Recent entries in: Appetizers and Snacks

  • Polenta Bites with Crispy Brussels Sprout Leaves, Ricotta and Chutney

Polenta Bites with Crispy Brussels Sprout Leaves, Ricotta and Chutney

Posted on November 17, 2016

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Stonewall Kitchen. All opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting brands and companies that help to keep my little kitchen afloat!

It’s no secret that I love appetizers. Just sit me down in front of a spread of bite-sized foods and I’ll be pretty happy. I can easily skip the main event all together. Cocktails, finger foods and desserts are where it’s at, in my humble opinion. No need to go to all the trouble of roasting up a whole turkey just for me!

And you know what? I kind of have an inkling that you all might be feeling exactly the same way. So today, I’m bringing you these adorable Polenta Bites with Crispy Brussels Sprout Leaves, Ricotta and Chutney for all your snacking pleasures. You’re welcome.

Polenta Bites with Crispy Brussels Sprout Leaves, Ricotta and Chutney | www.floatingkitchen.net

My go-to appetizer is usually some kind of toasty bread piled high with cheese and ALL THE toppings. But this year, I really wanted to create something gluten-free. And while I certainly could have just used gluten-free bread, that seemed like a bit of a cop-out. Then I remembered my friend Sarah’s polenta bites from the Summer, and I decided to try my hand at creating a festive Fall/Winter version that would be appropriate for Thanksgiving and Christmas Holiday entertaining. My rendition has whipped ricotta cheese with fresh herbs, a flavorful chutney, a few crumbles of bacon and everyone’s favorite seasonal vegetable – brussels sprouts.

There are a few separate steps required to make these polenta bites. But none of them are particularly taxing or time consuming. The polenta gets baked in the oven (no stirring required!), and can be prepared up to a day or two in advance, which is a huge time saver. And you can even separate out the brussels sprout leaves ahead of time as well, storing them in your refrigerator until you’re ready to crisp them up.

I should warn you that these crispy brussels sprout leaves are highly addicting. Once you start munching on them, it’s hard to stop. You’ll be amazed at how quickly an entire pan can disappear!

Polenta Bites with Crispy Brussels Sprout Leaves, Ricotta and Chutney | www.floatingkitchen.net

But the real star of the show is the Holiday Chutney from Stonewall Kitchen. With it’s blend of fruits (including pears, cranberries and rhubarb) and warming spices, it provides the perfect tart-sweet balance to offset the other savory-salty ingredients in this recipe. Which ultimately makes these polenta bites one heck of a well rounded appetizer.

Both literally and figuratively. You know, because they are round.

Ugh. I’m the worst. Sorry.

Stonewall Kitchen’s Holiday Chutney is also a great addition to any charcuterie or cheese plate (these Simple White Crackers are my favorite!). And it’s a wonderful topping for baked ham, pork or chicken. I like to keep a jar on hand at all times, because it totally helps me bring my A-game to the table around the Holidays!

Cheers,

Liz

Recipe inspired by The Kitchn

Polenta Bites with Crispy Brussels Sprout Leaves, Ricotta and Chutney

Yield: Makes 16-24 bites, depending on the size

Polenta Bites with Crispy Brussels Sprout Leaves, Ricotta and Chutney

Ingredients

  • For the Polenta
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 1/4 cups polenta
  • 1 tsp. salt

  • For the Toppings
  • 4 slices bacon, diced
  • 4 cups loosely packed brussels sprout leaves
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • About 1/2 cup Stonewall Kitchen Holiday Chutney

  • For the Whipped Ricotta
  • 1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup cream cheese, softened at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tsp. fresh parsley leaves, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. fresh sage leaves, finely chopped

Instructions

  1. To prepare the polenta, pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees. Generally grease an 9 X 13-inch baking pan with non-stick cooking spray. Whisk together the water, polenta and salt in your prepared baking pan. Then transfer the pan to your pre-heated oven and bake until the polenta is firm, about 50 minutes. Remove the baking dish from your oven and set it on a wire rack to cool. Then transfer it to your refrigerator to chill for at least 6 hours or up to overnight.
  2. Add the chopped bacon to a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Cook until crisp, stirring frequently. Transfer the cooked bacon to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Reserve the bacon fat.
  3. To prepare the brussels sprout leaves, pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees. Add the brussels sprout leaves to a large bowl. Drizzle with the olive oil, then use your fingers to rub the olive oil over the leaves, making sure to separate any leaves that are stuck together. Spread the brussels sprout leaves out onto a baking sheet and sprinkle with the salt and black pepper. Bake in your pre-heated oven until slightly crispy, about 10-12 minutes. Remove and set aside.
  4. Cut the chilled polenta into appetizer-sized bites. You can use a round cookie/biscuit cutter to make circles. Or use a knife to slice it into triangles or squares. Arrange the polenta bites onto a baking sheet. Brush the tops with some of the reserved bacon fat. Then transfer the polenta bites to your pre-heated oven and bake until warmed through, about 5 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, make the whipped ricotta. Add the ricotta, cream cheese, milk, salt and black pepper to a medium bowl. Beat with your hand mixer until well combined and smooth. Fold in the fresh herbs. Set aside.
  6. To assemble the polenta bites, first spread some of the whipped ricotta onto the surface of the warmed polenta. Top with the Holiday Chutney, a couple pieces of bacon and a few crispy brussels sprout leaves. Serve and enjoy!
http://www.floatingkitchen.net/polenta-bites-with-crispy-brussels-sprout-leaves-ricotta-and-chutney/
  • Summer Bruschetta: Two Ways

