Home Wedding Reception Appetizers
I am planning the food for my small (1 doz guests) wedding at our home this Feb and want to serve an array of appetizers but no big sit down dinner. Most of the guests are pretty blue collar as far as food goes except for my small side of the fam, which are gourmet foodies like me, so I want to please everyone.
I have my old favorites but most of these folks have experienced them from dinner parties etc and I would really like to show them some new choices.
Any specialties out there that are tried and true "love these to death" appetizers anyone would like to share. I live in the Pacific NW so seafood is abundant. Also no kids and spicy is not a prob.
I would appreciate any thoughts and recipes you would care to share.
Kudos to you for preparing your own wedding food! My husband and I catered our wedding and while some called us insane, we had so much fun preparing for it. People seemed to love the fact that everything they ate was made by us. My biggest advice, get some help to serve and replenish food the day of. You can prep the food, but you want to be able to enjoy yourself too.
And another bit of advice: consider the cheese board. Create a cheese table: a few hunks of cheese and bread. It's the easiest and always a crowd-pleaser.
Some of the appetizers I served were mini crab cakes, mini lobster rolls, mini corn chowders and clam chowders. But those are fussy and need to be served hot. We also did an antipasti table and cheese table. The antipasti included sauteed zucchini, eggplant and roasted red peppers, marinated olives (all of which you can make in advance), tons of sliced dried sausages and bread sticks.
Here is the recipe for marinated zucchini and eggplant:
And this ricotta recipe is easy and a winner.)
Congratulations! And have fun!
Jill Santopietro (Senior Food Editor, CHOW.com
I'll add this over in recipes with a copy paste in a sec, but this recipe has been great for parties. It isn't hugely fancy, but can be made rather cute and is nice because it is a make ahead.
For a wedding, I would first use the food processor to grate plenty of potatoes such as you would for hash browns and mix an egg with mixed garlic and sharp cheddar cheese shreds and mix with well drained and patted dry potato shreds. Grease as many 12 slot cupcake tins as you can get your hands on. We borrowed a few and had six when my sister got married. Line them with the potato mixture pressed into a cup shape (like if you were making a potato crust for a pie). Now bake in a hot oven until golden brown and crispy. Let them cool in the pans, then seal them up air tight with a cupcake paper between them and refrigerate up to a week.
At this time, chop 1/2 medium onion pretty fine. For this I usually actually just drop the onion in the food processor with a medium carrot and a couple of cloves of garlic and zap it until fine chopped but not mush. Saute that until the onions start to caramelize, add 8 oz cleaned and sliced mushrooms and brown them a little. Now you can put that in an air tight container in the fridge as well, or freeze if you are short on fridge space.
Day of: To larger type crock pot add boneless pork chops up about 1/2 to 2/3 depth of crock pot. This equals two of those 12 loin pork chop packs from my grocery sliced about 1/2 inch thick. You can also just buy a whole pork loin and slice it 1/2 inch thick. To this add:
1 tablespoon parsley
1 1/2 teaspoon dill
1 teaspoon dried roasted onion (I get this instead of regular onion flake)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/8 teaspoon thyme
14 teaspoon tarragon
1/8 teaspoon lemon zest
the caramelized onion and mushroom mix you made ahead
1 cup chicken stock
2 tablespoons corn starch - I mix it with some of the chicken stock so it won't make lumps
1 16 oz tub sour cream
Cook on high 3 hours turn to low and can let it go up to 6 more hours, I recommend 4. To serve, warm the potato 'nests' in a hot oven, break up the pork chops (they will be falling apart tender and it will be easy to do) and serve each guest a nest filled.
For my sister's wedding, we borrowed one of these counter top roaster warmer things. We just put the rack in the bottom, poured in a tiny amount of water such that it did not touch the rack, and placed the potato nests, each in a cupcake wrapper, inside and turned it on medium heat during the wedding and they were fine. We had the foil cupcake wraps because they matched her colors, the paper kind you'd probably want to leave off any water. We thought there was gonna be a fight over the very last potato cup-full. :)
Leek and onion strudel (with raisins soaked in port, and summer savoury). Can be made ahead then baked before serving.
