Thursday, November 11, 2010

Holiday Hors D'oeuvres: An Assignment

I'm looking for ideas on Holiday Hors D'oeuvres and decided to open the floor and see what you have to say. Point me towards those little bite sized foods that you love to pop in your mouth at a party...and you find yourself grazing the buffet table a second and third time to pop another one in your mouth - THAT is the kind of food I'm looking for.

Factors I consider when selecting the cocktail party menu:
  • Can I make it ahead of time?
  • Does it have to stay hot or cold on the buffet, or served at room temperature?
  • Is it easily recognizable or do I need to label the food?
  • Will it contain rare and/or expensive ingredients?
  • Will it look messy or gross on a serving platter?
  • Is it messy to eat?
  • Will I have to serve it with utensils, or can guests pick it up with their hands?
  • Does it help complete the look and feel of the party theme/occasion? 

Found on Epicurious, Savory Parmesan Shortbread Rounds. I love how delicate they look, but imagine your surprise when the unmistakable Parmesan flavors show through in these savory bites. Epicurious suggest serving these along side a nice salumi platter. The best thing about this recipe is that the rounds can be made 1 week ahead and stored in an airtight container at room temperature, or freeze up to 1 month.

This Crab and Celery Remoulade looks great served with pita chips. It can be made up to 6 hours ahead and covered and chilled. I would imagine this needs to also be kept chilled somehow on the buffet so it doesn't go bad.

We all know that puff pastry is a cooks best friend, or at least I hope you do. I always have a package or two in my freezer because it can do so much. I plan on making several variations of mini pies filled with anything from fruit to meat to cheese this year. I like this recipe for Pork Pies on Epicurious because the filling can be made 1 day ahead and chilled and then brought to room temperature before using. The pies can be assembled and baked 6 hours ahead and cooled, uncovered. Items served at room temperature are IDEAL for a cocktail party.

This is such a beautiful picture of Bloody Mary Soup Shots with Shrimp and Pickled Vegetables. The pickled veggies can be bought in a pre-prepared jar, which is awesome. The savory soup contains tomato, Worcestershire and vodka and is served in shot glasses for fun. On a chilly evening, I think that a warm tomato soup shot might go over better, but I love this idea and may hold on to it for a brunch menu.

I found these Roasted Pepper and Mozzarella Bites on The Italian Dish blog. I love the color and the presentation. I bet they taste great and pair well with wine. These can also be made ahead of time and chilled under service.

Now for some HWM appetizers that are on my tried and true list for cocktail parties!

These Bacon Wrapped Dates are one of those appetizers that you pop in your mouth and while you are chewing you are trying to figure out how to scoop another one up on your plate. They are the perfect salty and sweet combination. I stuffed these with cream cheese because a certain someone that I married doesn't care for blue cheese. For a cocktail party, I would highly suggest the blue cheese filling and also leave out the nut in the middle.

Another wonderful stuffed date party food are these Foie Gras Stuffed Dates which are super easy to prepare and complete heaven to eat. They are perfect make-ahead-food.

Goat Cheese and Onion Tart is on the list because they are a great vegetarian appetizer and although the tart I made was a large three to four inches in diameter, I think these could be made on a smaller scale. Oh so addicting!

This is one that Jim often requests, my Proscuitto and Fontina Pinwheels which can be made ahead of time and baked a batch at a time. They are wonderful hot out of the oven, but equally good when they come to room temperature. These go fast, so I would recommend a double or triple batch.

Now I turn to you for suggestions on the best party food this holiday season. If you have a tried and true recipe, please send it my way! E-mail me at or leave a comment below. Your recipe just may end up on my holiday buffet this year.


  1. You have to make this cranberry bruschetta...not only did I win a contest with it, but I haven't had anyone try it yet and say it wasn't incredible!

  2. I have a great recipie for some spicy corn stuffed tomotoes- yum! and then also another one of my favs is some goat cheese stuffed peppa-dew peppers.
    Gail made some bacon wrapped water chesnuts with a jalepeno rasberry drizzle that were EXCELLENT! Also- I always think mozerella, cherry tomatoe, and basil k-bobs drizzled in balsamic looks so nice and taste great too!

  3. These proscuitto pinwheels are awesome! I made them for a family party and everyone loved them (even the kids). Thanks for the recipe -- it was easy to follow and the making ahead part was a bonus!


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