O.K. I love giving parties.  It's probably just because then I don't have to go to someone else's house and be social.  I used to do all sorts of appetizers—some time consuming and complicated and needing exotic ingredients and lots of planning.  Then I found that trying to do that with children could be a disaster so I moved to a downhome semi-potluck kind of thing where I would do a couple of appetizers with something hearty enough to also be a meal…..grilled chicken in warm weather….a sliced ham at the holidays, etc.  Of course I always make my friend Ann bring the sweets.  I can't compete with her.

Now I find that obsessing over the menu for months to be of great entertainment value to me.  No matter that I end up serving pretty much the menu I think of right away—-I obsess and go through cookbooks and bother Ernie. I find this very enjoyable.

SO.

Our 20th Anniversary/Livingthehelloutofthepresent party has been moved up to late September…necessitating a different menu from the original November date.  Now I KNOW that's three months away…but remember obsession is a hobby for me. So what do you think?  I was thinking just appetizers this time—not a meal kind of thing. I like make-ahead—can't be fussing while people are here….

Give me some of your favorite appetizer ideas. 

I MEAN it….none of this no commenting crap….(well except for you Annette)….

18 thoughts on “I Need Some Ideas…

  1. One of my “usual” appetizers is a baguette cut into 1/2″ slices and lightly toasted, if desired. Then spread some of the fresh goat cheese from Prairie Fruits farm on top. There’s a stand at Farmer’s Market–Leslie Cooperband runs the cheese operation.Also World Harvest sells her cheeses. On top of the cheese I like to put a fresh tomato slice and basil leaf. Alternatively, I put a fresh nasturtium flower on top–without the tomato.

  2. I’m with you on the obsessing over the food… I can’t wait to have another reason to cook for a big(ger) group. Whenever I think of entertaining or making a bunch of smaller dishes, I think of my favorite tapas recipes. Conveniently, a lot of them are vegetarian which can be important with a larger group.
    Bacon-wrapped dates (datiles con tocino)- easy and surprisingly good… reportedly can also be done with figs. Wrap them ahead and just stick in the oven when it’s time.
    Potatoes (patatas bravas con aioli) – really garlicky aioli and spicy tomato sauce, good on their own and even better mixed. Can be served cold as a sort of potato salad, or hot like pommes frites.
    Garlicky shrimp (Camarones al ajillo) – don’t waste the delicious olive oil! Serve with bread or tortillas.
    empanadas (with any sort of filling) – prepare well ahead and just fry/bake as needed
    Spanish Omelette (tortilla española) – serve hot or at room temperature
    Manchego cheese w/ quince paste – buy and serve, what could be easier?
    If you want to do a little more work, you could make a paella, which really isn’t _that_ hard. Trust me! 😉
    If you want any particular recipes, just email me.

  3. Fruit, cheese and crackers are great.
    I made little empenadas for a party last week, but I filled them with goat cheese so I don’t know if they would have frozen well. People liked them, though, and they were easy to eat.
    Little quiches made in muffin tins? My mom used to bake an egg casserole/fritatta thing that she would slice into squares. Hers always had artichoke hearts and cheddar in it.
    In the Summer 08 Herb Quarterly magazine, there are several neat ideas, including something called Baked Feta Cheese with Thyme Honey. It looks easy but requires broiling at the last minute. But something easy like this can be quite dramatic and special.
    A few months ago, my brother grilled chicken sausages, cut them up, and then made sausage-kabobs with pineapple and cherry tomatoes. They looked pretty and were easy.
    How exciting! I’m with you on menu planning…. it’s fun to be consumed by it and let the ideas evolve.

  4. Fruit, cheese and crackers are great.
    I made little empenadas for a party last week, but I filled them with goat cheese so I don’t know if they would have frozen well. People liked them, though, and they were easy to eat.
    Little quiches made in muffin tins? My mom used to bake an egg casserole/fritatta thing that she would slice into squares. Hers always had artichoke hearts and cheddar in it.
    In the Summer 08 Herb Quarterly magazine, there are several neat ideas, including something called Baked Feta Cheese with Thyme Honey. It looks easy but requires broiling at the last minute. But something easy like this can be quite dramatic and special.
    A few months ago, my brother grilled chicken sausages, cut them up, and then made sausage-kabobs with pineapple and cherry tomatoes. They looked pretty and were easy.
    How exciting! I’m with you on menu planning…. it’s fun to be consumed by it and let the ideas evolve.

