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Recipe Friday: Holiday Appetizers

Happy holidays! Here are some holiday appetizers you can serve for your next holiday gathering, or event! 

Photo courtesy Proscuitto di Parma

Sweet Potato Rounds

Yield: 16-20

Recipe coutesy Proscuitto di Parma


2 ea. medium sweet potatoes (look for sweet potatoes that are long rather than wide)
2 tsp olive oil
Salt, to taste
2 T butter
1 bunch fresh sage, stems removed
4 ozs goat cheese
8 slices Prosciutto di Parma, halved


  1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Line baking sheet with foil or parchment. Peel and slice sweet potatoes into 1/2-inch rounds. In a medium bowl toss sweet potatoes with oil and lightly season with salt. Arrange rounds in a single layer on your prepared pan; bake until sweet potatoes are lightly browned and tender, about 20 minutes flipping halfway through.

  2. Meanwhile, in a small skillet over medium heat, bring butter to a simmer. Add half of the sage leaves. Cook until crispy, 2-3 minutes. Remove to paper towel and season lightly with salt. Repeat with remaining sage leaves. Reserve 2 teaspoons of the butter. In a small food processor, combine goat cheese and butter; whirl until smooth.

  3. To make rounds, remove goat cheese to a plastic zip bag. Cut off one corner and pipe small dollops of the cheese onto each round. Top with half a slice of Prosciutto di Parma and one crispy sage leaf.


Photo courttesy National Watermelon Promotion Board

Savory Watermelon Pizza

Recipe courtesy National Watermelon Promotion Board


1 ea. watermelon round cut into 1” (for crust)
Goat cheese
1 T heavy whipping cream
Balsamic glaze
Greens of choice
Pepper to taste


  1. In a small bowl mix goat cheese and heavy whipping cream to make it spreadable.

  2. Spread goat cheese to cover watermelon leaving room to hold the rind.

  3. Place prosciutto then greens as toppings on watermelon pizza as desired.

  4. Drizzle balsamic glaze on watermelon pizza. Pepper to taste.

American Lamb Kofta Meatballs and Green Chutney

Yield: 100

Recipe courtesy Chef Jenna Johansen

 5 lbs ground American lamb
2 cups shallots, minced
1 cup fresh flat leaf parsley, minced
¼ cup fresh cilantro, minced
3 T fresh garlic, minced
2 T fresh ginger, minced or grated
1 ½ T kosher salt
1 T cinnamon
1 T black pepper, ground
1 T ground coriander, toasted
1 ½ tsp cayenne
Green chutney (recipe follows)
100 small wooden skewers, soaked


  1. In a food processor, add shallots, parsley, cilantro, garlic, cumin, ginger, salt, cinnamon, pepper, coriander and cayenne; pulse to puree. 

  2. In a large bowl, mix herb and spice ingredients with lamb.  Scoop meatballs with #40 scoop, roll into ball and place on parchment-lined sheet tray. 

  3. Place a soaked wooden skewer into each meatball.  Bake meatballs at 350°F, approximately 10 to 15 minutes. 

  4. Serve each meatball immediately atop Green Chutney spooned onto serving platter if passed, or with Green Chutney in a bowl on the side placed on a buffet or station.

Ingredients for Green Chutney

3 cups fresh cilantro, chopped
½ cup schredded coconut
½ cup fresh mint leaves, chopped
1 ½ ea. jalapeno, seeded and chopped
2 T fresh lemon juice
1 tsp honey or agave nextar
Kosher salt, to taste
½ cup water, or as needed


  1. In a blender, combine cilantro, coconut, mint, jalapeño, lemon juice, ginger and salt; blend to a smooth paste. 
  2. Use water as needed to adjust consistency.

Boursin® Cheese Cubes with Basil Oil and Balsamic Glaze

Recipe courtesy Christophe Joignant, Executive Chef, Capital City Club, Atlanta, Ga.

Ingredients for Basil Oil:

1 large bunch fresh basil
½ cup grapesee oil
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil

Ingredients for Boursin Cheese Bites

2 large eggs
Salt, as needed
2 oz. Boursin Professional Frozen Gourmay Cheese Cubes, Garlice & Fine Herbs
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups Italian bread crumbs
canola oil, as needed
balsamic glaze, as needed


  1. For the Basil Oil: Wash and strip the basil leaves from the stems. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and blanch the basil for about 10 seconds to set the color. Remove to an ice bath to stop the cooking. Drain the basil and squeeze to remove excess moisture. Press the basil between paper towels to dry as much as possible.

