Holiday party -- want different but easy tasty finger foods
As a personal chef, I am always looking for appetizers that have a "wow" factor. This is a refreshing appetizer that is different than any other.
Parmesan Walnut Salad in Endive Leaves
1 small garlic clove, minced and mashed to a paste with 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
a 1/4-pound piece of Parmesan, shredded
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
4 Belgian endives
1 cup walnuts, toasted lightly and chopped fine
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leafed parsley leaves
In a bowl whisk together garlic paste, mayonnaise, lemon juice, and oil and stir in Parmesan and celery. Salad may be prepared up to this point 1 day ahead and chilled, covered.
Trim endives and separate leaves. Endive leaves may be prepared up to this point 1 day ahead and chilled, wrapped in dampened paper towels, in a plastic bag.
Stir walnuts and parsley into salad.
To assemble a large flower design, spoon about 1 tablespoon of salad onto the bottom end of each endive leaf. Arrange around the edge of a round platter with pointed tips outward. Add a second, smaller layer on top of the first, starting so each leaf of the second layer is between two leaves of the bottom layer. Mound remaining salad in the middle, plunging in a third even tighter circle of endive leaves if desired.
Makes about 40 hors d'oeuvres.
this is so easy and always a hit. It dissapears really fast!
Get a dairy case pizza dough, like the pillsbury one in a tube, I prefer the thin crust version.
Cut it in half (while still in the roll shape) Unroll each 1/2 and stretch it out free form style. I use a pizza stone in a really hot oven 450-500 degrees, parbake the crust on the stone for about 6 mins, till just light brown on the edges. Remove it, stone and all to your work surface and scatter thinly sliced pears, crumbled blue cheese and chopped proscuitto (omit the proscuitto for a vegetarian version), drizzle lightly with honey and put back on the oven till the cheese melts and the proscuitto crisps about 5-8 mins. Fresh cracked pepper after it comes out lends a nice kick.
This can be served hot, warm or room temp so its a great make ahead treat. It is so easy, we have it for snack time all the time.
All of my guests have raved over this one!
I catered a party this past weekend, and the absolute hit was scallop ceviche on thin cucumber rounds (for picking up) and topped with fresh mango salsa. I took some huge sea scallops, sliced them horizontally, then marinated for about three hours in lime juice, tangerine juice, cilantro, chives and olive oil. Then I made the salsa with brunoise dices of fresh mango, more lime and tangerine juice, ground cumin and coriander, minced red onion, and probably a few other things. Total work time was about 15 minutes. Somehow, all of the flavors came together to create more than the sum of their parts.
I saw this done recently on tv and can't wait to make it myself. It's called Italian spring rolls and dead easy. Basically you take a slice of proscutto and on top spread some arugula, a thin slice of parmesan, and some green onion, roll it up cigar fashion and serve with some balsamic for dipping. There you have it - italian spring rolls. It looked so fresh and yummy. I thought it was a great idea. Something on the lighter side, which is hard to come by at this time of year.
That reminded me of a finger food I used to see a lot when I was very young: Take a slice of salami, top it with a slice of provolone, add a dollop of tuna salad (just tuna and mayo) and lay a flattened anchovie on top of that. Roll the whole thing up cigar style and pierce it with a "fancy" toothpick with a pimento-stuffed green olive on it.
one of the things that *always* goes if i make it is Bonnie Buffalo Chicken Dip... served with crackers, chips, slices of bread, etc. it's not totally finger food, but easy to take some onto a plate and eat with crackers and bread.
melon bites wrapped in prosciutto
if you feel like splurging a little on sushi grade tuna, bites of tuna on rice crackers drizzled with ponzu
chocolate dipped fruit
mini rice krispy treats and brownies
gramercy tavern gingerbread cut into cubes
Try the Benjamin Twiggs Cherry Pepper Jam Meatball recipe posted on Chow, those are excellent and always disappear like magic. I also put together a very simple Havarti cheese, cherry honey mustard(from Benjamin Twiggs) and Wasa light crisp cracker(no grains) appetizer that is out of this world, the sum of those 3 simple ingredients is incredible, I never fail to have guests ask what the exact combination is, they can't get enough.
One of the recipes here reminded me of something I made last year for a party and people loved it. It was spiced nuts with sugared bacon. The sugared bacon is a sweet salty counterpoint to the nuts. Fantastic. People snarfed these down and they are a bit different.
This is from NYTimes last year: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/28/din...
You may or may not need to be registered with that site to open this. If you can't open it and want it, let me know and I'll paraphrase.
I've posted this before but at least once or twice over the holidays, I slice red and green bell peppers into small (1 1/2 inches wide-ish?) and alternate them with tortellini that's been marinated in some kind of vinager-based dressing on skewers. I usually added cubes of hard cheeses and pepperoni. Then stand them up in a glass jar. They look really pretty and festive.
