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Nov 21, 2013 06:19 AM

Holiday party appetizers only for 75 people

I am a novice cook, we've had many gatherings at our home, but I've never prepared food for this many. usually 40 people during a kids birthday party etc.

Now I am tasked with either preparing the food for an adults only party we are hosting or finding a caterer to help me.

Any help would be appreciated!! Thank you!!
What kind of apps would be best for an evening party and last, its a casual affair, with a cocktail bar :)

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  1. Toasted Crostini with Roasted Red Grapes & Feta Cheese - basically a baguette gets sliced into 1/4 to 1/2 inch slices on the bias and laid on a baking sheet; toasted golden then remove and set aside.

    While these toast, line another sided baking sheet with parchment or baking paper. Rinse seedless red grapes, drain well and place on baking sheet. Lightly drizzle with veg or grapeseed oil. Roast in 375F degree oven for 10-12 minutes, stirring grapes halfway through roasting. Remove from oven and set aside.

    Soften cream cheese to room temperature for spreadable consistency. Thinly spread the cream cheese on the crostini, spoon grapes over the top, sprinkle with freshly grated black pepper and sprinkle with crumbled feta. If there are any juices on the baking sheet from roasting the grapes, drizzle over the top of the assembled crostini. Chiffonade some basil leaves and scatter over the top.

    Blue cheese can be substituted. Or to make it easier for a crowd, you can toast the crostini and line them up on a serving platter. Soften a couple or three 8 oz bars of cream cheese then line a mold with plastic wrap and press the cream cheese into the mold. Refrigerate overnight. Turn the cheese onto platter with crostini, sprinkle with pepper, spoon grapes over the top and sprinkle with feta; provide a knife. Guests can serve themselves with small plates

    3 Replies
    1. re: Cherylptw

      Just as a suggestion. If you decide to go the crostini route, cutting on the bias is always a pretty presentation but it takes some time for a large crowd.

      If you're looking for a little shortcut, if your store has a bread slicer (most do but not all) - you can always hand the person behind the bakery a baguette and ask them to slice it for you. It won't be cut on the bias but you also wont have to slice 6 baguettes at home to make toasts. Huge time saver.

      1. re: thimes

        Agreed! That one of the reasons why I go to bakeries, because the ones that carry loaves of sandwich bread (i.e. panera) have a bread slicer.

        1. re: thimes

          Yes, that may be so but do the stores that pre-slice the bread allow the customer to indicate how thick to cut it? Every store bought loaf of French/baguette I ever saw already sliced was sliced too thin, which allows for breakage which would be waste with the appetizer I suggested. But it might work well with other appetizers.

      2. I would lean towards a caterer for two reasons- it frees you up to actually enjoy the party and refrigerator space/ prep space might be an issue for that much food.

        1. I'd start with some 'guidelines' in mind:
          1 Small 'finger foods' you can put on a little napkin.
          2 Room temperature or chilled not hot. No ingredients like mayo that could make some one ill.
          3 Not too greasy.
          4 Not too 'strange' looking.
          5 Lots easily available so they don't all sit down and eat the entree like starving labradors.
          6 Something that's dead easy to put lots together.
          7 Don't serve anything that someone could 'double dip' like 'chips and dip'
          Having narrowed down the options what's left?
          Some sort of small assorted cracker type things definitely. Creamed cheesy toppings with various things added like cucumber/chopped seafood. These 'stay put' on the cracker.
          Anything going on the crackers should have some sort of edible glue applied to the cracker first. Hummus is a good 'glue' to hold toppings like cheeses/veg slices/shrimp/mussels on. I had a delicious app on a cracker recently. All it was was best quality albacore tuna mixed into cream cheese with a little piece of gherkin and red bell pepper dice on top. So simple/inexpensive and east to put together.
          With that many people wandering around with a cracker in one hand and their drink in the other IMO you need to keep the apps very simple. This isn't the time to 'experiment'. Have fun and please report back afterwards.

          1. Mini quiche (from pie dough, puff pastry or phyllo cups) are easy and freeze well to make in advance [Swiss cheese and spinach, ham and cheddar, shrimp and green onion}. Sliced baguette rounds (get your grocery store to slice the baguettes), toasted or not, and topped with various things--rosemary mayo and super thinly sliced roast beef; brush of olive oil and garlic topped with prosciutto; tomato, roasted red pepper or pesto over goat cheese; smoked salmon over cream cheese with thinly sliced red onion.

            1. This is doable if you're smart about what you serve. With a little more feedback on what you're comfortable cooking or what type of foods you are thinking about I'm sure a lot of people can help you out.

              In general, the easiest path is to avoid a lot of very hands on items, things that each bite needs to be assembled by you. You can have one or two of these but everything else should be "self-assembly" by the eater.

              For example: you can do crostini as suggested already. There are two ways to do this - you have them all pre-assembled in the kitchen and pass them or put them out on a platter versus arranging a crostini "station" with toasts/crackers a few cheeses, some fruit jam, etc and let your guests assemble them.

              There are also a lot of appetizers that are easily assembled ahead, frozen, and then just reheated for the party - meatballs always come to mind but I know not everyone loves these at parties (I do).

              Give some direction on what you were thinking and I'm sure we can get you through it if you decide to cook yourself.