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Chic hors d'oeuvres

I have been tasked with catering a fashion industry party providing 50 guests with 3 choices of hors d'oeuvres: meat, seafood and veg/cheese. The caveats are that I will have no oven and must provide non-fried, non-crumby sleek treats for fashionistas examining the latest trends from London. Any recommendations?

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  1. How about Vietnamese Summer rolls. They are fresh, they hold shape. Traditionally they are made with shrimp or pork or vegetarian. Can you bring a BBQ? If so, make skewer of meat and roast the little guys there. Seafood, oysters, bring on ice and pop them open for the guests as the filter in.

    Hope that helps.

    1 Reply
    1. re: chilicrema

      I second the BBQ option that chilcrema suggested. Small, highly portable ones are available and take up little space outside. Meat, chicken or shrimp skewers (maybe with a bit of glazed pineapple) are tidy and scrumptious!

      Don't know if pastry puffs are considered "crumbly" but just enjoyed a delightful "mouthful" appetizer made from Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry Minis... they can be baked in advance, brought to the event, then a chilled crab dip or any other filling you like could be spooned inside before serving. Good luck, sounds like a wonderful event!

    2. Our daughter had passed hors d'oeuvres prior to the dinner following her wedding. They had small oysters on the half shell with a mignonette (?sp). They were on a platter on a bed of rock salt. She also had little bites of tuna tartare in small, Chinese soup spoons. Both were terrific and definitely non-messy. Good luck.

      1. Stuff something into endive leaves...crab salad...etc.

        marinade some small balls of mozzarella and skewer them with a really good olive and a cherry/grape tomato

        3 Replies
        1. re: Jeserf

          i love the mozza/tomato skeweres, I wrap the boccocini in a basil leaf too.

          1. re: cleopatra999

            A friend of mine serves these caprese kabobs, then drizzles them with a reduced balsamic vinegar.

            1. re: phoenikia

              I usually marinate the mozza cubes in a mix of thew following
              put basil and balsamic vinagar in a food processor and pulse till basil is minced then add olive oil and pulse again till emulsify. add salt and pepper to taste.
              let moza. sleep in this marinade over night or 2 hours min. then thread between 2 grape tomatoes.
              it is to die for

        2. I made these for a house warming, looked great and were mess free.

          Boil small new potatoes. When cool, cut in half and use a melon baller to scoop out a portion of the potato. Fill with seasoned sour cream (I used season salt, garlic, and pepper.) Top will a small dollop of caviar and a few chives.

          2 Replies
          1. re: janetms383

            You can use a sliver of smoked salmon in place of the caviar. These are one of my go-to party treats.

            1. re: lulubelle

              ooooh sounds good, but how about a sliver of salmon AND a pinch of caviar??

          2. I made devilled quail eggs for a cocktail party. They are so cute but very labour intensive. Do you have a toaster oven you could take? Beggar's purses stuffed with scallops. Mushroom caps stuffed with braised beef and drizzled with the jus and topped with horseradish cream. Again, both of these would work in a toaster oven.

            Mini pissaladieres - make the puff pastry circles ahead of time. Top with carmelized onion & anchovy mixture and top with a slice of black olive. Can all be done on site without an oven.

            4 Replies
            1. re: sarah galvin

              I've done devilled quail eggs stuffed with tobiko instead of a yolk filling. One could use caviar also.

              1. re: tracylee

                I also did them, sliced in half lengthwise and sprinkled with smoked sea salt - no devilling. Way easier. Maybe put a dollop of creme fraiche and roe.

                1. re: sarah galvin

                  super idea, sarah. much easier and just as tasty.

              2. re: sarah galvin

                Hi Sarah,
                I am wondering about the braised beef in mushroom. Did you broil the mushrooms ahead of time? would it make it too soggy?

              3. This one is visually striking - roasted beets stacked goat cheese (they are a little labor intensive, but can be completely made ahead) Roast beets until soft, slice about 1/4 - 1/2 thick - soften some goat cheese (plain log) flavor w/ lemon zest and anything else you like - using a small offset spatula - spread goat cheese on top of two thirds of the slices of beets - stack two layers w/ cheese and one plain on top - wrap tightly in plastic wrap and chill overnight. cut each stack into squares and then cut into bit sized pieces - stick back in the fridge to cool again and then stick w/ bamboo skewer - if you have it - drizzle balsamic glaze or aged balsamic over top to serve - The goat cheese will have turned hot pink - they're fabulous looking!

                21 Replies
                1. re: harryharry

                  harryharry, your roasted beet/cheese stacks sound so good! Do you start with raw beets, then peel? Do you put anything on them (olive oil/salt?) before roasting? At what temp to you roast them? Sorry to jam this post with so many questions but I'd love to try making this at home!

                  1. re: ideabaker

                    Here's how I roast them, oven about 350 ( I use a convection so it's a bit different) - w/ peels on - rub w/ veggie oil (I use canola), put in a baking pan, add about 1/4 inch water - cover w/ tin foil, roast til a knife point meets no resistance - can't give you time because of beet size and season - sometimes, 40 minutes, sometimes 1 hr, etc.... No seasonings during roasting - Do you know the easiest way to peel the beets? Let them cool, get lots of old news paper or paper towel and rub the peel off - should come right off - you could also do this under running tap water.

                    Thanks for the comment! I certainly can't say that I came up with the idea of beets and goat cheese - originally I planned for nice red and white striped stacks, the hot pink goat cheese was unexpected, but in the end looked really kind of surreal!

                    1. re: harryharry

                      harryharry, thank you tons for the additional directions. Have never roasted a beetroot. I love that the stack will be a brilliant pink (one of my favorite colors) and love the tangy-ness of goat cheese as well as the sweetness of the beet. I think I might toast nuts (pecans, walnuts, almonds, etc.) and sprinkle to top the stacks... your appetizer sounds like a winner to me! Again, thank you!

