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Suggestions for what to serve with Drinks before Dinner

So...I have some "usual" things I serve with drinks before dinner...not all at the same time but these are my "go to" items...I don't like to serve too much to spoil appetites before a dinner I've prepared...would love some new suggestions

My usual things
- Good olives
- Nuts
- Cheese and crackers (old cheddar, brie (or other soft cheese), blue
- Shrimp and seafood sauce
- Crudites and dip(s)

Thanks Hounds...

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  1. My go to favourite thing to serve with drinks are gougeres. I make lots of different kinds, gruyere, blue cheese and pistachio, cheddar and olive. I freeze them uncooked then cook them just when guests arrive.
    http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...
    http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

    3 Replies
    1. re: DowntownJosie

      I'll second that. Cheese straws is another idea. Roll out puff pastry, use cheddar and parm grated, over the sheet. Cut into 1/2" strips. Twist the strips not too tight, then fold each strip in half enclosing the cheese and twist again (loosely) again. Bake according the package directions then cool and serve.

      I use Dufour puff pastry. If Pepperidge Farm is all you can get that is the way it is. Dufour is all butter puff pastry

      1. re: Candy

        I love cheese straws ...they are always a hit! I make mine from the dough but the puff pastry ones are delish too!

    2. I got the suggestion from hotoynoodle to go light on the apps as they're supposed to whet the appetite not quench it. At that point, I ditched cheese, meats, shrimp. I now go with olives and nuts. Sometimes I make one with Spanish tuna (it's only about a 3oz. can) with capers, red onion, good oo and cilantro. S&P, more oo if needed and occasionally a splash of sherry vinegar.

      3 Replies
      1. re: c oliver

        thanks for the shout-out.

        if just nibbles with drinks before having dinner, than it really should just be nibbles. :) crunchy/salty to whet the appetite.

        spiced nuts
        olives (i have served fried olives which are delicious but a complete pita)
        gougeres
        home-made potato chips
        shrimp chips (also home-fried)

        are all go-tos for me.

        a lot of these other suggestions feel more like a dinner course, which is fine too, i guess, but i really dislike anything cheesy before i eat. it utterly dulls the palate.

        if folks are coming over just for drinks and snacks than i put out more substantial items, like variations of these french cakes:

        http://www.davidlebovitz.com/2010/12/...

        deviled eggs are another big favorite for me. recently made deviled tea eggs finished with sesame oil and tobiko and they got hoovered, lol. fish pate and chicken liver mousse are quick, easy and well-liked.

        1. re: hotoynoodle

          THAT just got saved!

          I appreciate your pointing out way back when the mistake (and I do think it is) I had been making forever of putting out too much heavy food, esp. cheese(s). Now folks get some nibbles and drinks while I'm putting the finish on dinner.

          1. re: c oliver

            thanks! it's funny because people come over and of course they are really hungry, so many will have a tendency to eat LOTS of hors d'oeuvres and just be too stuffed to really enjoy the meal.

            as a host it doesn't make much sense.

      2. Hi!

        Two suggestion comes to mind:

        1. Take a date and remove pit
        2. Fill with blue cheese
        3. Top off with chorizo
        4. Put in over for 10 mins or broil to taste

        Also: figs and bacon!

        http://youtu.be/3reIDHwVz4Q

        Edit: thought of 2 new things:

        Always liked the concept of BLT Cherry Tomatoes (never actually did it but its on my list!
        )http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/bl...

        Arancinis are great appetizers and a great way to recycle Risoto!
        http://www.justataste.com/2012/02/ara...

        5 Replies
        1. re: CaptCrunch

          But to me that's awfully heavy unless each person just gets one or two.

          1. re: c oliver

            Its actually not that bad since its finger food... its pretty small only there to open the appetite not to fill you up. The date/blue/chorizo combination is really sex on a plate.

            1. re: c oliver

              i've done chicken satay with boneless skinless strips of chicken, marinated with a peanut butter, soy sauce, ginger/garlic flavored sauce, threaded onto kebab sticks (soaked so they don't burn. grill or easier, because you can get a bunch on at a time, use your george foreman' these work at any temp: hot, warm,room temp; have a good dinner!

              1. re: betsydiver

                That sounds like a great MAIN course to me :) With some rice and stir-fried vegs, ya got a meal!

            2. re: CaptCrunch

              those dates with cheese sound wonderful, and at one or two, would totally whet the appetite. going to remember those.

            3. Thanks hounds...keep 'em coming...

              1. I make chard wrapped sausages occasionally.

                Saute shallots in reduced beef stock and butter
                Cut stems out of chard, so you get 2 pieces for each leaf
                Lay out chard leaves
                Spread on the shallot and beef sauce mixture (it shouldn't
                be too liquidy)
                Wrap up the sausages in chard (a few layers of leaves) and put in baking dish.
                Pour 1 tbsp of beef stock in pan per sausage
                Wrap very tightly with aluminum foil (you want them to cook by steam)
                Bake until done
                Cut into bite size pieces (cross sections) and fry them on both flat sides to get a little crust

                Super easy, simple, and pretty much everyone will like them. I just made them up one day when I was cleaning out the fridge.