The Starters

From the kitchen of Patrick Miller, Sweet Chipotle Catering

Cranberry Brie Appetizers


  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 3/4 cup of water
  • 1 tablespoon of grated orange zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • One 12-ounce bag of fresh cranberries
  • One 1-pound loaf of French bread, cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • 3 tablespoons of melted butter
  • 8 ounces of Brie cheese thinly sliced


To prepare the cranberry sauce:

  1. In a large frying pan, bring sugar, water, orange zest, and salt to a boil over high heat. Stir frequently until sugar dissolves.
  2. Add cranberries to the pan and return to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until a thick sauce forms and most of the berries have popped open (about seven to nine minutes). The sauce should be thick like a jam so that it does not slide off of the toast.
  3. Remove sauce from heat and allow to cool completely before using.

To assemble:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Brush melted butter over each slice of bread. Place bread in a single layer on a large baking sheet and toast in the oven for one to two minutes.
  3. Add a slice of Brie to the top of each toast. Bake for about five to seven more minutes or until the cheese melts. Top with about one tablespoon of cranberry sauce.

Cheddar Crab Puffs (makes 1 dozen)


  • 6 ounces of crab meat
  • 1 cup of sharp cheddar cheese
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup of all-purpose flour
  • Pinch of pepper
  • Pinch of salt
  • 4 tablespoons of butter
  • 3/4 cup water


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In 3-quart saucepan, combine water, butter, and 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and freshly ground black pepper. Heat on medium until boiling. Remove from heat. Add flour and stir until ball forms. Stir in eggs, one at a time, until dough is smooth and shiny. Stir in cheddar and crab.
  3. With tablespoon-size cookie scoop, scoop mixture into balls onto parchment, spacing 1-inch apart. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown, switching sheets on racks halfway through. Serve warm. To make ahead, place in resealable plastic bag; freeze up to one month. Reheat frozen puffs in 400 degree oven for eight to 10 minutes.

Pomegranate White Cheddar Cheeseball


  • 2 eight-ounce blocks of cream cheese, softened
  • 6 ounces of freshly grated sharp white cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup of sliced, toasted almonds
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon of pepper
  • 1 cup of pomegranate arils
  • Crackers for serving


  1. In the bowl of your electric mixer, combine the cream cheese and cheddar cheese. Beat until mixed, then add in the salt and pepper. Mix on low speed until combined, about one minute, scraping down the sides and the bottom if needed. Take the cheese mixture out of the bowl and mold it into a big ball as best you can. Roll it in plastic wrap and place it in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, place the pomegranate arils on a paper towel and pat them completely dry. Let them sit out while the cheese is chilling to remove as much liquid from them as possible. (This will keep the cheeseball pretty!)
  3. After 30 minutes, mold the cheese into more of a smooth ball. Add the arils to a plate or baking sheet and roll the ball through them, using your hands to press arils into all the cracks and crevices. You will need to gently press so the arils adhere to the cheese. At this time, you can serve it immediately or keep it in the fridge until ready to use. If you want to make it ahead of time, you can roll the ball 1 to 2 days beforehand. Add the pomegranate arils the night before or morning of. You may need to let the cheese come to room temp a bit so it’s sticky enough.