                  2. re: harryharry

                    harryharry, I would love to have the roasted beet stacked boat cheese appetizer recipe!!
                    Thanks! janieplee@comcast.net

                    1. re: tex1tex2

                      tex, i think that *is* the recipe he posted above.

                      1. re: alkapal

                        Yup that's' the recipe - sorry there isn't more!

                    2. re: harryharry

                      I made this as an amuse bouche the other night for my Christmas Eve dinner, and Oh my goodness, were they ever delicious!

                      Thank you!

                      I took a picture of it and added it to my blog, in case anyone is interested: http://crisisbrownies.blogspot.com/20...

                      1. re: BabsW

                        Absolutely beautiful and enticing. These would be great for a small gathering.

                        I always worry about serving beets in larger groups though. Picturing beet juice on the tablecloths, clothes, everything else.

                        Could use golden beets to sidestep that, but part of what's so neat about your recipe is the beautiful colors.

                        1. re: karykat

                          I know! My fingertips were stained from the plating procedure and I had to wash and wipe my hands in between takes so as not to contaminate the white plates.

                          I can't take credit for the recipe though. I got it from this thread.

                          I love this site. :)

                        2. re: BabsW

                          That's very cool to see! Thanks for posting!

                          to prevent staining your hands you can buy a box of food service gloves from BJ's or Costco or someplace like that, or try the trick of coating your hands w/ oil (or butter - which is a great moisturizer!)

                          1. re: harryharry

                            I'll have to find those gloves sometime, thanks for the suggestion! :)

                            1. re: harryharry

                              I just wanted to note that I had not realized before today that the link I tried to include in the blog post back to this thread was not working.

                              I have fixed that now and apologize for any misunderstanding.

                              1. re: BabsW

                                nice blog, babs! i want to try your christmas sauerbraten.

                                1. re: alkapal

                                  Thank you. :)

                                  It really was delicious and JUST like the sauerbraten we had as kids - I got the independent confirmation from my sister. lol

                          2. re: harryharry

                            Hi all! How do you think this recipe would taste with Arabic Pickled Turnips (http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/recipe?id=7... or http://www.amideastfeast.com/recipes/...) in place of the beets? Would the goat cheese still compliment the vegetable or would another cheese be more appropriate?

                            1. re: Tehama

                              i'm tasting it my head….and my response it "it depends…"

                              turnip pickles can be hot depending on the heat of the turnip. if so, they might overwhelm the chevre, but maybe a LITTLE bit grated on some goat cheese might be tasty. i think the issue will be balance…and that means using more cheese than pickle in this case……

                              the turnip pickles go with toum (lebanese garlic sauce) so a garlicky cheese might be neat…. on the other hand. you might pick a mild cheese that lets the pickle shine…. look up some middle eastern cheeses that might be a mild sheep's milk…or cow's milk….

                              have you made the pickles yet so that you know their flavor?

                              1. re: alkapal

                                Hey there! What awesome ideas! No, I haven't made the hors-d'œuvre or the turnips yet, but got the idea from the color of the beet+stained goat cheese in the previous poster's photo on her blog.

                                Actually, I haven't ever made pickled turnips before, and always have bought them at the Arabic markets. They are always pink in the jars. I love, love, love your idea -- I think I am going to play around with it the next time I got back to Neomonde or one of the other markets I like the play in. Merci!

                                1. re: Tehama

                                  i think crostini with chevre with the grated pickled turnip on top would be pretty! good luck! have a great weekend, tehama!

                                  you could also mince the turnip pickles, add them to cream (or other soft cheese) cheese, roll in a piece of lavash or other thin flat bread -- adding in whatever you'd like to the cream cheese - turnip combo…maybe minced garlic chicken… spicy lamb shreds………then slice.
                                  i like the little spiral "look" and it is fun.

                                  1. re: alkapal

                                    Holey Moley! You are brilliant! Thank you!!

                                    1. re: Tehama

                                      not brilliant…i just know what i like to eat! hahaha.

                            2. re: harryharry

                              I have a lot of experience with pleasing ladies in pretty party dresses and they do NOT like anything that has something that may stain a dress if dropped or dribbled.
                              I highly recommend no dipping sauces or marinades or highly staining ingredients such as beets, soy sauce or berries. Everything needs to be one bite only.

                            3. Crab and mango sushi, mini-quiche/tarts made in mini muffin tins, I have also made the mini stuffed potaoes janetms suggested, cubes of bread hollowed out, toasted and filled with a shred of duck confit and spring greens

                              1. Lots of great ideas here, but I am unfortunately limited to no-bake recipes. Although I would love to have an oven, the prospect of trekking around the NYC subway with a Mini Bake Oven is somewhat daunting.

                                Moreover recipes should be relatively simple as we will be a team of two trying to turn out 300 pieces in a short period. Among the ideas I've come up with so far are: muhammara on cucumber rounds; smoked salmon mousse on black bread; Asian "tacos" of prawn crackers filled with avocados, microgreens and sambal; and chicken tikka masala drummettes.

                                The new potato appetizer and stuffed endives are also very compelling, especially since the budget is limited. I am also considering ideabaker's recommendation of vols au vent, though I am uncertain of the logistics given I'd have to bake 100 shells in my tiny apartment. But any other simple, reasonable suggestions along these lines, especially for meats, would be highly appreciated.

                                46 Replies
                                1. re: JungMann

                                  you can top the new potatoes with a bit of grated cheese and chives if the cavier is too expensive. Still looks good

                                  1. re: JungMann

                                    How about something done with carpaccio?

                                    Or these mini tapenade/manchego sandwishes?


                                    1. re: JungMann

                                      I meant to add that those Pepperidge Farm Mini Pastry shells come 24 to a (small) box, and each box is about three to four bucks (my Stop and Shop has them on sale for three fifty at the moment) . They are quite small, I'm thinking that baking the 100 shells won't take long as the baking time is only five minutes.

