The perfect starter to your holiday meal…a little sweet, a little tart and a whole lot of festive.
My name is Cathy and I’m an over-feeder.
There. I’ve said it. And the first step is admitting you have a problem right?
The problem with my problem is that I can’t ever seem to correct it, but the good news is it isn’t a daily affliction. It typically rears its ugly head when I’m planning a party, entertaining a group, or of course, hosting the holidays.
It starts simply, innocently. I take a quick count of the guest list and scratch out a menu. Next comes the grocery list and then I jot down a timeline, being especially detailed about the day of the event. It’s all very logical, methodical… x number of people = x dishes/servings. And then, at the eleventh hour I have this panicky reassessment and decide that I won’t have nearly enough to accommodate my guests. This results in either adding another dish or two (or three), or increasing the amount of servings for the dishes I’ve already planned. And then, surprise surprise, when serving time rolls around there is not only enough, but way too much.
And that’s where the over-feeding comes in. I channel my Italian grandma but instead of yelling “Manja! Manja!” and shaking my wooden spoon, I send the serving bowls around again and instruct everyone to take a second or third helping. I can never accept that I’ve made too much food, instead it’s clearly my guests that aren’t doing their part in filling their plates and bellies.
Well this year, this Thanksgiving, I’m vowing to be reasonable. Which is tricky, because this is the one meal when leftovers are required (gotta have my favorite sandwich). But there’s leftovers and then there’s leftovers. So it all starts with going light on the appetizers. I have made steady progress here in recent years. I used to put out an appetizer spread that rivaled the meal itself and then always felt disappointed when my family wasn’t hungry when we sat down at the table. So this year I am keeping it simple. I’m thinking a big bowl of flavored popcorn and a cheese board featuring this cranberry chutney and brie crostini. You can serve the crostini all prepped and ready to go…a smear of brie, dab of chutney and a sprinkle of fried mustard seeds for crunch. Or, you can include all the elements as part of your cheese board and let your guests serve themselves.
This cranberry chutney is more savory than sweet and delicious paired with a selection of cheeses. It can also pull double duty and be served alongside the turkey on your Thanksgiving table. Which is good news, because I’m pretty sure I’ll be making way too much.
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 cup shallots, minced
- 1 Tbsp fresh ginger, minced
- 12 oz fresh cranberries
- 1/4 cup cider vinegar
- 1/3 cup fresh orange juice
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- dash of red pepper flakes
- french baguette, sliced thinly
- olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 8 oz brie cheese, softened
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 2 Tbsp yellow mustard seeds
Heat the oil over medium heat in a small saucepan. Add the shallots and saute until golden, about 3 mins.
Add the remaining ingredients to the saucepan and cook until the cranberries pop, about 10 mins. Remove from the heat and cool.
The chutney can be stored in the refrigerator for several days.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lay the sliced bread in an even layer on a sheet tray.
Drizzle the bread with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 10 mins or until golden brown.
Heat the olive oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the mustard seeds and cover immediately. Careful! The seeds will begin to pop immediately. Shake the pan a few times as they cook, and carefully check after a minute or two if they're browned. Remove from the heat and sprinkle with salt. Leave covered until they finish popping. Pour the seeds on a papertowel lined plate to drain.
Spread the brie onto the crostini. Add a dab of cranberry chutney and a sprinkle of the fried mustard seeds.