Gougeres (cheese puffs). Can be baked ahead then reheated.
Marinated shrimp grilled just before serving.
Chicken and mushroom vol-au-vents. The puff pastry cases can be purchased already baked. The filling can be made ahead then reheated before serving.
Prosciutto wrapped around half a fig, and a bit of balsamico. Can be grilled too.
an idea I got from a pacific northwest cookbook (since given to a friend from Oregon...)
...soak sun dried cherries till soft. roll in fresh goat cheese,then roll in minced nuts of your choice. serve on a platter with fresh berries. I realize it's Feb....so the berries probably not local.
I also love Spanish piquillo peppers stuffed with cheese and roasted..you can also stuff them with scallops or crab. garnish with green herbs
sounds really lovely! have a wonderful wedding.
Congratulations! I live in the SE, and I was married about six months ago. Here it is normal to have a meal of heavy hors d'oeuvres instead of a sit down meal, and that is what we did. Our menu has a Lowcountry influence, and since we are on the coast we also incorporated seafood. We definitely wanted familiar foods with some upscale touches.
Smoked Lavender Salmon on Potato Gaufrette with a Lemon-Dill Creme Fraiche
Seared Local Shrimp served on Grit Cake with Whole Grain Mustard Creole
Gulf Oyster Shooter Wasabi Cocktail Sauce and Absolut Peppar Vodka
Variety of Domestic and Imported Cheese with Assorted Rustic Breads and Crackers
Fresh Seasonal Fruit with Caramel Cream
Hoisin Barbeque Duck Breast Skewers with Asian Slaw
Mac and Cheese
Roasted Rosemary Lamb Loin with a Rosemary Zinfandel Reduction
Seasonal Vegetable Medley Herb Roasted and Lightly Tossed in Olive Oil
Kaiser Rolls served with Herb Butter
Pulled Adobo Pork Slider with South Carolina Mustard BBQ Sauce on Kaiser Rolls
with Fries Lightly Sea Salted
That sounds sensational.
One appetizer that occurs to me is kind of a sweet onion pie that can be served cold. I don't know if Vidalias would be in the market yet (probably too early) but that's what I use. It has onions that are slow cooked until very soft, eggs and cottage cheese (which sounds wierd but they kind of meld in). The crust is a thin bread crust with caraway seeds. Good for appetizers cut in tiny squares.
Instead of crabcakes that require additional cooking, I always get rave reviews from crab salad served on cucumber rounds. I don't make it with mayo, but with a light viniagrette, finely diced red/yellow pepper, spices to taste, etc.. Can be made a day ahead and just plated for the event.
Congratulations on your upcoming wedding!
Here are 2 more ideas that are always a hit w our guests:
Miniature yorkshire puddings stuffed w rare roast beef topped w horseradish cream or creme fraiche. I make the mini yorkshires ahead and freeze them. They just need a quick pass thru the oven to crisp up again.
Shrimp in a chili-lime vinaigrette. Shrimp can be cooked ahead and vinaigrette prepared in advance. I serve these on a big platter. For vinaigrette I do 1 part lime juice, 3 parts evoo, fresh chopped garlic, s&p to taste and for the heat, I used diced Thai Bird Chilies but any chili works.
Hey Breadcrumbs, I did those mini yorkshires with seared hangar steak for my parents' 75th birthday cocktail party I threw for them last month.
Great idea to serve them with rare roast beef. My recipe was from Govind Armstrong, a restaurant chef here in LA who originally did it with filets. I improvised and used a hangar steak that I seared. Delicious.
