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What appetizer should I bring?

We are going to Dale Hollow for a long weekend of boating and floating.

Each couple (4 couples) is bringing an appetizer. I'm trying to think of what to bring that will hold up on a 5 hour car trip or if I should buy the ingrediants at the little store we'll stop at on the way - but I have no idea what sort of things they stock, besides Ritz crackers, beef jerky, pork rinds and tons of beer.

Any ideas?


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  1. a great salad that actually works better after sitting out room temp for a while is a brown rice, tomato and basil salad....although 5 hours is pushing anything really...u might want to pick up an insulated bag or small cooler?

    anyway, this has no mayo or meat...

    1 cup Texmati brown rice
    2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
    1/4 cup Champagne or rice wine vinegar
    2 teaspoons sugar
    1 tablespoon good olive oil
    Freshly ground black pepper
    1 pound ripe tomatoes, large-diced
    1 cup packed basil leaves (1 large bunch), chopped

    mix together the vinegar, sugar, olive oil, teaspoon of salt, and a pinch of pepper. pour over the cooked, hot rice. add the tomatoes and basil. mix well and check the seasonings. serve at room temperature. in your case, you can add the basil right before you're ready to serve.

    1. spiced steamed shrimp. You can transport in a cooler. You'll just need a dipping sauce (tomato paste, horseradish, fresh lemon juice is the basic one) and you're set.

      Or, bring a big thing of mixed olives, some pepperoni or other similar hard sausage, and a few cheese and do an antipasto platter.

      1. I'm actually just wondering the same for my book club meeting of Saturday, so this is a very interresting topic for me.

        A suggestion: I made an asparagus tart (a variation of Martha Stewart's asparagus-gruyère tart) last weekend, using fresh lemon-flavored sheep's milk cheese. It's really easy to make, and serves well warm or at room temp.

        Here's a link to my blog showing the recipe (including the link to Martha's website): http://patechinoisetcie.blogspot.com/...

        1. Bread dough stuffed with italian cold cuts, cheese, olives. Something like this but you can use home made dough to make it better:


          I've brought focaccia and hard cheese on a ski trip and it held up well. Some good recipes on this site for focaccia.

          5 Replies
          1. re: chowser

            Panzanella! Same idea as the brown rice salad, except for the starch is stale Italian bread. Combine cubed bread, diced tomatoes, cucumbers, assorted bell peppers, onions, and minced garlic with extra virgin olive oil and red wine vinegar, and a squeeze of lemon juice. Add chopped fresh herbs of your choice (basil, parsley, and so on) and season with salt and pepper. It just gets better as it sits.

            You could also make tabouleh. Plump up some bulgur wheat with hot water or stock for an hour or so, and add tons of chopped parsley and about half as much mint. (Remember, this dish is an herb salad with bulgur, not a bulgur salad with herbs). Add chopped onions or scallions, tomatoes and garlic, and perhaps some cucumbers. Dress with plenty of extra virgin olive oil and freshly squeezed lemon juice.

            And chowser's idea of what sounds like pan bagna would also work sliced in thin slices. You could also stuff the bread with a tuna salad made with no mayonnaise but olive oil, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, chopped olives, capers, onions, and garlic. Perhaps some gardiniera (hot Italian quick-pickled vegetables) too.

            Think of the salads, mezzes and such that people eat in hot, Mediterrean climates and you'll be set. In any case, you'll probably be better off with a small cooler.

            1. re: diva360

              Pan bagna is essentially a tuna sandwich. Chowser's recommendation sounds like what I've heard Italian-Americans refer to as "meat bread." It's a great and hearty appetizer: bread flecked with pieces of sopressata or pepperoni, cheese and olives. Good stuff!

              1. re: JungMann

                Or chicole bread, JM? This is a round Italian bread with little chunks of fried pork fat (hopefully). Not healthy, but delish.

                I do a lazy version of the cold cut bread -- I buy 2 portions of pizza dough at a good local grocery, roll them out, and then fill with all kinds of cold cuts, one with cheese, one without, both with a homemade olive/roasted pepper/garlic tapenade.

                Form into a horseshoe shape, cuts some slits in the top, brush with olive oil, and bake.

                1. re: dolores

                  I have never had chicole bread (and cannot find it on Google), but it sounds right up my alley! As far as I know, the folks who have served me meat bread have made it the same way as you. Somehow I don't think chopped up cold cuts warrants half a day waiting for dough to rise.

                  1. re: JungMann

                    JM, afraid I never made chicole bread, only bought it at very good salumerias.

                    I make what you refer to as 'meat bread' and you're right, the pizza dough from my grocery store is perfectly good. With the very best ingredients from the above salumeria, no one's ever asked if the dough was home made!

                    * I just checked and this is the closest I could find. I bet 'chicole' was my grandmother's dialect!

                    Tuscan bread specialty: Pane con i grassetti - a bread from the Garfagnana area, with pork cracklings mixed in.

          2. Devilled eggs! Then pack them face to face in a covered plastic container in your cooler. I can't imagine anything nicer to eat on a hot day at the lake. And maybe some trimmed and cut celery and some pimento cheese to stuff it with, which you can do there. Tennessee lakes are great places to enjoy Tennessee treats.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Will Owen

              oh my!

              that does sound good and easy!

              1. re: Will Owen

                Oh, lord please don't take deviled eggs on a boat.

