What to bring to the holiday office potluck

One way to win friends and get noticed at work is by bringing something delicious to the holiday office potluck. Here are a few recipes for success:

Skip the Swedish or sweet-and-sour meatballs and go for these Mediterranean-inspired Lamb Meatballs with Lemon-Cumin Yogurt. Cinnamon, cumin, mint and other spices give the meatballs their exotic flavor. And the yogurt dip is so yummy you might want to make extra, and bring some Olive Oil & Sea Salt Crackers to go with it.

In keeping with the Mediterranean theme, try these Fried Chickpeas with Sage. Be forewarned, however: They are so addictive that you might need to make two batches, one for home and one for the office.

You’ll make believers out of the kale doubters at your office with this Kale-Apple Coleslaw with Poppyseed Dressing. This sweet-tangy coleslaw will have your coworkers coming back for more.

Bite-sized food is always a good bet, like this Lox Flatbread. Simply spread crème fraîche on flatbread or crackers, and top with smoked salmon. Simply divine!

Impress the boss with Buffalo Chicken Pinwheels, or bring a crockpot full of chili. Think outside the crockpot and make vegetarian chili, turkey chili or chili with beer (don’t worry, most of the alcohol will evaporate).

Can’t resist bringing something that’s red and green? Anything with red and green peppers works, such as pasta salad. Or bring toothpick-skewered cubes of pâté and pimiento-stuffed green olives. Instead of a veggie tray, bring veggie skewers, alternating grape tomatoes with cucumber, broccoli or other green veggies. Feeling especially creative? Make a Christmas Tree Cheese Board, arranging rows of various shades of cubed cheese, green and red grapes, accented with twigs of thyme. Christmas Nacho Cups are super-simple: Fill dip-sized chips with a dollop of guacamole, topped by shredded cheese and half a grape tomato. Olé!

If you’d rather bring dessert, this Easy Mocha Fudge is as delicious to eat as it is easy to make. It’s a great finger food (and a great pick-me-up later in the workday). Strawberry Santas are both adorable and delicious. Cut a strawberry in half horizontally, then make a “sandwich,” filling it with whipped cream. Add a dollop of whipped cream on top, two dots of whipped cream on the bottom half for buttons, and two black sesame seeds for eyes. Other whimsical themed desserts are Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Brownies and Reindeer Oreo Balls.

Easy Appetizers with 5 Ingredients or Less

The season of entertaining is upon us once again, but it seems like just last week we were stuffing our turkeys and decking the halls! If you’re anything like us, your Novembers and Decembers are packed with friends, family, and food. Here in the Alexian Kitchen, we’re always trying to create new recipes that not only please our guests, but that is easy enough to leave us time to enjoy them.

We’ve gathered some of our very favorite 5-ingredient recipes to help you host the holidays without the hassle.

Baked Fontina

You can never go wrong with a big, melty skillet full of cheese. Especially when you add in Alexian pâté.

Layer cubed fontina cheese and Alexian Black Peppercorn Mousse in a cast iron skillet or baking dish, top with sliced garlic, thyme leaves and olive oil. Broil until it’s melted and bubbly enough to scoop up. Serve with toasty, flaky bread.

Truffle Balls

We’re not sure what the best part of this recipe is – the truffle, the mousse, the poppable, bite-size shape, or the fact that you don’t have to turn on your oven to make them. For years, our Truffle Mousse Balls have inspired rave reviews, yet this three-ingredient recipe takes only minutes to make.

Simply roll teaspoon-sized balls of our Truffle Mousse into a mixture of Panko breadcrumbs and thyme, then set them in the fridge until you’re ready to serve them. Make these in a large batch. The decadence of the truffle makes each bite practically melt in your mouth, keeping you coming back to the plate again and again.

Mini Grilled Cheese

Grilled cheese on Thanksgiving? Absolutely. Elevate your typical grilled cheese by substituting in decadent ingredients. Simply make 4-5 full-size sandwiches, slice into quarters and arrange on a plate. Here are a few mouth-watering suggestions.

Brioche + Swiss cheese + Goose Liver Mousse + caramelized onions

French bread + Duck Rillette + brie + plum jam

Potato bread + Black Peppercorn Mousse + over easy egg

Puff Pastry Bites

There’s nothing quite as satisfying as biting into a warm, melt-in-your-mouth roll full of savory goodness. Gently wrap thin slices of any of our pâtés (though a couple of our favorites for this recipe are the Chicken & Veal and Forest Mushroom pâtés) in puff pastry and cook until light golden brown.

