Simple Yet Impressive Hors D'oeuvres?
Spinoff of luckyfatima's "Simple Yet Impressive Desserts".
I need hors d'oevres ideas for small semi-monthly parties I host at my house. Not usually more than 8 people attend and since I do these after work I would like to spend no more than 1 hour including prep and cook time the day of. However, I am willing to do an hour of prep the night before if needed. I'm running out of ideas. I've done the fruit and cheese boards so many times before that I am burnt out on them (along with most chips, dips, veggie crudites) but I would still like to be able to keep the food out at room temperature for a couple hours without having to compremise the integrity of the dish. i would like at least 2 vegetarian options and visually appealing is a plus here. (Last time I served bacon wrapped shrimp, veggie potstickers and pork shumai. wasn't very pretty to look at. lots of beige and brown) plus it wasn't very good once cold.
My go to is an asian theme - cocktail shrimp (I steam my own, only takes a few minutes, with cilantro and garlic but you could buy the precooked kind) with sesame-chilli dip, green onion cakes, and some maki sushi (california/dynamite roll and some avacado or kappa maki) I make my own sushi but you can always pick some up ;)
For funzies I go to my local asian grocer or the dollar store and pick up some sets of wooden chopsticks (for a buck or two) and tie them together in sets with pretty ribbon or raffia. I've even printed out name tags (to hole-punch and tie) when I'm feeling particlulary creative. Then I get red napkins, and set out white bowls so my guests can eat dim sum style.
I'd be happy to share my recipies if you're interested.
A couple of suggestions that have been winners for me: Cream Cheese & Scallion won-tons. Use store bought won ton wrappers. Mix a block of cream cheese with a bunch (literally one bunch from the market or store) of scallions, place a tablespoon of filling in each wrapper, and close (I use the Joyce Chen won ton maker). Deep fry and serve on a colorful platter with chives and a few red peppers as garnish. Steamed shrimp with mango rum butter sauce -- put coconut rum in the steaming water for an extra yummy taste -- alternatively, buy already cleaned shrimp, bread in panko bread crumbs, deep fry and use the mango rum butter sauce as a dip. Quesadillas -- put anything on a tortilla with cheese use a paninni maker or large skillet, top with salsa and sour cream. Dee-lish!
Smoked Salmon Stacks - Buy a loaf of the large rubschlager pumpernickel bread (usually in the deli section of the supermarket) - spread sweet butter or cream cheese on one side of a slice of bread - one layer of smoked salmon, top with another piece of bread, spread butter, repeat about four times - wrap tightly and let sit for a while, over night should be fine - cut off crusts and cut in strips and then cut each strip in half length wise. It's very easy and the colors are great.
I think I've suggested this on the board before and I fixed it last Friday night. An Italian antipasti platter; marinated artichoke hearts, hearts of palm, marinated baby mushrooms, Italian meats from deli wrapped around mozzarella and/or provolone cheese speared with a toothpick, all kinds of gourmet olives. This can be artistically arranged on decorative platters or in lettuce or cabbage cups.
You didn't say what you are serving for dinner, or if the hors were to be instead of dinner or if this is before you go out to dinner. That would make a difference, of course.
I just had a dinner party and served fresh figs stuffed with goat cheese, drizzled with honey that I'm mixed with cracked black pepper. I just snipped the stem end with scissors to make an X that went about halfway down each fig, and put a little bit of cheese in there. Very simple, very pretty, everyone was impressed.