Congratulations on your upcoming nuptials, you brave girl you. Even for a dozen people, you've got quite the task ahead of you, but I think you'll have fun with it. Some ideas:
Mini Crabcakes with orange or grapefruit aioli
Blanched asparagus spears, wrapped in proscuitto, then in puff pastry, and baked
Beef tenderloin crostini (I know it's an expensive cut, but a pound will serve all your guests at least 2-3 good portions per)
Roasted new potatoes with brown butter creme fraiche dip
Curried chicken salad with toasted pecans on cranberry/walnut or orange/pecan bread
Mini pizzas with herbed cream cheese, smoked salmon and quail egg baked on top
Endive spears stuffed with fruited wild rice salad (dried apricots, cranberries)
Hot Falafel balls with hummus dip and raita
Mini kabobs - either beef tenderloin wrapped in rosemary sprigs and grilled, or pineapple-marinated pork tenderloin chunks alternated with blanched pearl onions and bell pepper, or briefly marinated prawn skewers, grilled and alternated with papaya, peach or mango chunks. You could also do a southwestern marinated beef tenderloin and thread it with grape tomatoes, or marinate lamb chunks in red wine, and skewer with black olives before grilling.
Phyllo cups filled with ricotta/basil/sundried tomato mixture after baking.
Baby Knishes with mustard dip
Italian shredded beef, to be served with thinly sliced baguette.
If any of these appeal and you'd like more detail, please feel free to let me know and I'll get right back atcha. Meanwhile, enjoy planning. It's gonna be beautiful and you're going to have delicious food.
Wow mamachef - you've got some great ones here! I would love the recipe for the grapefruit aioli and also the brown butter creme fraiche dip. I think a lot of your ideas would work really well for the effect I am shooting for and pretty straight forward, yet elegant.
I look forward to hearing back from you.
Hey, Devo: the aioli's an easy one if you know how to build a mayonnaise emulsion. Instead of vinegar or lemon juice, use grapefruit juice (fresh, unsweetened) as your acid, and when base is built, thin again at the end with another T. or so of juice. It shouldn't be as thick as regular mayo, but then not thin like a chimichurri or something either. I can walk you through mayonnaise if you need, but you can also find demos. on UTube that will give you a visual guide and hands-on instructions.
The Brown butter creme fraiche is also simple. I just purchase high-quality c.f. and v. slowly brown a stick (1/2 c.) of melted butter, discarding the solids at the end. I whisk the browned butter into the c.f. (1 stick to 3 c. c.f.), but don't incorporate it fully as doing so would make the whipped texture more leaden than it should be: you'll be more "folding" it in so that there are streaks of butter within the creme. Add a little salt and pepper. New potato nirvana!
Breadcrumbs has great ideas always, and I like Jenny Hunter's idea re: crab salad on cuke rounds too, as long as the crab is mixed the day of the event. You could also use baby endive leaves as a boat or a base for the crab. And those mini yorkshire pudding stuffed with rare roastbeef is something I plan to dream about tonight.
i just did my best friend's wedding all in small bites. a couple of things that might work for you...
i made salmon croquette tartlettes in mini muffin tins, baked em and froze em ahead. then i piped a roasted garlic creamy cauliflower whip on top of them. big hit.
mini goat cheese souffles with a roasted balsamic beet piping.
soup shooters - roasted chipolte corn and a bay and fennel seed chickpea
hollowed cucumber cups with baba ghanoush
stuffed endive leaves
bite sized ravioli pre-drizzled with sauce - i did wild mushroom filling with a walnut pesto
sorry for late response... salmon/cauliflower is below.
soup - i shuck like11 or 12 ears of corn. add cobs to water to make stock by simmering. i add corn kernels to deep pot, and saute in a few tbsp of butter with 9 or so scallions diced and a little over 1/2 tsp chipotle in adobo (this makes all the diff), 1/2 tsp or so of kosher salt and black pepper to taste. simmer til scallions are softened. then add 2 cups almond milk, 2 cups of corn stock and simmer til corn is soft. then i use a hand blender to puree, adding more corn stock if necessary. finally, i run the whole thing through a food mill, and it comes out like *silk* i like to roast some corn til slightly this side of charred, to serve as garnish.
