Hors d'oeuvres are finger morsels that are varied in size and shape – they
may be plain, stuffed or decorated, served on wooden picks or passed on
a tray. Keep them colorful and varied in size and shape. If you are serving
hors d'oeuvres on toothpicks poke the ends into something like an eggplant
to add more dimension to your presentation.
Mix and Match
Many of the same ingredients used to make the mix and match canapés
above also apply to the breadless hors d'oeuvre. The difference is that
instead of building toppings on flat slices of bread, toothpicks can accommodate
interesting spheres and cubes. If you're really short on time, this is
a great way of serving store-bought assorted pickled vegetables. Combining
a pearl onion, gherkin and carrot cube on a toothpick is much more fun
than a bowl filled with all these items in a jumble. Use your imagination
and combine interesting combinations of different colors, textures and
Olives are a perfect example of a simple but tasty hors d'oeuvre.
Most markets today sell a wide variety of delicious imported olives which
can either be served as is or heated with additional spices (try adding
orange and lemon peels, red pepper flakes or a mix of fresh herbs).
would a ‘50s cocktail party be without Swedish meatballs? The classic
version of these is still pretty tasty today but I like to go to the other
end of the globe and introduce a slightly Asian flair. Mix 1 pound
ground pork, 1 cup chopped water chestnuts, ¼ cup finely chopped crystallized
ginger, 1 egg, and 1 tspn. salt. Shape the mixture into small bite-size
balls and dust lightly with cornstarch. Heat enough peanut oil for frying
to 375°F. Deep-fry the pork balls until they are cooked through. You can
make these ahead and reheat at the last minute. Serve hot on toothpicks
and provide soy sauce (mixed with a little hot pepper oil for extra zest!)
It would be a shame to have a 1950s-inspired cocktail party without
including at least one can of Sterno and Vienna sausages --- this recipe
includes both with incredible flair! Clean a large cabbage. Curl outer
leaves back from top. Cut out the center and hollow it out about 6" deep.
Place a Sterno can in the cavity (can hidden, but the flame should come
almost to the top of the cabbage). Place the cabbage on a serving plate.
Thrust wooden picks through cocktail sausages and stick into the cabbage.
If you can't appreciate the camp value of Vienna sausages then skewer
slices of your favorite grilled gourmet sausages. Stick an olive onto
the end of each pick to protect fingers from the flame. Guests can then
broil their own sausages!
For a large gathering you could easily prepare all of the recipes listed
above, but for a smaller get-together pick one from each category. Remember
to vary temperature, color, texture and flavor and to incorporate presentation
into your plan. Serve with classic cocktails (like Martinis or Manhattans)
and the right blend of music. Now you have the recipe for entertaining
success: Good food + good drinks + music = fun!
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