Healthy Resolutions; But First, It's Time To Party!

by Marjan
My hands are up and I surrender! This past holiday season, starting from Halloween up to New Years, I have been entertaining guests and hosting Holiday parties. I promised my family and friends for our New Year's gathering, to take it easy with pot luck, great wine, and of course music. I'm allowing the music to entertain and hope ringing in the New Year together with those I love will fill our hearts with joy and laughter.
Of course, it's hard to keep me out of the kitchen.  Half the fun of hosting a party is cooking. Since everyone is bringing something to eat, I too had to make at least one appetizer. After all, I'm the host! I'm taking the healthy and easy rout using sheets of puff pastry, goat cheese, fresh herbs, Persian cucumbers and heirloom tomatoes from the garden (yes! We have tomatoes still growing thanks to our warm winter weather). Most supermarkets these days provide tomatoes all year long. We have yellow and red tomatoes and basil from our garden, but feel free to substitute any herb or fruit such as berries, pomegranate, or grapes.
Puff pastry, goat cheese, fruits, herbs, and nuts will make my New Years entertaining beautiful, healthy, delicious, and fun! Happy New Year to you and your loved ones.  May all your wishes and resolutions come true!


Serves 6
Ingredients:
1 sheet of puff pastry
2-3 Persian cumbers
6 oz goat cheese
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1 lemon zest
heirloom tomatoes or any fruit available
1/2 cup sliver almonds or crushed walnuts or pecans
fresh mint or basil
1 lemon zest
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place puff pastry sheet flat on a baking tray and poke 8-10 holes all around the sheet with a fork.

Bake 12-15 minutes until golden and remove from oven and allow to cool to room temperature.  Meanwhile soften 6 oz of goat cheese with 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream. Add a hefty pinch of salt, pepper, and one lemon zest. Place thinly sliced Persian cucumbers on top of pastry, leaving half an inch of the sides uncovered. Pour cheese on top of cucumbers. Use any fruit such as pomegranate seeds, berries, heirloom tomatoes as the main topping ingredient.  Generously sprinkle fruit on top of cheese. Chop 6-8 leaves of fresh basil and spread evenly through out. Finish it all up with either slivered almonds, chopped pecans, or pistachios for a healthy, colorful, appetizer to dazzle all your guests! To serve, using a sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut pastry into cubes.
As a variation, pastry can be cut into cubes prior to baking. Then stack with cucumbers and tomatoes. Top off with cheese crumbles and herbs.


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