You can also use crescent roll dough in place of puff pastry to save a little time. Feel free to experiment with your own add-ins – like your favorite smoked cheese – just don’t overload them!

Serve with a dijon or whole grain mustard dipping sauce, or on their own!

Deviled Eggs with Pâté

A simple yet decadent delight, deviled eggs are even better when Black Peppercorn Mousse is mixed in! These hearty snacks are handheld, making them ideal for casual holiday parties.

Platters, boards, serving knives: new ideas for holiday gifting

If your holiday gift list includes self-proclaimed foodies or those who simply love to entertain, you’ll find plenty of ideas this season. Your only challenge will be to decide on which gifts to give which recipients!

For family members and friends who insist on doing their own food prep, a personalized cutting board is the perfect choice. Carved with the recipient’s name, this wood cutting board can double as a serving piece. In fact, load up the board with cheeses, charcuterie and crackers, and bring as a gift to a holiday house party.

Put a little color — actually, a lot of color — into a cook’s holiday with a colored knife set. Look for a set with a magnetic strip or that come with a knife block; this lets you keep knives close at hand but high enough to be out of reach of little hands. You’ll find sets with everything from heavy-duty carving knives to serrated bread knives and cheese knives that are ideal for entertaining.

Anyone who appreciates artistry will love a decorative platter made from glass or ceramic accompanied by decorative cheese knives or spreaders. Some of our greatest finds have been on the shelves at stores like HomeGoods or Pier 1!

With today’s preponderance of dietary preferences (think gluten free, peanut allergies, dairy free, vegan, etc.), a platter with a customizable “Now serving _____” sign can really come in handy. Ceramic or slate colored signs are on-trend and can be written on with a dry-erase marker or chalk, and reused over and over again.

And when it comes time for you to be on the receiving end of the gift, it’s OK to drop a few pre-holiday hints. That way, you can avoid having to stand in the customer service line as you wait to return or exchange those “Oh you shouldn’t have!” gifts.

Cheese and jam pairings on crackers

Cheese and crackers make for a satisfying, sophisticated snack. And when you add a dollop of jam atop the cheese, you take this pairing to a whole new level. Here are a few suggestions on what fruity spreads go best with which cheeses:

Let’s start with an all-American favorite, apple pie, but hold the crust. Here, you might want to put cheddar, brie or sheep’s milk cheese on top of the apples. If you still want a bit of a crunch, serve it atop graham cracker squares.

When we think of figs, most of us think of fig bar cookies. But fig spread is such a diverse condiment that it pairs with many cheeses, from Spanish varieties to brie, blue cheese and even feta.

Quince paste is quite a tasty treat. This fruit spread is made with quince, also known as membrillo, a sweet fruit that tastes like a cross between a pear and a golden delicious apple. Quince paste goes well with manchego cheese.

Originating in India, chutney is a fruit relish that can range from sweet to sour, mild to spicy. Chutney is best complimented by aged cheddar or fresh goat cheese.

If you like bold flavors, you’ll love these pairings: aged cheddar with tomato jam, gouda with orange marmalade or plum jam, parmesan with apricot jam, blue cheese with black currant or red onion jam, or camembert and cranberry jam.

Don’t let Italian mostarda fool you; while it’s made from syrup-preserved fruit, powdered mustard seed gives it a spicy kick. Pair it with gouda, Italian parmigiano or pecorino.

Sweeter cheeses and jams also make for delicious desserts, with all the flavor but not all the guilt. Go for shortbread cookies topped with mascarpone cheese and lemon curd, strawberry or raspberry jam. Rich ricotta is another good choice, served with pear and cocoa spread, peach and cocoa spread, or banana jam.

Easy & Impressive Cracker Toppings

Easy & Impressive Cracker Toppings

Summer days should be spent making memories with those you love – not spending hours behind a hot stove while everyone else has a great time. Whether you’re entertaining friends and family, relaxing by yourself, or whipping up a quick lunch for the little ones, our Olive Oil & Sea Salt Crackers are the best starting point.

Sometimes, less is more. When you use the purest, highest quality ingredients, you can let them speak for themselves. Our crackers only have three ingredients – giving you everything you want in a cracker with nothing you don’t.

Here are six ways you can top them off for a hearty snack, sophisticated lunch, or anytime delight.

Corn Salsa & Queso Fresco
Queso fresco is creamy and smooth, pairing nicely with the bright, fresh flavors of a corn and black bean salsa. To make the salsa, add equal parts corn and black bean, a handful of fresh, chopped cilantro, a spritz of fresh lime juice and a sprinkle of salt, pepper and cumin.

