Those pre-made appetizers in the grocery store look so tempting, so easy, so "I couldn't have tried less."
If you're a New Year's party host, how can you elevate your menu from Klassy to Classy while still finding the time to mix drinks and pass out the party hats? Trust us, your guests will know if you've done your food prep in the frozen food aisle at Trader Joe's. We've all shopped there in a pinch, pretending not to recognize the neighbors.
Have we got the solution for you. And we're not even going to call them recipes.
We've assembled 16 blueprints for canapÈs (say: KAH-nah-pay). You can call them hors d'oeuvre, finger foods or appetizers but we like canapÈs because it sounds cool ñ until you learn it's French for "couch."
Our simple designs are each made from three no-fuss ingredients ñ items that can be mostly bought at your neighborhood market. Assembly is required, but no cooking or baking. You can whip these up in minutes and it'll look like a gourmet spread ("Oh, you just missed the caterer, darling!")
Choose what you think is right for you and your guests. We've used a lot of cheese in our selection. It's salty enough to keep your guests drinking and fatty enough to fill them up.
You can vary the construction of each as you see fit and substitute your own ideas. What have you got to lose? If the ancient Mayans were right, this will be the last New Year's party you'll ever throw.
1) Prawn + cocktail sauce + lemon wedge
Drizzle cocktail sauce on prawn and top with very thin wedge of lemon.
2) Baguette + roast beef + horseradish
Place slice of roast beef on baguette and top with dollop of horseradish sauce. Garnish with small bit of parsley.
3) Cracker + cream cheese + chutney
Smear cream cheese on cracker and place dollop of chutney on top.
4) Baguette + olive tapenade + slice of hard cheese
Slice baguette into 1⁄4 inch rounds of baguette. Place spoonful of tapenade on top and cover with very thin slice of Romano cheese
5) Cracker + crËme fraiche + caviar
Use a hard cracker and top with the crËme fraiche. Place small amount of black caviar on top and garnish with lemon peel.
6) Mozzarella + tomato slice + fresh basil leaf
Place tomato slice on top of 1⁄4-inch slice of mozzarella (fresh if you can find it). Top with whole or part basil leaf.
7) Melon + prosciutto + mint
Cut flat wedge of melon and wrap with just enough of a prosciutto slice to cover it once. Top with fresh mint leaf.
8) Cracker + cream cheese + smoked salmon
Smear cracker with cream cheese and place section of smoked salmon on top. Garnish with lemon zest.
9) Cracker + Granny Smith apple wedge + smoked cheddar
Place slice of apple on sweet or salty cracker and top with thin slice of cheese.
10) Baguette + feta cheese + grape half
Sprinkle feta crumbs on baguette slide. Top with half of red, seedless grape.
11) Date + blue cheese + prosciutto
Remove pit from date and fill with blue cheese. Wrap in prosciutto.
12) Endive + goat cheese + mustard dressing
Fill each Belgian endive leaf with goat cheese. Drizzle mustard-based salad dressing on top.
13) Rice cracker + crab meat + cucumber
Blot cucumber slice dry and place on cracker. Mound crab meat on top. Garnish with small sprigs of chives.
14) Cracker + Brie cheese + dried cranberries
Place slice of Brie on cracker and top with several dried cranberries.
15) Fresh fig + crËme fraiche + balsamic vinegar
Slice figs in half and make a depression in each. Fill with crËme fraiche and drizzle small amount of balsamic on top. (You may have to stabilize the fig halves by slicing off the bottoms.)
16) Pear + blue cheese + almond
Slice 1⁄4-inch thick sections of pears and cover with slice of blue cheese. Top with skinless almond. (Never hide hard nuts inside a canapÈ.)
Craig Sailor: 253-597-8541