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Showpiece appetizers.

Big, handsome, and make-ahead: those attributes make these showpiece appetizers ideal for entertaining. The first dish is a savory cheesecake pungent with the bite of Roquefort cheese but lightened up with a ricotta base. Spread it onto crisp radishes or crackers. The pastrami torte is assembled in layers in a little loaf pan; inverted and sliced, it reveals pepper cheese and pink ribbons of pastrami. Enjoy the torte in small portions on thin toasted bagel slices. And for a wild twist on pizza, bake falafel mix in a precooked crust. Cut the pizza into thin wedges to pick up and eat, warm or cool, with yogurt. The aromatically seasoned garbanzo flour in the falafel has a substantial character that many mistake for meat.

Ricotta Roquefort Cheesecake

2 cartons (15 oz. each, about 2 cups) part-skim or whole-milk ricotta cheese 1 cup packed (6 oz.) Roquefort cheese 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper Salt 6 large egg whites 1/4 cup fresh, thinly shredded parmesan cheese 3 or 4 dozen red radishes, ends trimmed, rinsed and drained Parsley sprigs Crisp crackers

In a food processor or bowl, whirl or mix ricotta, Roquefort, pepper, and salt to taste. Beat in egg whites. Scrape mixture into a 10-inch cheesecake pan with removable rim. Sprinkle evenly with parmesan cheese.

Bake, uncovered, in a 325[degrees] oven until cheesecake is firm in center when pan is gently shaken, 35 to 45 minutes. Cool, cover, and chil at least 2 hours or up until next day.

Pinch all but 1 or 2 pretty leaves from each radish. Wrap in a damp towel; enclose in plastic bag. Chill at least 30 minutes or up until next day.

Remove pan rim and set cake on a platter. Surround and garnish with radishes and parsley, and accompany with crackers. Spread cake by the spoonful onto radishes or crackers. Makes 16 to 18 servings.

Per serving: 102 cal.; 8.5 protein; 6.1 g fat (3.8 g sat.); 3.1 g carbo; 219 mg sodium; 21 mg chol.

Pastrami Torte

1/4 pound very thinly sliced pastrami 3 packages (4 oz. each, about 1-1/2 cups total) fresh pepper or herb cheese 3 tablespoons minced parsley Toasted bagel slices or unsalted crackers

Line bottom and sides of a 3- by 5-1/2-inch loaf pan with a single, slightly overlapping layer of pastrami slices that extends a little over pan rim. Spoon 1/6 of the cheese in dollops evenly into pan. Press cheese into an even layer, holding meat in place (it wants to slide around); sprinkle with about 1/6 of the parsley. Cover cheese with a layer of pastrami, pressing level. Repeat layers, using all the cheese and parsley.

Tap pan sharply against counter to settle loaf firmly into pan. Fold overhang of pastrami onto cheese, then cover cheese with remaining pastrami, patting in place. Cover and chill until loaf feels firm when pressed, at least 4 hours or up until next day.

Run a thin knife between pastrami and pan sides, then invert loaf onto a platter. Slice, then cut portions of each slice to eat on toasted bagel slices. Makes 12 to 14 servings.

Per serving torte: 86 cal.; 4.1 g protein; 7.1 g fat (0.1 g sat.); 2.3 g carbo.; 195 mg sodium; 27 mg chol.

Falafel Pizza

3 large eggs 3/4 cup milk 1 small can (4 oz.) diced green chilies 1 package (6 to 8 oz., about 1-1/2 cups) falafel mix 1 package (16 oz.) prebaked, refrigerated or frozen cheese crust (about 12 in. wide) Thinly sliced green onion 1 to 1-1/2 cups plain nonfat yogurt

In a large bowl, beat eggs, milk, chilies, and falafel to mix well. Cover and let stand for falafel mix to absorb moisture, about 10 minutes.

Place crust, cup side up, on 14-by 17-inch baking sheet (or large sheet of foil). Scrape falafel mixture into center of crust and spread smoothly to fill hollow. Bake on 350[degrees] oven until center feels firm when pressed lightly, 35 to 45 minutes. Garnish with green onion. Serve warm or at room temperature; cut wide wedges to pick up and eat. Offer yogurt as topping or dip. Makes 32 thin wedges, about 3/4 inch at rim.

Per thin wedge: 72 cal.; 4.1 g protein; 1.8 g fat (0.3 g sat.); 10 g carbo.; 145 mg sodium; 22 mg chol.
COPYRIGHT 1991 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1991 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Holiday Entertaining special section
Date:Nov 1, 1991
Previous Article:Our tamale pie needed a major overhaul.
Next Article:Companions for the roast.

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