Summer Bruschetta: Two Ways

Posted on August 1, 2016

Disclosure: This post is sponsored on behalf of Maison Louis Jadot Wines via One2One Network. All opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting brands that support Floating Kitchen!

Elaborate, formal dinner parties tend to be one of two things: (1) stressful for those hosting or (2) boring for those attending.

I hesitate to write that, at the risk of sounding overly negative. But I think we can all agree that I’m mostly right.

So in recent years, I’ve ditched the notion of fancy get-togethers in favor of more casual, relaxed entertaining scenarios. With the exception of a few times a year ( i.e. = Thanksgiving), I tend to keep my gatherings low key, with a few simple food and drink options. And I let friends come and go as they please, free from the restrictions of a hard and fast time dictating when we all must sit down at the table together to dine. It just seems to work out better for everyone this way.

Summer Bruschetta: Two Ways | www.floatingkitchen.net

Bruschetta has always been one of my favorite foods to serve at casual gatherings. It’s versatile, with a seemingly endless number of savory and sweet options. It’s easy to make. And above all else, it’s a total crowd pleaser. I don’t know many people that will turn down a little toasty piece of bread piled high with fresh, seasonal ingredients. I would (and have on many occasions) happily make an entire meal out of bruschetta alone!

These two Summer Bruschetta recipes highlight everything that I’m obsessed with right now. I used a slightly sweetened whipped goat cheese as the base for both recipes. Then I went either savory, with a combination of corn, adobo sauce and basil. Or sweet, with a combination of fresh cherries, balsamic vinegar, mint and a drizzle of chocolate. I served both versions at a little outdoor garden party I had this past week, and they were a big hit with all my friends. In fact, people had a hard time choosing which one was their favorite!

Summer Bruschetta: Two Ways | www.floatingkitchen.net

To complete my garden soiree, I paired my Summer Bruschetta with a couple of Maison Louis Jadot Wines. The clean, fresh flavors of their Mâcon-Villages Chardonnay went perfectly with the savory corn bruschetta that I created. While their plump, juicy Beaujolais-Villages nicely played up the flavors in my sweet cherry bruschetta.

Summer Bruschetta: Two Ways | www.floatingkitchen.net

Maison Louis Jadot Wine is the #1 brand of French wine in the United States. Their wines are versatile, pairing well with so many of my favorite foods. And they are available at a great price point. It’s a wine that I’m happy to have in my home and serve to my family and friends!

Cheers,

Liz

Summer Bruschetta: Two Ways

Serves 10-12

Summer Bruschetta: Two Ways

Ingredients

  • For the Bruschetta Base
  • 1 rustic French baguette
  • About 2-3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 8 ounces goat cheese, softened at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon honey

  • For the Corn Topping
  • 2 ears of corn, cooked and kernels sliced off
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp. adobo sauce (from a can of chipotle peppers in adobo)
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper

  • For the Cherry Topping
  • 1 cup pitted and quartered cherries
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh mint leaves, thinly sliced
  • 1 ounce melted dark chocolate

Instructions

  1. Make the bruschetta base. Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees. Slice the French baguette into 1/2-inch slices. Brush both sides of the bread with a little olive oil. Then place the sliced bread on a rimmed baking sheet and bake in your pre-heated oven for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside. Meanwhile, with your stand or hand mixer, whip together the goat cheese, heavy cream and honey until smooth. Then spread a thin layer of this goat cheese mixture onto one side of the toasted bread. Set aside.
  2. Make savory bruschetta. Combine all of the ingredients for the corn topping in a medium bowl. Top about half of the bread with this corn mixture.
  3. Make the sweet bruschetta. Combine the cherries, balsamic vinegar and mint in a medium bowl. Top the remaining half of the bread with this cherry mixture. Then drizzle a small amount of melted dark chocolate on top.
  4. Serve immediately.
http://www.floatingkitchen.net/summer-bruschetta-two-ways/

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