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Cucumber Canapés with 2 Cream Cheese Fillings

What a wild start to December that was with a week of giveaways. Nine readers won amazing prizes to put under their own Christmas trees, and now I'm looking forward to getting things back to normal around here on Family Feedbag. And by 'normal' I mean fresh, new recipes!
These cucumber canapés are so pretty and delicious. I love the combination of crunchy and creamy, and if you have guests over the holidays who are gluten-free or vegetarian, they'll love these tasty little bites at a cocktail gathering or as a pre-dinner appetizer.
Choose from two fillings: Herb & Garlic or Roasted Red Pepper. Then choose your garnish: Snipped fresh chives or frico crisps made with Parmesan, Asiago or Romano cheese. To save time, the cucumbers and fillings can be prepared up to a few days ahead so you can focus on getting the house ready for your guests on the day. I know I'm not the only one who has to do the last-minute bathroom wipe down and de-crumb the dining room floor because the kids are slobs.
I served these earlier this week when I hosted a trunk show for my friend Mandy of Sugar + Candy Designs. It was my first foray into hosting more often, which is my resolution for 2015. I made one batch of Herb & Garlic and another batch of Roasted Red Pepper (recipe below), and while Mandy sold her beautiful handbags in the shop she set up in my living room, our friends gathered around, chatting and enjoying the nibbles.
Life is good when friends come together over good food... and shopping.
Cucumber Canapés with 2 Cream Cheese Fillings
Makes 28-30 canapés

2 large English cucumbers
3/4 cup (175 mL) cream cheese
1/2 cup (125 mL) sour cream
1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt

For Herb & Garlic filling, add:
2-3 garlic cloves, peeled
a handful of fresh dill
zest of half a lemon
For Roasted Red Pepper filling, add:
1/4 cup (60 mL) roasted red pepper pieces
1/2 tsp (2 mL) mild chili powder

For garnishes, choose one:
a few fresh chives, snipped
frico (made from 1/4 cup/60 mL firm cheese such as Parmesan, Asiago or Romano, baked in small mounds on a non-stick baking sheet in a hot oven until bubbling, and allowed to cool completely)

Peel the cucumbers and trim off the ends. Slice the cucumbers into 3/4-inch (2cm)-thick rounds (you can get about 14 rounds per cucumber). Using a melon baller or small spoon, scoop a hollow into each round, being careful not to go all the way through (you can save these half cucumber balls for salads). Set aside the cucumbers.

In a food processor, combine the cream cheese, sour cream and salt. If making the Herb & Garlic filling, add the garlic, dill and lemon zest. If making the Roasted Red Pepper filling, add the roasted red pepper pieces and chili powder. Pulse until smooth.

Fill the cucumbers with the filling (a plastic squeeze bottle with the tip cut off can make this simple and tidy). Top with your chosen garnish.

TIP: Each filling is enough for 28-30 canapés. You can prepare the cucumbers and fillings up to a few days ahead and store them in the refrigerator. The frico can be made a day ahead and stored in an airtight container at room temperature. Assemble the canapés the day you need them, and keep refrigerated before serving.
What small bites will you be serving this holiday season?