Often the best bites at a party are the simplest ones. Ones in which each ingredient can be easily identified at a glance, (an important quality, unless you eat everything and don’t mind an occasional surprise) the canapé isn’t overly complicated and is easy to eat.
Tidy, bite-sized, and fresh are other qualities of a perfect little appetizer. I’m also partial to cheese, and nuts, apparently, as this post demonstrates. OK, I’ll admit it, I love nibbling my way through the holidays! Canapés are a must at events whether the occasion is an open house, a church reception or a rocking Christmas party.
Making appetizers isn’t work, as far as I’m concerned, but perhaps that is because I avoid the really finicky ones. Yes, it can be repetitious to reproduce the same little item over and over, but it’s rewarding to see them all lined up.
And I’ll tell you a trick…I’ll often have all the ingredients prepped and a platter on standby for when the first guests walk in the door. As soon as they are settled, have a drink in hand, and offer “Can I do anything for you?”, well, I just steer them towards the ready-t0-be assembled canapés and put them to work!
Guests love to feel included, and since the party always happens in the kitchen, why not capitalize on that and speed up the work? Helping hands are another reason to keep your starters simple. Anyone can prepare the appetizers in this post, and with just three ingredients each, the shopping and prep are easy too!
|Endive with Blue Cheese and Toasted Almonds||
- 2 heads of purple endive
- 1/4 cup sliced almonds
- 50 grams creamy blue cheese
- Preheat oven to 350°F and toast almonds until lightly golden. Cool. Note: this can be done up to a week in advance and the nuts stored in an airtight container.
- Cube blue cheese (this works best when the cheese is cold), making the portions as generous or small as you like. Allow to come to room temperature before serving to ensure the maximum flavor can be appreciated.
- Remove the outer leaf from the endive and trim about 3/4 of an inch off of the base. Discard. Pull apart endive, layer by layer, and arrange leaves on a platter or tray.
- Place a cube of cheese at the base of the endive and top with a few toasted almonds. Serve at room temperature.
|Almond & Cream Cheese-Stuffed Olives||
- 1 jar large green olives
- 24 roasted salted almonds
- 3 oz cream cheese
- Remove pimento (or in my case, a nut) from each olive and trim the bottoms so that they stand upright.
- Scrape an almond tip over cream cheese to pick up 1/4 teaspoon or so.
- Stuff almond into olive and set onto a serving tray. Repeat with remaining olives.
|Cheddar & Hazelnut Stuffed Apricots||
- Dried apricots
- Aged cheddar
- Preheat oven to 350°F and toast hazelnuts for about 8 minutes. Remove from oven and cool.
- Slice cheddar into 1/2 inch pieces and reserve.
- Using a sharp paring knife, slit the apricot half open to reveal where the pit once was. Place a piece of cheddar and a toasted hazelnut inside the dried apricot and place on a platter. Repeat as necessary. Serve at room temperature.
Look for more ideas for simple and fresh finger food on Monday!
Do you serve finger food over the holidays?