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Drinks and Appetizers w/ Friends

FoodChic Mar 18, 2009 04:14 PM

We've invited some dear friends over for drinks and appetizers on Friday night. The problem I'm having is I have no idea what I'm going to serve. I plan on having crab cakes on mesclun mix with chipotle aioli. Other than that I'm clueless. It's unusual but I'm not feeling inspired at all and I need your help. What would my hound friends suggest?

  1. d
    dmd_kc Mar 19, 2009 10:02 PM

    Pimento cheese is always a huge hit, especially with northerners who didn't grow up with it. One recipe I have makes it a bit soupy and adds chopped roasted pecans and chopped green olives. It sounds a bit, um, weird -- but it disappears like magic. Serve with crackers and celery sticks.

    Those '50s olives wrapped in cheddar pastry are popular, too, because they're perfect with cocktails.

    I second the crudites/hummus idea, but I'd make my own hummus with little tahini for something truly light to offer. Many (most?) supermarket hummus varieties are super-duper-high in fat and calories. Wonder why the Sabra tastes so rich? Look at the nutritional info some time. Scary.

    1 Reply
    1. re: dmd_kc
      l
      lexpatti Mar 20, 2009 07:05 AM

      I love to make my own too, edamame makes a great hummus too.

    2. l
      lexpatti Mar 19, 2009 08:26 PM

      you can never go wrong with smoked salmon & cream ch set up, w/ chopped red onion, capers, lemons, sour dough rounds

      I nice marinaded shrimp: garlic, olive oil, rosemary

      a pretty layered cheese dome: layer herbed parm goat cheese, then chopped sun dried tomatoes, then cheese, then pesto, then cheese again (all in a little bowl that was lined in saran wrap - turn it over and you have a nice looking cheese spread!

      my lastest although you already have crab, was a citrus crab salsa in those phyllo cups

      1. alwayscooking Mar 19, 2009 01:44 PM

        I assume that the food will be plated but served from the living room and not seated at a table. Since the crab cakes and greens will take up much of the plate, you could serve spicy 'asian' chicken meatballs that could rest at the side of the plate or eaten directly on picks. They could also use the same sauce as the cakes. Other alternatives would be spicy pork wrapped in lettuce or a roasted corn salsa served in zucchini cups. Then there's my default - fresh figs, parm and prosciutto - that go in a flash.

        (I just served asparagus wrapped first in tilapia and then prosciutto that got good reviews)

        3 Replies
        1. re: alwayscooking
          kchurchill5 Mar 19, 2009 03:34 PM

          I do white asparagus, arugula and procuitto and wrap in tilapia with a peppery lemon and herb sauce. Tilapia is not my favorite, very bland but you can do a lot with it. I really don't mind it.

          1. re: kchurchill5
            d
            dmd_kc Mar 19, 2009 09:57 PM

            Do people like the white asparagus? Asparagus is one of my very favorite vegetables, but even I don't much like the white, which I find almost always to be bitter. And the jarred stuff -- horror!

            1. re: dmd_kc
              kchurchill5 Mar 20, 2009 08:02 AM

              Never jarred. Ours I get at my farmers market is very sweet. Almost sweeter, but it does have a bit different flavor. I use it know and then and really like it. I'm sure different areas may have different tastes with growing period.

              Asparagus is one of my faves too. I've heard both bitter and sweeter. I just know mine has been sweet, but I know because I sent the recipe to my best friend in Oregon and said hers was bitter so .... I guess no answer. This is from ochef.com
              .....................................
              Lacking chlorophyll, white asparagus has a milder asparagus taste than the heartier green version. The purple variety, colored by a pigment called anthocyanin, has a more bitter taste than either white or green. One of the super-tasters on our staff, though, swears that any white stalk she’s ever had was bitter, and has a clear preference for green asparagus.

              As with almost any food (except Twinkies), there are variations in taste depending on where the food was grown or produced, the climate, soil conditions, etc. You might be able to find as much taste variation between two spears of green asparagus grown in different soils as between a white and green spear grown in similar conditions.
              ...............................
              Jarred ... YUCK! I think beans, artichokes, maybe corn if a last resort (frozen is anything is better than canned if no fresh), hearts of palm, not much else. Maybe marinated veggies if a last resort.

        2. kchurchill5 Mar 19, 2009 11:21 AM

          I like to wrap my asparagus in a thin piece of proscuitto and then some puff pastry. Just a small strip. I like to serve it with a creamy horsy sauce. I just bake and then get soft but not overdone. Just don't use the pencil thin asparagus.

          Bread sticks dipped in parm and wrapped in proscuitto and baked is a fun simple dish. Easy just finger food. Well I just saw the pastrami wrapped ones. Similar. Both good.

          I like to make my stuffed pan fried stuffed zuchinni. Cut 1" pieces. Cut a hole in the middle like a donut. I stuff with all kinds of stuffing crab meat, meat, veggie, etc with just some bread crumbs. Then I dip the whole slice in egg and bread crumbs and saute until brown. Great bites.

          Also love my stuffed pan fried olive balls.

          My grilled peach and peach kabobs with mint and a spicy lime mint sauce, 2-3 per skewer Room temp is fine.

          Blue cheese meat skewers. Marinated beef in a bloody mary mix, grilloed and then served with a blue cheese dip.

          I use ground chicken, spinach and gruyere with diced shallots and walnuts and then spread on simple crescent rolls (or phyllo or even puff pastry) bake and then slice. Very simple but great flavor.