  5. Now we’re talking. A few years back, I switched from the classic dinner party to an all-appetizer offering. Fantastique! Have you seen Mermaids with Cher and Winona Ryder? Not a great movie, but snazzy hors d’ouevre, creative use of maraschino cherries, etc.
    So:
    Herbed Popovers with Feta (easy, great texture)
    Bugles with spray cheese, ie. Cheez Whiz (trashy, oversalty)
    Melon with prosciutto
    Smoked oysters on a wheat thin, perhaps goat cheese, cream cheese or Boursin?
    What we liked best about those parties is that guests arrive at different times, often circulating with their offerings, so it adds a festive air and a gradual unveiling. Another highlight: White Castle Sliders and onion rings. It’s all in the presentation!
    Ooh, and marinated mushrooms in Good Seasons dressing, homemade vinaigrette is good, too. But my version gives you that 70’s flair.~)

  6. Now we’re talking. A few years back, I switched from the classic dinner party to an all-appetizer offering. Fantastique! Have you seen Mermaids with Cher and Winona Ryder? Not a great movie, but snazzy hors d’ouevre, creative use of maraschino cherries, etc.
    So:
    Herbed Popovers with Feta (easy, great texture)
    Bugles with spray cheese, ie. Cheez Whiz (trashy, oversalty)
    Melon with prosciutto
    Smoked oysters on a wheat thin, perhaps goat cheese, cream cheese or Boursin?
    What we liked best about those parties is that guests arrive at different times, often circulating with their offerings, so it adds a festive air and a gradual unveiling. Another highlight: White Castle Sliders and onion rings. It’s all in the presentation!
    Ooh, and marinated mushrooms in Good Seasons dressing, homemade vinaigrette is good, too. But my version gives you that 70’s flair.~)

  7. Mrs. Sagefool is the hostess with the mostess—she does awesome themed NYE parties: Chinese, Italian, Tailgate, etc. She might have some good ideas for you.
    Also, you could try thinking about theming it along seasonal items—apples, gourds, etc. September is cooler weather which makes grilling out and doing fired items *fun*….
    I’ll have to ponder some of my recipes. I usually fall back on a few standards but for some reason, the afternoon has broken my brain.

  8. Mrs. Sagefool is the hostess with the mostess—she does awesome themed NYE parties: Chinese, Italian, Tailgate, etc. She might have some good ideas for you.
    Also, you could try thinking about theming it along seasonal items—apples, gourds, etc. September is cooler weather which makes grilling out and doing fired items *fun*….
    I’ll have to ponder some of my recipes. I usually fall back on a few standards but for some reason, the afternoon has broken my brain.

  9. Yeah… I like to cook, I like to eat, I love food. If money were no issue, I’d love to cook professionally.
    Anyway… back to the menu planning… I feel like I left out the meat-eaters with all those veg options in my last comment.
    Tandoori Chicken – mix up and marinate the day before and throw on the grill.
    Any kebab – beef, lamb, chicken, goat; chunks, ground; marinated, spiced, rubbed; with veg or without; grilled or baked. Almost too many options to think about.
    Meatballs – any variety will do. Nothing goes better on a toothpick, and plenty recipes are great for making ahead and (re)heating for a party: Swedish meatballs, Indian/Greek kofta/kefte, or Italian meatballs in tomato sauce.
    You may need 3 months to figure all this out. I feel like I’m just giving you too many options now. I’m hungry, and when I’m hungry I can’t stop talking about food.

  10. Yeah… I like to cook, I like to eat, I love food. If money were no issue, I’d love to cook professionally.
    Anyway… back to the menu planning… I feel like I left out the meat-eaters with all those veg options in my last comment.
    Tandoori Chicken – mix up and marinate the day before and throw on the grill.
    Any kebab – beef, lamb, chicken, goat; chunks, ground; marinated, spiced, rubbed; with veg or without; grilled or baked. Almost too many options to think about.
    Meatballs – any variety will do. Nothing goes better on a toothpick, and plenty recipes are great for making ahead and (re)heating for a party: Swedish meatballs, Indian/Greek kofta/kefte, or Italian meatballs in tomato sauce.
    You may need 3 months to figure all this out. I feel like I’m just giving you too many options now. I’m hungry, and when I’m hungry I can’t stop talking about food.

  11. Okay, here are a few more, high and low and kitsch all mixed together.
    Meatballs with Grape Jelly/Cocktail Sauce combo in a Crockpot (no, you can’t call it a slow-cooker in this instance)
    Indian Kifta (sp?), lamb kabobs on a grill, I’ll dig for a recipe, long time since I tired these
    Pineapple/Maraschino Cherries on a plastic toothpic shaped like a sword
    Endive with blue cheese crumbles or goat cheese
    Cream puffs with filling, usually vanilla cream, dusted with powdered shugar
    Parmesan Lace Thingies–Doyle Moore described these on WILL, grated cheese, baked 10 minutes et voila!
    Chafing dish, anyone?

Thoughts?