Winter Cooking Class Recipes: Local Appetizers 101

The third and final class of the Winter Cooking Class Series took place last Thursday evening at Local Source Market.

This week, our group expanded to include a farmer and two journalism students.

Our instructor for the evening, a former home economics teacher, selected a menu of appetizers – her specialty and my favourite!

Our ingredients included Fox Hill cheddar cheese, Julien’s Bakery baguette, Noggins apples and pears, two types of Quebec brie, cheese, Terra Beata dried cranberries, NS maple syrup, and Elm Ridge Farm rainbow carrots.  I did the majority of the shopping at the Seaport Farmer’s Market, then picked up a collection of things at Local Source.  [There are so many great places in Halifax to buy local products – check out the Grainery for NB flour and NS dried beans, and don’t forget about the Keith’s Brewery Market on Saturday mornings for all sorts of goodies including decadent cheese from NB and Quebec!]


Here are a few action shots from our resident photographer, Christine (Wonky Eye).

We had a bit of trouble with the ovens.  Luckily Larry was on guard to prevent disaster!

When we sat down at the end of the class to enjoy all we had made, the table was full. We enjoyed mushroom caps, two cheese balls, baked brie with cranberries and maple syrup, cut carrots, apples and pears, mini quiches, and bacon bruschetta.  Each of the appetizers were delicious.  The mushroom caps were my favourite – so simple but impressive.  This weekend, I tested the mini quiches recipe out at home and it was a big hit.  Our instructor, Bronwyn, mentioned that each recipe was quite versatile as you can often use what you have in the house.  When I made the quiche, I added some broccoli as well as mushrooms and during the cooking class, we actually adjusted the baked brie recipe to dried cranberries because we had accidently used all our crushed walnuts.


1 lg round brie cheese (Quebec)
2c. maple syrup (Acadian)
1c. chopped walnuts
1 baguette

1) Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Place unwrapped Brie into baking dish.
2) Sprinkle with walnuts (we switched the walnuts for dried NS cranberries)
3) Pour maple syrup over top
4) Bake in oven for about 10 minutes
5) Serve over sliced baguette


***Pre-cook pastry tarts prior to placing in quiche ingredients.***
3 eggs, beaten
1 to 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
½ gruyere cheese, shredded
½ c. cheddar cheese, shredded
1 ½ c. cream (table) or half and half coffee cream
¼ c green onions chopped or 5 strips cooked crumbled bacon or a combination of both.
Pepper and a little salt

1) Whisk together above ingredients, except for the cheeses (and bacon if including bacon)
2) Place in cooked and cooled pastry tarts
3) Sprinkle the cheeses (and bacon) over egg mixture
4) Place on baking sheet and cook at 375 for 15-18 minutes, until egg mixture is set.


2 c. grated cheddar
1 pkg. light cream cheese
¾ c. crumbled feta
1-2 crushed garlic cloves
2 tbsp. sour cream
2 drops green tobacco sauce
2 tbsp minced olives
2 tbsp red peppers (optional)
Pinch of oregano, parsley, dill and pepper

1) Mix ingredients together
2) Make a log or 2 balls
3) Roll in 1 c. crushed walnuts
4) Cover with wax paper and chill 1 hour
5) Serve with crackers, pita or a baguette


12 lg mushrooms
1 tbsp flour
5tbsp. butter melted
½ c. whipping cream
Salt/pepper (very little salt)
¼ c. chopped parsley (or 2 tbsp dry)
¼ c. butter
½ c. grated swiss cheese
1/2 c. chopped onions

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease 9 x 13 pan.
2) Remove stems from mushrooms. Finely chop stems. Melt ¼ c. butter and stir in mushroom stems and chopped onions. Cook over medium heat for 5 mins.
3) During that 5 mins, place mushroom caps, hollow side up in baking pan. Drizzle with 5 tbsp melted butter and salt and pepper
4) After cooking onions and mushroom stems for 5 minutes, gradually blend in flour and cream until you get a smooth texture. Using a whisk will help. Remove from heat and add parsley.
5) Generously stuff mushroom caps with mixture. Top with swiss cheese.
6) Bake 15-20 mins or until slightly brown


1 ½ c. crumbled cooked bacon
1 c. mayo/sour cream (I tend to use more sour cream than mayo)
2. c shredded cheddar cheese
1 lg garlic clove, minced
Several drops of Worcestershire sauce
½ tsp Paprika

1) Cut baguette slantwise
2) Use a pastry brush to cover both sides of each piece of bread with olive oil
3) Grill bread for 1 to 2 minutes until golden brown
4) Remove from heat
5) Top each with above mixture, excluding the cheddar
6) Top mixture with cheese and grill 2 minutes or until cheese is melted. Serve immediately.


250 g. cream cheese softened
½ c. sour cream
1 tbsp sour cream
1 tbsp mayo
dash of Tabasco (green)
dash Worcestershire sauce

1) Mix together above ingredients then add:
1 cup (or less) cooked ground chicken
250g cheddar, shredded
2 chopped green onions
touch of Tabasco sauce
2) Roll into one long log or 2 balls. Refrigerate for 1 hour before serving.
3) Serve with crackers or baguette.

PIE/TART PASTRY (never fails – really!)

1 lb lard
1 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp. white granulated sugar
5 c. flour (Speerville Unbleached)
1 egg
1 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp white vinegar

1) Put egg and vinegar in measuring cup
2) Fill up cup with cold water to measure 1 cup
3) Put in fridge
4) Mix dry ingredients, cut in lard
5) Add egg mixture
6) Blend well with clean hands
7) Form into 2 or 3 balls. Each ball makes 1 pie ( top and bottom crust).
8) Wrap each in waxed paper and place in plastic bags if freezing (freezes well).
I use dry soup beans to put on top of wax paper placed over each tart when cooking empty pastry shells.

Yours in food, Keltie

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