Mommy’s Cocktail Cigars. Actually, my mother called these ham roll-ups but that just doesn’t sound cool. They were made to go with pre-dinner cocktails for her and my dad. She would make one and cut into 4 pieces, but you can expand your serving size. In fact I would encourage you to do so. So what are they? Slices of ham spread with cream cheese and topped with horseradish. Roll, cut, and skewer (or not). Great item to make in advance for pre game nibbles at a tailgate party. I make them now with marscapone because it is so 2018 and not so 1960. And since horseradish root is readily available now, use that if you prefer a stronger taste. It keeps forever in the fridge and can be used for other dishes. Want to make it richer? Mix some heavy cream into the cheese and top the slices with that. Don’t like ham? Use turkey and mix a bit of chopped cranberry into the cheese before spreading on the slice. Roast beef is a great pair with horseradish if you are a beef eater and I would definitely mix the heavy cream into the cheese if I were using beef. Don’t eat meat? Use smoked salmon. Delicious. Or make a platter using all of the above. it will look beautiful and suit pretty much all appetites. My parents’ cocktails of choice were Martinis or Manhattans (think 1960), but you can serve these with Aperol Spritzes or white white spritzers if that is your choice. No offense will be taken.

IMG_0825 (1)

Anyone who knows me knows I don’t bake. It isn’t that I don’t, I just can’t. It is easier for me to bone a duck than bake a cookie. Too much stress and tension in all that measuring. Give me some fruit in a martini glass topped with ice cream and I am in dessert heaven. But, this little sweet is a joy–easy to put together, can be made in advance, and requires no measuring cups or spoons. Checks all my dessert boxes. Here we go. You will need strawberries–larger is better, a container of mascarpone cheese-softened and drained of any liquid, a tablespoon of honey, a tablespoon of Drambuie, a pinch of salt and pepper and container whipped cream–I used Land o’ Lakes Sugar Free Heavy Whipped Cream. Top and core the strawberries–make enough of a hollow, you are going to fill them. Set them aside. In a bowl, mix the mascarpone cheese, the honey and the Drambuie until well blended. Add the salt and pepper. Drain off any liquid. Taste. Now fill a piping bag (or a plastic bag with a small hole cut in a corner) with the mixture. Pipe the mixture into the little hollows of the strawberries to the top of the hole. You can store at this point and refrigerate any leftover filling. When ready to serve, squeeze a bit of the whipped cream all over. You can finish with mint, or chocolate dust, or powdered sugar or sprinkles, you get the idea. If you want it non-boozy, leave out the Drambuie. If you don’t like Drambuie, add another liqueur. Make a lot. They go quick.

IMG_0846IMG_0847IMG_0848