Food You Can Eat: Two Wintry Party Foods, Bacon and Cheddar Toasts and Endive Leaves With a Cheese-Walnut Spread

Let this be my humble tribute to Ruth Reichl and the print edition of Gourmet Magazine

Image via mykentuckyhome

Happy Holidays! Seasonal good thoughts to you and yours. While decluttering and rearranging recently I came across a couple of printouts cleverly concealed under a bagged quartet of doggy boots that we force Faithful Hound to wear in the snow, because our super is super into spreading a dump truck’s worth of snow-melting chemicals around the perimeter of our building. How these two Casa Encantada Holiday Open House recipes migrated up there, I don’t know. I wish I could reanimate the corpse of Heinrich Schliemann to excavate my apartment, as he did so successfully with Troy in the 19th century.

There are both from Gourmet magazine and the second is from Ruth Reichl herself.

Both of these recipes make 24 snacks/appetizers/nibblies/whatever you want to call them. They are not for the lactose-intolerant.

Bacon and Cheddar Toasts

1/4 lb extra-sharp white Cheddar, coarsely grated (2 cups)

1/4 lb cold sliced lean bacon, finely chopped, uncooked

1/2 small onion, finely chopped (3 tbsp)

1 tbsp drained bottled horseradish

1/4 tsp salt (2 good shakes)

1/8 tsp black pepper (1 good shake)

24 slices sourdough cocktail bread (or rye, or a combo). You can usually find sleeves of these lurking near supermarket deli counters.

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 375°F.

Stir together cheese, bacon, onion, horseradish, salt, and pepper in a bowl with a rubber spatula until blended well.

Spread mixture evenly to edges of each slice of bread. Arrange slices in 1 layer on a large baking sheet.

Bake toasts on baking sheet until beginning to brown on edges, about 20 minutes. This is why you want the bacon to be lean; it cooks in the oven as part of a mixture and you don’t want these to be greasy.

Ruth Reichl’s Endive Leaves with a Walnut-Cheese Spread

I for one love endive leaves, those lovely little canoes that deliver all kinds of good stuff into our mouths. These are a little messy to eat while standing but it can be done if you’re on a steady footing and are dextrous. And remember, napkins are the host’s best friend.

1 small garlic clove

pinch of salt

1 tablespoon mayonnaise

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 (6-ounce) piece Parmigiano-Reggiano, sliced 1/8″ thick and cut into 1/8″ dice. Chop chop chop. The best way to do this is have the P-R very cold, use a very sharp knife, and then slice it. Then, pile the slices in a column and cut it into 1/8th-inch mini-slices. Then, if all goes well, your column will stand strong and you can cut crosswise, where it will fall apart. 

1/2 cup finely chopped celery

1 cup walnuts, lightly toasted and finely chopped

1/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

4 or 5 Belgian endives, trimmed and leaves separated. You want to get 24 leaves out of them. 

Using a large knife, mince and mash garlic to a paste with salt. Whisk together garlic paste, mayonnaise, lemon juice, and oil in a medium bowl. Stir in cheese and celery, then stir in walnuts, parsley and salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate covered for at least 3 hours to allow flavors to develop. Mound 1 tablespoon salad onto wide end of each endive leaf and spread as shown in header image. Arrange on a platter and serve.



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