Last year was my first Christmas away from home. At the time, my boyfriend was still living in France, while I was in graduate school in New York--not an ideal situation, let me tell you. Since he had visited me here over the summer, I was making the trek there for the holidays. We spent a week with his family in La Rochelle, a sea-side town famed for its oysters. Christmas day dawned bright and cold and with picnic baskets in tow, the whole family walked the short distance to the beach. Out came Champagne, boudin blanc and chevre and lardon toasts. There were also slivers of crisp endive, which my boyfriend's mother (an excellent cook) had topped with creamy Roquefort. I thought the slightly bitter endive made great vessels for party food, and when I got home, I started playing around with my own ideas. A week later, my boyfriend got word that he would be transfered to New York. We will return to France together for Christmas this year, where I hope to come home with at least one new recipe! —Cristina Sciarra
Separate the endive leaves and lay them on a baking sheet or serving platter. Spoon a small portion of goat cheese into each one, and then sprinkle the minced chives next to each morsel of cheese. Drop some apple next to the cheese and chives. Finish with a dusting of paprika.
Cristina is a writer, cook, and day job real estate developer. She studied literature, holds an MFA in Fiction Writing, and completed the Basic Cuisine course at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. She lives in Jersey City with her husband--a Frenchman she met in Spain--and their sweet black cat, Minou. Follow her writings, recipes, publications and photography at theroamingkitchen.com.