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wine party - need budget friendly appetizers!

tastycakes Feb 7, 2009 10:16 AM

i was asked to help cater a charity event where a friend is working. a local winery is donating as well so the food should be wine friendly. my usual style is lots of fancy stuff with ingredients like fine cheeses, charcuterie, sausage, bacon, shortribs, etc. but since it's a non-profit, i really need to pare down and give them good simple wine-friendly finger food for a low price. any recs and links are greatly appreciated!! there will be about 50-60 people and i'll be working in a loft kitchen.

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  1. capeanne RE: tastycakes Feb 7, 2009 10:25 AM

    I am such a broken record..gougeres, different cheese in the batter. Make, freeze, heat ...perfect finger food and nearly free

    8 Replies
    1. re: capeanne
      Chris VR RE: capeanne Feb 7, 2009 12:31 PM

      That was my first thought as well.

      1. re: Chris VR
        MMRuth RE: Chris VR Feb 7, 2009 12:36 PM

        And, you can make them ahead of time, freeze and reheat.

        1. re: MMRuth
          Rubee RE: MMRuth Feb 7, 2009 02:34 PM

          Hi MMRuth

          I making these this weekend. Do you freeze pre-baked, or after? Thanks!

          1. re: Rubee
            MMRuth RE: Rubee Feb 7, 2009 02:43 PM

            I've frozen them after baking - then reheated. I really want to try the Zuni ones, but lent my book to someone!

            1. re: MMRuth
              Rubee RE: MMRuth Feb 7, 2009 02:56 PM

              Thanks! Yep, the Zuni ones are the ones I'm going to make. I finally have a free weekend with only a half day of work today, so I'm tackling a bunch of projects to stock the freezer - beef stock, Dunlop's potstickers, Zuni gougeres, and crab rangoon ; )

              1. re: Rubee
                MMRuth RE: Rubee Feb 7, 2009 02:58 PM

                What recipe do you use for beef stock? I've never made it!

                1. re: MMRuth
                  Rubee RE: MMRuth Feb 7, 2009 03:08 PM

                  Me either. Hope it comes out good!

                  I'm making the Lucques short ribs for the first time for guests next weekend, so I wanted to use good beef stock. I'm going to try the Cook's Illustrated method. I bought some meaty beef shanks from a local Mexican market.

                  1. re: Rubee
                    MMRuth RE: Rubee Feb 7, 2009 03:33 PM

                    Well, those short ribs are amazing. Enjoy.

    2. alwayscooking RE: tastycakes Feb 7, 2009 10:39 AM

      "gourmet" popcorn - multiple kinds - parm, cheddar, garlic, spicy, etc
      homemade crackers and dips - hummus, babaganoush, creamy, etc
      baked puff pastry filled with meatblends and/or veggie blends
      veggie and fruit platter
      filled wontons (mostly bock choi)

      1. enbell RE: tastycakes Feb 7, 2009 10:44 AM

        Veggies are pretty reasonable; roasted and raw would be a nice variety.
        You can make humus pretty cheaply...does that pair well with wine though?
        There was a Chow recipe a while back for marinated mushrooms I tried that was pretty good.
        Chocolate covered fruit (berries, apples, ect.) would also be pretty reasonable, no?

        EDIT: This has been mentioned on the boards before, but I am terrible with the search function. I googled NYT best appetizer list and found this:


        Plenty of variety here, you're bound to find something... good luck :)

        1 Reply
        1. re: enbell
          firecooked RE: enbell Feb 7, 2009 02:36 PM

          Instead of humus, try this bean puree instead -- its very wine friendly: http://blog.firecooked.com/2007/05/13.... Cook your own beans to make even more budget friendly. Serve with vegetables and pita crisps (make from split quarters of pita bread, bit of oil, and toast in oven)..

        2. chef chicklet RE: tastycakes Feb 7, 2009 12:04 PM

          Stuffed mushrooms using its stem, is a good way to fill the mushrooms without having to add to many exotic items. Saute the chopped stem with green onion, garlic, butter, add a little ham, bread crumbs and mozzerella. Then top with mozz and bread crumbs. I use large mushrooms, its like little pizzas. Hey - there another easy one, pizza, use a cookie sheet, cut into squares. Both can be done ahead, just pop in the oven and serve.

          I was going to suggest quesadillas but rememeber that they tend to harden and not be as appetizing when they sit too long...the tortilla doesn't hold up as well. I don't think anyway.