I made it using pecans instead of cashews. I think it was a bit heavy on the bacon. It is very easy to make and wee did enjoy it. I like Ina G's rosemary cashews, they are really tasty. Stuffed mushrooms always seem to go quickly when I make them and they can be stuffed a few days ahead. I have a recipe for a salmon and grapefruit salad on greens that is delicious and easy to do ahead. Last year I made a great salmon spread and everyone loved it as well. The baked brie is always beautiful, I do mine with sundried tomatoes, pine nuts and basil wrapped in phyllo.
I am working on similar plans for my own party and am trying to whittle down a list of tried and trues along with some new inventions:
Brie en croute
Puff pastry twists with quince jam and cheese
Deviled crab cakes
Empanaditas with chicken and chorizo, sweet sausage or picadillo
Baked new potatoes with creme fraiche and caviar
Ballotine of chicken with pork, raisins and quail eggs
Scotch quail eggs
Kheema paratha huaraches
Smoked trout salad in endive cubs
My main concern is coming up with something delicious that will keep well. There are also good ideas on this thread:
I just did this one for the first time this weekend at my own holiday party and it was a hit - stuffed dates. I used madajool (sp?) dates, pitted them and then stuffed them with a mix of goat cheese, basil, salt and pepper and marscapone (although not sure if that did much for them). Then wrap with a piece of procuttio, secure with a toothpick (make sure to soak them in water). Can be made hours and prob days in advance. Then just when you want to serve them throw them under the broiler for 3 mins - it warms the cheese and crisps the ham. They went instantly and were so easy
I would let some quality ingredients speak that would not be hard to assemble. Like smoked salmon or trout with some good water crackers and some really good cheese. Then a thing or two that you've assembled. One idea would be a cherry shallot confit to put with the cheese and crackers. Or with a baked brie as Linda suggests. The cherry shallot confit recipe uses dried cherries you can get at TJs. The recipe came from Phurstluv. Here it is: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/628922
Another appetizer that I had at a party recently was parmesan rosemary coins. They are little crackers with parm, rosemary and lemon. Incredibly good. I nearly swooned. Pretty easy to make too. Here's that recipe: http://www.finecooking.com/recipes/ro...
One more thing I had from that same party -- scandinavian meatballs that came from IKEA to heat up. (Who knew IKEA sold meatballs?!) Anyway, they were good and easy. The recipe for those is all over the internet too.
hey there! puff pastry can be your friend! anything made with it disappears as soon as the tray goes out. pinwheels are good and easy (and can be prepared ahead of time and frozen) - sundried tomato pesto, gruyere and fig jam, possibilities are endless!
i made mini lobster mac and cheese bites for my last party and they were definitely a hit. also, last year for a holiday party, i made butternut squash ravioli with a fig/sage butter sauce - they were easy to serve in individual portions and were warm and homey
for sweet things, mini chocolate cups are easy to make and always impress - i've filled them with raspberry-chocolate mousse and cheesecake filling. mini panettone bread pudding cups made with egg nog are also good for the holidays.
i've gotten great ideas from this board for past parties - you're bound to wow and impress from everyone's ideas - have fun!!
What have you served in the past? And do you want to make them all yourself, or are you up for buying good apps from Trader Joe's or Whole Foods or the like?
BTW, if you look at the bottom of this particular thread, you'll see several *other* threads that are similar to your OP - perhaps you can start by looking through those threads and seeing what catches your eye.
I am ever so up to buying good apps from Trader Joes or Costco which are practically next to each other where I shop. Problem with Costco is you never know from one trip to the next what they will have. I did some great recipes -- like fig jam on endive -- that were suggested here for a summer party but a winter party evokes different desires and foods, especially when one wants it holiday festive. I have looked through the additional threads and thanks for that suggestion although I've yet to find that one inspirational recipe that will make people remember my party.
I like TJ's puff pastry bites (I think they still sell them) and their spanikopita. I think they sell a wintertime brie in phyllo cups - maybe with cranberry? And something that always gets raves on the Chains board is their Tarte D'Alsace -- it's a ham, gruyere, and caramelized onion pizza you could cut into squares.
As for homemade...maybe a baked brie smothered in a flavored honey and heated for a bit? Or a crabmeat mix in a puff pastry cup?
Oh - I just thought of something - Crabby Bites. :-) I had these at friend's holiday party, and couldn't stop eating them - split English muffins, spread with a mixture of Olde English cheese (found in a jar in the prepared foods aisle), butter, mayo, onion and garlic powders, dried parsley, and flaked crabmeat. Baked for about 10 minutes, cut into quarters, and serve.
Here's a thread on HC about it: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/475896 folprivate's recipe is slightly different than what I linked above - fresh garlic and a sprinkle of cayenne: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/475896#5138820
Here's a link to a picture (posted too soon): http://gecatalogimages.meijer.com/000...
I've served crabbies on Christmas Eve for years, everyone always asks for them. Nice thing is you can make them ahead, freeze them (uncooked) and then just pop them under the broiler when you're ready for them. Another easy appetizer is ham pinwheels. I prefer hot ham. Just spread the ham with cream cheese (vegatable type is nice) add a cooked asparagus spear, roll up and slice. I make them the night before and store in tupperware. It's surprising how many people like them even when they claim not to like asparagus!