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Cheese combinations as quick appetizers.

Need an appetizer in a hurry? Cheese is a convenient answer. It's ready to eat, appeals to a wide range of tastes, and is easy to dress up for a custom-made took.

Simple seasonings, shaping, or heating can transform a cheese, giving it a different flavor or texture, Here are three combinations that take only a few minutes to assemble. And you can make the first two a day ahead.

Pesto Cheese Spread

Offer with crisp breadsticks, red bell pepper strips, and cucumber slices.

1/3 cup pine nuts or slivered almonds

8 ounces (about 1 cup) ricotta

cheese, at room temperature

8 ounces neufchatel cheese (about 1

cup) or mascarpone, at room

temperature

1/3 cup pesto, purchased or

homemade

Salt

Place nuts in a 9-inch pie or cake pan and bake in a 350' oven until golden, 6 to 8 minutes; shake occasionally, Set aside.

Meanwhile, with a mixer or food processor, beat ricotta, neufchatel, and pesto until well blended. Add salt to taste. Stir in half the nuts. (If made ahead, cover and chill until next day. To serve, let warm to room temperature for best flavor.) Mound cheese mixture on a plate. Sprinkle with remaining nuts. Makes about 2 cups, 10 to 12 appetizer servings.

Per tablespoon: 47 cal.; 2.1 g protein; 4.1 g fat; 0.1 g carbo.; 45 mg sodium; 9.4 mg chol.

Prosciutto-topped Brie

Even firm brie melts smoothly when baked If You let it stand, hold on a warming tray to keep cheese fluid. Offer crisp toasted baguette slices and celery sticks to eat with it.

1 chilled firm-ripe round brie cheese

(8 oz.), or a 1/2-pound wedge

3 tablespoons finely chopped drained

dried tomatoes packed in oil

1 ounce thinly sliced prosciutto,

slivered

1 tablespoon oil from dried tomatoes

or olive oil

Cut brie in half crosswise. Set I half, cut side up, in a buttered shallow baking dish just slightly larger than cheese. Evenly distribute chopped tomatoes over cut cheese. Place other half of cheese on top, cut side down. Mix prosciutto shreds with oil and mound over cheese. (If made ahead, cover and chill until the next day.) Bake, uncovered, in a 350[deg] oven until cheese is hot in center, 12 to 18 minutes.

Serve hot. Makes 4 appetizer servings.

Per serving: 268 cal; 13 g protein; 23 g fat, 1.8 g carbo.; 74 1 mg sodium; 61 mg chol.

Chevre with Mint and Cumin

Serve with toasted pumpernickel triangles and green bell pepper wedges.

1 log or slice unripened chevre cheese (8 to 12 oz.)

3 to 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 teaspoon cumin seed, crushed

About 1/4 teaspoon cayenne

2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint leaves

Set cheese on a small plate. Drizzle olive oil over cheese. Sprinkle with cumin, cayenne to taste, and mint. Makes 4 to 6 appetizer servings.

Per serving : 198 cal. ; 7 g protein; 18 g fat, 2.8 g carbo.; 233 mg sodium; 35 mg chol.
COPYRIGHT 1989 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1989 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:recipes
Publication:Sunset
Date:May 1, 1989
Words:502
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