:
Cornbread:
2 large eggs
1 cup cream-style corn (frozen or canned)
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1 cup shredded Cheddar or a Monterey Jack and Cheddar blend
Optional: 1 teaspoon diced jalapeno pepper and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Toppings:
1 cup prepared pimento cheese
1/4 cup pepper jelly, if desired
Thinly sliced ham and fresh figs
Directions:
1. Place a rack in the center of the oven, and preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Mist a 13- by 9-inch metal baking pan with vegetable oil spray, and set the pan aside.
2. Place the cornbread mix, eggs, cream-style corn, buttermilk, and oil in a large mixing bowl and stir with a wooden spoon or spatula to just combine, 1 minute. Do not over-mix. Fold in the green onions and cheese, and the jalapeno pepper and black pepper if you like it spicier. Turn the batter into the prepared pan.
3. Place the pan in the oven, and bake until the cornbread is golden brown and springs back in the center when lightly pressed, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven, and let the cornbread cool completely in the pan, 1 hour.
4. When ready to assemble, cut the cornbread into about 54 squares. Remove the squares to a large tray or sheet pan. Top some of the squares with a teaspoon of black eyed pea relish and the others with a teaspoon of pimento cheese. Top the pimento cheese-covered squares with a dab of pepper jelly, if desired, or candied pepper slices. Top the rest with thinly sliced ham or prosciutto rolled up into a little rose alongside a thin slice of fig. Arrange on a platter and serve at room temperature.