Tiny foods, Big Hassle

I love appetizers.

I just hate making them. They drive me nuts.

You spend all this time making these perfect, Lilliputian creations by the tray-full and then, Whamo-O!, they hit the party table or circulate or do what they are going to do and they are gone in about 1/100th of the time it took you to make them.

Makes me crazy, I tell you. At least with a dessert, there is a good make-devour ratio.

And that’s what it’s about for me, the ratio. Time spent, time eating. Have them at least come close to equating a TAD.

So, I’m going to a dinner party this weekend and what did I offer to make (in addition to a dessert, of course…would never miss an opportunity to make one of those)…an appetizer! I laughed at myself but took it as a challenge.

Find a good one that doesn’t take oodles of time, still seems a bit unusual and won’t make you cringe when all your efforts are inhaled before you finish your first drink.

I’ve scoured and scoured my books. Lots of good appetizers out there for sure, I just wish someone else would make them for me. That would be my idea of heaven…maybe it will BE in my heaven. Trays and trays of app’s just floating by me on gloved hand, without me ever having to make a single one. Just enjoy, dear, just enjoy.

You all know about my Bacon-Dates, which frankly, just rule the appetizer kingdom (see my Very First Post, on January 31st of this year). Two ingredients and they make folks swoon. It’s ridiculous.Talk about a home-run. If you don’t make these at some time during the holiday season, may you get coal in your stocking.

I do have a little check-list for a good appetizer:

-Must be a “little different”. An unusual ingredient, unusual presentation, something. Keep your cheese balls to yourself (you know the ones from the 70s that are about the size of a huge softball and are rolled in all sorts of diced goods, sitting (plunk) in the middle of a big plate, like some kind of head-yikes).

-Must be easy to make. If there are more than 6 or so ingredients, I’m out.

-Must be easy to assemble, easy to store and easy to transport. I do not want to be juggling 5 Tupperware containers, endless serving spoons and accompaniments to someone’s house for something that disappears so quickly. Yes, it will look great on the plate before the vultures descend, but unless Bon Appetit is also swooping in to get photos, the effort is a bit wasted. In my opinions. And believe me, I’m the first to garnish something. My husband will often remark that it doesn’t need to be “Martha-ed.” I appreciate a good garnish or presentation, trust me.

I stumbled on these two and I think they fit the bill (in addition to the Bacon-Dates and Green Goddess dip). Enjoy, don’t kill yourself. Have another glass of vino.

Maple Pepper Marinated Goat Cheese, from the Official Vermont Maple Cookbook (that name kind of cracks me up. So. Official.)

1 pound goat cheese, softened
1/2 cup good olive oil
1/2 cup pure maple syrup, Grade B
1 Tb. cracked black peppercorns

Mix olive oil, maple syrup and peppercorns together in a bowl. Roll goat cheese ball into 1 oz. balls (you should get about 16) and allow to marinate in mixture for at least one hour before using.

Wrap thinly sliced salmon around cheese balls. Serve sided with crostini or crackers.

Apricot-Blue Cheese Angels, courtesy of  Cooking Light

1 cup boiling water
1 (7 oz) package dried apricots, chopped (about 1 cup)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
1 Tb. honey
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 ox. crumbled blue cheese (about 1/2 cup)
2 sheets thawed puff pastry
1 large egg, beaten

Preheat oven to 400. Combine 1 cup boiling water and apricots in a medium bowl. Let stand for 10 minutes.Drain in colander over a bowl, reserving 2 Tb. soaking liquid. Place apricots, reserved 2 Tb. soaking liquid, walnuts, honey, lemon juice and cinnamon in a food processor. Pulse until coarsely ground.

Place 1 sheet puff pastry on lightly floured work surface. Gently roll into a 12.5 inch square. Cut dough into 25 squares. Top each piece of dough with about 1 tsp. of mixture. Working with one piece of dough at a time, bring corners up to the center and pinch closed.

Place angels (so sweet!) on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush angels with beaten egg. Bake at 400 for 15 minutes or until golden.

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone! Invite some friends over and make appetizers!

2 thoughts on “Tiny foods, Big Hassle

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