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What do you bring to the (appetizer) table?

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I am pretty fortunate that I have been invited to so many parties lately but I am bored with my go-to appetizer. I love to bring a plate of cherry tomatoes that I half and hold together with a little basil and fresh mozzarella. They are a nice burst of color on a table full of party foods. They are usually a hit but I am tired of making them.

What are your tried and true (and not too labor intensive) recipes to bring to a party?

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  1. I make a Greek version of the Mexican layer dip and it's always a hit. In a pie plate, I layer hummus, some of the sundried tomato tampade from the deli (or chopped sundried tomatoes packed in oil), seeded/diced cucumber, seeded/diced tomatoes, Kalamata olives, diced and crumbled feta. I add a squirt of lemon on the cucumbers and fresh tomatoes and just before serving drizzled the top of the feta with olive oil and pepper. This can be changed to suit your preferences or what you have on hand...I've used goat cheese, roasted peppers and even pesto in the past. Serve with pita chips.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Janet from Richmond

      That sounds amazing! I'll try that one myself.

    2. I like making different varieties of turnovers from puff pastry dough -- a favorite is spinach and feta, but goat cheese and olives works well too. They take a little bit longer to make, but they aren't hard, it's just the folding of the turnovers, and they end up looking really fancy.

      1. I like dips too. I make a variation on hummus with white beans, goat cheese and fresh basil. I also like taking fresh cooked crab or shrimp, mixing it with curry powder and mayo and serving it on cut slices of baguette. Also triangle shaped, one serving size, spanakopita. If you are in a rush a nice cheese plate.

        Katerina
        http://dailyunadventures.com

        1. I generally do some type of spread with toasts. Either a smoked salmon spread with dill from Ina Garten, or a fig and walnut tapenade served over sliced goat cheese.

          1. My last party, I made two kinds of crostini. One was tomato basil bruschetta, and the other was roast beef with a blue cheese horseradish sauce. The beef went very quickly, and took a lot less work.

            I bought the roast beef at my local deli and piled it on toasted baguette slices. The sauce was sour cream, horseradish, dijon, blue cheese and fresh ground pepper. Nuked the mixture til the cheese melted and put a dollop on each crostini. Very good.

            1 Reply
            1. I make a stilton-mushroom gallete based on a recipe I found in the Williams Sonoma Autumn cookbook. The crust is an easy to put together and very easy to work with one that has sour cream and lemon. Sautee the mushrooms, add thyme and garlic and a little red wine and let them cook down until just about all the liquid is gone. Let that cool and then you can assemble and bake the whole thing. Its nice because you can do the dough for the crust ahead of time as well as the mushrooms. Then you can bake and it its quite good at room temperature, so you don't have to do it at the last minute.

              It also works as individual "tarts" if you just use a cookie cutter to cut out smaller pieces of crust.

              1. Can there be anything easier than buying thin sliced prosciutto and just wrap them on melon? More colorful if you do both cantoloupe and honeydew. It is like done in 15 mins, and gone in 60 secs! =D

                Another one for prosciutto appetizer is to put them on crostini and topped them with scrumbled goat cheese or small piece of mozzarella. Again, super easy and I have yet to find a person who does not like it (except for vegetarians, for course)

                4 Replies
                1. re: kobetobiko

                  Just to elaborate on prosciutto and melon; I had guest come over once and she brought papaya wrapped with prosciutto...GREAT alternative.

                  1. re: kobetobiko

                    Another prosciutto version...

                    Smear some goat cheese on a dried fig and wrap with Prosciutto... drizzle with reduced balsamic.

                    Sooooo good.

                    1. re: kobetobiko

                      another prosciutto variation...wrap fresh figs (green or black or a combination) with a thin slice of prosciutto and bake until the prosciutto is crispy and the figs are soft...amazing.

                      1. re: Sophia.

                        Even better, I think: slice open the tip of each fig and work in a little cube of gorgonzola before wrapping them with proscuitto and baking.

                    2. I like to bring BBQ pork, with some toasted sesame seeds for dipping. It's easy - make a marinade (many recipes on the net), marinade the meat overnight, and bake long and slow. Then cool and slice. If I have more time (and energy), then it's potstickers or stuffed grape leaves.

                      1. Half fresh figs and top with a dollop of goat cheese, honey and a little black pepper. Or when figs aren't in season, pit dates and stuff with a mixture of mascarpone, sugar, cinnamon and maybe cardamon. I often sprinkle the plate with crushed pistachios.

                        1. If it's fairly casual, this Black Bean, Corn, and Salsa Dip goes over really well with everyone, whether they are hounds or not: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/36689...

                          If I actually had Chowhound friends, (Oh, woe is me! ;-) I would probably bring either Roasted Shrimp w/ Thousand Island Dressing or Shrimp Salad, both Ina recipes.
                          Roasted Shrimp: http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/cda/r... (I only use gherkins and I add a minced garlic clove.
                          )Shrimp Salad: http://www.leitesculinaria.com/recipe...

                          Edited to add: Ooh, I hate those darn parentheses!!!

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Katie Nell

                            i'll be your chowhound friend ;) heh.

                          2. breadsticks wrapped in proscuitto spread with fig jam herb/chive cream cheese

                            1. Okay I know it's a given, but I just love well made 7 layer dip! My secret is to use Frito Lay Bean Dip and make the guacamole from scratch. With some Tostitos Gold bite size or Fritos Scoops and it's on.

