Thanksgiving appetizers and finger food
- ruth Nov 8, 2004 11:41 AM
I am having a small thanksgiving this year. I would love to have some little bits and appetizers laying around for people while I am cooking. Any ideas. The simpler the better. Thanks as always.
Stuffed mushrooms are always popular around this time of year...or how about cocktail meatballs in cranberry sauce? (Cranberry sauce, chili sauce, fresh lemon juice and brown sugar.) Very easy and you can leave it in the crockpot if you like. And, then, there is always the cream-cheese-covered-with-pepper-jelly appetizer that has a million variations. Epicurious has a great Sausage Stuffed Mushroom recipe at their website.
>>Stuffed prunes wrapped in bacon: stuff prune w/ goat cheese and whole almond or pistachio; wrap in bacon piece; secure w/ toothpick or rosemary spear; bake at 375 deg. til bacon brown but not super-crispy; can be served at room temp.
>>Puff pastry cheese sticks: defrost puff pastry sheets (I like Pepperidge Farm); using pizza cutter, slice into long, thin strips; place on baking sheet; twist pastry so it looks like pasta spiral; brush w/ melted butter and dust w/ parmesan, bleu cheese, etc.; bake using instructions on package.
>>Fruit chips: haven't done this before, but you can slice fruit paper thin (apple, pear, pineapple come to mind); lightly spray w/ canola oil; slow bake in oven on low heat; also might be yummy and creative if you made a "salsa" for dipping using the same fresh fruit mixed w/ other ingredients (eg, pineapple chips w/ pineapple, red bell pepper salsa)
>>Spiced mixed nuts: super easy; don't have a recipe but search around
go to their main page at www.epicurious.com
select "recipes" just under their masthead, upper left corner of page....
Then on the left side of page, you'll see "buzz box"...their 20 most popular recipes...and wouldn't ya know it? The Salami Crisp recipe is not listed now...DOH!!!!! But do try the Tilapia with Lime Chili Butter, so, so good for minimal effort. Hope this helps you.
I once brought smoked salmon cut into bite-sized pieces, little toasts, sliced lemon, and tiny bowls of capers and finely chopped onions to a Thanksgiving gathering. It has been demanded by that group ever since -- if I'm not there someone else has to bring it. It's luxurious but not too heavy and contrasts nicely with the flavors of the dinner to come.
You can cut up the salmon early in the day and refrigerate tighly wrapped in plastic wrap and do the toasts and put them in a airtight container.
A delicious variation on this that I had as an appetizer at a Thanksgiving dinner once:
Sliced gravlax (cured Scandinavian salmon) on soft rye w/ whole grain mustard, fresh dill, and caramelized red onion
Soooo good, esp. w/ a nice white wine (forgot what we had) or the traditional drink, Aquavit. This is the kind of dish that can stand on its own w/o other apps since it's so striking and plentiful if you cure a whole salmon. Never made gravlax myself, but a lot of recipes available on the web. I know there's a recipe in chef Marcus Samuelsson's beautiful cookbook, "Aquavit and the New Scandinavian Cuisine," which I don't own but may put on my Xmas list.
re: Carb Lover
A few weeks back, I went to a place here in town (Fort Calgary) and had another variation of this with pickled red onion. The Chef rolled the salmon around the pickled onion and other ingredients. Something to try and experiment with. It was so delicious, I wanted to cry, but instead I just went back for seconds.
How about a variety of olives and some small marinated fresh mozarella balls. Shrimp/crab cocktail is always a quick easy way to go. Crostini with a variety of spreads like roasted red pepper, pesto, blue cheese.
I spread out a selection of dried fruits and other items in pie-shaped segments on a large (18" diameter) round wooden platter:
*dried apricots, pears, nectarines, persimmons, peaches, cranberries, apple rings--suit yourself and your budget
*pistachio nuts in shells
The fall colors are lovely, the only prep is the arranging, everything is healthful, and you can bag the leftovers for snacks later.
I just nibbled these super-easy appetizers while enjoying a glass of wine.
Gently roast pecan halves.
Mix a good quality blue cheese with a little cream cheese.
Top a dried apricot with blue cheese mixture and a roasted pecan half and serve. Can be made in advance. Super yummy flavors!
A couple of questions:
-- How soon before the meal are people arriving?
--When you say "small" thanksgiving, do you mean a small, not-very-heavy meal, or small in the number of guests?
I try to keep the appetizers at Thanksgiving as light as possible. I want people hungry when they sit down to my homecooked holiday feast. Therefore, I strictly regulate when the appetizers go out, what they are, and when they are removed. Your family may not be as obnoxious as mine is about eating all day before dinner, but if they are, this is what I do.
I lay out a very light selection of roasted vegetables (usually just peppers and home roasted tomatoes) with some hard breadsticks around 2pm. This goes well with wine, and people don't gorge themselves on it. We eat dinner between 5-6 so I am pretty darned certain they are hungry when they sit down. People can have any beverages they like, but I never put out heavy snacks like chips or cheese and crackers. Lunch is their problem, and should be done and cleared away before this ever happens.
One year I did host lunch beforehand, and I just made platters of sandwiches (very light ones -- thin bread with salmon paste, with light cheese filling, etc) along with a big plate of cookies and some whole fruits (apples and pears). That was it. Then the appetizers. I make the hordes save their calories for the big meal.
And actually, the crowd I cook for has grown to like it this way.
Just my suggestion -- you may actually be dining with grownups, however, who won't be eating handfuls of food a half an hour before dinner! :)