Holidays season means… party time, and if you’re lucky, then it’s parties. Here are a few ideas to make your party stress free.
What you see in the pictures is what I served for my birthday party in August. That was outside in the backyard… But, regardless of the weather, all the ingredients I used then are available year round. This menu was easy to make, quick, and offered different types of food to serve every guest’s taste.
First, a nice platter of cheeses with seasonal fruits and nuts is classic, as it is elegant and casual at the same time. Served with different types of crackers it is loved by most people.
For the cheese platter:
Start with a nice platter, of course
Buy different kinds of cheese: yellow, white, blue, soft, hard, cubes, log, rounds, simple, sophisticated, etc
Add seasonal fruits and toasted nuts
Decorate with fresh herbs or edible flowers. Mint is a beautiful herb and always available, and you can also use it to make Warm Winter Herbal Tea, which I’m sure your guests will appreciate in this weather.
Accompany the cheese platter with some nice olives and more crackers with sesame, poppy, spices, etc, or small slices of bread.
Next, open-faced sandwich/crostini/bruschetta/tartine/whatever you want to name it, is a perfect finger food for a cocktail party, or any party.
The idea it to take bread and slice it thinly, then toast or grill it, usually brushed with olive oil, or butter. If you are short on time and your bread is fresh, just serve it as is without toasting.
Slice a baguette crosswise on a bias. Brush slices with olive oil or spread some butter, if you want. Toast it in a 350 F oven or grill it if you dare go outside in this weather (see Grilling in the Rain), until it is crispy or lightly browned (but not totally dry and don’t burn it like my husband did.) I prepared two kinds:
Eggplant Crostini – with eggplant marinated in herbs (recipe here), with feta/goat cheese, cherry tomatoes, and basil on top.
Blue cheese, walnuts and honey Crostini – spread the bread with fig jam and top with crumbled blue cheese, toasted and chopped nuts (smoosh/press those firmly onto the bread with your hands),and a drizzle of honey (add the honey just before serving, if you can. If not ,don’t worry about it and do it ahead.)
For the guests who like simple or more familiar food, I served Guacamole and corn chips and Hummus with sliced veggies, like cucumber, peppers, with pita triangles (warm those in the oven).
I also served assorted nuts and more types of crackers, fruit and vegetables.
As for drinks, those depend on your crowd, do they like a nice wine, a cocktail, hot coffee, tea or spiced cider?
For additional ideas, visit my World Flavor web site and check out the “What’s cooking?” page for more menus I have catered to different parties and events.
More holiday food ideas:
Easy dinner party - Work & Cook: How to cook a dinner party for 6+5+2 on a conference day?
Season flavors - Thanksgiving-y Chicken Dinner