sorry, i'm so not good with "Recipes." but here's what i do. i use boneless skinless salmon cans. drain em. i use about a medium onion per can... i chop and either saute or nuke the onion til cooked. i throw salmon, onion, and egg in a bowl. an egg or two per can depending, and sometimes use a yolk and the rest whites. then i add almond meal, til it just barely holds together in your hand, still very loose and moist. i futz til it feels right, sometimes having to add another egg, sometimes more meal. sometimes i cook a batch and see how they do, then alter again... you can either make baby half-dollar size ones in a pan, just grease with olive oil or Pam. drop little baby patties in, let brown one side and flip. or take a mini mini muffin pan. pam them up. then press some salmon into each as a mini quiche and bake at 375 for 16-20 min depending upon your oven. i serve them piped with a creamy cauliflower whip and sprinkled with dill. (cauliflower whip is cooked cauli, cooked onion, roasted garlic, little light cream cheese, salt and pepper. whizzed in my Ninja or food processor). bite-sized bits of joy. the croquettes also serve as great "croutons" in cauliflower or other pureed soups.
Hey Devonne! Congrats on your upcoming nuptials and bless your heart for making your own appetizers. I guess my recommendations would be based on how much time you have. I would suggest making an array of hot and cold appetizers. I'm sure you want to prepare the appetizers ahead of time, so even the hot ones should be able to sit, right? Also, do you have any vegetarians? I did my cousins graduation party and mixed it up with cold and hot items. This is what I served:
Beet and orange salad with hazelnuts and mint
Grilled zucchini with pinenuts and goat cheese
Pancetta and caramelized onion flatbread
Sweet potato latkes with creme fraiche and chives
That was enough for 12 people. I tried to coordinate, so that everything could be served together. I had one person man the grill for the satay, my aunt took one burner frying, the flatbread was in the oven, and all the other stuff was prepared earlier in the day. You don't want 12 things that need to be sauteed at the same time. The latkes can be made ahead of time and just heated. We had blue collar folks and foodies. Everyone loved the stuff. Meat on a stick and fried sweet potato? You'll cover all bases with those two things. The flatbread was really good. You just saute pancetta and onions slowly together until the onions caramelize and absorb all the fat (you don't drain it). Then you mix it with creme fraiche. At this point you can either put the mixture into puff pastry mini shells or use a store bought pizza dough . You probably par bake the shells first, but not the pizza dough. I haven't made these in a while. Bake the mixture in the shells or pizza dough and then sprinkle with chives. Make sure you follow the directions on the shells box. I don't have them in front of me.
Other stuff I would make and they would take 15 mins to heat while you could the flatbread:
Brandade (cod fish dip with heavy cream and potatoes...really yummy)
Crab Dip (the Palomino recipe is 1 part mayonaise to 1 part parmesan, chopped artichokes and crab. You can use Costco). Sprinkle with lemon juice and parsley
I used Sara Moulton's latke recipe. It's really good. I add a little parmesan in the mix. If you look for the puff pastry cups. They have the box of 10 which are about the size of a silver dollar. I used the smaller size with like 20. It's much more elegant. I think I also sauteed some pancetta for garnish and texture.
sure, sorry,it's been awhile since i've been on... i usually marinate the chicken strips cut from boneless, skinless breasts, in a mixture of soy sauce 1/2 cup and peanut butter 1/2 cup, hot sauce, a little powdered garlic and ginger, heated up together to melt together... overnight or longer; thread chicken strips onto skewers, grill; garnish with chopped scallions and/or crushed peanuts
I worked at a golf club for a while that did lots of weddings and I often helped prepare apps. Some popular items were:
Dill cheese puffs-take crescent rolls in the Pillsbury cans,roll out, spread half w/ cream cheese, dill and lightly cooked sweet onions, finely chopped. Fold in half and cut w/ small biscuit cutter and bake per package directions for temp for approx.10-15min until golden brown.guests loved these.
