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Cocktail Hors d'oeuvres With Wow Factor?

I've always been a lazy party giver. I am celebrating my graduation by thanking my friends and family who made my going back to school possible. There are a couple hitches in the dietary restriction department.

One cousin is allergic to onions, but not garlic. Another is allergic to wheat.

Not all hors d'oeuvres need to cover both bases, but if one of them could, that would be great.

I'll be serving gin martinis, white wine, non-alcoholic punch (various juices mixed with sparking water) and sparkling water.

Vegetarian ideas are what I'm after. Vegan is of course, fine.

I remember the first 'commitment ceremony' I attended, people were awed by a crostini with whipped goat cheese and caviar. Of course this was many moons ago, and no one in MN needs to commit rather than marry anymore (yay!), but I'd like a wow for at least one passed hors d'oeuvre.

Thanks, V & V board!

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    1. re: c oliver

      Thanks. That is definitely on the list.

    2. This is gorgeous and delicious

      We also love snow peas stuffed with various things, marscapone and herbs is good.

      1. Cold soup served in shot glasses. It's a very dressy look in a passed appetizer.

        1. Whipped goat cheese in Belgian endive leaves topped with fried and very thinly julienned Fakin' Bacon

          Mini versions of Vietnamese summer rolls with a little peanut dipping sauce

          Spinach & wasabi deviled eggs

          Eggplant "caviar" on crackers (rice crackers to avoid wheat)

          Stuffed mushroom caps

          Tiny skewers of grilled or roasted veg and tofu or tempeh

          Avocado or mixed veg maki

          1. Venetian cicchetti - specifically flash sauteed olives, no need to stuff them, unless you buy the base olives that way.

            just cook them in garlicky olive oil until wrinkly and toss with a little oregano or rosemary. with a deep skillet you can do them in batches the size of potato chip bags.

            2 Replies
            1. re: hill food

              So just any kind of pitted olives? Sounds really good. Do you serve them warm and/or room temp?

              1. re: c oliver

                I'd use the best un-jarred/canned you can find/afford, best served warm but I don't see why it wouldn't work if they revert to room temperature as guests wander. first had them at the long-defunct La Cichetti in SF. mine have never measured up, but still good.

                some claim pitted work better, but that's always a pain at a cocktail party. one source I read advocated a mix of piccoline, kalamata, NicoisÄ™ and queen olives, and some even go so far as to hand-stuff, and bread'n'fry, but as a lazy party giver I'm with the OP on the labor-level.

            2. Caprese skewars- cherry tomato, mini motzerella ball, basil leaves, drizzled with olive oil and basalmic

              Serving crudite and dip like this is a fun presentation, just use whatever your favorite dip is:
              Sturdy little clear plastic cups would be perfect

              Summer rolls with rice noodles, shredded veggies, basil, avocado, smoked tofu.

              Small squares of baked polenta with a touch of pesto ontop

              Cucumber cups, this version with chilled soba looks great (read any label very carefully for wheat though, buckwheat is often blended with other flours

              And these beluga lentil "caviar" apps are very chic

              1 Reply
              1. re: Ttrockwood

                Caprese skewer type things are always well received and easy. I often add a ball of watermelon or switch out the mozz for feta and mint- the possibilities are endless. Swap the cheese for cucumber and it's veganized.

                My other go-to is skewered cubes of Spanish tortilla with avocado cilantro aoili. This is a nice wheat free option but it does include onions. Cost effective but no one ever notices.

              2. How about open-faced sandwiches on snack rye? There are endless possibilities. Here's a link:


                Mini quiches are fun, made in tiny muffin tin cups. Look for Giada's recipe on the Food Network site.

                A good artichoke dip always goes over well. You can combine it with spinach or crab, there are many versions.

                Everyone I know loves deviled eggs; again there are many variations. Gluten-free.

                For vegans a home-made hummus (chickpeas and tahini with any variety of seasonings) and pita crisps for dipping. Or a curried carrot dip.

                11 Replies
                1. re: elegraph

                  I've been making variations of this crustless quiche recipe for years. Omnivore and vegetarian.


                  1. re: c oliver

                    First, thanks to everyone. You rock! You have all given me some great ideas.

                    The crustless quiche is sadly a breakfast staple for me - at least 3 days a week. I make a batch in muffin tins and then freeze for easy breakfasts. So I just can't think of it as party food. I know, that's MY problem.

                    I think I will break out the fancy glasses (a FULL set of Holmgaard Princess) and do the soup.

                    Also the bruschetta and the cheese with pears. With nuts, crackers and vegetables that will be more than enough I think.

                    Thanks for the help!

                    1. re: MplsM ary

                      What beautiful glasses!
                      Just serve the soup first, before anyone has enjoyed too many adult beverages.... ;)
                      And congratulations on your graduation!!

                      1. re: Ttrockwood

                        I love those glasses also. @OP - are they old?

                        1. re: c oliver

                          I had a set of the martini ones once, a design junkie friend's eyes turned into pancakes when he saw them.

                          bonus value if they have a bubble suspended in the solid base

                          1. re: hill food

                            They do have the bubbles. Eight of most every piece + two candlesticks and two decanters with bubble stoppers. Mom had a ton of stuff she collected, (pretty much every Royal Worcester dish decorated with a fruit or vegetable ever made - she was thorough!) but this was the only collection I ever coveted.

                            They were designed by Bent Severin in 1957. Mom purchased them sometime in the 60's.

                  2. re: elegraph

                    Deviled eggs. Use quail eggs for the wow factor.

                    1. re: AdinaA

                      I love raw quail eggs with sushi but can't even imagine deviling them!

                      1. re: c oliver

                        You pipe in the deviled yolks with a pastry bag. Miniaturizing the familiar. Looks great.

                        1. re: AdinaA

                          IF you can get them peeled in one piece.

                          1. re: c oliver

                            That's true. They are harder to peel than chicken eggs.

                  3. On the special diets board there is a recipe for Parmesan gelato served on bread or slices of vegetables.