12/24/2012 05:00 EST | Updated 02/22/2013 05:12 EST

Top brie with mushrooms and walnuts and make tourtiere tarts with a twist

A New Year's Eve party would not be complete without a range of appetizers to nosh on. Here is a sampling of easy-to-make starters.

Baked Mushroom-Topped Brie

Brie is a cheese that is always a popular appetizer. This meltingly delicious version is topped with a mixture of mushrooms and walnuts. Serve with thinly sliced whole-wheat baguette or plain crackers.

Preparation Time: 7 minutes

Cooking Time: 20 minutes

250 g (1/2 lb) fresh sliced white or cremini mushrooms

125 ml (1/2 cup) coarsely chopped onion

50 ml (1/4 cup) finely chopped walnuts

1 large clove garlic, sliced

2 ml (1/2 tsp) each dried thyme, rosemary and pepper

15 ml (1 tbsp) olive oil

15 ml (1 tbsp) balsamic vinegar

1 wheel (200 g) cold brie

30 ml (2 tbsp) finely minced fresh parsley or chives (optional)

In a food processor, finely chop mushrooms, onion, walnuts, garlic, thyme, rosemary and pepper.

In a large skillet over medium, heat oil; cook and stir mushroom mixture for 5 to 7 minutes or until all liquid has evaporated. Stir in vinegar and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature; cover and chill.

At serving time, slice brie in half horizontally and place, cut side up, on ovenproof serving plate or baking pan. Spoon topping evenly on cut surfaces of brie.

Bake in a 180 C (350 F) oven for 8 to 10 minutes or until cheese is beginning to melt. Sprinkle with parsley to garnish, if desired.

Makes 12 servings

Variation: To barbecue, place cheese on a cedar plank that has been soaked; grill, covered, over medium-high heat for 8 to 10 minutes.

Tip: For smaller groups, bake and top half of the cheese at a time; wrap the other half securely in plastic wrap and refrigerate.

Source: Mushrooms Canada,


Sun-Dried Tomato Hummus Dip

Smooth and delicious, this hummus is perfect as a dip for vegetables or to spread on pita bread. The recipe can easily be doubled or tripled to serve more guests.

50 ml (1/4 cup) mayonnaise

1 can (540 ml/19 oz) chickpeas, rinsed and drained

30 ml (2 tbsp) chopped sun-dried tomatoes

60 ml (4 tbsp) lemon juice

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

Salt and pepper, to taste

1 green onion, chopped

In a food processor, place all ingredients except green onion and blend until smooth. Spoon into a serving dish and garnish with green onion.

Makes 2 or 3 servings.

Source: Hellmann's.


Wonton Tourtiere Tartlets

Here's a Canadian favourite traditionally served during the holidays made into tartlets with a slight twist. You can make the tourtiere mixture up to one day ahead and just warm through in the microwave, then scoop into the wonton tartlets to serve. Serve on a platter and garnish with parsley.

Preparation Time: 15 minutes

Cooking Time: 40 minutes

Baking Time: 13 minutes

48 wonton wrappers (1 pkg)


500 ml (2 cups) cubed peeled potatoes (about 3 medium)

250 g (8 oz) each lean ground pork and veal

500 ml (2 cups) coarsely chopped mushrooms

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 onions, finely chopped

1 bay leaf

125 ml (1/2 cup) sodium-reduced chicken broth

5 ml (1 tsp) dried sage leaves

2 ml (1/2 tsp) each salt, pepper, dried allspice and dried thyme

2 whole cloves

50 ml (1/4 cup) minced fresh parsley

Press wonton wrappers into greased mini muffin tins. Bake in a 180 C (350 F) oven until golden brown and crisp, about 13 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool. (Make-ahead: Store cooled wontons in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.)

Tourtiere: In a saucepan of boiling salted water, cook potatoes until very tender, about 15 minutes. Drain and mash. Set aside.

In a large skillet, saute pork and veal over medium-high heat until no longer pink, about 8 minutes. Drain fat. Add mushrooms, garlic, onions, bay leaf, broth, sage, salt, pepper, allspice, thyme and cloves; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook, stirring, until no liquid remains, about 15 minutes. Discard bay leaf and cloves. Stir in potatoes and parsley. Place heaping 15-ml (1-tbsp) spoonfuls into each wonton cup.

Makes 48 tartlets.

Nutrition information per 1 serving (1 tartlet): 57 calories; 1 g fat; 8 g carbohydrate; 0.5 g fibre; 3 g protein.

Source: Foodland Ontario.