These super easy appetizers, Mercantile Café’s Renee Holt’s “go-to starters,” only require a handful of ingredients and won’t waste valuable time.
She recommends stocking up on a few basics, the Mercantile’s Habanero Pepper Jam or Jalapeno Pepper Jam (available at the restaurant and Harvest Local Foods), cream cheese, cheddar, crackers, naan bread, pita chips, eggs and you’ll be ready for any unexpected guests.
For a super simple sweet and spicy appetizer, pour pepper jam over cream cheese and serve with pretzels or chips. For the best presentation, Holt suggests using the Habanero Pepper Jam. Guests staying a while, pop a savory cheesecake in the oven and visit until done.
HABANERO PEPPER JAM
- Cream cheese (16 oz)
- Shredded cheddar cheese (2 cups)
- Mercantile Café (1/2 cup)
- Habanero Pepper Jam or Jalapeno Jam
- Toasted pecans or dried cranberries (optional)
- Grapes for presentation
Mix cream cheese until smooth. Add cheddar & jam to taste. Serve in a bowl as a dip or for a cheeseball, refrigerate until firm. Roll into ball, then roll ball in toasted pecans or dried cranberries. Serve on a platter with assorted crackers and grapes.
Habanero Savory Cheesecake
- 3 8 oz. packages of cream cheese
- 1 8 oz. jar of Mercantile Café Habanero Pepper Jam
- 3 eggs
- 1 ½ cups shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 cup of Ritz Crackers, crushed
- 4 tablespoons melted butter
Mix crushed crackers and butter. Spread on the bottom of a 9-10 inch springform pan. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Beat cream cheese until light and creamy. Add about 6 oz. of pepper jam (more or less to taste) and mix well. Add eggs, one at a time until combined. Pour over crust. Bake approximately 45-60 min until center is set.
Cool slightly. Melt remainder of jam and spread over cheesecake. Refrigerate until firm. Serve at room temperature with assorted crackers.