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In many cases, the end of the year gives you time to step back and take stock of the last 12 months. This is when many of us take a hard look at what worked and what did not, complete performance reviews, and formulate plans for the coming year. For me, it is all of those things plus a time when I u...
Easy Holiday Elegance

MISSION, KS -- (Marketwire) -- 11/29/12 -- (Family Features) Whether you're hosting a holiday open house or a sit-down feast with family and friends, you want dishes that impress, but aren't too complicated to make. These easy and elegant holiday recipes start with rich and savory Wisconsin-made cheeses from Roth Cheese. You can find more recipes for your holiday celebrations at

Seafood Thermidor Dip
Yield: 3 cups
        6       ounces cooked lobster tails and claws, coarsely chopped
        1       medium shallot, minced
        1       large garlic clove, minced
        2       cups Alfredo sauce
        3       tablespoons cream sherry
        1/2     teaspoon fresh lemon juice
        1 1/2   cups Grand Cru Gruyere cheese, shredded
        6 1/8   ounces crab, lump-style
        1/4     cup breadcrumbs

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

In mixing bowl combine lobster, shallot, garlic, Alfredo sauce, sherry, lemon juice and cheese; stir together until well-combined. Gently fold in crab.

Place mixture in shallow baking dish (approximately 8 x 8); top with breadcrumbs and bake for 15 to 20 minutes.

Spinach Pesto Crostini
Yield: Approximately 30 servings
        1       head garlic
        3       tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
        1       pound spinach
        3/4     cup unsalted sunflower seeds, toasted
        6       ounces GranQueso cheese, grated
        1       medium baguette, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
        1       tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
                Salt and pepper to taste
        8       sundried tomatoes, quartered lengthwise
        3       ounces GranQueso cheese, grated

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Place garlic in aluminum foil, drizzle with olive oil, and wrap. Roast for 45 minutes. Remove roasted garlic cloves from skin.

Blanch spinach in hot water for 30 to 40 seconds. Remove spinach from water, and pat dry.

In food processor, blend roasted garlic, spinach, sunflower seeds and cheese until smooth.

Reduce oven heat to 350 degrees F.

Place baguette slices on baking sheet, brush with olive oil, then season with salt and pepper. Bake for 5 to 7 minutes, until lightly toasted. Remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes.

Evenly spread pesto onto crostini. Top with sundried tomato and grated cheese.

Horseradish and Chive Havarti Fondue
Yield: Approximately 4 servings
        1/2     cup Pinot Grigio
        1 1/2   cups Horseradish and Chive Havarti, shredded (plus extra for
        1       tablespoon Dijon mustard
        1       tablespoon mayonnaise
                Cubed bread
                Hard and soft pretzels
                Tortilla chips
                Pita chips
                Blanched vegetables
                Fresh chives, chopped (optional)

Stir together cheese, wine, mustard and mayonnaise in ceramic fondue pot.

Cook over low heat for approximately 7 to 10 minutes, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon.

When cheese has melted completely, remove pot from stove and transfer to a tabletop burner.

Garnish with extra cheese and chives. Serve with dipping items.

Baked Roesti
Yield: 12 mini muffins or 6 full-size muffins
        2 1/2   cups frozen shredded hash browns
        1       tablespoon butter, melted
        1/4     cup onion, minced
        1       tablespoon flour
        3       strips bacon, cooked and crumbled
                Salt and pepper to taste
        1       egg, beaten
        1       cup Grand Cru Gruyere, shredded
        2       ounces Grand Cru Gruyere, 1/2-inch cubes
                Crème fraîche or sour cream (optional)
                Fresh chives, chopped (optional)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Coat a non-stick muffin pan with vegetable oil spray.

In a mixing bowl, gently break apart frozen hash browns.

Stir in butter, onions, flour, bacon, salt, pepper and egg.

Fold shredded cheese into hash brown mixture until well combined.

Evenly distribute mixture in muffin pan. Press mixture firmly into molds.

Press a small cube of cheese into the center of each muffin.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until mixture is golden brown and crispy.

Allow to rest for 2 to 3 minutes before removing muffins from tray.

Garnish with a dollop of crème and chives.

The Perfect Cheese Plate
To add another element of deliciously easy elegance, set up a cheese plate for guests. Here are some quick tips and recommendations.

  • Plan on serving one to two ounces of cheese per person.
  • Set out a variety of cheeses with different textures and flavor profiles.
  • Serve the cheeses at room temperature.
  • Use a separate knife or spreader for each kind. Cut up a portion of each cheese to let guests know that they can dig in.

Serve complementary finger foods with the cheeses to help make the most of all the flavors. Here are some cheese and food pairing suggestions:

Grand Cru Gruyere: Smooth and mellow with light floral notes. Serve with apples, dried apricots, grapes, almonds, fig spread, whole wheat crackers, bread.

GranQueso: Hand rubbed with spices, this Spanish inspired cheese has a buttery nutty flavor and a firm, slightly crumbly texture. Serve with dried figs, almonds, hazelnuts, Spanish olives, roasted red peppers, Peppadews.

Buttermilk Blue: Deliciously creamy and tangy with a clean, sweet finish. Serve with pears, pecans, figs, candied walnuts, dates, tomatoes, endive, honey, walnut bread.

About Family Features Editorial Syndicate
This and other food and lifestyle content can be found at Family Features is a leading provider of free food and lifestyle content for use in print and online publications. Register with no obligation to access a variety of formatted and unformatted features, accompanying photos, and automatically updating Web content solutions.

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