Cheesy  Herb Breadsticks

Sorry I’m late in sharing recipes for Thanksgiving. Since you’ve probably already got your main meal covered (if you’re anything like my family, the menu is NOT ALLOWED to change from year to year. We like our traditions!), I thought I’d bring you some ideas for appetizers and drinks.

Cheddar Herb Twists

Several weeks ago, we made plans to celebrate after the NY Marathon. Nate’s mom was going to be in the city and so we invited a few friends to join us later in the day after the marathon for some drinks and appetizers before we all headed to dinner.

Polenta with Tomato Tapenade

Unfortunately, Hurricane Sandy came and went and destroyed many things in it’s wake, including any prospect of Nate getting to run a marathon this year.

But, on a positivie note, my mother-in-law (I think that’s the first time I’ve gotten to say that!) and our friends still came over. We just decided to celebrate good friends instead of marathon-finishing.

Polenta with Tomato Tapenade

I wasn’t feeling well and I just wanted a couple easy appetizers to make. I did some searching and came across what I thought were two simple recipes.

The polenta triangles were totally delicious and TOTALLY simple. The polenta is pre-made and you can buy it in a tube at the market. I suppose you could make your own if you wanted to, but that would make it way harder. The accompanying tapenade can get quickly whipped up in a mini food precessor.

Polenta with Tomato Tapenade

*as a side note, the plate I served the polenta on was the plate I made at my bachelorette party! We went to one of those pottery painting places, then to a nice dinner and then came back to my apt for a chick flick! A perfect day :) I painted a leaf and wrote the date of the wedding on the plate. 

Cheddar Herb Twist

The breadsticks were more labor intensive, but according to my guests were totally worth it. Easy for them to say, right? It was quite a pain to twist every stick, but in the end I think I could have halved the recipe because it made A LOT.

Cheddar Herb Twists

I’m just linking to the recipes below since I didn’t change them at all:

Polenta wedges with tomato tapenade

Cheddar Herb Twists

I also made the Cider Sangria from HowSweetEats, but I made a couple changes. I subbed ginger ale for the club soda and regular brandy for ginger brandy. It was delicious!

I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving tomorrow (if you celebrate it)!!!! We’re headed to my parents house in Florida. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday!

Note: I’m still working on another Passover recipe or two, so check back next  week!

When I was growing up, my mom used to have company over fairly often. Whether it was a casual dinner party, a holiday meal, or small catering job, there were certain foods that were her entertaining staples. One of her favorites was a pass-around spinach ball hors d’oevure, both because of its simplicity and its popularity.

My brother and I were usually given the task of rolling the mixture into balls before putting them in the oven, and then later arranging the cooked ones on a platter and sticking a decorative toothpick in each one for serving. I don’t think that there was ever a time during this process that my brother and I didn’t eat at least 2 spinach balls ourselves for every dozen we nicely arranged on the tray.

Whenever I smell them baking in the oven, I am instantly transported back to those special occasions. Start making these now and I bet they’ll soon be making memories for you as well.

Spinach Balls

Print this recipe!

Makes 32 pieces

6 eggs, beaten
2- 10 oz. pkg frozen cooked chopped spinach, thawed & well drained
2 medium onions, minced
1/2 cup fresh parmesan cheese, grated
1 1/2 sticks butter, melted
1/2 tsp or more salt, to taste
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp pepper
2 cups herb stuffing mix

Combine all but stuffing, mix well. Add stuffing, mix, and set aside for 1/2 hour.

Form heaping teaspoonfuls into balls. Bake at 350 for 20 min on a greased baking pan. Serve hot.

*Can be frozen raw
**I didn’t feel like rolling them ALL into balls, so I put about half in a small casserole dish and just cooked it for a little longer and it came out just as good, although a little greasier since the oil couldn’t run off anywhere. But if you get lazy, this is another option.


