A photo of a table of hors d'oeurvres

Bring on the hors d’oeuvres!

Whether it’s a table laden with hors d’oeuvres or just one or two choices, do you think, “Hmm, I’m skipping this and can’t wait for the main meal.” Or “Yay! Do we really have to have a main meal?”

I’m definitely the latter. A smorgasbord of choices is my food nirvana – little bursts of different flavors and textures define yumminess.

With the holiday season in full swing, are you bringing on the hors d’oeuvres?

Whether you call them hors d’oeuvres (meaning outside the work) or appetizers, the ancient Greeks and Romans sampled bits of fish, seasoned vegetables, cheeses and olives. In 1465, in the first cookbook ever printed, “De honesta voluptate et valetudine” (“On honest indulgence and good health”), Italian writer Bartolomeo Platina recommended thin rolls of grilled veal to stimulate the appetite for food and drink.

The French ate hors d’oeuvre (the plural is used only in English) at fancy meals from the late 17th though the mid-19th centuries. Oysters, stuffed eggs, slices of beef tongue or braised quail were favorites.

In the 1860s, the term appetizers appeared nearly simultaneously in England and America to provide an Anglophone equivalent for the French hors d’oeuvre.

As we celebrate throughout the coming weeks, the possibilities are endless for hors d’oeuvres. I encourage you to break out of your comfort zone and add some new foods – after all, it’s just a small bite.

Take a break from the season’s hustle and bustle on Saturday, December 18 and make festive holiday cookies and confections with Chef Daniel Martinez, co-owner with his wife, Noelle, of Café Francais Boulangerie & Patiesserie. No shopping, no cleanup and plenty to share with family and friends.

In the bakery’s kitchen, 7831 E. Wrightstown Rd., Suite 113, the menu for this hands-on workshop: Scottish Shortbread, Brownie Cookies, Coconut Macaroons, Peppermint Bark and Peanut Brittle. Chef Daniel will also send you home with one of his signature loaves – freshly baked country sourdough.

News & Notes
Happy Hanukkah to those celebrating! Beyond Bread’s three locations will carry raspberry rugelach from December 3-24; babka and challah every Friday at 11 a.m. Nadines Bakery, Tucson’s only kosher-certified bakery has rugelach, the traditional sufganiyot jelly doughnuts, black and white cookies and Jewish-themed sugar cookies.

On Saturday, from 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Casino Del Sol presents the 16th Annual Tamal & Heritage Festival, celebrating the rich tastes, smells and variations of tamales from the Southwest and Mexico. The event provides organizations and individuals with an opportunity to fundraise as vendors.

Chef Jonathan Landeen, owner of Jonathan’s Cork, is honoring his late friend, Lt. Col. (Ret.) Michael Benson, with a new tradition. Beginning on Pearl Harbor Day, Tuesday, December 7, any active or retired military member will receive a 10% discount on their food and beverage order on the second Tuesday of each month. Benson was a decorated war veteran, a lifelong photographer and archeologist. He was commissioned in 1981 in the U.S. Air Force where he served as an Air Battle Manager on the E-3 Sentry (AWACS).

Tucson Village Farm’s Holiday Market is December 14, from 4-8 p.m., at the new farm, 201 E. Roger Rd. Look for the windmill.

Tohono Chul’s gift shop features regional desert foods and teas, perfect for gift giving.

Davison Meats recently opened. The Davison family started ranching Angus beef cattle in 1988. In 2017, they purchased a custom processing shop and two years later decided to offer customers another option, quality meat at an affordable price, and Davison Meats was created.

Wishing you joy in the kitchen,

Cheese Ball
This is my mom’s recipe. It never goes out of style.

6 oz. Roquefort cheese
2 5 oz. jars Old English cheese
1 small package cream cheese
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
½ cup chopped toasted pecans
½ cup chopped flat leaf parsley
1 jigger sherry

1. Mix cheeses, Worcestershire sauce and sherry until thoroughly combined. Add half the pecans and parsley. Cover and set overnight in refrigerator.
2. When ready to use, form into a ball, then roll in remaining nuts and parsley.

Thyme Crackers
Yield: 4 dozen

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh thyme
1 ½ teaspoons kosher or other coarse salt
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 cup heavy cream
1 large egg white
Sea salt

1. Heat oven to 375°F.
2. In a food processor, pulse flour, thyme, salt and sugar until combined. Add butter and cream and process until dough forms.
3. On a lightly floured surface, briefly knead dough. Divide into 2 pieces; shape into rectangles. Wrap each in plastic and refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.
4. Place 1 rectangle on parchment paper and roll out to a 13 ⅓-by-10 ½-inch rectangle. Transfer to a baking sheet. Score the dough into 4-by-2-inch diamonds. Brush with egg white and sprinkle with sea salt. Repeat with remaining dough.
5. Bake until golden brown and crisp, 15-20 minutes. Cool on wire rack. Break diamonds into individual crackers.

Leave a Reply