House Warming appetizers
I am having a house warming party and having trouble thinking of good finger foods that will please, without me having to be in the kitchen the duration of the party warming up and cooking items. Any ideas would be very much appreciated.
I'm a big fan of pinwheels and Bonnie's Buffalo Chicken Dip. If you put out that dip, you pretty much don't have to worry about a thing except giving copies of the recipe to folks. Now for the disclaimer: a number of 'hounds hate this recipe...it is,and I admit it, very low-brow. But every function I've ever brought this to has accepted it enthusiastically, maybe TOO enthusiastically (just shows the caliber of crowds that I run with)...heh. If you think you want the recipe, do request it or search for it on this board; it may not be a good match for your crowd and I do respect that!
Last year my planned app fell through right before a big tailgating party and I threw together the buffalo chicken dip in a panic. I was mortified to be bringing this to a foodie tailgate, but people raved and couldn't get enough (even foodies like comfort food once in a while) Now I'm forced to bring this dip to every tailgate!
For me, the opposite happened. I was going to a party and decided to try to prepare this buffalo chicken dip right before. After I tasted it, I just couldn't bring it to the party. It was too tangy, too rich, with no kick to it. Even though the crowd wasn't a gourmet one, I would have been too embarrassed to show up with the chicken dip. I ended up buying some cookies instead.
I imagine that you are going to get some great suggestions, so I'm going to share one that I think is a little bit strange. I do a rather large holiday party each year and in the past have always served hearty hors d'oeuvres rather than a sit down meal. (This year I think I'm going to just rent a bunch of tables and make a meal, precious little bites for between 50 and 100 is getting to be too much!!) I always do baby lamb chops, crab cakes, and spanakopita because they are so well received and I add more exotic hors d'oeuvres from there. But last year my husband asks if I would please make bacon wrapped water chestnuts.
My internal reaction was Yuck! These are not going to go with my duxelle phyllo bites and my asparagus spears with serano ham!
But my more adult side led me to agree and fulfill this one simple request. I made a rub of spices (chipotle, Coleman's mustard, celery seed, that sort of thing) and brown sugar and coated some excellend thick cut bacon from the butchers. Then I rinsed my canned whole waterchestnuts (definitely no time for fresh) and rolled each one in half a slice of bacon. I must have made at least 200 of them. And every last one of them was eaten!
I got so many compliments on them that I was a little bit offended. I'd been hand making double batches of spanikopita and freezing them for weeks and the stupid bacon water chestnuts are getting the raves! In fairness, the water chestnuts were making a debut and they smelled and tasted wonderful. And when a dish as quick and cheap as that stands up to jumbo lump crab cakes, I put it on the permanent list. I don't care if it's campy, they were really good!!
A simple mango curry shrimp salad served in wonton cups was a big hit at a recent party at my place. Very easy to make ahead, and spoon out as needed.
I would suggest lining the bottom of each wonton cup with a single cilantro leaf, so that it doesn't get soggy from the salad.
Hi ME, the first thing I would like to suggest is that you use the search feature here on the site because this exact question is asked several times a month. Try searching on the words appetizers and make ahead -- you should find a few threads that will give you some ideas. I'm always reading these threads because there are always new and interesting replies and I am also looking for new ideas!
When I do an all finger food party, I to make a variety of goodies choosing recipes that use beef, chicken, pork, cheese, veggies, seafood, etc. -- variety of main ingredient is key. Sometimes I like to choose a theme for the party, like Italian, or Spanish, or Indian, etc. That often helps organize a party.
If you consider a theme from a Mediterranean climate, that helps immensley because so much of the food is served room temperature and can be made ahead.
Make a big basket of crudite and have a little fondue pot of bagna cauda as a dip and a more traditional ranch dip, perhaps.
Make a huge platter of traditional Italian antipasto, with cheeses, meats, olives, peppers.
Buy some pizza dough (or make it) and do a couple of versions of foccacia that can be cut into small squares. These don't have to be served straight out of the oven.
Asparagus or little bundles of green beans, wrapped in proscuitto are different and can be assembled ahead. Mushroom caps with a sliver of chorizo or pepperoni and some garlic and olive oil, grilled or baked (can be assembled ahead and broiled).
re: Terrie H.
Proscuitto slices wrapped around ripe cantelope, drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with cracked black pepper is always a hit at our holiday parties. If you can find a ripe cantelope it is really easy, refreshing, and even picky eaters tend to love it.
A recent hit was Martha's fava bean dip on crostini which has favas, mint, olive oil and lemon juice and is topped with pecorino. Actually, I'd recommend getting your hands on Martha's hors d'oeuvres handbook. It is great inspiration and everything we have made from it has been delicious. Other perennial faves include the Candace's (sic) Basil Cheese Loaf and the Salmon Mousse on endive leaves from the New Basics cookbook. Phyllo triangles filled with spinach and feta, bound with a little egg are not too difficult to make ahead, freeze well, are easy to bake at the last minute, and are always yummy.
One great suggestion that I read years ago was to buy as many largish shrimp as you can afford, and just serve them around the rim of a pretty glass bowl filled with ice with cocktail sauce on the side. People absolutely love this and really appreciate it as well. I have also done a raw oyster bar with several sauces, but this wasn't nearly as popular as the shrimp.
I love open houses and with some planning, they can be easy to do. I like to make things that can be pretty much prepared before the event and then thrown together at the last minute. An antipasto is ideal and can be a beautiful "centerpiece" to your buffet table along with a nice cheese platter and assorted breads.
Here is a recipe I love because I can make the topping for the brie a day or two in advance and then just stick it in the oven before the guests start to arrive.
1 large brie round
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes
1 cup fresh basil
1 cup fresh parsley
2 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
Chop sun dried tomatoes, and cover with hot water for 15 minutes.
Chop basil and parsley.
Drain tomatoes well, squeezing out excess water.
In saute pan, heat olive oil and saute tomatoes 5 minutes, stirring constantly.
Add garlic and continue to saute, stirring constantly.
Add balsamic vinegar, basil and parsley.
Stir constantly for 1 minute and remove from heat.
Remove as much rind as possible from brie.
Put in an oven-safe dish, cover with tomato mixture and heat at 350 degrees until bubbly.
I serve this with crackers and crostini.