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Need your best cocktail party recipes please!!

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Hi all,
I'm hosting a 2 hr cocktail party for a group in their 20's and 30's. It's on Friday so I wont have much time to cook. I'm looking for a few die for food items that are easy to prepare + any store bought recs you have--prefereably from Trader Joes since it's close by. Right now am brainstorming puff pastry bites w/ some sort of topping, perhaps a different type of chicken wing (Indian spiced?). I'm sort of all over the place. I'm eagerly awaiting your advice!

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  1. Do you have access to sushi and maki? If this is in your budget a nice selection plus wasabi peas, japanese crackers, edamame, gyoza and sake...

    you could also make saketinis and or add some thin slices of cucumber to the cold sake.

    I think trader joe's carries a sparkling sake!

    1. Use the puff pastry to make little mini quiches, assuming you have a mini muffin pan. Very easy - cut out small circles just a little wider than muffin cup. Press into greased muffin cup, bake at 425 for 5-10 min to pre-bake after you dock (press into pastry with fork). Make basic custard with 1 1/2 cups half and half, 4 eggs, s&p, 1/2 tsp grated nutmeg. Fillings can be anything you choose - sauteed spinach, mushrooms & cheese or roasted tomato, eggplant & zucchini or bacon, mushroom & swiss. Fill cups with 2 T custard and 2 T filling. Bake at 375 for 10-20 min. Yum! TJ's had fresh artichokes on sale in my area last week, those would be great too.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Diane in Bexley

        Thanks for your suggestions! Keep 'em coming! Just as an fyi--there'll prob be bwtn 20-30 poeple. I love the Japanese theme, but for this crowd, I'm not sure...

        1. re: Lotus7

          Not the most creative but how about an antipasti platter filled with good stuff like olives, artichokes, grilled peppers, mini boccocini, sun dried tomatos, and some thinly sliced hot salami and don't forget chunks of reggiano. People can help themselves and it's dead easy. We've done this a few times and everyone goes crazy for it. It's particularly nice to nibble on during drinks. All the colors look really great on the table too! Great for a crowd

      2. I'd marinate either bonless skinless breasts or thighs (preferred) in a yogurt / masala mixture on thursday night. Skewer them on Friday, and pop em into the oven. Wings are too messy. Have floss on hand if you go with wings. That's just me though.
        Tj's makes some KILLER things called lemongrass chicken sticks, and also coconut chicken sticks. They are like a little lumpia style frozen app. KILLER. Oven, and done. KILLER. Maybe buy some pre made peanut sauce at tj's to go with?

        Frozen Samosa? Sauce for samosa (kind of a raita but the s cream adds a little more body:)
        equal parts sour cream and yogurt,
        bunch cilantro
        juice of one lime
        little garam masala to taste
        Cilantro chutney if you have it, but more garam masala if you don't.
        salt, pepper
        pepper for heat to taste (I'd use ancho for the wimps)
        blenderize it until it's smooth.
        IF you go heavy on the sour cream for body, this will be a GREAT dip for chips as well!
        Ok, so now this got me thinking:

        I'd do Indian, and Thai inspired chicken skewers,
        and Thai and Indian inspired crunchy warm apps (tj chicken sticks, and samosas)

        And then make some run of the mill stuff for the less adventurous. Tj's has a spinach puff pastry app deal - spanikopita? that isnt too bad. Frozen as well. Not too salty like most other brands.

        For an out of the ordinary(ish) sweet thing, if your tj's has the triple ginger snaps ( plastic tub usually with the other cookies above the freezers) get a few of them. They are wicked good. Also, their sesame cashews are sick good.

        I'd set a table up with one section of Indian along with the raita
        One section Thai (inspired) with peanut sauce, and maybe tj's bottled gyoza sauce.
        And then a section of less adventurous stuff (mini sammiches on croissants, the spanikopita, chips crackers/cheese)
        And a section of sweets (cookies, fruit, little pastries, chocolates etc)
        Probably come off looking like WAAAY more work than it is. Strawberries should be dirt cheap and excellent right now - there's your fruit - AND color to the table) Don't stress. Have fun! Night before, marinate the chicken, wash the berries, cut lettuce and tomato and croissant for mini sammiches. Make dipping sauces. Make sure all trays, bowls are together for the presentation. Friday after work, assemble skewers, bake them off, assemble sammiches, sweets and fruit trays, bake off the crunchy apps, and lay out the spread.

        1 Reply
        1. re: gordeaux

          next time i throw a cocktail party, i'm printing this out and following your directions. remarkably comprehensive. :)

          esp. like the chicken skewers idea. very easy and you can prep it all ahead of time.

        2. Have you seen this link? http://www.chow.com/stories/11082

          Very entertaining (and some of the recipes sound quite tasty).

          1. I make this tapenade everytime I have a party and it's always a huge hit: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

            1. Heere are many ideas:

              http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/19/din...

              1. I like spiced nuts with cocktails. I used to have a recipe (sadly misplaced) for tamari roasted mixed nuts that my guests just loved.

                1. My go-to party dish is pecorino, honey, and arugula crostini. Cut a baguette into 1/2-inch slices. Drizzle each slice with honey, top with a slice of pecorino romano, and drizzle with more honey. Put under the broiler for a couple of minutes, until cheese starts to brown. Arrange on a serving dish and top with fresh arugula.

                  1. Here's a few easy things that are good with cocktails:
                    Bacon wrapped dates.
                    Potato chips or potato pancakes topped with sour cream or creme fraiche, caviar or roe, chives
                    Cold sliced tenderloin with crusty bread and horsey sauce
                    Smoked salmon with bread or crackers, topped with diced onion, egg, capers
                    Shrimp cocktail
                    Roasted spiced chick peas
                    Tray of cheese, fruit, nuts, breads
                    Chocolate covered fruit
                    Antipasti platter with olives, roasted red pepper, goat cheese, grilled vegetables, etc.
                    Dip trays: either Mexican themed (black bean dip, salsa, guacamole, chips), or Middle Eastern (hommous, tabouli, olives, feta, pita)
                    By the way, Trader Joes has a very good Prosecco for $7!

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: cherie

                      How could I forget, Mr. Millygirl's famous homemade gravolax with mustard dill sauce. Super easy and very impressive. Only thing is you need to plan ahead - takes 3 days to cure.

                      1. re: millygirl

                        wow really great suggestions. I will def do an antipasti platter bc it's so easy and crowd friendly. i love the idea of various crostini. We have a great tapas place here in Philadelphia that serves the most amazing flatbreads, like with duck and chorizo, shortribs, etc.--I'd love for your favorite flatbread recipes too! Thanks everyone.