              2. How about some thing like gourges (I know I spelled this wrong). They are like cream puff dough but cheese mixed in. In an air tight container they would probaly hold up well. A couscous salad might hold up well too. Like the rice salad above but with couscous

                1 Reply
                1. re: sweetie

                  Gougeres - they would definitely need to be reheated though. You can also freeze and then heat up.

                2. I love the deviled egg idea! But here's another super easy idea that travels well. Take a container of cream cheese and mix in some blue cheese crumbles (just enough to flavor the cream cheese), spread this on dried apricots (try to get the nice round ones and not the squished ones), and top with a whole pecan. I roast the pecans slightly for a better flavor. The great thing is that you can pack each item separately and just assemble when you get there. Very easy, and gluten free (if that was a concern).

                  1. Thank you so much everyone!

                    What a great bunch of ideas - I'm off to the grocery for the ingredients for the deviled eggs and the asparagus tart. I know I'm only supposed to make one appetizer but with all these recipes I'm sure no-ones feelings will be hurt.

                    I'm also going to hang on to these as well, I'm sure we'll be back and I won't want to repeat myself....mmmm cream cheese, blue cheese and toasted pecans!

                    Again - many thanks and I bet my friends will be thanking you too :-)


                    4 Replies
                    1. re: Cookiefiend

                      Please don't take deviled eggs on a boat!

                      1. re: mamaciita

                        Mamaciita, you're cracking me up with your distress about deviled eggs on a boat. The visual is priceless.

                        1. re: Texchef

                          My beloved brother had his pride and joy boat defiled with deviled eggs last summer, and I feel compelled to save other boat owners from his fate--namely spending a week scrubbing egg yolk off of the (lovely) boat's upholstery.

                          Still, the visual (especially when it involves my beloved albeit somewhat redneck brother) cracks me up.

                          1. re: mamaciita


                            well that doesn't sound too appealing...
                            I thought you were worried about my letting the eggs get too hot, I promise we're going to bring a cooler

                            how ever "my beloved albeit somewhat redneck brother) cracks me up" amuses me too. A friend of ours says that the best thing about going on a houseboat trip is that the biggest thing she worries about is when she's going to have her first drink.

                            We'll also know where the life jackets are too!

                    2. Kim Bop (Korean rice & seaweed wrap) makes a pretty good appetizer and travels well.

                      2 Replies
                        1. re: justjul

                          Sorry for the late reply (Just saw this thanks to the new feature listing all former posts)
                          When traveling or going on a picnic, we wrap the rolls in plastic wrap, place it in a tupperware type container, and into the top of the cooler.

                      1. I'm a big fan of the Muffaletta sandwich which is so easily made a day in advance and travels well.

                        I get a hefty sourdough boule and slice off the top 1/4 and scoop out the white interior (save for bread crumbs). Inside the hollow bread, layer Mozzarella cheese, sliced salami and prosciutto, artichoke hearts, bell peppers, olive tapenade, and fresh basil (or whatever else you like!). Put the top back on, wrap tightly with plastic wrap, and and weigh it down. Slice upon arrival.

                        This was my favorite take-to for the Hollywood Bowl!

                        1. Is there anyone who does not like a really good homemade pimento cheese? Use it as a sandwich filling, stuff celery stalks with it spread it on crackers or Triscuits. Another version in my family uses chopped raosted green chilis and a hefty dose of garlic or chopped onion and tortilla chips (best if home made chips but bagged will work).

                          6 Replies
                          1. re: Candy

                            Now you're talking. I have a recipe from the Saveur 100 several years ago, and it goes like this. . .

                            Pimento Cheese

                            (courtesy Doris Kemp, owner of Mammy's Cupboard in Natchez, Mississippi)

                            Grate 1 lb sharp yellow cheddar cheese into a mixing bowl. Add 1-8 oz jar diced. drained pimientos*, 1-8 oz package cream cheese (softened), 3/4 c Duke's mayonnaise**, 2 t garlic salt, and 1/4 t cayenne. Beat until smooth.

                            *****I add 1 tablespoon apple jelly because I like a bit of sweet*****

                            *I use roasted red peppers packed with garlic, chopped

                            **If you don't have Duke's, use 3/4 c mayo plus 1 t lemon juice

                            1. re: mamaciita

                              Wow, I have never heard of Pimento cheese before this. When I saw it I just assumed it was pimentos and cream cheese. Go figure.

                              1. re: starlady

                                Pimento cheese varies widely. I've seen it made with everything from Velveeta to sweet pickle relish. For me, cheddar is the only option--the sharper, the better. Actually, most pimento cheese recipes don't use cream cheese, just mayo.

                                The Saveur recipe has become the gold standard among our family and friends.

                                1. re: mamaciita

                                  That pimento cheese recipe sounds divine!! I loved pimento cheese (we called it Pimento and cheese) as a kid. I think ours was just Velveeta, mayo and canned, chopped pimentos. Another childhood favorite, which if chilled might be a hit, is carrot salad. It's just grated carrots, raisins and mayo, to taste.

                              2. re: mamaciita

                                Some people put cream cheese in their PC but I just prefer a good sharp cheddar or for a change once in awhile colby. Real mayo, no sweetness needed the pimentos (though I prefer to roast and peel my own red bell peppers) add all of the sweetness needed

                                1. re: mamaciita

                                  I second the motion for Saveur's Pimento Cheese! My extended family demanded this app be added to holiday parties. In the magazine copy it says "There are as many variations on pimento cheese as there are opinionated southern cooks.." Now I am NOT saying that we all are opinionated in a bad way... we're just cooks.