Whew, that title was a long one! I never really know what to put for my blog post titles. Sometimes I want to be creative, but I feel like I need to be descriptive and tell you exactly what recipe the post contains. I guess I’ll just see how it goes. But for this one, I knew the name of the recipe itself was enough to draw you in 😉 Sounds tasty, right?

Lately I’ve been trying to enter as many recipes contests as I can in an effort to get my blog out there. The other day I saw this contest on Food52, a website that hosts weekly themed contests, and this one’s winner would get to be on the Martha Stewart Show! I know she gets a bad rap sometimes, but ever since I was little, I’ve been kind of obsessed with her. I want to be her (well, not including the jail time, and maybe with a little bit more of a sense of humor). Martha, if you’re reading this, I’m just kidding- I love you!

I believe this recipe came to me by divine inspiration. No, I wasn’t sitting in bed reading cookbooks when it happened. I had just stumbled across the contest mentioned above and it got me brainstorming. I was on another long walk home and so I started to think. I knew I wanted to use the flavors of the bruschetta I made a month ago but somehow incorporate it into a tart. I was trying to figure out what type of crust to use when it came to me: Rosemary Cornmeal. I was also thinking I wanted some sort of jam to make it more tart-like so I decided to turn the figs I had used in the bruschetta into a jam.

I had all the flavor components in mind but wanted to alternate salty and sweet layers. I thought I’d make the crust have some sweetness to it, and I had the fig jam, prosciutto and pears, but I needed something else salty. I decided to spread a thin layer of blue cheese between the crust and jam. I also added a touch of balsamic vinegar to the fig jam to make it sweet, but tangy too.

Now, I don’t like to toot my own horn, but I’m going to make a bold statement and say, this could be the best food I’ve EVER eaten. Like so good I’d eat it instead of dessert!

Yep, you heard me right. This tart is better than dessert. You may be asking yourselves, “Has Amy gone off the deep end?” Well, I thought you would have noticed that happened long ago, but I promise this recipe is that good.

The rosemary in the crust is aromatic and shines through, the crust itself and sweet and crumbly, the tanginess of the jam pairs perfectly with the saltiness of the cheese and ham and the juicy sweetness of the pears, and the honey on top makes it truly decadent. Try it and see for yourself.

P.S. See my entry in the Food52 contest HERE.

Fresh Pear, Fig, and Prosciutto Tart with Rosemary Cornmeal Crust

Recipe by Me
8-10 appetizer portions


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal (not stone-ground)
2 Tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 stick (1/2 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 1/2 Tbsp fresh rosemary
4 to 5 Tbsp ice water


1 3/4 oz blue cheese crumbles (about 1/3 cup + 1 Tbsp)
1 recipe Fig Spread (see previous post)
4 oz. Prosciutto, roughly chopped
1 juicy fresh pear, cut in half, cored and then very thinly sliced
1-2 Tbsp honey

Put rosemary in food processor and process til chopped. Add flour, cornmeal, sugar, and salt to food processor and pulse. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles course meal with some small (roughly pea-size) butter lumps. Drizzle evently with 4 Tbsp ice water and pulse until just incorporated. Gently squeeze a small handful. If it doesn’t hold together, add more water, 1/2 Tbsp at a time, pulsing after each addition and continuing to test.

Press dough evenly onto bottom and up sides of 9 1/2 inch tart pan. Chill crust until firm, about 30 min.

Preheat oven to 400. Bake crust in middle of oven until center and edges are golden, 25-30 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with blue cheese. Leave cheese to soften on warm crust for 1-2 min. After softened, spread cheese around crust (small offset spatula works best). Cool crust in pan on rack or in fridge until reaches room temperature.

When crust is cooled, spread Fig Spread evenly over crust. Sprinkle chopped Proscuitto evenly over tart. Arrange pear slices in 2 concentric circles over tart. Drizzle with honey and garnish with rosemary sprig if desired. Serve immediately.

Note: Tart will not be good served after refrigeration as pears will turn brown and crust will be too hard.