Tomato basil baguettes-slice a french baguette inton1/2 inch slices. top w/ piece
of fresh basil, slice of roma tomato and slice of havarti. cook @350 until cheese just starts to melt.
Congratulations on your wedding. Question, are you making all the food? I would think you would be a bit busy/preoccupied to do all the food yourself, but I know a lot of people do.
Are you looking for mainly do ahead apps? So you can just take them out of the fridge, or have already assembled and not do any cooking with guests there? That would be my guess.
Here's some stationary apps that might work well:
Poached side of salmon
Sliced leg of lamb
Sliced beef tenderloin
These can all be cooked ahead, and served cold or room temp. And they all have their own accoutrements to go with them, again most of which can be done ahead of time. I know they are not "finger foods", but most of those types of apps require at least some last minute prep, like baking or assembling.
Some apps I have done in the past that can be made ahead, since you assemble them and then freeze, and only require some last minute baking include:
leek & gruyere tart
spicy wonton samosas
mini beef or chicken pot pies
savory strudels - I have made a goat cheese, bacon & date one and a salmon & spinach one
Let me know if you would like the recipes. Good luck!!
Sorry, MamaC, you're not qualified since you're already married......Just Kidding!!
You know, that was an old (18 years??) Gourmet (RIP) recipe that I do not have on my hard drive, but I do have a hard copy, just need to locate it. As soon as I do, I will input it, as I'm always looking for a way to keep my typing skills up to date, and send it your way. I do recall it was **amazing**!! Hang tight, and I'll get it out to you by this week!! PS - if you want to email me offline I will reply and paste it back, or you can just look for it here.
To hold you over, here's the spicy samosas recipe - soooo easy, and from another CHer.
Spicy Wonton Samosas
From Chowhound, Layne Murphy
Makes about 3 dozen
2 or 3 large baking potatoes
1/2 onion, minced
1 serrano pepper, seeded & minced
1 tsp. curry powder
1 tsp turmeric
salt & pepper
1 small package of frozen peas, thawed about 5 mins.
1 package wonton wrappers
Bake potatoes ahead of time. When cool enough to handle, scoop out flesh into a large bowl. Mash it coarsely. In a small saute pan, cook the onion until translucent, then add the pepper; cook for another 30 seconds. Add the curry & turmeric, and cook until fragrant. Remove from heat and add to the mashed potato.
Mix in the peas, season potato mixture with salt and pepper.
Preheat oven to 375. Take out a wonton wrapper and place about a teaspoon of the potato mixture in the middle. Using wet fingers, seal the wrapper by twisting. Place seam side down in mini muffin tin. When tin is full, brush wontons with olive oil and curry, turmeric or smoked paprika, about 1 tsp. Bake for 15 - 18 mins.
Let cool about 5 mins before serving.
Can be frozen. Place wontons seam side down in tin, and place in freezer for 20 mins, or until hardened. Place in ziploc. Bake for 18 - 20 mins.
Here it is, MamaC. I finally found the hard copy, which was, of course, not where I thought it was, but no worries, I have typed in on my hard drive.
Goat Cheese, Date & Bacon Strudels
Gourmet, December 1993
Makes about 36 hors d’oeuvres
Six 18 x 14 inch sheets of phyllo, stacked between 2 sheets of wax paper and covered with a dampened kitchen towel*
¾ stick (6 tbsp) unsalted butter, melted
4 tbsp sesame seeds, toasted lightly
10 oz mild goat cheese, softened, (about 1 cup)
26 pitted dates, cut crosswise into thirds
8 slices of crisp-cooked bacon, crumbled
2 tbsp minced scallion
*NOTE:I used frozen puff pastry dough, rolled it out & it worked out fine, with a bit of a thicker crust but I will give you the instructions for the phyllo preparation.
