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fast entertaining suggestings for 15 people

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I'm a professor. I have to entertain 15 graduate students at an event at my home. tonight. I need fast suggestions for small things to eat, beyond the usual unwrapping of things from Whole Foods. I know how to cook but have very little prep time. some small, preferably warm things to eat?

OMG: fondue. did the concept just re-enter my brain? anything else?

thanks

PS: graduate students will eat anything but I'd like to make it a little nicer than their usual standards.

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  1. Edamame ftw!

    1. Fondue's a great fast idea. I'd purchase the bread early on, though, and leave it unwrapped so that it will hold up to the viscousness of the cheese better than strictly fresh. You might want to serve some chunks of warmed sausage and ham for a heartier dipping alternative; chunks of boiled potato are nice too. Some raw or blanched vegs. as well, and you could serve a purchased hummus or baba ghanouj for the vegans if there will be any attending. About an hour, maybe a little more by my estimate. Have you got more than one fondue pot, though? Because by my estimate it would take about three min to serve that many guests, and if they make an enormous fondue caquelon I've not seen it. Remember; purchase ample sterno too!

      1. Gougères! They really don't take much time at all and they go over so well. If you don't have a pastry bag, you can just squeeze them out from a ziploc bag with the corner cut off, or just spoon it out.

        I use Julia Child's recipe from MToAFC, but here's one that looks about the same http://www.davidlebovitz.com/2009/01/... and really, you can use whatever cheese you have on hand for these.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Chris VR

          And they can be filled if there is need for a little more substance.

          1. re: Chris VR

            I just use a small ice cream scoop, like doing cookies, and they're perfectly round then. Quick and easy.

          2. Melted cream cheese dips are also super easy and I know for a fact get gobbled up by grad students.

            Just take a block of cream cheese in a pie pan, lay a piece of saran wrap on top and squish it flat so it covers the bottom of the pie pan.

            For bean dip, open a can of beans (spicy beans are better, but anything works) and pour it over the top, and cover that with shredded cheddar cheese.

            For pizza dip, cover the cream cheese with tomato sauce and cover it with mozzarella cheese.

            Bake either/both in the oven for about 20 minutes at 350 degrees. Serve with tortilla chips.

            1. Go by Wendy's and get a couple of large orders of chili. At the store, get 2 packs of corn muffin mix. And you'll need a couple of cups of grated cheddar.

              Mix the chili with the shredded cheese, dump into a lasagne dish. Prepare the corn muffin mix as directed and pour over top, bake according to muffin mix directions. You will need small plates/bowls to serve on and a spoon, perhaps some sour cream to garnish.

              1. Braided stuffed bread is my go-to. If you don't have time, buy dough, either frozen or pizza, or even refrigerated in a can. I play with it and use different fillings but this pizza one looks right up grad students alley and comes together in 15 minutes.

                http://www.oprah.com/food/Braided-Stu...

                1. Don't forget grabbing some puff pastry, cutting into strips, and rolling shit into it, or wrapping it, or whatever. Cured meats, cheese, mushrooms, asparagus, etc. Or even a combo of any of those.