                                      As a matter of fact, I just pulled out my box of Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry Mini Shells, and they recommend Artichoke and Sundried Tomato filling, as well as Mozzerella and Roasted Red Peppers, Oil Cured Olives and Cream Cheese, or Marinated Mushrooms, Kalamata Olives and Feta. I think a cold soft cheese, maybe goat cheese, with pretoasted nuts (pecan, walnuts, almonds, etc.) would also make a great filling...

                                      1. re: JungMann

                                        Since you're looking for something involving meat, how about the salami crisps I keep touting on this board? The best thing about this recipe is that you can bake the salami slices and hold them at room temp for up to 8 hours. I've done them for several cocktail parties - just layered them between sheets of paper towel in a disposable deep-dish lasagna pan, and wrap airtight. Then all you have to do on site is prep the basil, put a dollop of sour cream on each crisp and top with the basil chiffonade - just a couple of ribbons. Unbelievably easy and *really* good.


                                        And this is the last time I'll post this recipe - I promise!

                                        1. re: Deenso

                                          Deenso, keep posting the recipe! I was astonished to find that when the site was redone, posts get knocked off after a year's time. Yours is a keeper!

                                          1. re: Deenso

                                            Please don't stop reposting. Just because some know about, I'm sure plenty - like me - don't. This thread is making my app planning for TD much easier. These salami crisps sound great!

                                              1. re: LA Buckeye Fan

                                                Thanks, Fan. I wish I could take the credit for them, but it's all Giada's.

                                            1. re: JungMann

                                              You could make grav lax and serve it on cucumber (low carb good for fashion types!) as well as on some kind of bread. I've made it with Costco (i.e., cheap) salmon, and it's still delicious and impressive. I've posted the recipe here, as well as the one for the mustard sauce, if you are interested.

                                              1. re: MMRuth

                                                I had a big cocktail party last Saturday and made gravlax. People loved it! And so easy to prep ahead of time. I served with toasted cornbread and creme fraiche.

                                                1. re: MMRuth

                                                  MMRuth, do you use fresh salmon or smoked? I'd be interested in your recipe! I have a few friends on Weight Watchers who would definitely gobble up the cucumber salmon dish!

                                                  1. re: ideabaker

                                                    Here's the recipe I use for gravlax - and, you use fresh salmon which is cured in the salt/sugar/pepper mixture:


                                                    By the way - when you mentioned above about posts disappearing after a year - did you mean on this site? If so, they don't, you just have to expand the time frame of your search.

                                                    1. re: MMRuth

                                                      MMRuth, I have been planning to make your gravlax for an outdoor get-together this weekend, but it has been so warm and humid lately! Do you think leaving the gravlax on the counter for 6 hours would leave it to spoil?

                                                      1. re: JungMann

                                                        Hi: I guess it depends on the temperature in your apartment. Maybe I'd just leave it out for an hour or two in the coolest part of your apartment and then stick it in the fridge.

                                                        1. re: MMRuth

                                                          i was thinking i wouldn't leave it out,.. it'll get stinky.....

                                                        2. re: JungMann

                                                          Could you put the serving piece on a larger tray that has a bed of ice?

                                                          1. re: c oliver

                                                            The leaving out bit is for the curing of the gravlax - not the serving. Though, of course, it needs to be out to serve it. Ha ha.

                                                            1. re: MMRuth

                                                              It did cross my mind to wonder that, if it were an outdoor party, why would he leave it on the counter for six hours? Should use my mind more fully, huh? Guess it got fried in that 110 temp we had in Oregon last week.

                                                          2. re: JungMann

                                                            Six hours is a while... and I'd be pretty annoyed if you died on us, JungMann. Could you bed it down with ice? If you do try to serve it, look for a recipe that requires curing for longer than 24-48 hours (how I make it). If you want to use up salmon for some reason, maybe a very acidic ceviche could withstand the time on the counter, better...

                                                            1. re: cimui

                                                              Just to clarify - if I were making this in my apartment right now, I'd probably put it together mid-afternoon, when I tend to put the A/C, and then leave it out until I went to bed or six hours had elapsed, whichever came first. If it were 80 degrees in my apartment, I wouldn't leave it out.

                                                              1. re: MMRuth

                                                                is the problem that jungmann can't put it in the fridge to cure?

                                                                1. re: alkapal

                                                                  No, it's that the recipe calls for keeping it on the counter for the first six hours, before refrigerating it.

                                                                  1. re: MMRuth

                                                                    I have two thoughts. Today is 80 and with the ambient temperature in my bedroom around 72-74 degrees. Would it be feasible to cure this after dusk? Alternatively, if it's better, I could cure it on my nightstand overnight while the A/C is on, but then the temperature drops into the 60s.

                                                                    1. re: JungMann

                                                                      Don't think that I'd leave it overnight, but I would just leave it out until you go to bed.

                                                                      1. re: MMRuth

                                                                        I have always cured mine in the refrigerator and it has been fine.

                                                                    2. re: MMRuth

                                                                      ok, i see. obviously, you find this superior to doing it all in the fridge? is it a deeper flavor?

                                                                      1. re: alkapal

                                                                        I don't think I've tried any other way - the first time I made it almost 20 years ago, I used this recipe, and have stuck with it ever since! I do like that the gravlax is done in about 24 hours.

                                                                  2. re: MMRuth

                                                                    Got it, MMRuth. I tried your method this past Sunday and left it out on the counter at 77 / 78 degrees Fahrenheit for the initial cure, but wussed out after about three or four hours and transferred to the fridge. (Also, I had to leave the house for a while.) We had it as part of our dinner, today, and so far none of us has died. If anyone does die, I will report back. Unless it's me.

