WGN News – Elegant and Easy New Year's Eve Hors d'ouevres

Tonight of course is New Year’s Eve – and you may still be working out your menu or what to take to a friend’s party.

For every party I plan at A Perfect Event – the menu is a focal point centerpiece for the party.  And it is no exception for an at home party – the buffet is the center of the party.

The new trend for 2011 is to serve everything in miniature – it is so much fun for a party, easy 1, 2, 3 preparation and darling to display.

My catering secret is to keep your menu to 5 ingredient, 5 step recipes – making the shopping and cooking a snap.

Another catering secret is to set the entire buffet before guests arrive – so you can mix and mingle and celebrate with your guests, not in the kitchen, during the party.  Choose platters and trays that coordinate and set a lovely collection with candles and cocktail napkins.

I love to choose a menu that is perfect served at room temperature – which believe it or not is very easy to do with our favorite holiday hors’douevres.

First, Goat Cheese stuffed Dates make the perfect pop in your mouth bite.  I love tiny, easy to pickup and eat without forks recipes – and this one is as pretty to taste as it is to look at on the buffet.

Goat Cheese stuffed Dates-

4 Ingredients:

4  ounces  goat cheese, crumbled

1  small garlic clove, finely chopped

2  teaspoons  finely chopped fresh basil

16  dried dates, each cut in half, pits removed

2 Steps:

1.  Combine goat cheese, garlic, basil in a bowl and mash with a fork until blended.

2.  Spoon a heaping teaspoon of cheese mixture into each split date.

Second, Pan con Tomate is a delicious and savory Spanish treat that makes an interactive, DIY buffet element.  Guests love to learn, experiment, and travel the globe on a party menu, so incorporate fun, personal cultures into your holiday menu.  I love tiny, easy to pickup and eat finger foods – and this one tastes like the perfect Spanish Tapas.

Pan Con Tomate-

5 Ingredients:

1 loaf crusty bread (like ciabatta)
10 individual garlic cloves, sliced in half

10 ripe tomatoes, cut in half

1 lb. thin sliced Iberico or Serrano ham, sliced in long, narrow strips

Freshly ground black pepper

4 Steps:

1.  Cut the loaf of bread crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices.

2.  Toast the bread slices until they are golden brown.

3.  Arrange on a platter the toasts, sliced garlic, sliced tomato, sliced ham into loose spirals, pepper grinder.

4.  Instruct guests to lightly rub the toasts with the garlic clove, then rub the tomato, cut side down, thoroughly into the toasts, then top toasts with a slice ham, and season with quick grind of black pepper.
Third, Spicy Shrimp Toasts are a great spicy seafood bite that has bold, bright colors.  A quick chop in the cook’s best friend, Ninja Pro food processor and you are all set to serve.

Spicy Shrimp Toasts-

5 Ingredients:

1 pkg corn or rice crackers/toasts

2 cups cooked shrimp

1 jar mango salsa

2 fresh avocados

1 bunch fresh cilantro, save 5 stems for garnish.

3 Steps:

1.  Peel avocado.

2.  Place avocado, salsa and cilantro into a food processor.  I prefer the Ninja Plus Pro for it’s instant pulse action, until nicely mixed together.

3.  Spoon onto crackers and garnish shrimp, and cilantro leaf.

Fourth is another food trend I love – the lollipop or skewar.  Here we’ve combined it with the white hot charcuterie trend – all threaded together for a gorgeous bite of ham/cheese/apple and a touch of honey.

Charcuterie Skewars-

5 Ingredients

1/2  pound  (3/4-inch-thick) sliced smoked Virginia deli ham

1  (3-oz.) blue cheese wedge

1  large Gala apple, sliced

1 jar honey

60  (4-inch) wood or metal skewers

5 Steps:

1.  Cut ham into 3/4-inch cubes.

2.  Carefully break cheese into 30 small pieces.

3.  Cut apple slices into thirds.

4.  Thread cheese, apple, and ham onto skewers.

5.  Drizzle with honey, and stand skewers upright, ham end down, on a serving platter.

Fifth is the perfect combination of savory flavors all wrapped up into a darling, tiny, bite.  What I love about this trend is the “sandwich” is unique with the pecan, instead of traditional toasts or crackers.  Nuts and cheese and olives are all the delicious, fun wine bar flavors all wrapped up into one.

Olive Stuffed Pecans-

5 Ingredients

3  ounces  boursin cheese, softened

1/2 cup  finely chopped pimiento-stuffed Spanish olives

1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

60 large pecan halves

5 Steps:

1. Stir together cheese, olives, chives, and pepper.

2. Spread onto 30 large pecan halves; top with 30 large toasted pecan halves, forming sandwiches.

Here is to your New Year’s celebration tonight – and many great tastes in 2011!

Debi Lilly, aperfectevent.com

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