I've been entertaining since I was 15, and not just for friends and family... but getting paid for it! It all started at a Bed & Breakfast in Santa Barbara, where I found another great passion of mine- Wine and Cheese Hour.
Oh, how I looked forward to wine and cheese hour each day. Relaxing with the guests on the couch by the fire with the smells of hot spiced cider on the stove and chocolate chip cookies in the oven permeating the Inn.
We talked about their days, the best places to see and be seen around town, and the top restaurants to try... over wine and cheese. You see, Bed and Breakfasts are a place of romance; idealistic in a way. Everyone was always happy, and smiling, and well, at least to this naïve 15-year-old, it seemed right up there with the other happiest place on earth (Disneyland, of course!)
And still to this day, one of my greatest joys is making Hors d'Oeuvres, entertaining... well, and wine and cheese! Little bits of heaven, full of intense flavor and aren't Hors d'Oeuvres just so cute?
Here's a recipe that I created a few months ago for an event (as pinwheels on the yellow plate), and boy, did they go fast! They're inspired by all the flavors of Wine & Cheese Hour, and in particular, a wonderful cream cheese dip I used to make. Today, I recreated them as lunch wraps instead of cut up into pinwheels- just to make sure I'd get my fill this time around.
Black Forest Ham, Caramelized Balsamic Onion, Spinach and Cheddar Wraps
1/2 c. softened cream cheese (I bought mine in a tub)
3 oz. goat cheese
3/4 c. shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/4 tsp. dried dill
1 Tblsp. dried herbs of choice - I love the Parisien blend from Penzeys (other options include thyme, rosemary, pepper, or any other herbs and spices that you enjoy)
4 tortillas (I love the homemade variety at Trader Joes)
6 slices black forest ham
A handful of baby spinach
1 red onion
2 Tblsp. balsamic vinegar
For the Balsamic Onions- slice the red onion in thin half moons and place in shallow glass pie plate. Drizzle with olive oil and the balsamic vinegar and sprinkle with salt. Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes until caramelized. Set aside to cool.
In a small bowl, mix the cheeses and herbs and set aside.
To assemble- on each tortilla, spread cheese mixture, top with balsamic onions, ham and spinach. Roll up and either cut in half for a wrap, or refrigerate for about an hour to help hold shape when cut into pinwheels for Hor d'Oeuvres. These can be made ahead of time.