                                                                  3. re: cimui

                                                                    Wouldn't the ice retard the curing process? Alternatively, if I went for a longer cure time, wouldn't that increase the risk of spoiling the salmon?

                                                                    I often make the Filipino version of ceviche, kinilaw, in fact it might end up being dinner tonight with some grilled lobster, but I'm afraid my weekend friends would not eat "raw" fish. The gravlax is European so I think it gets a free pass.

                                                            2. re: MMRuth

                                                              The price of salmon at Fairway wasn't conducive to the gravlax idea, but I like the cucumber rounds. I'm debating serving my smoked salmon-horseradish mousse or muhammara on cucumber. Probably the latter so as to get the vegetarian option out of the way.

                                                              1. re: JungMann

                                                                JungMann, sounds like a great plan. I would use the English Cucumbers (less seeds). Am now looking at all my crostini recipes and wondering which ones would be just as good on cukes!

                                                                1. re: JungMann

                                                                  Another favorite of mine - maybe for another time, is smoked trout salad. I make it for lunch on the weekends some times, but once made it as canapes by processing it in the food processor and serving it on cucumber rounds for a guest who can't eat wheat. It has loads of horseradish, some mustard, chives, nuts of some kind, lemon juice - can't remember what else right now.

                                                                  1. re: MMRuth

                                                                    I am also debating a smoked trout salad with a base of dilled cream cheese and apples. A small slice of smoked trout would go on top, but instead of cucumber I was thinking endives, Carr's wheat crackers or mini rösti blinis. When you serve trout salad, do you find the texture and flavor better when you process it together?

                                                                    1. re: JungMann

                                                                      I usually process it for canapes so that the texture is finer and more amenable to being spread/placed in or on something. Not sure it makes a difference in terms of the flavor. The blinis sound wonderful, but how would you heat them?

                                                                      1. re: MMRuth

                                                                        I'd have to make them fresh on-site, which is why I'm leaning towards endives or the Carr's crackers. There is a drawback to using storebought blinis, is there not?

                                                                        1. re: JungMann

                                                                          I don't know that I've ever used store bought ones - and they are very expensive, I believe. There's another thread about making blinis ahead of time, in which I mentioned a Top Chef challenge where a team made blinis ahead of time for a cocktail party and were completely castigated by the judges for doing so, to the extent that is useful information!

                                                                          1. re: MMRuth

                                                                            Haha, that Top Chef episode is exactly why I'm nervous about blinis!

                                                                            1. re: JungMann

                                                                              Yes, I wouldn't do it! I'm also not really a fan of using Carr's crackers for these sorts of things - what about bread rounds instead - you could cut them out with biscuit cutters ahead of time, as long as you wrapped them up well in a dampish towel.

                                                                    2. re: MMRuth

                                                                      mmmm please post the recipe when you have time!!!

                                                                      1. re: ideabaker

                                                                        The smoked trout one? (It's hard to tell b/c the thread is, well, so threaded at this point!)

                                                                        1. re: MMRuth

                                                                          People just love little bites before they go for the big meal, I guess ... but yes, the smoked trout!

                                                                          1. re: ideabaker

                                                                            Hmm - I guess I never posted this. I'll dig out the recipe and try to remember to post it ... at this point I kind of throw it together, but I like to check the recipe once and a while.

                                                                    3. re: JungMann

                                                                      By the way - re: the cucumber slices, you may well know this trick, which I learned from my mother at an early age. Run a fork down the length of the cucumber until you've done that to the whole cucumber. When you slice it, you get really pretty slices.

                                                                  2. re: JungMann

                                                                    precooked asparagus along with a spicy salami, that is rolled up in white bread that has been de-crusted and rolled flat and been spread with some garlicky cream cheese might work.

                                                                    you can brush them with melted butter and put under a broiler to brown a bit.

                                                                    Slice each one in half....good hot or cold

                                                                    1. re: JungMann

                                                                      You can buy the vols-au-vent shells from a reputable bakery, and just fill them - or do sort of a deconstructed Wellington: tenderloin and pate, wrapped in puff pastry, baked and sliced, served room temp. Keep it small and they're fine finger food. Like the wings/drummies idea: one fun presentation is to use just the drumstick-shaped portion of the wing and use a sharp knife to scrap the meat up the bone, towards the top, and then encase the meat in it's own skin: a chicken pop, if you will. Maybe mufalatta sliders, made in advance and brought into the site? I know it's a bastard version, but this could even be your vegetarian component, with a mixture of sliced cheeses and vegetables and broken olive relish. Oh, and decent-sized cherry tomatoes, stuffed with hummus and garnished with a drizzle of oil and a pine nut, or a basil leaf, are fun, delicious and relatively non-drippy.

                                                                    2. Here's a simple salmon hors d'oeuvres that I love to serve. Get a loaf of the cocktail pumpernickel bread. Get some smoked salmon. Some butter and some fresh dill.
                                                                      Spread the slices of bread with butter. Top it with a small slice of the salmon, add a little dill for garnish. Simple and really good. Here's another. Radishes with butter. Honest. Not bad. No cookin'!

                                                                      8 Replies
                                                                      1. re: jarona

                                                                        I am doing a Christmas cocktail party and have been looking at recipes that I can make easily ahead of time. this is something I have come up with....

                                                                        cottage cheese pancakes are the base which can be made ahead of time and kept in the fridge or freezer
                                                                        4 eggs
                                                                        1 cup cottage cheese
                                                                        1/4 cup flour
                                                                        1 teaspoon sugar
                                                                        1/4 teaspoon salt

                                                                        put all ingredients into blender and blend well. cook same as pancakes, only much faster. make them small, cracker size.

