Baked Brie

This warm and flavorful baked brie is always a big hit at my house. This is perfect for a get together with friends or a romantic evening in.


8 oz. wheel Brie
3 tbls apricot preserves
1 sheet of puff pastry, thawed
1/3 cup crushed roasted salted pistachios
½ tsp cumin
1 egg, beaten
1 tbls flour
¼ tsp black pepper
Grapeseed oil

Pre-heat oven to 400.
Stir the preserves, cumin and pepper in a small bowl.


Lay out puff pastry sheet on a lightly floured surface and roll out until smooth.  Spread half of the preserve mixture in the center of the pastry sheet and place the cheese on top.  Spread the other half of the preserve mixture onto the top of the cheese.


Cover the preserves with the pistachios and drizzle a small amount of the grapeseed oil over the pastry and the cheese.


Wrap the pastry around the cheese making sure to seal the corners. Place in the center of an oiled pie pan.  Brush the pastry with the beaten egg.  Add a sprinkle of course salt on top, if desired.

Bake for 45 minutes and enjoy with crackers and a little spinach.

Broiled Garlic Oysters

Oysters are always a romantic and elegant treat.  We have them every Christmas in the afternoon with Champagne.



12 oysters shucked and arranged on a salt bed
10 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp dijon mustard
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup Panko bread crumbs
3 tbls butter
black pepper
1 tbls chopped parsley

Mix all ingredients together until it forms a thick paste.  Drop 1-2 teaspoon drops onto shucked oysters.


Broil for 10 minutes.


Sprinkle with parsley and serve immediately.




Peppered Pork Tenderloin with Apple Jalapeno Chutney

This is the all-time favorite appetizer of friends and family alike.  I have served this at my wedding, my best friend’s wedding, birthdays, funerals, snow days and when I wanted my boss to be nice to me.

What you will need:


For the chutney:
1 red onion
2 large Granny Smith apples
1 Jalapeno pepper
1 cup water
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup sugar

For the Pork Tenderloin:
2 medium pork tenderloins
10 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp Kosher salt
1 tbls whole black peppercorns, course ground



Small dice the onion, apple and pepper into uniform pieces.  Take your time here, it is worth it for the end result.


Prepare a reduction.  Combine water, vinegar and sugar and boil over medium-high heat until reduced by 1/2.

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Add onion, apple and pepper to the reduction, stirring frequently.  Let this continue to cook over medium-high heat for approximately 20 minutes.  It will undergo quite a transformation.

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When the apples and onions are translucent, and the majority of the liquid absorbed, turn off the heat and let cool.  Congratulations 🙂


While the chutney is cooking down and doing its thing, prepare the pork.  Preheat your oven to 450 degrees and prepare a roasting pan.


Grind the peppercorns fresh if you can.  I keep an extra coffee grinder just for spices.

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Combine pork tenderloins, garlic, olive oil, peppercorns and salt and place on a rack in a roasting pan.  I use a cooling rack and a turkey pan.  Bake for 25 minutes at 450 or until the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees.


Tent your tenderloins and let rest for 10 minutes so that the juices can redistribute.


Thinly slice the pork and serve with the chutney.

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This dish is excellent cold with small portions on a cracker.

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Smoked Trout Mousse with Parmesan Crisps

1 Smoked trout, skin removed
1/2 block cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup mayo (Dukes)
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tbls butter
Chives, finely chopped
Parmesan crisps are simply 1 tsp Parmesan cheese baked at 375 until slightly browned.
Combine first 6 ingredients in food processor until completely smooth.
Pipe into Asian spoons and garnish with a crisp and chives.

This photo is courtesy of Brent Stephens @ The Hipstacrat
This photo is courtesy of Brent Stephens @ The Hipstacrat