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Nov 14, 2006 06:09 PM

Festive vegetables?

I'm preparing for my annual holiday party, a drinks, hors d'oeurves and sweets sort of affair. My boss was asking hopefully whether there would be a lot of vegetable dishes. Hhhhmmmmmmm....there will be lots of olives and cornichons etc, and I was thinking of doing a roasted eggplant and/or roasted pepper dip, but I find crudites kind of depressing--so few people eat them, and in my opinion raw veggies often just don't taste very good (and I don't like creamy white dip). But obviously, I aim to please!

Any ideas for festive and creative vegetable-intensive party dishes, preferably ones that can be made a day or two in advance? They don't have to be vegan or even strictly vegetarian.

Many thanks in advance!

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  1. How about spanakopita? I love this any time of year but during cold weather, the combination of crisp pastry, spinach, eggs, cheese etc. make my mouth water.

    There's a really excellent recipe in the new Joy of Cooking called Anna's Limas (or something like that). I made this about a week ago and had to be restrained from eating the whole lot in one sitting. It's basically limas baked in a sauce of bacon (you said not strictly vegetarian), chile sauce (I used sriracha) and molasses with some mustard. It's absolutely fabulous - spicy, intensely full of flavor. The creaminess of the big beans contrasts wonderfully with the tangy, bacony sauce.

    1. I think vegetable-based dips with pita or toasted thin slices of baguette.
      1)roasted eggplant puree with sundried tomatoes, garlic and lemon
      2)roasted red pepper with walnuts and pomegranate molasses
      3)zucchini with lemon, mint, capers, hot pepper
      4)carrot with cumin, ground mustard, parsley and cured olives
      5)olive tapenade

      1. I did some really cute cucumber cups from Gourmet a couple of years ago. Basically you peel stripes onto a cucumber, cut it into 1.5-2 in. rounds then scoop out a little well in the top of each round. Fill the round with creme fraiche then drizzle on a drop of chili oil.

        Stuffed dates are also always a good way to go. Get the nice medjool dates and try a chunk of good parmesan with a drop of balsamic; or try a chunk of good dark chocolate and some goat cheese. Another kind of ridiculous but cute one I did once was a star-shaped stack of pumpernickel, herbed cream cheese, roasted red pepper, another dollop of cheese, and topped with a pine nut. Pain in the ass to cut and assemble (sharp star-shaped cookie cutter) but cute. White bean bruschetta could also be nice.

        1. Samosas? Stuffed grape leaves? Really good marinated artichokes, from an italian grocery? I don't mean canned, I mean from the glass case at a salumeria or something.

          1. A bit retro, but steamed small red potatoes, cut in half and scooped out a bit, with a dab of creme fraiche or sour cream and a bit of caviar. Right here on this board I learned that you can greatly improve supermarket caviar by gently rinsing in a strainer -- it really works!

            More complicated but make-ahead (day before): Chris VR's mushroom and leek loaf: