Delicious Appetizers to share with Friends

I had a great time at Eat to the Beat this year. It is such a special event that I am proud to be a part of. It was my seventh year and my sister has been by my side to help me get things ready and feed the masses! This year we served up tasty rye and flax crackers with Apple Onion Compote and Balderson 3 year cheddar. Many came back for seconds and we were happy to see that! Easy to pop in your mouth and enjoy. So here is the recipe for the compote and the crackers.
I've also included a tasty Black Bean and Corn Salsa to serve up with chips this weekend while watching the game. But if you are having fancier fare try serving up this Lemon Goat Cheese Panna Cotta that was inspired by Menus from an Orchard Table by Heidi Noble. Truly a specialty that with one small bite makes a statement! Enjoy!

Apple Onion Chutney
Tangy and sweet, this fresh tasting chutney adds a wonderful contrast to old cheddars and strong aged cheeses and adds zip to creamy rich ones.

Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 to 20 minutes

2 tbsp butter or oil
1 small sweet onion, chopped
1 large apple, cored, peeled and diced
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
3 tbsp packed brown sugar
2 tsp mustard seeds
¼ tsp cinnamon

In a skillet melt butter over medium high heat and cook onion, stirring for about 8 minutes or until starting to become golden. Reduce heat to medium and add apple and cook for about 5 minutes or until beginning to soften. Increase heat to medium-high and add vinegar, brown sugar, mustard seeds and cinnamon and cook, stirring for 3 minutes or until thickened.

Makes 1-1/4 cups.

Flax Crackers

This crisp cracker bread is a great dipper to keep on hand for both entertaining and family snacks. Try it dipped into or spread with a mixture of cream cheese and any of the variety of chutneys and dips.

3/4 cup(175 mL) rye flour
3/4 cup (175 mL) all-purpose flour
1/4 cup (50 mL) flax seed
1/4 cup (50 mL) ground flaxseed
1/2 tsp (2 mL) baking powder
1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt
4 tsp (20 mL) canola oil
1/2 cup (125 mL)milk
1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
1 tbsp (15 mL) coarse salt

. In large bowl, using electric mixer beater, beat rye and all-purpose flour, flax seed, baking powder, salt and oil until crumbly. Add milk and mix until dough clumps together. Press into ball, adding a little more water if needed to make dough workable.
. Turn out onto lightly floured surface and knead just until dough is smooth. Press into flat disc; wrap and refrigerate for 10 minutes to relax dough.
. Divide dough into quarters. On lightly floured surface, roll out a quarter of the dough, to 1/8 inch (3 mm) thick 7- x 9- inch (18 x 23 cm) rectangle. Brush with egg and sprinkle with coarse salt. Cut into small crackers.
. Place strips on ungreased rimless baking sheets. Bake, two sheets at a time, in top and bottom third of 325 F (160 C) oven, rotating and switching pans halfway through, until golden and crisp, about 25 minutes. Let cool on rack. (Make ahead-store in airtight container for up to 1 week or freeze for up to 1 month.)
Makes about 48 crackers.

Lemon Goat Cheese Panna Cotta with Pickled Beets

This recipe was inspired by one of my favourite cookbooks Menus from an Orchard Table which uses inspiring ingredients from the local Okanagan Valley.

1 cup (250 mL) milk
1 cup (250 mL) 35 % whipping cream
1 tsp (5 mL) salt
1/2 cup (125 mL) goat cheese
1/2 cup (125 mL) 0% plain Greek yogurt
2 envelopes (7 g each) unflavoured gelatin
1/2 tsp (2 ml) grated lemon rind
3 tbsp (45 mL) lemon juice

Pickled Beets:
1 cup (250 mL) apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup (75 mL) packed brown sugar
2 cloves garlic
1 bay leaf
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 tsp (2 mL) each kosher salt, coriander and mustard seeds
3 beets, roasted, peeled and diced

Pickled Beets: In saucepan, bring vinegar, sugar, garlic, bay leaf, cinnamon stick, salt, coriander and mustard seeds to boil. Remove from heat and add beets. Cover and let stand for at least 4 hours. Cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.

Meanwhile, in another saucepan, bring milk, cream and salt just to simmer. Whisk in goat cheese and yogurt until well combined.

Dissolve gelatin in about 1/3 cup (75 mL) of cold water. Whisk into milk mixture and remove from heat. Stir in lemon rind and juice. Pour into small ramekins and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or up to 2 days.

Drain beets well and discard liquid.

Run knife around edge of panna cotta and turn out onto small plates. Spoon pickled beets on top to serve. Garnish with small parsley leaves if desired.

Makes about 20 bite size panna cotta.

Black Bean and Corn Salsa

Serve this salsa with baked pita chips or as a side dish for your next Mexican themed dinner.

2 cups frozen corn
2 tsp (10 mL) vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups chunky salsa
1 can (19 oz/540 mL) black beans, drained and rinsed
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 green onions, sliced
1 small jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
2 tbsp (25 mL) chopped fresh coriander

Place corn in small roasting pan lined with parchment. Roast in 425 F (220 C) oven for about 20 minutes, turning occasionally or until golden. Let cool.

Combine corn in large bowl. Add salsa, beans, garlic, onions, jalapeno and coriander. Stir to combine.

Makes about 5 cups

Tip: Serve this up as a hot side dish by warming in saucepan over low heat or in microwave.


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