Over the next seven days – including yes, the very day of – we'll be sharing our time-tested hosting tips and recipes, as well as plenty from chefs, hospitality experts, celebrities (that's always fun, right?), hosts and home cooks we love. Our goal – sending you into Thanksgiving with a confident smile on your face, and seeing you emerge on the other side with your sanity intact.
Bless your heart, you've pulled app duty. It's often a thankless task, as you're essentially running defense for kitchen, so peckish guests don't pick away at the corn pudding and green bean casserole before the turkey is served. It also calls for a thick-ish skin, as many folks will feel the need to loudly state that they're ONLY deigning to nibble so they won't, you know, STARVE before the REAL meal is served.
Their loss. You're going to be serving up major flavor in bitty bites and those folks who decide to hold out for the big feast will be kicking themselves once they hear the rave reviews.
A few of our favorites:
As our associate editor Sarah says, "Ritz Crackers are the Rolls-Royce of pimento cheese carriers," but this spread of cheese, mayonnaise and pimento peppers is also a hit with cocktail rye, slathered into celery sticks or as a dip for other crudite. Here's a recipe for a big ol' batch (it keeps well and your guests will insist on toting some home) of pimento cheese from Chef John Currence.
Tip: Make enough so you can leave some stashed at home for later. You won't come home with any leftovers, and you'll be very cross with yourself.
Tip: If you don't have a Silpat or parchment paper, lightly crumpled aluminum foil will provide channels for the excess grease to run off.
Chorizo, Manchego and Membrillo
Tip: Smoked almonds and small glasses of Sherry round out the appetizer and will certainly keep anyone from notions of cook-pestering.
Tip: If you're feeling ambitious, slit the figs and pipe or spoon in a little bit of soft, creamy goat cheese.
Smoked Salmon Spread
The level of effort is quite negotiable. It can be as simple as 4 ounces of chopped, smoked salmon whirred in a food processor with 8 ounces of cream cheese, or it can get a tad more nuanced with the addition of 1/2 a cup of sour cream or mayonnaise, as well as capers, dill, horseradish, Kosher salt, lemon juice, chopped scallions, fresh dill or pepper to taste. Serve it with triangles of cocktail rye.
Tip: We prefer Norwegian salmon for this particular spread, but Nova, Gravlax and Scottish hold their own. Heck - anything but AquaBounty will do the trick.
And there is a lot to be said for a veggie tray - if you have the chance to keep it fresh and seasonal. Take a trip to visit your local farmers market to see what's fresh. Then, just cut it into bite-sized pieces, serve on a platter with small bowls of olive oil, salt and lemon juice, and give thanks for our bounteous land.
Got a favorite holiday hors d'oeuvre? Share it in the comments below and we just might highlight it in an upcoming post.
« Previous entryLunchtime poll – Ack! I forgot the...