Hot and Spicy Appetizers Add Fiery Heat to Liven Up Any Party Or Get Together

There is no better way to perk up a party-going crowd than to offer a spicy, interesting appetizer, or serve up a fiery first course to a great meal. Appetizers can provide an exiting range of flavors, and many recipes can be prepared with very little effort. Fortunately, even those spicy appetizers that require a little more of your time, such as the Greek Chile-Cheese Pastries recipe below, taste so good that you may find yourself making them many times.

You can always adjust the heat to suit all guests whenever making a spicy appetizer. For the chile lovers you can go crazy with the hot peppers and spices, while offering the tender-mouths less of the hot stuff. A sure way to please every palate is to serve fiery salsas on the side, so guests are able to heat up their own appetizer servings as they choose.

When hosting a party, offer several different appetizers of varying spiciness. Just let guests know as you serve them which carry the heat and which do not. That lets them make the final call.

Greek Chile-Cheese Pastries

These pastries were inspired by some of the great Greek appetizers. They are spiced up with zesty green chiles, and are guaranteed to be loved by those who love the heat. Make plenty, as these go fast.

Melted unsalted butter

2 eggs

2 cups cottage cheese

1 pound feta cheese, crumbled

1/4 cup chopped parsley

Pinch of salt

10 ounces thawed filo dough (strudel leaves)

1/4 cup canned diced green chiles

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Brush a baking sheet with some melted butter. Beat the eggs, cheeses, parsley, and salt together until blended. Stack 2 pastry sheets, then cut lengthwise into 3-inch-wide strips.

Brush each 2-layer strip with melted butter on both sides. Place 1 spoonful of cheese filling at 1 end of each strip, then top with a few pieces of the chile. Fold 1 corner of the strip over the filling to create a triangle, then fold the triangle over itself . Continue folding the triangle from side to side until you reach the end of the strip. You should have a triangle-shaped pastry when finished.

Pierce the top of the pastry with a wooden toothpick and place on the buttered cookie sheet. Continue making the pastries until using up all of the filo sheets, cheese filling, and chiles.

Bake for 30 to 50 minutes, or until the pastries are golden and flaky. This recipe makes about 4 dozen chile-cheese pastries.

Note: If you think some of your party crowd might enjoy spicier appetizers, substitute some of the green chiles with charred, seeded, chopped fresh jalapeno or Serrano peppers.