Olive Balls

 

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Last night was my annual Christmas party that I host each and every December. I look forward to this party as it starts my holiday season off with much happiness and good cheer.

I love to cook a nice dinner for my friends, along with having an array of appetizers and sweet treats. Sometimes, I order Bundtinis from Nothing Bundt Cakes as my dessert, but last night some of my friends offered to bring treats ranging from brownies (thank you, Pam!), snickerdoodle cookies (thank you, Sandy – and thank you, also, for the chicken sausages … yum!), lemon bars (thank you, Jen!), and array of chocolates and caramels – so yummy! My friend, Marie, brought a wonderful salad (thank you, Marie!) and my friend, JoAnne brought an amazing vegetable platter with asparagus, mushrooms, etc. It was divine (thank you, JoAnne!). My friend, Ethel, brought two wonderful puff pastry shell appetizers … one was stuffed with cheese and a little tiny meatball and the other had caramelized onion jam and cheese, OMG – yum (thank you, Ethel!)

One of the appetizers I make each year is my olive balls. My friend and neighbor, Lauren, loves my olive balls. The first time I made them is when I hosted our Neighborhood Book Club for the first time … this was also our inaugural meeting – and also the very first time some of us met. I remember walking through Trader Joe’s a few days before that first meeting deciding on what I’d make to serve my friends and new friends. I saw puff pastry in the freezer aisle and spotted stuffed olives in the olive aisle. I figured I’d buy them both and come up with a plan …. that turned out to be one of the best plans ever! Not only does Lauren love the olive balls, but my daughter, Kylie does as well. She looks forward to the leftover olive balls each time I make them.

To make the olive balls, I thawed my puff pastry, per the package directions. Once the puff pastry was thawed enough that I could unfold it without it breaking (about 40 minutes), I drained my jar of olives. The olives I chose to use for yesterday were the blue cheese stuffed olives.  I cut my puff pastry into squares (about 3 inches each) and place an olive in the middle of each square. I then wrap the pastry around the olive and roll it in my hands to form a ball. I then place them on baking sheets (I usually need two) that I sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Once the olives are on my baking sheet, I brush them with a little olive oil and sprinkle a pinch of sea salt on each one. After that, I sprinkle fresh minced rosemary and grated parmesan on each olive ball. I then bake them at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes, until they are lightly browned.

Note: Feel free to use garlic stuffed olives if you’d like or any other type of stuffed olive that appeals to you. If I use the garlic stuffed olives, I add crumbled blue cheese to the “package”. I place a little on top of the olive before rolling it together into a ball.

Once again, my olive balls did not disappoint. I’m sure they will make an appearance at my next gathering … perhaps the Ugly Christmas Party I’m hosting on December 22nd!

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Ingredients

  • 1 package puff pastry, thawed
  • 1 jar stuffed olives
  • 5 sprigs rosemary, minced
  • parmesan cheese, grated
  • sea salt, a pinch per olive ball
  • olive oil, for brushing

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Thaw puff pastry per package directions.
  3. Drain olives.
  4. Cut puff pastry like you would cut a pan of brownies (make them about 2-1/2 – 3  inches square).
  5. Place olive in the middle of each square and fold pastry around olive. Roll in your hands until the pastry looks like a small ball.
  6. Place on a baking sheet.
  7. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt.
  8. Sprinkle each olive ball with rosemary and parmesan.
  9. Bake 20 minutes, or until browned nicely.

Enjoy!

Until next time, Kris

 

 

Rosemary Burger (Bun free) with Blue Cheese

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I love the taste of rosemary, as well as the smell of rosemary. If I am out and about and spot a rosemary scented candle, I can’t seem to pass it up. Rosemary makes me think of fall, and as we know, fall is here. I decided to season my hamburgers tonight with fresh rosemary and top it with blue cheese. I wanted nothing more on the side of my burger than a simple arugula salad and sliced tomato for tonight’s meal. The flavoring in this burger is so good, I wanted to forego the bun.

I mixed 1 pound of extra lean ground beef together with kosher salt, pepper, ground mustard, onion powder and fresh, minced rosemary. I cooked my burgers on the stovetop in a tablespoon of olive oil and a tablespoon of butter that I melted together.

Once the burgers were done, I served it with arugula dressed with a slight drizzle of olive oil, kosher salt and pepper. I also enjoyed sliced tomato as a side to my burger.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound extra lean (93%) ground beef
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, minced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • blue cheese
  • Directions
  1. Mix ground beef together with salt, pepper, ground mustard, onion powder and rosemary.
  2. Form into 3 patties.
  3. Melt butter into olive oil.
  4. Place burgers into hot oil and cook on first side 3-4 minutes, flipping and cooking 3-5 minutes on the second side.

Enjoy!

Until next time, Kris

 

Parmesan Popcorn with Rosemary Butter

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It’s Saturday night, which equals movie night at our house. We love going to the theater to watch movies and as well as watching them at home. Dennis and I have enjoyed going to the movies since we started dating. For our first date, we went to see Friday the 13th, Part 3 in 3D. I am not one for scary movies, but I went because I thought Dennis was so handsome and I wasn’t going to pass up the opportunity to go out with him when he asked. He told me it was his strategy to take me to a scary movie so I would snuggle up closely to him and hold his hand. That first date was almost 35 years ago.

I am someone who needs a bowl of popcorn when I’m watching a good movie. Tonight, I decided to make popcorn with rosemary butter drizzled in and freshly grated parmesan sprinkled over the top. I also added about two teaspoons of sea salt to the popcorn.

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Tonight, we’re going to watch Shot Caller. Looks like an action/suspense flick. It’s a pre-theater release on DirecTV. Last night we enjoyed going to the Arclight Theater to see Atomic Blonde staring Charlize Theron. She was fabulous, and did all of her own stunts. I highly recommend heading to the theater to check that one out.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup popcorn kernels
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 teaspoons dried rosemary
  • 3 tablespoons shredded parmesan
  • 1-2 teaspoons sea salt

Directions

  1. Heat oil in large kettle.
  2. Pour kernels into pot, put the lid on and cook on high until the kernels have all popped.
  3. Place popped corn into a large bowl.
  4. Melt butter and rosemary together in small saucepan and pour over popcorn.
  5. Add salt.
  6. Grate parmesan and add to popcorn.
  7. Mix together.

Enjoy!

Until next time, Kris