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LifestyleColumnistsMarge Perry

3 Simple New Year's Eve appetizer recipes

Puff-pastry palmiers are filled with mushrooms and Jarlsberg

Puff-pastry palmiers are filled with mushrooms and Jarlsberg cheese; sweet potatoes are topped with blue cheese and drizzled with honey.  Credit: Marge Perry

MUSHROOM PALMIERS

2 tablespoon olive oil, divided

10 ounces white button mushrooms, finely chopped

1 shallot, finely chopped (about 1/4 cup)

1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 cup Madeira

3 tablespoons heavy cream

1/2 (17.3-ounce) box frozen puff pastry, thawed (one folded sheet)

1 1/3 cups coarsely grated Jarlsberg cheese, (about 4 ounces)

1. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the mushrooms, shallot, thyme and salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until the liquid evaporates and the mushrooms begin to brown, 9 to 11 minutes. Add the Madeira and cook until it evaporates, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add the cream and cook until thickened, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.

2. Place the folded sheet of the puff pastry on a lightly floured surface. Roll the folded pastry into a 10 x 14-inch rectangle. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

3. Spread the mushroom mixture evenly over the top of the pastry and sprinkle evenly with the cheese. Tightly roll one long edge toward the center, stopping at the halfway point. Tightly roll the second long edge toward the center. Squeeze gently to slightly compact the double-barreled log. Freeze for 1 hour. (May be wrapped in plastic and frozen for 1 week.)

4. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Use a large serrated knife to cut the log across in 1/4-inch thick slices. Place the slices 1-inch apart on two sheet pans lined with parchment. Brush the top surfaces lightly with the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Bake 10 minutes; rotate the pans and bake another 10 to 12 minutes, until golden. Makes 36 to 40 pieces; 12 servings

Nutritional analysis for each serving: 165 calories, 5 g protein, 12 g carbohydrates, 1 g fiber, 12 g fat, 5 g saturated fat, o added sugar, 139 mg sodium

TIP: Palmiers may be baked up to 1 week ahead and stored in a zip-top bag at room temperature. Before serving, place in a 325-degree oven for 7 to 10 minutes to crisp.

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SWEET POTATO BITES WITH BLUE CHEESE AND HONEY

1 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut across in 1/4-inch slices

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup crumbled blue cheese, at room temperature

4 ounces Neufchatel cheese, at room temperature

1 tablespoon honey

1 to 2 sprigs rosemary

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Coat a sheet pan with cooking spray.

2. Toss the sweet potato slices with the olive oil and salt. Place in a single layer on the pan. Bake 10 minutes, turn and bake until the potatoes are tender, about another 10 minutes. Let cool. (May be done 1 day ahead.)

3. Use a fork or hand-held mixer to combine and soften the blue cheese and Neufchatelcheese until fairly smooth.

4. Top each slice of sweet potato with a dollop of the blue cheese mixture. (You may either use a spoon or a piping bag.) Just before serving, drizzle with the honey and top with a rosemary needle or three. Makes 30 to 35 pieces; serves 15

Nutritional analysis for each serving: 102 calories, 3 g protein, 11 g carbohydrates, 1 g fiber, 5 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 1 g added sugar, 166 mg sodium

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ROASTED BABY POTATOES WITH CAESAR DIP

2 pounds assorted baby fingerling potatoes, scrubbed

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 teaspoon salt

2/3 cup canola mayonnaise

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/2 small garlic clove, minced very finely

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray.

2. Combine the potatoes, oil, and salt in a large bowl and toss to coat. Arrange on a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Roast until potatoes are tender, shaking pan occasionally, 28 to 30 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, combine the mayonnaise, cheese, juice, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, and pepper in a small bowl.

4. Place a bowl of the dip on a platter and surround with warm or room-temperature potatoes. Makes about 45 pieces; serves 15

Nutritional analysis for each serving: 87 calories, 1 g protein, 11 g carbohydrates, 1 g fiber, 4 g fat, 0 saturated fat, 0 added sugar, 210 mg sodium

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