Whole Story

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Watch & Win: Successful Holiday Appetizer

By Mara Fleishman, December 8, 2008  |  Meet the Blogger  |  More Posts by Mara Fleishman
Happy Holidays Secret Ingredient Viewers! It’s the season for great food and the Secret Ingredient is offering a chance to win a $25 Whole Foods Market gift card, so you can treat yourself to something special this holiday season. What’s the catch? It’s simple. We want to know what your favorite holiday party dish is and how it adds that special touch to your holiday celebrations. For inspiration, check out this week’s Secret Ingredient episode featuring our Specialty Department and watch as host Mark Law shares his tips for creating an amazing antipasti platter—for ten guests— in a snap. Antipasti platters are one of our favorite holiday entertaining tricks and the secret to their success is the great selection of artisan cheeses, charcuterie meats, olives, rustic breads, crackers, nuts and classic cheese accompaniments available in Whole Foods Market’s Specialty Department. After watching this week’s episode, post a comment with your favorite holiday party dish and you’ll be entered for a chance to win a $25 Whole Foods Market gift card. Please post your comments between Monday, December 8th and midnight Wednesday, December 17th.  The winner will be selected by The Secret Ingredient panel of judges and posted in The Whole Story on 12/22/2008. Top Ten Tips for Successful Holiday Appetizer Parties 1.    Plan for 2 to 3 ounces (each) of cheese and charcuterie meats per person. 2.    Choose 4 to 5 cheeses. Feature cheeses made from one kind of milk, sourced from one region or create an eclectic mix of blue, cheddar, soft bloomy rind and fresh cheeses. 3.    Choose a variety of olives and plan for about 3 to 4 olives per person. 4.    Add variety with classic cheese accompaniments, such as: •    Marcona Almonds: Almonds lightly sautéed and dusted with sea salt. •    Walnuts in Lemon Honey: A heavenly addition to blue cheese. •    Membrillo: A quince paste from Spain. Delicious paired with Manchego. 5.    Choose 2 or 3 types of breads and crackers. Have our bakery experts slice the bread for you. 6.    Allow cheese to come to room temperature before serving for fullest flavor. 7.    Ask our wine experts for wine pairing tips. Chill whites, pinks and bubbles and allow reds to breathe. 8.     Each 750 ml bottle of wine yields 5 glasses. Plan on 2 to 3 glasses of wine per person. 9.    Pick up a selection of 365 Everyday Value Sparkling Water and Italian Soda for non-drinkers and designated drivers. 10.    Have small appetizer plates, napkins, serving utensils, cheese knives, corkscrews, ice and wine glasses on hand.

 

