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Jul 22, 2008 07:30 AM

Your favorite cocktail party snacks

OK, so I know there have been a few threads on Chow about this, but they're a bit old and speak to older trends. I'm having a cocktail party Friday, later in the evening (9pm) so post- dinner time, dress up but not formal, a good mix of cocktails. What are your favorite little party pick-ups? I'm trying to not use plates, so one-bite, no-mess is better (although if you have something great I may change my mind.)
Thanks for your ideas!

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  1. Holly,

    This is more of a "snack" than an hors d'oeuvre. We serve Spicy Pecans, from the Commander's Palace cookbook, at our annual New Orleans themed party.

    They're a good make-ahead item if you store them in an airtight container.

    If this is of interest, I can provide the recipe.

    1. Some of my fave hors d'ouevrey type snacks....

      -phyllo cups, fill with a dab or brie, than top with apricot preserve (or any kind of preserve you prefer) - bake till it melts.
      -Smoked salmon roll ups - take a flat torilla, spread with room temp cream cheese, top with chives and scallion, then add smoke salmon on top. Roll up & slice into one inch bite size pieces...
      -Fried brie in wonton wrappers - serve with raspberry sauce on the side.
      -Lobster & mango salad spooned into endive leaves.
      -Seared tuna topped on english cukes with a dab of wasabi mayo on top.
      -veggie platter with dips & hummus
      -assorted olives
      -bacon wrapped, gorgonzola stuffed dates
      -smoked scallops & smoked oysters
      -assorted cheeses - esp if you're serving wine, have plenty of fresh bread & crackers on hand
      -seared steak skewers (and by skewer, i mean you can put this on a toothpick) stuffed with arugula & a nice blue cheese, drizzle balsamic reduction on top
      -assorted mini/tea type sandwiches.

      1. Marcona almonds

        Medjool dates ~~ remove pit, put a shard of good parmesan in slit

        1. Wasabi peas and cheddar Goldfish (tastes great and looks spectacular in a vase)
          Bacon wrapped dates
          Baked brie
          Chicken liver crostini
          Roasted tomato and parmesan crostini
          Potato croquettes with dipping sauce (chipotle, aioli and cajun)
          Cheese and crackers
          Popcorn tossed with nori, sesame, chili and a touch of sugar
          Fried mac-n-cheese with cheese dipping sauce

          I lean towards snacks that highlight flavors in the cocktails and are a little heavier on the carbohydrates to "soak up" the excesses of the night.

          10 Replies
          1. re: JungMann

            JungMann, do you find your potato croquettes get soggy or weird throughout the evening? I was thinking of doing zucchini cakes with some sort of creamy dollop on top...but was worried about sogginess.

            1. re: hollyd

              They don't get "weird!" But they can get soggy. I keep only a few out at a time. The rest I keep in the oven to stay warm and crisp. As the night progresses I put more out because: 1) people have developed an alcohol appetite and 2) people are drunk and don't care about the crust.

                1. re: sarah galvin

                  Sliders are miniature cheeseburgers. You can cut small "buns" with the lip of a drinking glass. What you use for the meat is up to you. You can have patty melt sliders, cheeseburgers on potato buns, even petite lamb burgers in mini pita pockets with yogurt-mint sauce.

                  Alternatively for an Asian-themed cocktail party I made mini banh mi sandwiches with thinly sliced baguettes.

                  1. re: JungMann

                    I viewed the videos and they look intriguing. Sliders - I wonder how that name came about?

                    1. re: sarah galvin

                      Re sliders---I heard the name fifty years ago describing White Castle hamburgers (small, unique, weirdly delicious) but lately it's undergone a kind of semantic shift to mean "miniature hamburgers" and a long way from White Castle---my local steakhouse is serving very fancy ones made of ground filet mignon.

                      1. re: Querencia

                        I like the concept. I might adopt it as a 'house special'. There is a great recipe for bretzels that would work well with these minis.

                      2. re: sarah galvin

                        I always thought they were called sliders because they were small, some (ahem... my husband) might even say bite sized, and and greasy. Therefore they just "slaaaaahde" right down. But I'm just sayin'...

                        1. re: ajcraig

                          ajcraig: that's the definition I was raised with.

                          'round here tuna tartare "sliders" have been showing up in some decidedly non-White Castle or Krystal type places.

                2. Cherry tomatoes filled with a deviled ham/sour cream/horseradish blend. Or one of the spreadable cheeses like Alouette. I think they make a spinach-artichoke that's quite good.

                  I have a sun-dried tomato cheesecake recipe from Bon Appetit that you bake in a 9 X13 pan and cut into squares for finger food, serve room temp. As I recall, it's fairly dense and holds together well (has a bottom crust). I'll post if you want to see the recipe.

                  The phyllo cups that Amanda mentioned are great. They're one bite, and can be filled with lots of things -- shrimp salad, duck ragout, Asian barbequed shredded chicken, ratatouille.

                  I tried to do deviled quail eggs one time. Oh, lordy! I couldn't get those little guys to peel. I wound up making egg salad. What a waste of those cuties.

                  I've been researching tapas, but most of the recipes I've downloaded might not be tidy enough for your party. However, two things might. One is a Spanish tortilla which is a fried potato cake that you cut into pieces. The other is perada which is pear a very thick jelly, sliced, and served with Manchego cheese. Quince paste is another perfect match with Manchego. And I've seen passion fruit and cherry pastes in my local cheese shop. Any of the pastes would be great with a cheese tray.

                  Soup shooters? Or would that be too many glasses? Pureed asparagus with crab on top, pea with shredded proscuitto, or gazpacho.

                  I don't know if you consider this an older trend, but I still love a little something in a Chinese spoon just for its presentation. Maybe smashed garlic potatoes with an equally garlicy mussel on top.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: nemo

                    I'd love that recipe nemo. THanks!

                    1. re: hollyd

                      Sun-Dried Tomato Cheesecake
                      Bon Appetit magazine

                      Preheat oven to 350

                      Crust: 1-1/4 cups AP flour
                      6 T unsalted butter, chilled, cut into pieces
                      1 large egg

                      Pulse flour and butter in processor until mealy. Add egg and blend just until dough begins to clump. Press dough into bottom of 9X13 pan. Dough will be thin. Bake 10 minutes. May crack. Cool. Maintain oven temperature.


                      1/2 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained (1 T oil reserved)
                      6 garlic cloves
                      2 t fresh oregano or 1/2 t dried
                      3 large eggs
                      2 8-oz packages cream cheese, room temp
                      1 cup sour cream
                      1/2 cup finely chopped scallions

                      Finely chop tomatoes and oregano in processor with 1 T reserved oil. Add eggs. Add cream cheese and blend until smooth. Transfer to bowl and fold in scallions by hand. S & P to taste. Pour into crust. Bake until filling puffs and is light brown, about 20 minutes. Cool to room temp. Cut into bite-size squares. Arrange on arugula or butter lettuce leaves. Refrigerate leftovers.

                    2. re: nemo

                      Nemo, I also was a bit transfixed by "older trend". Is having a cocktail party at nine o'clock at night a newer trend?

                      1. re: Querencia

                        I usually throw my parties really late, but cocktail parties are usually earlier. So I went sort of in-between. PLUS it was on a Friday and not a Saturday and I had a few requests that it be a little earlier than usual.
                        I don't think it's a trend, it just worked for this instnace.
                        By older trend I meant that what I kept finding were things that were very trendy about 5 years ago, but hadn't neccessarily stuck around.