Please help -- need tasty appetizer to bring to holiday party
I'm a decent cook but drawing a blank on what to bring to my holiday book club party. I need to bring an appetizer that does not require any cooking and minimal assembly upon arriving. Ideally it's pre-plated before we leave for the event. I live in Northern California and have Trader Joe's and Whole Foods at my disposal. The appetizer can be of any ethnicity -- just looking for something that isn't too difficult and will impress.
Thanks in advance!!
I do a different riff on this old recipe almost every year. This year I plan to mix in some green peppercorns, drained of their brine. You can make this up a week in advance. Get good country ham, not that watery stuff from the deli.
Country Ham Pate
1 lb. Broadbent cured country ham
1/2 C. bourbon, Evan William's Single Barrel or Buffalo Trace are good choices
1/2 C. water
2 sticks (1/2 lb) unsalted butter, room temperature
Additional 3 Tbs. bourbon
Trim the ham of any visible fat and place in a casserole. Add bourbon and water, cover and place in a 350 F. oven for 20-25 minutes. Drain and cool.
Place ham in the work bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel knife, and the butter and process until smooth. Add the remaining 3 Tbs. bourbon and process briefly.
Pack into crocks and cover. Allow to age 24 hours before serving. Serve with a neutrally flavored cracker or thinly sliced baguette.
I got a recipe on here in the recipes thread that is my new go-to. It is blue cheese mixed with cream cheese, dried cranberries & toasted pecans. That's it! I put it in a bowl & surround with crostini for people to spread. I also like homeade tapenade over goat cheese to spread on crackers. How about proscuitto wrapped asparagus?
The Silver Palate salmon mousse is a perenial hit at parties. I use poached fresh salmon as called for, plus about 4 oz finely minced smoked salmon. I also add some finely grated lemon zest. The fresh dill is essential. Any mildly flavored cracker works well with this, as do endive leaves. (Keep a little bowl for yourself for the next day.) http://www.globalgourmet.com/food/coo...
This is different, but not so 'out there' that people are shy about trying them. Get some nice Medjool dates from Costco and pull the pits out. Mix some cream cheese with lemon zest (lots) and stuff a half spoonful in each date. You can enlarge the center of the date with your finger to receive the cheese. Then put a whole seedless grape inside that. It will push enough cream cheese out on the edge to nicely pick up the finely chopped pistachios that garnish the whole affair. These can be made a day ahead and they hold up very well at room temp. Nothing to turn color, bleed or do anything else untoward as they sit.
Mini pumpernickel rounds topped with a dollop of cream cheese, lox, capers, and lemon juice
Bread rounds or crackers topped with crab meat mixed with tarragon, shallots,
Skewer mozzarella balls with a grape tomato and some basil, sprinkle with salt, pepper, and drizzle with olive oil
Deviled Eggs but mash the yolks with shrimp, chopped olives, parsley, salt, pepper, mayo...
1/2 C sour cream
8 oz cream cheese
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp lemon juice
2 tsp chopped chives
S. & P.
mix together serve with crackers, crostini, celery, endive, what ever floats your boat.
Make the day ahead it really marries the flavors.
I also do a brie round layered with the TJ sliced sundried tomatoes, toasted pinenuts, and basil, wrapped in Phyllo dough and baked. If interested let me know.
I had these two appetizers recently at a friend's 50th Birthday celebration at his home which were made by his wife and kids and passed on silver trays.....you could easily serve them just as well on a table.
Mini Arancini Stuffed with meat and a single pea
Crimini Mushroom Caps, pan roasted then assembled with roasted peppers, fresh mozzarella and a basil leaf.
Both were hits of the party.
We're having a 60's Woodstock party in Dec. Some of the foods we are planning from the 60's are things like ruffled potato chips and oinion dip. Little smoked sausages swimming in barbecue sauce with toothpicks, fritos, tuna-stuffed cherry tomatoes, deviled eggs, pigs in a blanket, cheese ball and crackers....and, we are still wanting to come up with more...also, celery stuffed with peanut butter.
Simple and easy to make ahead:
Buy 1/2 Lb. Parma proscuitto - thinly sliced
Mix 8 ozs. goat cheese with 2 cloves minced garlic and parsley (to taste).
Place cheese mixture on slice of proscuitto and roll.
Plate and drizzle with a little olive oil.
Always a big hit at my parties and always surprises me as it couldn't be simpler.
Pecan and Parsley Cheese Balls
Yield: 2 balls, 3 inches in diameter
• 8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese
• 1 clove garlic
• 8 ounces cream cheese
• 4 ounces blue cheese
• ¼ cup butter or margarine
• ¾ cup pecans or
• ¾ cup parsley
1. Use shredding disc on food processor to shred cheddar cheese. Set cheese aside.
2. Use metal blade to chop garlic.
3. Cut cream cheese, blue cheese and butter into chunks.
4. With processor running, drop chunks down feed tube and process until smooth.
5. Add shredded cheddar and process until mixture is creamy.
6. Cover and chill cheese mixture for about 3 hours or until firm enough to shape.
7. Divide mixture in half and shape each half into a smooth ball.
8. Wrap airtight in clear plastic and refrigerate or freeze.
9. To serve, let cold cheese balls stand at room temperature, unwrapped, for 3 or 4 hours.
10. For pecan ball: Using the metal blade process the nuts until coarsely chopped. Roll ball in nuts, pressing lightly.
11. For parsley ball: Using the metal blade process the parsley until coarsely chopped. Roll ball in parsley, pressing lightly.
12. Serve with assorted crackers or wafers.
Trader Joe's has Mini Meatballs in the freezer section, and a "Chinese Five Spice Chef's Sauce" (8 oz jar) in the jarred sauce section. 1 bag of Mini Meatballs + 1 jar of sauce + 1 microwavable covered casserole dish and you can microwave it right before you walk out the door. Then you can either serve it warm or zap it again when you get there. Remember to bring toothpicks!