                                                                        I plan to make some savory and some sweet, have not decided for sure on toppings, but I am thinking of a smoked salman or caviar one. Also I will add a little sugar to the recipe and make one with maybe goat cheese and a preserve of some kind. Really the options are endless. The pancakes are light in flavor and substance, they can be used with many things.

                                                                        also, this may not be chic enough, but I have always been a huge fan of the procuitto/boursin wrapped asparagus.

                                                                          1. re: sarah galvin

                                                                            domestic! Actually World Market - formerly Cost Plus - has caviar that is reasonable. BevMo carries both mid-priced and high end

                                                                        1. re: jarona

                                                                          I do the same with smoked salmon on pumpernickel, but I use goat cheese instead of butter. Also if your budget will stretch to it, small rounds of ficelle (like a baguette but only about 1-1/2 inches in diameter) spread with a bit of foie gras (canned is fine) and topped with a toasted walnut half.

                                                                          1. re: BobB

                                                                            How thin a spread of foie gras? The market was selling canned varieties at $52 for 8 oz. I'm not certain how far I could stretch that.

                                                                            1. re: BobB

                                                                              The goat cheese sounds like a great substitution for the butter--thanks. For foie gras, we like to toast up Arnold Brick Oven White and cut it into quarters. There is a very faint sweetness in that particular bread that goes well with the foie gras.

                                                                          2. Take nice quality dates, brush a little balsamic in the cavity, then stuff with blue cheese.

                                                                            Blanch snow peas, cut off the tip and open up along one side, pipe in a curried crab or shrimp salad.

                                                                            poach pears, cool & cut into bite-sized cubes and roll in fresh finely chopped herbs (parsley & thyme, perhaps), put a fat sliver of real parmesan on top, then wrap w/ air-dried beef and skewer with a pick.

                                                                            All can be prepared ahead and served cool or room temp.

                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                            1. re: weezycom

                                                                              I am going to try these! Do you think prosciutto would work, as well?

                                                                              1. re: sarah galvin

                                                                                sure -- it's just with what I suspect is an international crowd and only 3 appetizers, some folks will be put off by pork, so I didn't suggest it.

                                                                            2. This is one of my favorites, if you can find decent strawberries.

                                                                              Cut strawberry in half lengthwise
                                                                              Top with piece of brie
                                                                              Top that with a walnut half (or piece, depending on budget:) )

                                                                              Simple and no-bake, plus, I think brie and fruit make every party a little better.

                                                                              1. Bloody Mary Soup Shots with Shrimp and Pickled Vegetables a la Epicurious

                                                                                1. I'll just toss in that I hate/dispose/loathe/abhore cucumbers :) But that's maybe just me. And if fewer people eat them, then they'll go further. But someone did mention fashionistas taking the high road !

                                                                                  1. similar one was mentioned but......take a thin slice of good ham, spread with an herbed creamy cheese, then an asparagus spear - roll it up then slice into bite size pieces on pix (simple but people rave)

                                                                                    1. what about a ceviche served in shot glasses with small spoons, or served mouthful sized on those chinese soup soups.

                                                                                      19 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: cleopatra999

                                                                                        Anything requiring utensils (like small spoons) is a problem, since most people will have a drink in one hand already. I like the ceviche idea though - maybe just bite-sized bits of marinated fish (shrimp, scallops) on toothpicks?

                                                                                        1. re: BobB

                                                                                          At our daughter's wedding reception, servers were passing with trays that included small oysters on the half shell and small soup spoons with a morsel of tuna tartare. You took one, ate it and replaced the shell/spoon.

                                                                                          1. re: c oliver

                                                                                            Sounds like the spoons were pre-loaded with the tuna so you just pick one up, eat it and put the spoon down. That's a one-handed procedure, no different really from a morsel on a toothpick. But if you have to pick up the shot glass in one hand and use the spoon with the other hand, that requires one too many hands. Where does your drink go?

                                                                                            On the other hand (so to speak), maybe you could just serve such small amounts of ceviche in the shot glasses that no spoon is necessary, you could just toss it back in one mouthful like an oyster and replace the glass on the tray.

                                                                                            1. re: BobB

                                                                                              Yes, the spoons were "pre-loaded" - I like that. I hadn't thought about a two-handed deal. Definitely not good.

                                                                                              1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                yes, preloaded spoons is what I meant, those ones that you get at a Chinese resto with soup are great b/c they are deep and larger than a traditional spoon. I

                                                                                              2. re: BobB

                                                                                                I loved the idea of soup spoon appetizers, but it added too much to the equipment cost to be feasible. My other option were shot glasses of a Spanish-Asian fusion caldo of beef in a thick Sriracha tomato broth, but I haven't been able to find cheap shot glasses that can stand heat.

                                                                                                1. re: JungMann

                                                                                                  I wonder if you could serve a ceviche in another way then? If it was chopped small enough, maybe on a cucumber? although with the liquid in the ceviche you kind of need some kind of bowl. carved cucumber, tomato, jicima?

                                                                                                  1. re: JungMann

                                                                                                    I don't know where you are, but I found some very sturdy little plastic shot glasses at The Wholesale Club. So maybe a similar store might have them, too.

                                                                                                    1. re: sarah galvin

                                                                                                      Are the plastic shot glasses heat resistant? Ceviche I could easily serve in a hollowed-out cucumber or jicama cup as you suggest, or even on a crisp wonton that has been made water-proof with a sheet of rice paper. But where could I serve a stew aside from Chinese soup spoons?

                                                                                                      1. re: JungMann

                                                                                                        You should look into renting your tableware instead of purchasing them as it should be less expensive.

                                                                                                        1. re: JungMann

                                                                                                          Okay, JungMann, this is really reaching, but I have, on occasion, seen miniature bell peppers at the supermarket. Heaven knows how many you'd need, but could you 1) halve them stem to stern and make mini stuffed peppers to be eaten out of hand or 2) halve them in the other direction so they'd be like tiny cups, and serve your stew or other hot item in them? In either case, you'd probably have to mound a lot of uncooked rice or lentils or something similar on a tray and then nestle them in there to keep them from slip-sliding around.

