Monday, December 10, 2018

Mini Bites of Holiday Cheer

"Christmas Sparrow"
by Billy Collins

The first thing I heard this morning
was a rapid flapping sound, soft, insistent—

wings against glass as it turned out
downstairs when I saw the small bird
rioting in the frame of a high window,
trying to hurl itself through
the enigma of glass into the spacious light.

Then a noise in the throat of the cat
who was hunkered on the rug
told me how the bird had gotten inside,
carried in the cold night
through the flap of a basement door,
and later released from the soft grip of teeth.

On a chair, I trapped its pulsations
in a shirt and got it to the door,
so weightless it seemed
to have vanished into the nest of cloth.

But outside, when I uncupped my hands,
it burst into its element,
dipping over the dormant garden
in a spasm of wingbeats
then disappeared over a row of tall hemlocks.

For the rest of the day,
I could feel its wild thrumming
against my palms as I wondered about
the hours it must have spent
pent in the shadows of that room,
hidden in the spiky branches
of our decorated tree, breathing there
among the metallic angels, ceramic apples, stars of yarn,
its eyes open, like mine as I lie in bed tonight
picturing this rare, lucky sparrow
tucked into a holly bush now,
a light snow tumbling through the windless dark.

"Christmas Sparrow" by Billy Collins, from Aimless Love. © Random House 2013.

Pesto Cheese Tarts 
Recipe from Taste of Home and makes 15 appetizers. This recipe was served on medium sized dish  glued to an upside down martini glass for a base. The plate and glass were found at a local thrift shop.
  • 2/3 cup diced tomatoes, patted dry on a paper towel 
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise or Miracle Whip 
  • 1/3 cup prepared package grated 6 Cheese Italian 
  • 5 TB. grated Parmesan cheese 
  • 2-3 tsp. prepared pesto 
  • 1/8 tsp. pepper 
  • 1 package frozen mini fillo shells, thawed

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
  • In a small bowl combine the tomatoes, mayonnaise, cheese, pesto and pepper. 
  • Remove tart shells from plastic tray and place on an ungreased baking sheet.
    Spoon a heaping teaspoon in each tart shell. Bake 6 minutes.
Walnut Cranberry Crostini

  • 1 small French baguette cut into 12 slices
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts 
  • 1 cup crumbled Gorgonzola, Swiss or Blue-Cheese 
  • 3/4 dried sweetened cranberries 
  • 2 TB. chopped green onion 

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees and brush both sides of bread slices with olive oil. 
  • Bake 2 minutes on a baking sheet, turn once-cook 2 minutes more.
  • In a bowl mix cranberries, cheese, walnuts and onions. 
  • Place 2 TB. walnut mixture on bread and toast 3 minutes more. Serve immediately.

Chutney and Boursin Cheese Appetizer
Cook's notes: This is the perfect appetizer for the busy hostess who needs an appetizer but short on time. It can be assembled in less than 15 minutes

  • 1 jar chutney (I tested with Major Grey's Chutney)
  • 1 container garlic and herbs Boursin
  • toasted baguettes or crackers
  • chives
  • On low heat warm up chutney.
  • Optional adding in 1 TB bourbon.
  • Spread Boursin cheese on toasted baguettes slices bread or crackers.
  • Top with chutney.
  • Optional adding a halved grape tomato or red grape.

2018 Reindeer Bar Returns:Part One 
featuring all new drinks and appetizers  

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