  2. Place the dry basil in a blender with the grapeseed oil. Process until smooth. Add the olive oil and blend again until smooth. Place in a container and refrigerate for at least 8 hours for the flavors to blend.

  3. To use the oil, bring it to room temperature. Strain it through a cheesecloth-lined sieve. Squeeze the cheesecloth to extract as much oil as possible. Discard the solids and pour the oil into a squeeze bottle. Use immediately or refrigerate for up to 1 month.

  4. For the Boursin Cheese Bites: In a bowl, whisk the eggs with a pinch of salt.

  5. Coat the Boursin cubes in the egg and drain the excess. Dredge them in the flour and shake off the excess. Toss them in the bread crumbs. Spread the coated cheese bites on a baking sheet and freeze until just firm, about 15 minutes.

  6. Heat the oil to 375° F. Working in batches, fry the cheese bites until golden and crisp, about 45 seconds. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bites to a paper towel–lined plate and season with salt.

  7. For each serving, squeeze some basil oil into a Japanese soup spoon and top with a warm Boursin bite. Drizzle with balsamic glaze and serve warm.

Chocolate Potato Donuts with Crème Anglaise

Ingredients for Donuts

½ T butter
½ vanilla bean, split and scraped
4 cups Idaho® russet potatoes, peeled, medium dice
2 ¼ cups sugar
as needed milk to cover potatoes
1 cup dark chocolate chips
1 cup sweet chocolate chips
1 T cocoa powder
1 T butter, softened
2 eggs
¼ cup buttermilk
1 cup sour cream
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups pastry flour
2 T baking powder
1 T baking soda
As needed rice/canola oil blend for deep-frying
2 tsp cinnamon, ground


  1. In a medium pot, melt ½ tablespoon butter with vanilla bean. When fragrant, add potatoes and ½ cup sugar, then add milk to cover.

  2. In a small bowl combine chocolates, cocoa powder and softened butter. Place bowl over potatoes in pot to create a double boiler, to melt chocolates.

  3. When potatoes are cooked and chocolate is melted, drain potatoes and allow potatoes to sit on a sheet tray for 8 to 10 minutes to cool and to allow liquid to evaporate.

  4. While potatoes are cooling, beat eggs and ¾ cup sugar together until ribbon state, either by hand or with a mixer. Mix together the buttermilk and sour cream in a separate bowl.

  5. In a large bowl, using a spatula, combine melted chocolate, buttermilk/sour cream mix and egg/sugar mix (should kind of resemble chocolate pudding, with a sheen).

  6. In a separate bowl, combine flours, baking powder and baking soda.

  7. When potatoes are dry, strain potatoes through a food mill. Mix strained potatoes into chocolate mixture, then add flour mixture.

  8. Combine as much as possible, then switch to using your hands to mix the dough together. All the ingredients should be thoroughly mixed together.

  9. Roll dough out of bowl onto half sheet tray. It should have a nice sheen, should not stick to your hands, and should have almost the appearance of aerated chocolate.

  10. Roll into the form of 45 to 50 small, golf-size balls.

  11. Place into fryer with oil at 350°F for 6 minutes. Meanwhile, combine remaining 1 cup sugar with cinnamon in a shallow bowl. Allow donuts to cool for 30 seconds, then toss in the cinnamon/sugar mixture.

  12. To serve, pour some crème anglaise onto a dessert plate and top with a few donuts.

Ingredients for Crème Anglaise

½ liter milk
½ liter heavy cream
1 cup sugar
½ vanilla bean, split and scraped
10 egg yolks


  1. Combine milk, heavy cream, ½ cup sugar and vanilla in a pot on induction, set to 220-250°F. Stir occasionally.

  2. In a mixer, whip egg yolks and remaining ½ cup sugar to soft peaks (yolk will be lighter yellow in color and you should see lines in it when pulling whisk attachment out).

  3. When milk mixture is around 195-205°F, temper it into yolks, adding a little bit initially then more the second time.

  4. Pour tempered yolks into pot and bring up to 178-180°F.

  5. Quickly remove from pot and strain through a chinois into a large bowl set in an ice bath. Reserve for serving.


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