                                                                                                          1. re: JungMann

                                                                                                            IF they were served immediately would it work in a puff pastry? OR the pastry that cream puffs come in (I don't know what they are called), like a mini soup in a bread bowl. or what about served in a mushroom? shot glasses are the only other thing I can think of. have you checked the dollar stores for cheap glass ones?

                                                                                                            1. re: cleopatra999

                                                                                                              Cream puffs are made with choux pastry, which is actually a very thick batter.

                                                                                                              1. re: cleopatra999

                                                                                                                There won't be waiters to pass hors d'oeuvres so they'd likely sit on the buffet for a while. I've never seen baby bell peppers, although that is definitely an intriguing idea. Mushroom cape will be too small, I fear.

                                                                                                                1. re: JungMann

                                                                                                                  You could use hollowed-out habañeros - they'd be very pretty and you'd save money because no one (well, almost no one) would eat more than one!

                                                                                                                  Just kidding, of course ;-)

                                                                                                                  1. re: JungMann

                                                                                                                    the baby bell pepper would be a great idea. up here (edmonton) I have seen them in our organic market.

                                                                                                                    1. re: cleopatra999

                                                                                                                      i saw some in sams club this morning.Huge bag full for around five dollars.

                                                                                                            2. re: JungMann

                                                                                                              Consider larger-then-average, new tealight holders: buy new and wash, use for shooters. They'll stand up to the heat and they're cheeeeeeeap.

                                                                                                    2. I find that canapes are very chic. Only limited by the imagination, I've served this as an amuse bouche with wandering waiters in the past.
                                                                                                      Start with a box or case of mixed crackers, then the sky's the limit - mix and match different spreads (cream cheese, dip, etc) along with smoked oyster, bits of ham, blanched asparagus tip, sliced olive (black or green stuffed), smoked salmon, dill herb, icelandic shrimp, caper, cheese, bits of cappicolli, caviar, basil leaf, chive, red pepper bits, etc etc.
                                                                                                      Each one is different and very striking on the tray.

                                                                                                      Tortilla roll-ups are also simple enough. Spread with cream cheese, put a few colorful items (pepper strips, asparagus, ham, etc) roll, cut in section for pin-wheel look.

                                                                                                      1. Thanks for all the great advice! I took some of the ideas I got here and ended up offering the choices below. Any thoughts?

                                                                                                        * Bite-size lumpia shanghai with sweet chili dipping sauce
                                                                                                        Chinese-style ginger pork springrolls with sweet-sour sauce

                                                                                                        * Bacon-wrapped dates
                                                                                                        Medjool dates stuffed with chorizo and wrapped in Applewood-smoked bacon

                                                                                                        * Pepper-crusted steak crostini
                                                                                                        Thinly shaved beef on garlic crostini

                                                                                                        * Albondigas al azafran
                                                                                                        Spanish-style meatballs in a saffron-white wine sauce

                                                                                                        * Deviled eggs with ham and caviar
                                                                                                        Traditional deviled eggs with paddlefish roe

                                                                                                        * Asian hawker sandwiches
                                                                                                        Miniature Vietnamese-style pork sandwiches on a French baguette

                                                                                                        * Ham and watercress crepes
                                                                                                        Herbed crepes with a ham and cheese filling

                                                                                                        * Jamón serrano crisps
                                                                                                        Crisp rounds of jamón serrano with quince jelly and manchego cheese

                                                                                                        * Bite-sized crab cakes with avocado cream
                                                                                                        Deviled crab cakes with a savory sauce

                                                                                                        * Smoked salmon and horseradish mousse on pumpernickel
                                                                                                        Rosettes of salmon mousse on toast points

                                                                                                        * Coconut shrimp with sweet chili dipping sauce
                                                                                                        Panko encrusted shrimp with grated coconut

                                                                                                        * Asian tacos
                                                                                                        Prawn crackers topped with shrimp, avocado, microgreens and sambal

                                                                                                        * Crab rangoon
                                                                                                        Surimi and cream cheese filled wontons with sweet chili sauce

                                                                                                        * Shrimp Cocktail
                                                                                                        Steamed shrimp on ice with cocktail sauce

                                                                                                        * Endive with smoked trout salad
                                                                                                        Endive spoons filled with smoked trout and apple salad with herbed cream cheese

                                                                                                        * Stuffed piquillo pepper crostini
                                                                                                        Spicy roasted piquillos stuffed with goat cheese on artisinal bread

                                                                                                        * Endive spoons with walnuts and blue cheese
                                                                                                        Endive leaves with a piquant blue cheese filling

                                                                                                        * Stuffed potatoes with garlic cream and chives
                                                                                                        Steamed new potatoes filled with garlicky sour cream and minced chive

                                                                                                        * Meze platter
                                                                                                        Za'atar lavash spears spread with garlic hummus or baba ghannoush

                                                                                                        * Muhammara on cucumber rounds
                                                                                                        Roasted bell pepper caviar with pomegranate molasses

                                                                                                        * Ajvar with aged cheddar and feta
                                                                                                        Roasted pepper and eggplant dip on wheat biscuits with Vermont cheddar or feta

                                                                                                        * Pecan and goat cheese marbles
                                                                                                        Goat cheese with fresh Provençale spices in a crunchy pecan coating

                                                                                                        18 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: JungMann

                                                                                                          It looks very impressive! But I have a question -- you said that you don't have an oven. Some of these dishes (bacon wrapped dates, Asian hawker sandwiches, stuffed potatoes) require an oven. And you also said non-fried. But the lumpia, crab cakes, coconut shrimp, and crab rangoon are all fried items. Have your parameters changed?