          I love vodka grape tomatoes, a no brainer, but people seems to love him for nibbles.

          And my stuffed mushroom biscuits. Ok you can make your own biscuits or use a pillsbury, depending on your timing. I use a small dinner roll, then press a hole in the center not all the way through with a shot glass. Then stuff a nice crimini mushroom in it. Then I fill the stem area with a mix of minced shallots and blue cheese. Bake and they are perfect bites.

          I love filet mignon bites on a baguette with a spicy blue cheese sauce, topped with some sauteed onions and then a bite thin slice of bilet mignon and topped with roasted tomato slice.

          9 Replies
          1. re: kchurchill5
            c
            cheesecake17 Mar 19, 2009 12:19 PM

            What's a vodka grape tomato?

            1. re: cheesecake17
              kchurchill5 Mar 19, 2009 12:28 PM

              Sorry, simple little dish. Just like a bowl of olives. I poke a hole in the tomato at one end with the toothpick and then the other end, but leave the toothpick in. Leave the tomatoes on the toothpicks in a bowl covered with good vodka and wrap and marinade over night and part of the next day. Then before serving. Remove and roll them in kosher salt before serving. I also like to leave a small bowl with a few of the tomatoes still in the vodka without the salt and a bowl of salt on the side for those who want to dip their own or for those who don't want salt or for those who want extra salt. It is fun, inexpensive, easy and just fun. You can dip all if you want. I just leave some plain. A pepper vodka is great and I love it but some people don't. That is a personal taste.

              Sorry I didn't explain

              1. re: kchurchill5
                c
                cheesecake17 Mar 19, 2009 12:49 PM

                all I can say is.. !!!!!!!!!

                I must make this! Thanks K- I'm going to try it over the weekend or next week!!!

                1. re: cheesecake17
                  kchurchill5 Mar 19, 2009 12:55 PM

                  They are so fun an easy. They have a flavor but not overwhelming. Just a cool simple idea. I think you will like it. Can also try just a few for you and guest. Doesn't have to be a lot.
                  Thx

                  1. re: kchurchill5
                    k
                    karykat Mar 19, 2009 02:00 PM

                    I suppose the vodka travels into the tomatoes through the toothpick?

                    And that you use the toothpick for picking them up?

                    Are they real vodka-y? Do you taste the vodka flavoring?

                    1. re: karykat
                      kchurchill5 Mar 19, 2009 03:31 PM

                      And through the hole at one end and trrough the tooth pick too. You can just skewer straight through and remove the toothpick it that bothers you and put the toothpick back in after they marinade. I have done that as well. They as a slight flavor but not too strong. Depends how long you let it marinade.

                  2. re: cheesecake17
                    Rmis32 Mar 19, 2009 08:12 PM

                    Once you sober up, let us know how they turned out.

                    1. re: Rmis32
                      kchurchill5 Mar 19, 2009 08:16 PM

                      They aren't that bad. Just a nice flavor.

                      1. re: kchurchill5
                        Rmis32 Mar 19, 2009 08:24 PM

                        I'm disappointed. I was looking for a way to get smashed, while getting one of the recommended 9 servings of fruits/veggies per day.

            2. alkapal Mar 19, 2009 05:37 AM

              i'd opt for the "circa-1981" recipe with bacon and cheese, from this thread i just started: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/604944

              bacon appetizers before a crab cake dinner? i'd say that's bordering on sheer perfection!

              ~~~~
              ps, nakedzombieforce, i'm thinking there must be a "bacon" vibe in the air! i hadn't seen your post here before i started my "bacon-y appetizers" thread! ;-).
              ooh, and i have some fresh asparagus, so i'm gonna try your little wraps!

              1. n
                nakedzombieforce Mar 18, 2009 10:51 PM

                Are you doing home cooking, store-bought, or don't mind a mix of both? Here are a few things I remember from fun get-togethers with friends, although we don't really get fancy.

                Home-cooked:
                - Bacon-wrapped jalapenos stuffed with cream cheese. The cream cheese sounds weird, but the whole thing tastes amazing. If I were to do this again I might try a different cheese, or less of it, because the bacon and jalapenos together are already sexy.
                - Bacon-wrapped asparagus (can you tell I like bacon around stuff?). Just cut large asparagus pieces into about 2-inch sections and wrap with bacon, bake/broil. You can skewer them too for presentation.
                - Samosas with cilantro relish, save time on the dough by using store-bought stuff like Pillsbury's croissants or spring roll wrappers (crunchier)
                - Rosemary biscuits

                Store-bought:
                - Hummus with raw veggies, for the dieters. They probably sell this in platters.
                - Salami/cheese platter
                - Trader Joe's quiches...the ones filled with spinach, cheese, mushrooms, etc. I think these always go quickly.

                2 Replies
                1. re: nakedzombieforce
                  FoodChic Mar 19, 2009 06:32 AM

                  Bacon wrapped asparagus sounds perfect and so does the hummas!!
                  Thank you. I just have a brain block with entertaining this week. I think it's because
                  I just had a dinner party on Saturday and not quite ready for another round....but here we go!!

                  1. re: FoodChic
                    c
                    cheesecake17 Mar 19, 2009 06:59 AM

                    Asparagus spears are delicious when wrapped in a piece of smoked turkey and baked. You can tie a chive around the wrap to make it a little fancier.

                    I've also made pastrami wrapped breadsticks. Dip the pastrami slices in brown sugar, wrap around breadsticks and bake.

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