For Mother’s Day I got thinking about family heritage… and food, naturally. My parents are both wonderful cooks and took great care to teach us good cooking technique along with the reasons “why.” All the while, they instilled a spirit of culinary adventure.
Okay, I’ll admit it started with them repeatedly badgering me to taste things I wouldn’t eat. “Just try it,” Mom would say. “Our tastes change; you might find you like it one day.” Well, it never worked with turnips, olives, beef liver, or stewed tomatoes. Beyond that, however, my palette broadened.
I also enjoy blending cultures and creatively pairing flavors, colors, and textures. All the while, simplicity reigns supreme.
My heritage by birth is fully Eurasian, thanks to my Armenian-Irish Mom (with a touch of Dutch) and my Scottish-English Dad. He brings a touch of Welch, too. I think it gleefully makes me one of the hundreds of blends in our all-American, eclectic melting pot.
My heritage by association and experience is even more multi-faceted, with lots of Mediterranean, Baltic, Latino, and Caribbean flair. Yum!
Whether it’s for Mother’s Day, another holiday, or any day, my natural and relational cultural blends flavor my food choices. I especially love small plates or tapas presentations. They are simple, flavorful, and offer countless possibilities from all my cultural flavors.
One of my favorite easy-to-make nibbles could be classified as very Armenia-Meets-Britain. These Pistachio Cheese Stuffed Apricots can be placed on a serving tray, covered securely with plastic wrap, and taken with you to any get together.
Enjoy this free recipe as a sample of the scrumptious original and creative variations in the “Serve with Champagne” segment of Champagne! Facts, Fizz, Food & Fun.
Pistachio Cheese Stuffed Apricots
50 dried apricots (about a pound), sliced down one side, so each has a large “pocket”
1 1/2 c shelled, salted pistachios, chopped
1 pound, soft mild cheese (such as a brie) or one in a jar (such as Old English)
Into the pocket of each apricot, spoon about a teaspoonful of cheese. Press the exposed cheese into the nuts. Continue with all the apricots. Place all on serving tray and cover with plastic wrap.
Makes 50 bites.
KISS Note: This is a great little recipe since it can be completely made a day ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator until needed. It also travels beautifully.
KISS Tip: Do not skimp on cheap apricots. You want them to be large, moist, and plump. Also make sure they are pitted. If you can only find apricot halves, that is AOK. Simple mound a bit of cheese on each and then lightly press the cheese into the nuts.
The entire “Serve with Champagne” recipe collection is available in the book Champagne! Facts, Fizz, Food & Fun from Quiet Thunder Publishing. You’ll find it on sites like Amazon.com. In addition to food recipes it has lots of bubbly beverage recipes, champagne tips, and the classic “Champagne Quotes: Historical to Hysterical.”
Enjoy… with love and laughter.
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