                                                                                                          I'll also have to say from experience, the Asian hawker sandwiches will be crumbly. So as much as I love banh mi, they do make for a messy experience.

                                                                                                          1. re: Miss Needle

                                                                                                            I really struggled with coming up with inventive seafood options that are within budget but don't involve baking, grilling or frying. Unfortunately most everything I could come up with at a low cost is fried. I'm hoping they go with MMRuth's recommendation of a trout salad or my salmon mousse.

                                                                                                            The dates, sandwiches and potatoes don't go in an oven, but I do think you're right about the banh mi. I may have to bring that up if that ends up being their choice for meat.

                                                                                                            1. re: JungMann

                                                                                                              Yes, I agree she's right about it being messy - I've made mini ones for two dinner parties now, to nibble on before dinner, and, well, they are a bit messy to eat.

                                                                                                              1. re: JungMann

                                                                                                                Taramasalata or brandade might be 2 more affordable seafood options, if you want to avoid fried foods.

                                                                                                                But if you don't mind fried foods, bite-sized Portuguese cod cakes (pasteis de bacalhao) and shrimp turnovers (pasteis de camarao) might be another option.

                                                                                                                1. re: JungMann

                                                                                                                  I see. Well, from the list you have so far, I like the deviled eggs (with quail eggs as opposed to regular chicken eggs to make it seem more appropriate for your party), dates, serrano crisps, crab cakes (just because I always find it to be a crowd pleaser no matter what type of party it is), endive with smoked trout salad, mezze platter (may be helpful to also have vegetables for dipping in addition to lavash if you've got some carb watchers in that group) and muhammara on cucumber. If I understand you correctly and you guys are only serving one each of seafood, meat and vegetarian, I'd probably forego the blue cheese canape. While I love it, I find that a lot of people hate blue cheese.

                                                                                                                  And I also like cimui's suggestion for summer rolls. Cut on the bias, they can look very elegant. Ingredients are also really cheap.

                                                                                                                  1. re: Miss Needle

                                                                                                                    full credit for the summer rolls suggestion belongs to chilicrema!

                                                                                                                    i am a big fan of the quail egg idea. it would be delicious, but i don't think i would have the fine motor skills to fill the shells without mishap (just one of many reasons why no one is hiring me to cater their events, i guess).

                                                                                                                    1. re: cimui

                                                                                                                      Oh, thanks for pointing that out about chilicrema.

                                                                                                                      Yeah, my skills are probably not great for quail eggs either. I always seem to shy away from anything involving a pastry bag.

                                                                                                                      1. re: Miss Needle

                                                                                                                        >>I always seem to shy away from anything involving a pastry bag.

                                                                                                                        ... which aversion you will soon overcome as you master -- nay dominate -- the making of macarons

                                                                                                                        1. re: cimui

                                                                                                                          Ha ha. That's probably the only reason why I haven't made them yet!

                                                                                                              2. re: JungMann

                                                                                                                If I remember the original post correctly, you need one of each category, yes? My choices would be difficult to make, since you've got some really good stuff here. However, if pressed...

                                                                                                                - the deviled eggs, although labor intensive, what with the piping and swirling and all - OR - the serrano crisps, which seem related somehow to my favorite salami crisps, but with an upscale twist

                                                                                                                - smoked salmon mousse on toast points. I would have gone with the smoked trout salad on endives, but I picked the dish below...

                                                                                                                - the endive stuffed with walnuts and blue cheese. Maybe consider a garnish of red beets, cut into matchsticks or tiny dice?

                                                                                                                Can't wait to hear what you prepare. I do hope you'll report back on your final selections and then, of course, give us a post-event wrap-up!

                                                                                                                1. re: Deenso

                                                                                                                  If the meat doesn't have bread, I can very easily do the smoked trout salad on toast points as well. The vehicle is pretty interchangeable. As for the cheese endives, the red beets would be perfect! They'd add an earthy flavor I hardly considered before! Thanks!

                                                                                                                  1. re: JungMann

                                                                                                                    No problem. It rang a memory/taste bell from culinary school: a classic salad of roasted red beets, toasted walnuts, sliced endives and crumbled bleu cheese with a drizzle of mustardy vinaigrette, spilling out of a cup of tender lettuce - or, in your case, a perfect endive spear. It just goes! Another possibility would be skinny little matchsticks of tart apple, but there I go, lily-gilding.

                                                                                                                2. re: JungMann

                                                                                                                  that looks really, really delicious. i love the sound of asian tacos, but i'm wondering if the prawn crackers (those poofy things, right?) would get soggy, or at least not very crisp, after sitting out for a while. same goes for the serrano crisps.

                                                                                                                  i think the endive with trout salad would be extremely popular -- both a good thing and a bad thing, if you're worried about running out.

                                                                                                                  sorry if you said this already, but did you rule out summer rolls? i know it's not entirely seasonal, but they seem as easy / hard to make as lumpia, but might work better for a crowd wishing to avoid fried foods.

                                                                                                                  p.s. more generally, i might avoid foods that require a lot of assembly / balancing while eating, for the same reason you'd want to avoid crumbly foods. too messy to eat -- esp. around expensive haute couture.

                                                                                                                  p.p.s. a great writer and a chef, it sounds like. is there anything you don't do??

                                                                                                                  1. re: cimui

                                                                                                                    Thanks for the compliments. It's not talent but burdensome student loans that keep me a jack-of-all-trades! For the Asian tacos, I was thinking that everything I'm putting on top (except the sambal) should be dry enough to keep the prawn cracker crisp (yes, the poofy things). Otherwise I am thinking of experimenting this weekend with creating a liquid-proof layer with rice paper.

                                                                                                                    So long as I'm getting rice paper, summer rolls might be a nice idea, except I feared the only way for me to get chicken in there would be to grill it, no?

