simple party food
This is a long-overdue post of the array of snackables we tried out for New Years Eve, and with the Super Bowl on the horizon I thought I’d share some of my favorites for those of you who, like me, tend to decide at the last minute that some appetizers are in order! If you’re looking for something easy and cheap but a little more elegant than jalapeno poppers, tater skins and lil smokies, these will serve you well!
The more parties I host, the more I realize the importance of simple but delicious flavor combinations. Even if you plan days in advance, when you’re putting together a selection of snacks, you really can’t afford to be running around from store to store buying a zillion specialty ingredients, or spending hours putting just one appetizer together. You need snacks that can be easily assembled with a minimum of prep work, and you need to be able to do your prep without a lot of fussing over the timing of serving things perfectly hot. Basically, you need things to be as low-maintenance as possible, ideally with an ingredient list less than five items long. The snacks listed here satisfied those requirements for me, and they all proved simple to whip out en masse for a crowd.
Radish and Boursin Snacks
Adapted from The Kitchn
Note on radishes: If you think you don’t like radishes, like I did, give this snack a try anyway–the primary flavor here is the garlicky herby cheese, and the radishes kind of just give it a nice crisp crunch. If you do like radishes, you’ll love these!
1 loaf ciabatta bread, sliced
Boursin cheese or other garlic and herb cheese spread
Small bunch radishes, very thinly sliced
Salt and Pepper
Chopped chives, to garnish
Spread ciabatta with boursin, then top with a few thin radish slices. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, then chives. You can make a cute and delicious garnish for your plate by taking leftover whole radishes, cutting a small wedge out of them, filling it with butter, and garnishing with sea salt.
Bleu Cheese, Pear and Honey Tartines
Adapted from an episode of River Cottage
Note: These were a serious crowd favorite at our party. Make extras.
1 whole-grain or seeded baguette, thinly sliced
A wedge of good bleu cheese, sliced if you can, or crumbled
2 ripe but firm pears (I recommend Bartlett or Comice), skin removed and thinly sliced
On each slice of bread, arrange a slice (if you’ve managed to cut one) of bleu cheese. Top with a slice or two of pear, and then drizzle lightly with honey. Enjoy!
Red and Green Onion Slaw
Adapted from smittenkitchen.com
1 cup chopped green onions (about 1 bunch)
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 serrano chiles, seeded and chopped
2 T mayonnaise
1 tsp sugar
Salt & Pepper
1 small head purple cabbage, finely shredded
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
chopped chives, to garnish
Up to a day ahead: Shred cabbage, and chop and slice green and red onions. Store covered in the fridge, in your serving bowl.
A few hours ahead: Combine chopped green onions, red wine vinegar, serranos, mayo, sugar, and salt and pepper in the bowl of a food processor and process until well blended and light green. Remove to a small container and store in the fridge until you’re ready to serve.
Just before serving: toss dressing with cabbage and red onions in your serving bowl. Garnish with chives and serve.
Roasted Tomato Bruschetta
2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes
6-8 cipollini onions, peeled (blanche in boiling water for ten seconds, plunge in ice water, then peel)
Salt and Pepper
1 loaf of ciabatta bread, sliced and toasted
Basil, chiffonaded (roll up several leaves and slice thinly, creating little ribbons)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees, and line a roasting pan with foil. Spread tomatoes and cipollini in pan and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, then roast for about 40 minutes, shaking the pan to redistribute so they blister on all sides. Remove from oven.
Arrange toasts on a platter. Dump your tomatoes and onions, juices and all, over the toasts, and serve, or alternatively you can place the tomato and onion mixture in the food processor for a few pulses to create a more traditional bruschetta-like texture. Either way, garnish with fresh basil and serve.
Apple, Gouda and Chutney Bites
Adapted from Dinner for Eight
1 apple, sliced thinly
Mango chutney (from a jar– we used trader joe’s brand)
Gouda cheese, sliced in chunks to fit on apple slices
To assemble: spread a small amount of chutney on top of each apple slice, then add a piece of gouda to the top and secure the bite with a toothpick. These are best prepared right away, but if you need to do it ahead, toss your apple slices with lemon juice before putting these together so they won’t brown.