                              1. Here's my go to... and they go too!

                                Peperoncini Stuffed With Smoked Salmon & Dill Cream

                                20 peperoncini (pickled tuscan peppers -- about two 9-ounce-- jars), drained
                                4 ounces cream cheese -- softened
                                2 tablespoons unsalted butter -- softened
                                2 tablespoons minced fresh dill
                                2 tablespoons minced shallot
                                2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
                                3 ounces thinly sliced smoked salmon -- finely chopped

                                Trim the stem ends of the peperoncini at an angle and, wearing rubber gloves, discard the seeds and ribs. Let the peperoncini drain on paper towels.

                                In a bowlcream the cream cheese with the butter until the mixture is smooth, add the dill, the sallot, and the lemon juice, and combine the mixture well.

                                Stir in the salmon and salt and pepper well. Transfer the mixture to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch decorative or plain tip, and pipe the smoked slamon and dill cream into the peperoncini.

                                The peperoncini may be prepared 1 day in advance and kept covered and chilled.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: Jennalynn

                                  That sounds yummy. I love peperoncini and all of the other ingredients. Will have to try soon..

                                2. My latest low-effort/no-cook favorite is these blue cheese and grape canapes:

                                  Buy a CAN of brown bread (next to the baked bean, with or without raisins), slice as thin as you can without making it so thin that it crumbles, and quarter each slice.

                                  Mix up: 1/4 lb good blue cheese with 6 oz cream cheese (at room temp is easier)
                                  place dollop atop each piece of bread. Press half a red grape into each mound of blue cheese and garnish with a spear of chive stuck beside the grape.

                                  Everyone asks for the "recipe" and I've never brought any home.

                                  SO easy and they go fast.

                                  5 Replies
                                  1. re: amyamelia

                                    a can? of brown bread? i'm so confused.

                                    1. re: lollya

                                      A can of bread indeed. I've never actually tried it...but it is sort of intriguing.

                                      http://www.amazon.com/B-Brown-Bread-R...

                                      1. re: wawajb

                                        WOW I've never seen that..Why not instead use fresh rye or pumpernickle with cookie cutter shapes instead.fresher and nicer IMHO??

                                        1. re: flipkeat

                                          I have never seen this either. I can't imagine that it's better than regular pumpernickel squares, that you buy already sliced very thin and wrapped in cellaphane.

                                          1. re: pescatarian

                                            YUP, really in a can. I'd never had the stuff ( I hate baked beans and it is right there in the store with them, I think they are supposed to be eaten together). However it is really moist and good, and not at all like rye or pumpernickel, those would be an entirely different flavor...it is a sweet bread with molasses flavor.

                                            I actually made this recipe down in FL when I was visiting my mom and her New Joy of Cooking had a recipe for steamed brown bread that sounds like it would be about right, and I would have made it if I had not been able to find it in the grocery (kind of a New England thing was my thought) as I really do love to bake and rarely use "prepared foods" in favor of making everything from scratch. But, I found the bread in the store and didn't feel like baking after a long day at the beach with my two young kids.

                                            I guess if I was in my own kitchen with time to kill and a real desire to make sure it was the BEST, I could make my own, but then again why fix what ain't broke! Part of the beauty of this app is that you buy all the stuff and just assemble and it tastes great.

                                  2. Smoked trout dip with small toasts.

                                    1. Buy a couple heads of Belgian endive and some creamy seafood salad from the deli. Separate the endive into leaves and top with a tablespoon or so of salad, arrange in fan pattern. Quick, yummy, beautiful. Not really a budget solution though.

                                      1. I make Beef Tenderloin Bites..2 lb or so piece of beef tenderloin cut into about a nice 2 inch pieces, marinated in a bit of olive oil, minced garlic S & P for a few hours in fridge..Roast it off in an oven on a baking tray at high heat for a few mins and serve on a platter skewered with a nice Bearnaise dipping sauce..(homemade) or if in a hurry the Maille Brand Bearnaise Sauce is ok!! Everyone loves it ;)

                                        1. Ski season brings aprés ski party each Saturday evening. Different host each week - fun! The appetizer which disappears the fastest is asparagus spears wrapped in prosciutto and herbed cream cheese. The "original" recipe calls for Boursin. This is expensive, so I make my own. Found a number of recipes online which I adapted. Spread the prosciutto with the cheese mixture, wrap around the asparagus, then bake in a 400º F. oven for 5 to 7 minutes. Hot, warm or room temperature, these fly off the plate.

                                          1. The easiest go to of mine is stuffed mushrooms. I make them several different ways and I never bring any home. My favorite variation is spinach, swiss and hot italian sausage.

                                            1. This one doesn't travel well, but if you are at your own house, try this next time. Slowly (low heat) saute 5 bias sliced "hot links" (don't laugh, I pass these off as garlic saisage to even the pickiest eaters!) in 1/3 cup olive oil, 5 slivered cloves of garlic & one tablespoon of hot chile flakes-yes it's hot and oily!! When the flavors have melded, oil is red and the garlic is soft, add 2 lbs large cleaned shrimp and crank the heat up. Cook til shrimps are pink. Serve immediately with toothpicks in the same pot that you cooked in. Need plenty of crusty bread to sop up the garlicky, spicy oil. So deliscious!!!!