                                                                                                                    1. re: JungMann

                                                                                                                      Sorry, I'm probably not very clear on your setup. You could definitely assemble all of the summer rolls at home, in advance. They hold their shape for a long time, as chilicrema (whom i must credit for the initial suggestion) noted. You can grill the chicken in a grill pan or even use poached / sauteed chicken. I've seen all forms and they are all more or less tasty. This could also be your seafood option if you use shrimp. (Just three or four / roll would do it... shouldn't be too exorbitant.)

                                                                                                                      Re: student loans. I hear you. Except that even with my student loans, no one would hire me to cater any event of importance. ;) Really cool that you're doing this.

                                                                                                                        1. re: JungMann

                                                                                                                          why not do a veggie summer roll, with avocado, matchstick jicama, matchstick blanched carrots, cellophane noodles, cilantro, yellow and red bell pepper slivers? cut on the bias -- pretty and very light. a veritable rainbow!

                                                                                                                      1. re: JungMann

                                                                                                                        The Jamón serrano crisps sound great. How much cooking to crisp the ham? And do they sit on top of any cracker or bread, or can you just pick up the ham and that will support the quince jelly and manchego?

                                                                                                                      2. This party has become the latest victim of cutbacks. The designer decided to forgo food, but I now have a terrific handbook for planning my next chic cocktail party. Thanks for your advice!

                                                                                                                        1. I second the oysters. They're decadent, delicious and best of all, easy. Take some sea salt or kosher salt and pour lots of it on the serving platters to make a bed for the oysters. Keep the ice in the prep room. Too easy to spill and make a slippery floor for the guests.

                                                                                                                          For cheese, make parmesan cones (just dump some shredded parmesan on a skillet, let it melt, and then quickly roll it into a cone shape. You'll have to figure out some type of holder for them -- perhaps some cool looking foam with holes carved into it. Serve some gourmet lobster mac and cheese in them. You can cook ahead of time and just slightly warm it before serving either in a microwave or under a heat lamp. Room temp is fine as long as you have a good, creamy mac and cheese recipe. I use Gouda, Cheddar, creamed cheese and evaporated milk (among other things) and that seems to do the trick.

                                                                                                                          I would also do a nice gazpacho served in shooter glasses. Mini burgers made with tuna or beef tartare might be good too. I just use my own hamburger bun recipe and make them smaller -- somewhere between a quarter and a silver dollar sized.

                                                                                                                          1. Cold or room temp soups in shot glasses. Think pureed gazpacho with creme fraiche.

                                                                                                                            1. Jewish style chopped chicken liver pate made with schmaltz.

                                                                                                                              1. Hello! So, I see this thread is SUPER old, but I was wondering if you (a) remembered what you ended up doing for the catering, and (b) what were the successes and failures.

                                                                                                                                I think I'm going to have to do some made-ahead catering + also traveling for 3 hours so I am under similar constraints as JungMann was.

                                                                                                                                Any updated ideas for travelable chic hors d'oeverus would be greatly appreciated!

                                                                                                                                4 Replies
                                                                                                                                1. re: Tehama

                                                                                                                                  The event was cancelled, but I have come to this thread over the years for ideas for party ideas. Some of the more popular suggestions have been stuffed endive, summer rolls, cocktail-sized meatballs and gravlax.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: JungMann

                                                                                                                                    Thanks! I've been looking at this post for years, too! I adore summer rolls. Any idea how long they will keep? I've only ever made them and ate them soon thereafter. Thanks again for the reply!

                                                                                                                                    1. re: Tehama

                                                                                                                                      You can get a good half day out of them if you keep them in a closed container. At the Vietnamese grocer, they often sit on the counter for hours wrapped in cling film; a few hours in the car should be just fine.

                                                                                                                                2. I can't vouch for how London this is but this hors d'oeuvre, basically a crostini (you can toast in advance or just use a firm bread and not toast) with truffled goat cheese, soppressata or other cured meat, and red pepper jelly is beyond delicious and absolutely flies off the table when I serve it. For a pic (i think it is elegant) check it out here:

                                                                                                                                  and here is the recipe!
                                                                                                                                  Truffle Tremor, Hot Soppressata and Pepper Jelly Crostini
                                                                                                                                  Adapted from The Denver Post
                                                                                                                                  Serves 6 - 8

                                                                                                                                  One foot-long baguette sliced in to 1/4 inch pieces
                                                                                                                                  1/2 pound Cypress Grove Truffle Tremor Cheese (chilled for easy slicing
                                                                                                                                  )1/4 pound thin-sliced Soppressata, rounds cut down the middle into half moons
                                                                                                                                  1 Jar Red Pepper Jelly - we prefer Stonewall Kitchen brand: Check them out here
                                                                                                                                  A handful of Baby Arugula or other spicy flavored micro greens (optional)
                                                                                                                                  White or Black Truffle Oil (optional)

                                                                                                                                  Slice your bread.
                                                                                                                                  Toast it, or if using optional Truffle Oil, brush the bread with Oil before toasting, finishing with a very light sprinkle of Sea Salt.
                                                                                                                                  Remove cheese from the fridge and cut off the back portion of the rind for easier slicing.
                                                                                                                                  Warm a flat edged knife in a cup of hot water and cut thin, triangular slices of cheese. Wipe your knife and rewarm in water between each slice.
                                                                                                                                  Note: If slicing proves difficult or cheese breaks apart, feel free to let it come to room temperature and spread it/press it onto the bread - it will be just as tasty!
                                                                                                                                  Place a triangle of cheese in the middle of your bread round.
                                                                                                                                  Place two half moon pieces of soppressata onto the cheese folded in half, or in whatever formation looks nice, pressing the pointed edges into the cheese to affix.
                                                                                                                                  Pop in a few arugula leaves (to enhance the spicy flavor and for color).
                                                                                                                                  Dot with red pepper jelly to taste.