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Easy and Cheesy Shavuot Appetizers

My Shavuot spread is typically a variety of hot dishes, fresh springy salads and savory pastries, all served family style. The recipes I’ve decided to share with you are both kid and adult friendly, and as always, they each have their own fancy gourmet flare. I hope this inspires you to use the ingredients you have on hand! Happy cooking and chag sameach!

Fried Mozzarella Rounds

We’ve all tried mozzarella sticks before. Well, this recipe is a gourmet version of those. Fried fresh mozzarella brings a whole new flavor profile and texture to your dish. Serve over greens, alongside roasted cherry tomatoes, or top with chunky marinara sauce. The options are endless!

8-ounce fresh mozzarella ball

1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs

1 egg, beaten

Salt and pepper

1/2 cup oil, for frying 

Grated parmesan, for topping

1. Slice the mozzarella into ¼-inch thick rounds and sprinkle with salt.

2. Season the breadcrumbs with salt and pepper. You can also add garlic powder, oregano, and red pepper flakes to boost the coating flavor. 

3. Dip each slice into the beaten egg, then into the breadcrumbs. Make sure all edges are well-coated.

4. In a wide pan, heat the oil over medium high heat. Fry for two minutes on each side until golden brown. Drain over paper towels, then top with parmesan cheese. Serve with marinara sauce or over fresh salad greens. 

Whipped Feta Cheese Tart 

If you’re a feta cheese lover like me, you’ll absolutely love this recipe! Crispy puff pastry dough topped with creamy whipped feta and fresh veggies. Feel free to play around with this one and add your favorite flavors!

Puff pastry dough, rolled out to 12″x12″

6 oz. feta cheese, at room temperature 

2 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature

Cherry tomatoes, halved 

Kalamata olives

Grilled zucchini shavings 

Fresh arugula or spinach greens

1. Roll out the puff pastry dough to 1/8-inch thickness. Using a fork, prick holes throughout the dough. This will prevent the dough from puffing up and will assure ultimate crispness. 

2. Par-bake the dough at 375 degrees on a parchment paper lined baking tray for 15 minutes. Set aside and allow to cool.

3. Whip the feta and cream cheese until smooth, using an electric hand mixer or spoon. Spread the cheese mixture across the dough leaving a 1-inch border on all sides.

4. Bake again for another 15 to 20 minutes until the dough is fully cooked and golden brown. Remove from the oven and top with fresh or grilled vegetables. Cut up and serve at room temperature. 

Easy Homemade Ricotta Cheese 

8 cups whole milk

1 cup heavy cream 

1/2 tsp. salt

3 tbs. white vinegar 

1. In a small pot, bring the milk, heavy cream, and salt to a boil. Once boiling, add the vinegar, reduce to medium heat, and bring to a simmer.

2. Stir constantly for 2 to 3 minutes until the mixture begins to curdle.

3. Shut the flame and pour the mixture into a strainer lined with a cheese cloth. Discard the liquid and refrigerate. Mix with fresh herbs or add it to pasta dishes. 

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