Lox & Cream Cheese
Bagels aren’t ideal for a summer snack – they can be heavy and overly- filling, leaving you ready for a nap after you eat. Instead, try your favorite bagel combo on a flaky cracker, and get the best of both worlds.

Caprese
Caprese is (in our humble opinion) the salad of the summer. Tomatoes and basil are at their peak season, and fresh mozzarella is filling without weighing you down. Slice a log of fresh mozzarella into thin slices, and layer onto a decorative serving platter between slices of fresh tomato and fresh basil. Drizzle with a balsamic vinaigrette or simply with extra virgin olive oil and fresh cracked salt and pepper.

Pâté
We would be remiss if we didn’t suggest pairing our pâté with our crackers. Both made with love and created to pair perfectly, any of our pâtés create a satisfying meal in mere seconds.

Our Wild Forest Mushroom Pâté is a classic, yet tantalizing combination of pork and chicken with bold bites of earthy mushroom.

For a lighter spread, we wholeheartedly suggest one of our Vegetable Terrines – such as our summertime favorite, Eggplant with Goat Cheese and Roasted Red Peppers.

Tuna & Avocado
Tuna sandwiches are a staple food – made better only with avocado. For a light summer salad, combine tuna with mashed avocado and nonfat Greek yogurt to taste. Season with salt and pepper, spread on your cracker, and enjoy!

Goat Cheese & Honey
Fresh chevre, spread generously and topped with a drizzle of honey, is an instant crowd-pleaser. For added depth of flavor, top with chopped apples or strawberries.

Spring Pairings: Easy, Breezy Pâté Picnic Ideas

Spring Pairings: Easy, Breezy Pâté Picnic Ideas

When the weather is this nice, it’s hard to stay indoors – even for dinner! Picnics are the perfect way to spend a little extra time soaking up the sunshine, whether it’s with your family, partner friends or on your own. To make the planning as painless as possible. we’ve gathered our very best advice and recipes for creating a picnic to remember.

The Food

Mini-Quesadillas
Quesadillas for a picnic? We know it sounds a little atypical, but these are great for picnics for two very important reasons: they’re easy to make in large batches and they don’t get soggy!

You’ll need 6” flour tortillas – a good rule of thumb is to estimate about 3-5 per person, depending on if you’re bringing other sides and if it’s a dinner or lunch meal. It’s never a bad thing to have leftovers!

Place the tortillas on a large baking tray, lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Top with sliced red and yellow bell peppers, your preferred blend of Mexican cheeses and finall, put a spoonful of our rich Duck Rillette. Fold in half, and place them in the oven at 375 degrees F for 7-10, or until the cheese is melted and the tops are slightly golden brown. To keep warm, wrap them in aluminum foil.

You’ll need sour cream, salsa and guacamole to dip. For accompanying sides, bring along chips and guacamole, spanish rice, refried beans or an avocado salad.

Pasta Salad
Pasta salad is a lovely picnic dish – it’s filling, versatile and is fine when eaten cold or warm. Start with your favorite variety of pasta – penne is always a good choice, but you also can’t go wrong with angel hair, farfalle or ziti – and then add your favorite vegetables.

When making this for ourselves, we use grape tomatoes, sliced mushroom and cucumbers. Incorporate cubes of fresh mozzarella or cheddar. Finally, top with cubes of our rich Forest Mushroom Pâté .

Don’t forget to bring bowls, forks and a serving spoon!

Truffle Balls
We’re not sure what the best part of this recipe is – the truffle, the mousse, the poppable, bite-size shape, or the fact that you don’t have to turn on your oven to make them. For years, our Truffle Mousse Balls have inspired rave reviews, yet this three-ingredient recipe takes only minutes to make.

Simply roll teaspoon-sized balls of our Truffle Mousse into a mixture of Panko breadcrumbs and thyme, then set them in the fridge until you’re ready to serve them. Make these in a large batch. The decadence of the truffle makes each bite practically melt in your mouth, keeping you coming back to the plate again and again.

The Drink

For Adults
One should always take advantage of seasonal craft beers. Brewers typically use the freshest fruits, herbs and spices on hand, meaning that during summer, we’re flush with bright, citrus-y shandys and wheat ales. Summer beers are usually light, crisp and refreshing, making them the perfect pair for rich, creamy and spicy flavors.

Likewise, IPAs are hoppy, strong beers that work incredibly well with rich flavors. For a perfect pairing, we suggest a thin slice of our Campagne pâté ‘tween the burger and the roll. Lose the ketchup though, add a pickle instead!

