Ok, getting back to that Cocktail Party. So far we've covered:
So, I thought tonight I'd talk about the food.
First of all, when it comes to cocktail parties you don't want to be slaving over the stove while you are entertaining a dozen guests. So everything I choose to prepare was make-ahead so that I could just pop 'em in the oven at the last minute.
In the hours before everyone arrived, I made these things, wrapped them in plastic wrap, wrote the time and temp in marker on the plastic wrap (so I wouldn't have to get the recipes out again when everyone was over), and stuck them all in the basement fridge. I took them out of the fridge about 45 minutes before it was time to heat them up so that I wasn't putting cold stuff in the oven.
Almond Stuffed Bacon Wrapped Dates
First off, a classic with a twist. Everyone loves Bacon Wrapped Dates. I switched them up by stuffing an almond in them.
- 1/4 piece of bacon per date (I had long bacon, you might want to bump this up to 1/3 to 1/2 piece per date if your bacon is shorter than mine)
- 1 raw almond per date
- pitted dates
- Start by stuffing almonds into each date. Assembly line baby!
- Lay out your bacon strips and drop a date on each one
- Roll 'em up and poke each one through with a toothpick
- Wrap a cookie sheet in foil and place your skewered dates on the sheet.
- At this point you can wrap them up and stick 'em in the fridge.
- Take them out of the fridge about 45 minutes before it's time to eat 'em.
- Put them in a 400 degree oven for 15-20 minutes or until the bacon is crisp. These are actually a good thing to put in the oven with other things because they can pretty much go in at any temperature so long as you watch them and take them out when the bacon is done.
And after you let your friends eat most of them they look like this. What crappy presentation huh?
Goat Cheese with Sauteed Garlic and Herbs in Olive Oil
This is my new favorite last minute appetizer to make. It takes roughly 5 minutes to throw together and it is HEAVENLY!!!!
- Log of Goat Cheese (The number of people you are serving will dictate the size of the log. I used about 6 oz)
- Olive Oil
- Minced Garlic
- Chopped fresh herbs (Rosemary, thyme, sage, etc.)
- Chopped fresh basil
- Take your goat cheese out of the fridge at least 20-30 minutes before serving to soften it.
- Mince your garlic and herbs ahead of time. Put the garlic and all of the herbs except for the basil in one prep bowl and the basil in another. Refrigerate these till it's time to go.
- In a small skillet heat up a bunch of olive oil. Maybe 1/2 cup or so? Enough to dip lots of crusty bread in!
- Toss in the garlic and all of the fresh herbs EXCEPT for the basil
- Sauté everything for about 5 minutes until everything is deliciously fragrant.
- Plop your goat cheese in a serving dish and pour the hot olive oil herb mixture right on top.
- NOW it's time for the basil, sprinkle it in and watch it kind of deep fry itself in the hot oil. This part is what makes the dish I think... oh wait, maybe it's the goat cheese... or the perfect olive oil... or the garlic? What are you waiting for, make this already!
- Serve with a big basket of toasted crusty bread and then watch it disappear. Because it is heaven on earth.
Stuffed Portabella Mushrooms
I'm going to have trouble with this recipe... because I just kept tossing stuff in until it looked good... So I guess I'll tell you what I put in them and just trust you to eyeball it, I think it would be pretty hard to go wrong.
- 2 cartons of portabella mushrooms
- dried bread crumbs
- grated pecorino romano cheese
- minced garlic
- chopped fresh parsley
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- italian seasoning
- salt & pepper
Also, butter to saute mushrooms.
- De-stem and clean all of your mushrooms with a damp paper towel. Save about 1/2 the stems and dice them up.
- Toss the diced stems in a bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients in whatever proportions you feel like and stir it all up.
- Melt a few tablespoons of butter in a pan and when it's good and hot and melted throw in the mushrooms. Saute for a minute or two, then flip them over and get the other side so they are basically totally covered in melted butter.
- Place all of the mushrooms in an oven proof dish and then spoon some of your mixture in each one
- At this point you can cover in plastic and throw it in the fridge until your guests arrive. Write this on the plastic wrap in a sharpie: 400 degrees, 20 minutes
- But keep an eye on them when they're in the oven and take them out whenever they look done.
I'm pretty worthless for providing an accurate, repeatable recipe, huh?
Rachel's Ultimate Crab Dip
I totally copied Rachel's recipe so just go see it on her blog.
Ok, I didn't totally copy it. I made the following modifications
- Out of guilt for possibly giving my guests a heart-attack with the other recipes, I used Low-Fat Cream Cheese, Sour Cream, and Mayo.
- But then I went and doubled the cheddar cheese.... oops.
And the rest of the stuff I didn't take pictures of but I also offered a large tray of crudités & humus as well as a dish of Ikea's Swedish Meatballs (by the time I walked over to the table to take a picture of them there were only 2 left... and I did take a picture of those two, it just came out horribly).
And with all of this heating up of food I only burnt my hand once! (Picking up the cast iron enameled lid of the Dutch oven holding the meatballs with my bare hand)
I'm proud to say there was not a single bite of any of these appetizers left!