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Crispy Cream

November 11, 1998|DONNA DEANE

One of the best spreads for party appetizers is cream cheese. And there is a good low-fat alternative. Goat milk yogurt drained several hours thickens into yogurt cheese that is easily spread on toast or crackers.

I like to spread the yogurt cheese on toast and top each appetizer with toasted pumpkin seeds, sun-dried tomatoes and herbs. You get the crunch of the seeds on top and the toast below with a smooth, creamy goat cheese center. )

Pumpkin Seed and Goat Cheese Toasts

Total Preparation Time: 35 minutes, plus 8 hours draining * Active Work Time: 20 minutes * Vegetarian

If you have an oil mister (sold in most cookware stores), fill it with your own oil--canola or pumpkin oil works well in this recipe. If you have only oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drain them well before using.

1 (32-ounce) carton goat milk yogurt

4 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1/4 cup pumpkin seeds

2 tablespoons minced parsley

2 tablespoons dry-packed sun-dried tomatoes, minced

2 tablespoons shredded basil

24 (1/2-inch-thick) slices French bread, toasted

* Spoon yogurt into strainer lined with cheesecloth. Place strainer over bowl large enough so that strainer does not touch bottom of bowl to drain. Cover top of yogurt with excess cheesecloth and refrigerate at least 8 hours, up to 24 hours (longer draining gives thicker yogurt).

* Drain yogurt and discard liquid. Combine thickened yogurt cheese with 2 cloves minced garlic, salt and pepper. (Can be made 1 day in advance to this point and stored in refrigerator until ready to use.)

* Spread pumpkin seeds in single layer on baking sheet that has been misted with oil or sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Lightly mist top of seeds with oil or lightly spray with nonstick cooking spray. Toast seeds in oven at 350 degrees until lightly toasted, about 5 minutes. Remove from oven, sprinkle lightly with salt and let cool about 5 minutes. (Can be made 1 day in advance.)

* Combine toasted pumpkin seeds, parsley, sun-dried tomatoes, basil and remaining 2 cloves minced garlic to make topping.

* To assemble appetizers, spread each slice French bread with scant tablespoon yogurt, then sprinkle with pumpkin-seed topping.

24 appetizers. Each appetizer: 74 calories, 173 mg sodium, 1 mg cholesterol, 2 grams fat, 12 grams carbohydrates, 3 grams protein, 0.08 grams fiber.

* Platter from Williams-Sonoma, Pasadena.

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