For the Little Ones
You can’t go wrong with a homemade lemonade! Steer away from harmful artificial sugars and syrups and embrace natural with this strawberry lemonade recipe.

Helpful Tips for the Perfect Picnic

Get Creative. You don’t have to buy anything to have a great time. It’s easy to reuse things around your house for picnic purposes. Use old jam jars to carry condiments, a thermos for ice cubes or cold drinks, and muffin tins to hold your drinks once you’re on location.

Go Recyclable. Don’t stress yourself out by carrying home a garbage bag full of dirty dishes. Choosing recyclable options such as paper plates, cups and tableware will make cleanup a snap.

Plan it Out. Find a place you’d like to spend the afternoon, scope it out – are there picnic tables, or will you need to bring a blanket? Do you need to bring chairs? Is there a BBQ? A few minutes of planning beforehand can make your afternoon one to remember.

Spring Pairings: Pâté & Chutney

Do you ever find yourself wondering how to enhance your favorite foods? Classics like ketchup and mustard get boring and don’t work on a lot of dishes. That’s why we believe chutneys are a great condiment to have around: they use bold and bright flavors to enhance their main course counterparts. The rich and flavorful aspects of both chutneys and pâtés work in harmony – making them our pairing of choice this springtime.

Four Pairings for you to Try at Home:

1. Pheasant Rosemary Pâté + Spiced Plum Chutney

This pairing brings the holiday spirit to any time of the year. Bold, deep flavors on both ends make these two perfect to stand alone as appetizers.

Find more information about our Pheasant Rosemary Pâté here, and a recipe for Spiced Plum Chutney here.

2. Campagne + Tamarind Chutney

A tamarind chutney is one of the most popular, and its thick yet saucy texture makes it perfect for drizzling over an aged cheese or a pâté or spread onto a slice of bread. Its sweet and sour taste pairs especially well with our Pâté de Campagne which features pork and sherry. Enjoy with a bed of fresh greens, such as arugula or spinach.

Find more information about our Pâté de Campagne and a recipe for tamarind chutney here.

3. Chicken Ballotine + Mango Pineapple Chutney

When paired correctly, sweet and savory are a marriage made in heaven. This pairing is one of those marriages. The bright citrus flavors of the mango pineapple chutney pair well with savory, lean chicken and the tropical flavors of our Chicken Ballotine.

Find more information about our Chicken Ballotine here , and a recipe for Mango Pineapple chutney here.

4. Black Peppercorn Mousse + Cherry Tomato Chutney

The creamy texture of our Black Peppercorn Mousse is enhanced by the chunky texture of this savory cherry tomato chutney. Pair these two together on top of a burger, on a sandwich, or as an easy anytime snack with a slice of baguette.

Find more information about our Black Peppercorn Mousse here, and a recipe for Cherry Tomato Chutney here.

5 Pâté and Rosé Pairings That Will Elevate Any Meal (and Your Mood)

Spring is in the air. The flowers are blooming, the sun is shining and the air is warming. Life is good. But life is better with a tall glass of rosé, and better still with a delicious platter of pâté and good friends to share with. Read on for our favorite pairings of this perfect spring beverage with this perfect anytime food.

Medium-Bodied Dry Rosés + Forest Mushroom Pâté
Specifically: Southern French (Rhône and Languedoc) and Spanish rosés from Rioja and Navarra

This type of rosé stands up to big, savory flavors – so it’s the perfect pairing for our Wild Forest Mushroom Pâté. Rich with bold flavors, such as shiitake mushroom, pork and sherry, it’s perfect for eating cubed and served with a tall glass of your favorite medium-bodied rosé.

Light Dry Rosés + Herb de Provence Chicken Pâté
Specifically: Most Provençal rosés, Pinot Noir based rosés from Burgundy and the Loire, and Italian Bardolino Chiaretto

These rosés are crisp – similar to a glass of dry white wine – so they pair well with spiced pâtés, like our Herb de Provence recipe. Both are perfect for enjoying outside on the patio with friends.

Rosé Champagne + Truffle Mousse Pâté
Specifically: Brut rosés, such as those from Veuve Clicquot or Bollinger

There’s something about rosé champagne that makes it feel even more decadent than regular champagne. And what better pair for decadence than a succulent Truffle Mousse Pâté? Savory and satisfying at once, this pairing is ideal for a girls night or me-time.

Elegant, Fruity Rosé + Duck Rillette
Specifically: Merlot-based Bordeaux rosé, More luxe Provençal rosés such as Bandol and Palette

Bright, fruity flavors are emblematic of spring time, and there’s nothing better to complement those flavors than a gamey, rich pâté. Our Duck Rillette is modestly seasoned, allowing the savory notes of duck to come through and meld perfectly with fruity rosés.