1. Preheat oven to 400. On a work surface arrange a 20 inch long sheet of wax paper with a long side facing you. Put 1 sheet of the phyllo on the wax paper, brush it with some of the butter, and sprinkle it with about 2 teaspoons of the sesame seeds. On this, layer, brush and sprinkle one more sheet of the phyllo in the same manner and lay a third sheet of phyllo on top.
2. Spread ½ cup of the goat cheese along the pastry in a 1-inch strip about 2 inches above the near long side, leaving a 2-inch border at each end. Arrange half the date pieces on the cheese and sprinkle them with half the bacon, half the scallion, and 2 teaspoons of the remaining sesame seeds.
3. Using the wax paper as a guide, lift the bottom 2 inches of the pastry over the filling, fold in the ends, and roll up the strudel tightly. Transfer the strudel carefully, seam side down, to a lightly buttered baking sheet and brush it with some of the remaining butter. Make another strudel with the remaining ingredients in the same manner.
4. Bake the 2 strudels in the lower third of the oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until they are golden, and let them cool to warm on the baking sheet on a rack. The strudels may be made 1 day in advance and kept covered loosely and chilled. Reheat the strudels in a preheated 375 degree oven for 10 minutes. Serve the strudels warm, cut into 1-inch pieces with a serrated knife.
Hey Phurstluv - guess I hadn't thought through the brillant idea of not having EVERYTHING be finger type foods but absolutely am loving the big hunk of meat idea such as ham or tenderloin. Thanks for bringing me back to reality!
I would love to try your recipe for the leek and gruyere tart - sounds very yummy and do ahead able. I just made chicken pot pie for dinner tonight and I always put in the larger ramikins w/puff pastry so never occurred to minimize the things. I will try w/my 6 oz rami's with this batch - any tips for cooking etc on the smaller versions?
Here's the leek & gruyere tart. I have it on my hard drive as a version with bacon, which makes it even more luscious, but so easy to just omit the bacon and use butter & oil to saute the leeks & onions. And it freezes beautifully, just freeze it before baking and add about 10 minutes to baking time to cook from frozen.
Bacon & Leek Tart
1 sheet of frozen puff pastry, thawed for 30 mins.
½ lb. thick-cut bacon, diced, cooked until crisp & drained
2 tbsp. reserved bacon fat
2 tbsp butter
¼ cup heavy cream
1 cup Gruyere cheese, grated
Salt and pepper
Line tart pan with puff pastry sheet, top with foil and pie weights, and prebake according to package directions. Let cool on a wire rack and set aside. Preheat oven to 425.
Trim leeks down to light green part. Slice in half lengthwise and then slice very thinly. Add to a colander set over cold water in a bowl and swish to remove sand. Lift leeks out and drain; repeat twice, using fresh water.
Thinly slice onions. Heat bacon fat and butter in a heavy dutch oven over medium heat and sauté leeks and onions, cooking until lightly browned. Use some salt to cook the vegetables down, about 20 – 25 minutes.
Make custard by mixing eggs and cream. Fill baked tart shell with bacon pieces, leek mixture and season with salt & pepper. Pour in custard and top with cheese.
Bake at 425 degrees for 40 minutes.
As far as advice for the mini pot pies, I used a mini muffin pan. Probably only need about 10 mins @ 400 to bake, maybe 12-15 if frozen, but it's been a year since I made them, the rest are in the freezer and it's stifling hot in LA this week, so haven't made them all summer. Basically you just need to reheat the filling again so it's hot, so try it with your ramekins first, and just heat up until the filling's bubbling, then you're good to go. 400 seems to be a perfect temp since it won't overcook the pastry before the fillings' hot. Hope that helps!!