168 Comments

Comments

Raquel Pestana says ...
My favorite and easiest holiday appetizer is Tomato Caprese. Mix 1 teaspoon basil pesto with 8 oz of fresh mozerella cut into .5 inch cubes. Remove the seeds and juice from 15 cocktail tomatoes. Place a cube of mozerella in each tomato. Alternatively you could use fresh mozerella with a piece of fresh basil. You could also use goat cheese. The tomaotes can be hallowed out a day ahead. Makes a colorful and fesitve looking appetizer!
12/11/2008 12:27:03 PM CST
Thien-Kim says ...
I love the olive bar at WF! We just had a tree trimming party and I made baked crab rangoons. It was sooo easy and not greasy like the fried ones you get from the Chinese restaurant. I just mixed cream cheese, garlic powder, salt & pepper with chopped crab meat. Then placed a small dollop on wonton wrappers. Brushed some egg white around the edges and scrunched them up to make a bag shape. Baked until golden brown. They were quite a hit!
12/08/2008 1:47:55 PM CST
CKC07 says ...
Vegan pumpkin pie of course! YUMMY
12/08/2008 2:07:44 PM CST
Brenda Hensley says ...
Something very simple: Fresh figs, sliced in half chevre proscuitto or honey I take figs, slice them in half, top with a little chevre, a small piece of proscuitto. Or for a veggie take on this, leave off the proscuitto and drizzle with a little local honey. Yummy!
12/11/2008 12:25:45 PM CST
Abbie says ...
My favorite holiday party dish is my Mom's homemade baklava. It's made without water, so it has an amazing extra crunch. Instead of serving it as a dessert, I would pair it with a cheese plate! The nutty, crunchy diamonds are drizzled with honey, and along a good brie or a mild, soft goat cheese, the taste pairing would be incredible!
12/12/2008 7:25:25 PM CST
Andrea says ...
This appetizer is not very fancy, but it is super simple and really good. Instead of having chips with just salsa, I like to put a block of cream cheese on a deep platter and pour salsa over it. I guess it can be considered a type of "chip dip".
12/12/2008 5:45:23 PM CST
Lora Lee McCullough says ...
One year I was in Santa Fe New Mexico around Christmastime. It had snowed, and it was beautiful! We walked around the square then walked into a local resturant for a cozy bowl of posole! Posole always reminds me of celebrating with a crowd of friends and family and the blessings that it brings. It is a cozy comfort food in the wintertime! Feast day Posole 1 t. (each) black peppercorns, cumin seeds, coriander seeds 2 onions, chopped 6 cloves garlic, minced 4 T. lard 3 pounds chicken thighs cut into 1-inch pieces 1 t. ground canela 1 1/2 cup New Mexican red chile powder 6 cups posole 4 to 8 cups chicken Broth Salt to taste Put the posole in a 6-quart pot and cover with cold water by 3 inches. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 2 to 3 hours, adding water as needed, until the kernels have softened and begun to burst. Toast the black peppercorns, cumin, and coriander in a small, heavy skillet over moderate heat, stirring until the spices are fragrant and begin to brown, about 2 minutes. Transfer spices to a plate to cool. Once cool, crush the spices in a mortar and pestle. In a 6-quart pot, sauté onions and garlic in lard over medium-high heat and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add chicken pieces and cook for 4 to 5 minutes stirring occasionally. Add the toasted spices, canela and chile powder. Add the cooked posole and broth and bring to a simmer. Add salt and continue to simmer for at least and hour. Adjust the seasonings and serve with shredded cheese, sour cream, sliced jalapeños and fresh flour tortillas. Santa Fe School of Cooking
12/11/2008 8:13:33 AM CST
Zana Bowen says ...
It's all about the cheese! Goat Cheese rolled in cranberries...so yummy. Love whole foods!
12/13/2008 1:08:30 AM CST
Teresa K says ...
I love cheese! So, I'll give two of my Favs First: Brie you need a whole round. A baking round dish. Put several slits in the top of the rhine and then soak with Amarrato Liquor. Let set in the frig for an hour. In a skillet warm real butter and sliced Almond and the secret ingredient Crazy Mixed Up Salt (fajita seasoning). Just a couple of shakes. Be careful not to burn! Then cover the top of the brie with the butter mixture, cover with foil and bake about 20/30 mins @ 350. uncover to let brown a bit for 3/5 mins. Add sliced breads and crackers. Another Cheese dish is Blue Cheese. I like Maytag! Crumble the cheese, pecan pieces and the secret ingredient diced red seedless grapes..mix and chill. Make a lot it is fabulous and addicting! Easy Cheesy! Happy Holidays!
