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Sep 6, 2007 08:10 AM

Need simple appetizer ideas for a casual gathering

We're having 3 couples over this Saturday for drinks and snacks. I am pretty good at gathering yummy things, but for some reason, I'm feeling like my ideas are clashing. They will all have toddlers with them (including us) and while I don't really need suggestions for the kids, I mention it because I don't want to go to a ton of trouble preparing.

I plan on going to the Farmer's Market that morning and getting some good french bread, local butter and radishes an do some baguette slices with butter, thinly sliced radish and sea salt. Then I was thinking of going to Sahadi's (local mideastern grocer) getting some babaganoush, olives, hummus, cheese and nice pita at the bakery next door. But these things probably clash a bit, right? Middle Eastern and European -- what's my theme, really? So then I thought maybe cheese, olives and perhaps deviled eggs, some cornichons, etc. What do you think? Any suggestions?

Also, we generally buy our wine by the case and mix it up. Do you believe in serving one type of red and one type of white while entertaining? I was thinking of just buying a few bottles of Prosecco, which I love and serving that.

Any simple suggestions you have would be greatly appreciated!

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  1. If you're planning to serve prosecco, you may wish to consider doing fish-type appetizers.

    Lobster & Mango salad spooned in endive leaves
    Seared tuna on English cukes with a dab of wasabi mayo on top
    Cold crab dip with pitas or crackers
    Smoked scallops
    Crackers with cream cheese spread & a smoked oyster on top

    1. All the foods you've mentioned are eaten in the Middle East (except deviled eggs and wine). More generically, they're also eaten throughout the Mediterranean so I see no clash. If you want to keep the theme Middle Eastern, perhaps use labneh or a European butter for your bread, devil the eggs with za'atar, vinegar and harissa and keep everything as is.

      When serving wines, I usually serve both as my friends don't match wine to food but rather drink what they know. Prosecco, however, sounds like a lovely option for your hors d'oeuvres.

      1. Let's just put it where it is...all of you have toddlers. By any day in the afternoon any parent would sit down and eat peanut butter and crappy jelly on white bread and a beer from a can (blasphemy!) if it were that kind of day! Mix things up...themes aren't always a "must have". Find the easiest things that taste the yummiest and follow it up with with some icy cold prosecco or spiked fresh raspberry lemonades or hell, icy cold blue moons with fresh orange in the glass! Don't forget some yummy brownie bites or a rich end of summer fruit cobbler for a sweet bite to round it all out. Kick back and ENJOY the company and the kids...damn the theme!