I believe I had mentioned before that I love to cook. My favorite meal: the appetizer. I love going out to dinner with Monkey Breath…a.k.a. my niece. (One day I will explain my obsession with giving people bizarro nicknames…lol) For now I will just tell you about our dinner dates.
Our meal outings involve us turning to the first page of the menu. Yes, appetizers. I can forgo any main meal and just enjoy nibbling and noshing on a variety of treats. Well MB is the same. Once we order our variety of nibblers, we suddenly have no room for our plates since every appetizer comes out on a large plate all prettily decorated. But who cares right? We will have garlic bread with cheese (always cheese…you recall that obsession of mine). We will have sticky, chicken wings. We will order mozzarella sticks. We will order an oriental salad. On other days, we will have nachos with cheese and bruschetta (Monkey Breath’s all time favourite). Quesadillas are wonderful too. We LOVE the appetizer dishes. Sadly, our great need for diversity has us clutching our stomachs because we just have to try everything and our bellies just don’t have that much expansion room. So, we are extremely grateful to have those lovely little take away containers given to us so that we can enjoy our meal again the next day. Hopefully we will have made some room in our stomachs by then. Mmmmm, sooooo good.
Now, I told you that story so that I could tell you this one.
While grocery shopping (at a leisurely pace) this past weekend, I came to the cheese counter to find out what yummy cheeses were on sale this week. Mozzarella was on sale so that was good as I was running low and my cheese-aholics would surely be craving some soon. I wandered around some more and saw that all the Greek cheeses were on sale. That was nice. I love making a salad for my lunches comprised of tomatoes and cucumbers and feta. No salad dressing needed as the feta has a nice, salty taste to it and the juice from the tomatoes mixes nicely with the cheese to make a sort of salad dressing all on its own. I was just about to leave the Greek display when I saw it. OMG! It was halloumi. Yes yes…real halloumi cheese!
Now, you may be asking yourself, what the heck is halloumi? Short description: It’s a brined cheese made of goats and sheep milk. The longer description is that it has a higher melting point than other cheeses (i.e. mozzarella) so you can fry it, grill it, bake it. Really neat right?
So, about two years ago, in the local newspaper, there was a recipe for halloumi tarts. Wiseguy read it and said, “We should make this.” Hmmm, what the heck was halloumi? So, we went to our favourite grocery store and asked for this bizarre sounding cheese and yup…they actually had it. We brought it home. Opened up the plastic packaging and cut off a taster piece. Hmmm, kind of salty, cheese. Kind of like mozzarella, but firmer. Then we took our recipe and began creating. After baking, it was time to taste. Mmmmm. Just one more tart. Mmmmmmm. Ok, this is the last one. Mmmmmm. Ok, all gone…we have to bake some more. Well, for the last 2 years I could not find this cheese again. So, imagine my surprise and overwhelming joy at seeing that it’s back!
Let me tell you, this is definitely one recipe that you will love to make again and again. So easy and quick and your guests will love it. Especially when it’s hot out of the oven. Opa!
Welcome to my World of Appetizers! (I will surely be posting many, many more for you to enjoy)
- 36 cherry tomatoes (quartered)
- 5 oz. (about 1 ¼ cups) halloumi cheese (cut into ¼ inch cubes)
- 2 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
- 36 mini pie tarts
- Preheat oven to 375 °F
- Place pie tarts (unbaked) on cookie sheet
- Place 4 tomato quarters in each pie tart.
- Wedge about 3 -4 pieces of halloumi cheese between the them
- Season with chopped thyme
- Bake for about 15-30 minutes or until the pastry and the cheese is a bit browned
- Allow to cool a bit before serving
Serves 12 people (approximately 3 each)