12/13/2008 12:10:59 PM CST
CAROL WELLS says ...
The fig spread with the soft cheese is awesome. I sampled them in my Lomo Alto store in Dallas and fell in love with them. Especially the fig spread. My friends loved it, too. Thanks for being my favorite store
12/12/2008 1:48:52 PM CST
Melanie says ...
For a nice warm holiday beverage, I like to warm up some apple cider and then add cinnamon sticks. For a nice adult kick, you can add a few shots of brandy as well. I like to serve this drink with a chicken dish, as the apple flavors mix nicely with the flavor of chicken.
12/10/2008 4:52:45 PM CST
Nichole says ...
One of my favorite holiday appetizers to serve is baked brie with Fig Sauce. Brie should be of good quality, and wrapped in puff pastry at home. Bake as usual. Fig Sauce: 10 - 12 Sun Dried Figs 2 Cups of Port Wine Place figs and wine in a medium stock pan. Cover to prevent evaporation. Slowly over low heat bring figs to a low boil. Once they have reached a slow boil, turn the heat off and let the figs soak up the port wine. Once the figs have cooled to touch rough chop them on a board, add them to the remaining port wine left in the pot. Finely chopped garlic and shallots can be added, and salt and pepper to taste for a more savory dish. (This also pairs well with a blue cheese.) Orange zest, brown sugar, and honey can be added for a sweeter dish. (also with a tiny pinch of salt). Spoon your choice of sauce over the baked brie (I also put either toasted hazelnuts or toasted pine nuts on top) and serve with good quality breads and crackers.
12/11/2008 1:25:07 AM CST
Christine says ...
My favorite holiday dish is my family's traditional Rum Cake!! It's perfect for getting us all into the holiday mood. Not only is it fun to make, but it makes the entire kitchen smell great and is by far the best tasting thing you could possibly put in your mouth. Extremely moist, our rum cake sits on top of a layer of crushed pecans, and is glazed in a deliciously sweet rum glaze. We always package them and deliver them to the neighbors for the holidays. They are a delicious treat everyone can enjoy!
12/10/2008 9:38:09 PM CST
Jess Grasso says ...
The five olive bread and the wonderful assortment of olives is the best. The Holiday season is the best time to try something new and slightly away from your personal taste. The one blue I have not been able to find in the Fort Collins which I like the best because of its sharp fragrant body is "Oregon Blue".
12/12/2008 1:35:50 PM CST
Barb Sorensen says ...
My favorite Holiday Party Dish is something my X mother in law taught me. Mushroom poofs! It's a norwegian appetizer. I take some philough dough for like croissants. roll it out flat and long on a floured surface. Ten in a seperate container I mix cream cheese with drained canned chopoped mushrooms, a litle bt of paprika and alitle bit of nutmeg. I mix it all together and then spread it out over the philo dough in a medium to thin layer. If it's too thick it will all ooze out onto the pan and that's not good. ten once I have it all spread onto the dough, I roll the dough up from the long side. so that the poofs dont get too big. then I cut it in 1 inch thick pieces and lay each pieced roll onto a greased and floured cookie tin. then I bake it in the oven at 350 degrees until they are light brown on top. then I take them out and let them cool and then voila~ eat them! yummy! Pefect warm up dish for a cold day!. I like to eat them semi warm. not hot because thecheese when it's hot can burn your mouth, so let them cool alittle bit before biting into them. regards BArb
12/10/2008 6:35:44 PM CST
Ashlee says ...
My favorite holiday dessert would have to be my pumpkin bars. They are made with whole wheat flour, I substitute egg whites for the eggs, I use applesauce in place of the oil which makes these bars really moist. The cinnamon, nutmeg and pecans give them a great flavor. You don't have to tell anyone that they are healthier, they will never know. At least mine didn't!!!
12/10/2008 1:07:07 AM CST
Dawn says ...