          1. Sam Fujisaka RE: tastycakes Feb 7, 2009 12:46 PM

            All sorts of things with chicken livers, chicken hearts,.and chicken gizzards.

            1. d
              Diane in Bexley RE: tastycakes Feb 7, 2009 12:50 PM

              These are some old school favorites that are inexpensive, but fairly easy to make:

              1. Spanakopita (cheese & spinach stuffed in Filo pastry) can be frozen ahead
              2. Spinach balls (Pep Farm stuffing, eggs, spinach) form into small balls, freezes well
              3. Veggie pizza, uses crescent roll crusts, cheese mixture of Ranch dressing, cream cheese, layer on any kind of veggies you choose, cut in pie shaped wedges
              4. Mini quiche - lay down pie dough in mini muffin cups, fill with custard mixture and sauteed mushrooms, onion or other veggie mixtures
              5. Cracker & dip/chip options (cheese, guacamole, salsa, queso fundido, chopped liver, blue cheese, etc)

              Let me know if you want any recipes.

              1. k
                KiltedCook RE: tastycakes Feb 7, 2009 02:15 PM

                Make Crispy Cups by lightly oiling wonton wrappers, stuffing them into the cups of a mini-muffin tin and baking @350F for 8-10 minutes until GB&D. Remove and cool. Then stuff with a puree of appropriately herbed and spiced white beans & artichoke hearts, garbanzos & hearts of palm, mandarin oranges & jicama, white grapes and walnuts, or even guacamole.

                1. goodhealthgourmet RE: tastycakes Feb 7, 2009 04:25 PM

                  you've already got tons of great ideas here, i'll just offer one thought i had - blinis can be really budget-friendly if you skip the traditional caviar topping & get creative.
                  some ideas:
                  - goat cheese, sun-dried tomatoes & basil
                  - smoked salmon, cream cheese or creme fraiche, & dill
                  - salmon mousse (made with canned salmon)
                  - tapenade
                  - egg salad & chives
                  - spinach & feta
                  - ricotta & lemon zest

                  also, don't forget about crostini/bruschetta...very versatile.

                  1. h
                    heyjude344 RE: tastycakes Feb 7, 2009 04:34 PM

                    artichokes stuffed with blue cheese....small crab cakes....home made spiced nuts.....fruit with dips....

                    1. kchurchill5 RE: tastycakes Feb 8, 2009 06:20 AM

                      I forgot to add a favorite, small new potatoes, cut one end off and boiling and use a mellon baller to scoop out a small hole.

                      Fill with olive tapenade, cheese, sourcream and chives, bacon and sour cream, salsa and cheese, just veggies, broccoli and cheddar, ham and swiss, you name it, seafood, I've done apple, walnuts and cranberries, blue cheese and pancetta.

                      The potatoes are so cheap and the filling so little it is a great way to make a lot for very little money. It can be alot of fun too. I sometimes cut a small bit off the bottom so they stand up which helps but not necessary. I use only small bite size potatoes and just boil till soft but not mushy, just enough to scoop out a small hole. 5-10 minutes in boiling water.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: kchurchill5
                        lulubelle RE: kchurchill5 Feb 8, 2009 09:33 PM

                        I do the potatoes with sour cream, a sprig of dill and a little strip of smoked salmon isn't cheap, but you use so little that it doesn't cost much.

                        I also want to put in a plug for pesto pizza, always a huge hit.

                        1. re: lulubelle
                          kchurchill5 RE: lulubelle Feb 9, 2009 05:42 AM

                          Pesto pizza with some goat cheese and marinated artichoke hearts chopped. I make the small ones and cute into thin slices. Great idea. Love small pizzas.

                          Actually I mix top the pesto with the hearts and usually a little thin shallot slices, a few red pepper flakes and some goat cheese. Mozzarella also works just as well. Very simple, inexpensive and great.

                      2. Chili RE: tastycakes Mar 19, 2009 07:54 PM

                        I wish I was near you so I could show you. Apps are cheap and easy and you could be a star baby!

                        1. sarah galvin RE: tastycakes Mar 19, 2009 09:30 PM

                          I third gougeres. They are cheap and easy. I freeze after cooking and just pop in the oven to reheat, as well. Parmesan cheese crackers, mix of olives, mushroom caps stuffed with braised beef and horseradish jelly, crostini, home made puff pastry is cheap and easy - make cheese sticks, mini pisaladiere

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