10 3-Ingredient Cracker Toppings

We’re celebrating the goodness of simplicity this season. Our new Olive Oil & Sea Salt crackers are flaky and flavorful, yet have only three ingredients. With the season of entertaining quickly approaching, everyone’s looking for easy ways to please a crowd.

The basic ingredients in our cracker make it the perfect pairing for an array of ingredients. We’ve gathered a collection of our favorite 3-ingredient toppings to show you just how good simple can be.

Alexian Chicken Liver Pâté + Capers + Shredded Smoked Cheddar
Smoked cheddar complements the bold flavors in our classic New York deli style Chicken Liver Pâté.

Fresh Sliced Mozzarella + Basil + Sliced Tomato
Kid approved and a classic, this Caprese style serving goes perfectly with the hints of olive oil in our crackers.

Goat Cheese + Sun Dried Tomatoes + Spinach
Simple Mediterranean favorites work in harmony to create the perfect bite, you can also use roasted red peppers in place of sun-dried tomatoes!

Alexian Black Peppercorn Mousse + Grilled Onions + Smoked Gouda
A comforting combination for a fall day, our Black Peppercorn Mousse goes perfectly with caramelized onions and a mild smoked gouda.

Goat Cheese + Sliced Fig + Balsamic Dressing Drizzle
Figs are a lovely late fall fruit, and the balsamic drizzle brings out their natural sweetness, while the goat cheese provides a creamy balance.

Hummus + Thinly Sliced Cucumbers + Shredded Carrots
Creamy hummus with crunchy cucumbers and carrots make a bright, protein-packed bite for hungry crowds.

Avocado + Turkey + Swiss
It’s great on a sandwich, but it’s even better on our crackers. Pair avocado, deli sliced turkey and either shredded or sliced swiss for a perfect appetizer (or lunch on the go).

Smoked Salmon + Cream Cheese + Dill
Smoked salmon and cream cheese are usually found on a bagel, but our crackers make a great vehicle too. Add a sprig of dill for a fresh balance to the creamy and smoky flavors.

Alexian Pheasant Rosemary Pâté + Chopped Pecans + Fresh Rosemary Sprigs
As the name suggests, our Pheasant Rosemary Pâté already has hints of rosemary and pecans, but adding extra on top brings out the flavor. Toast the pecans for extra flavor!

Prosciutto + Pear + Balsamic Drizzle 
Salty prosciutto is great when paired with sweet fruits, such as pears, and the balsamic drizzle works to tie it all together.

Dipping Deliciously

A good dip is worth its weight in gold: it’s almost universally loved, incredibly versatile, and makes the perfect dish to pull out before a meal or bring to a party. The key to a good dip, however, is the depth of flavor. With the busiest time of the year quickly approaching, few of us have time to whip up a dip completely from scratch.

Luckily, Alexian pâtés are cooked in a time-honored tradition with the herbs, spices, and love to create the perfect base for your next holiday dip.

Keep these simple (yet delicious) pâté-based dips in your recipe arsenal to pull out at your next gathering.

Eggplant, Goat Cheese & White Bean

Our Eggplant, Goat Cheese and Roasted Red Pepper Mousse are packed with delicious flavors. You can easily serve it on its own at room temperature, but we love creating something with a little bit more flare.

To create a creamy dip, drain and rinse one can of white beans. Stir them into the pâté, mashing slightly until thoroughly combined. Top with crumbled goat cheese, to taste, and heat at 350 degrees F until warm all the way through.

Truffle & Gruyere with Caramelized Onion

The holidays are a time of indulgence. What is more indulgent than a decadent Truffle Mousse dip?

To make this instant-sensation, start by sautéing one yellow onion in a saucepan over medium-high heat with olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Once caramelized, remove from heat. Next, grate 8 ounces of Gruyere cheese. In a medium bowl, mix ¾ of the cheese and the Truffle Mousse. Spread into a small baking pan. Top with the caramelized onions, a generous drizzle of honey, and the remainder of the cheese.

Let it bake at 425 degrees F for about 25 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and hot.

Smoked Cheddar & Duck Rillette

For a simple, effortless dip that’s rich in flavor, look no further than a bold smoked cheddar dip with our savory Duck Rillette.

Simply pour melted smoked cheddar over an even layer of warmed Duck Rillette and enjoy! If you wish, you can also stir it into the Rillette so it’s evenly distributed into the dip. This is enjoyed with crackers or toasted baguette.