I have two favorites, both are super easy and you always go home with a clean plate. The first one is a really simple cheese ball- 1 8 oz.package cream cheese, softened, a large green bell pepper, diced, and 1 jar of the dried beef, chopped up. Mix the 3 ingredients together and form in a ball, serve with crackers,flatbreads, crostini, whatever you like. The other appetizer I love is BLT stuffed tomatoes. Take a pint of tomatoes- ones that are about 2" in diameter work best, 1 head of butter lettuce(chopped fairly small), a cup or so of mayo and about 1/2 cup of bacon bits(to taste). Cut the tops off the tomatoes and scoop out the insides. Mix the lettuce and mayo, and half the bacon. Fill the tomatoes with the lettuce mix and garnish with remaining bacon. YUM!!!! We eat these year- round. Especially good in the summer with fresh tomatoes.
12/09/2008 7:35:42 PM CST
Lissette Paedes says ...
The best apetizer for xmas is brie and crackers with champagne. Let's also not forget hot chocolate
12/09/2008 7:59:02 PM CST
Victoria Martinez says ...
My Favorite drink to make on Christmas for my family is called "Ponche Caliente" It is a traditional hot christmas punch from mexico made with apple juice,a stick of cinnamon,brown sugar,cut apple slices,guava,kumquats,sugar cane,and optional servings of brandy.It is even more delicious when you serve it in a glass with the rim filled with lemon juice and sugar."mmmmmmm....delicioso!"
12/09/2008 11:07:12 PM CST
Viridiana says ...
My favorite dessert for Christmas is called "Arroz Con Leche" It is sweet rice with organic almond milk. Since I am only 13, my mom is still teaching me how to make it. My mom tells me to put milk,rice,sugar,sticks of cinnamon,and a few drops of vanilla into a pot and warm it up. After a while, it's ready to eat. You can even eat it with cookies,bread,and add raisins to it. I love this dish, hopefully I'll soon be able to make it all by myself!
12/09/2008 11:18:54 PM CST
Yazmin says ...
I like bread pudding! My grandma makes it all the time.
12/09/2008 11:21:58 PM CST
Yvonne says ...
I am of Puertorican heritage, so my best thoughts of Xmas include "tembleque", a pudding-like dessert made with coconut milk, and cinammon. Absolutely delish :)
12/09/2008 5:18:58 PM CST
Kathleen McCafferty says ...
I would have to say that my favorite holiday dish would be one that my Dad makes. We just had them at Thanksgiving-sweet potato ravioli. We start off homemaking the pasta shells and then placing them in the freezer. You bake sweet potatoes, mash them up with some butter and pure maple syrup, then spoon about one to two tablespoons into each ravioli and roll it up. After they are cooked, take them out and drizzle on the homemade butter sage sauce, which has a little pinch of truffle oil. Top with toasted pumpkin seeds, and voila! They are so delicious!!!
12/09/2008 5:41:46 PM CST
Cara says ...
I love cheese fondue during the holidays (all warm and delicious). I make mine using 2 cups cream, 2 cups shredded gruyere, 1 cup shredded mozarella, pepper, nutmeg, garlic, and salt. Just heat the cream until bubbling with pepper, garlic, salt, and nutmeg (to taste) then add in cheese and stir. It's perfect when you use pita chips to dip in it!
12/09/2008 4:19:50 PM CST
Genevieve says ...
To honor my mixed family heritage, we often prepare a huge bagel breakfast on Xmas morning, and make our own cream cheese spreads (usually one with chopped scallions, one with olives -I use spanish pimento-stuffed green olives- and one with chopped mixed veggies) as well as a whitefish salad (whole smoked whitefish, chopped onion, homemade mayo to moisten, salt & pepper to taste - blend in food processor till creamy, being careful to remove all fish bones!). Served with a side of sliced red onion & tomatoes, everyone loves it and generally family & friends coming in and out on Xmas day help themselves thruout the morning, into the afternoon! The hardest part for me is getting up early on Xmas day to get the bagels! lol The second holiday dish which has become a holiday tradition is our Tiramisu (pick-me-up in Italian) which we make every year for New Year's Day, when the whole family gets together for a huge meal. It's so popular we always have someone in charge of serving it, otherwise people tend to take enormous portions leaving little - or none! - for everyone else! It's always the first dessert to get eaten and the easiest to make. It's lady fingers drenched in equal portions espresso and rum (i find using a spray bottle makes this easy) layered with a mixture of marscapone cheese (a sweet, creamy Italian cheese u can find at Whole Foods) into which u fold whipped heavy cream sweetened with a bit of sugar. The last layer is the cream mixture, onto which I grate a bar of high quality bittersweet chocolate, and then chill until serving. It's the only holiday dessert requested every year!
12/09/2008 3:02:59 PM CST

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