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last minute appetizer ideas, please


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I invited some friends over for dinner tonight, and my menu is all planned, except for some pre dinner nibble things. See, the menu is pretty heavy so I didn't want to make anything that would fill people up before the first course (such as bread). However, I invited them to come over early and hang out while I cook, which means I have to have something to offer them. Here's what I'm making:

black pepper tagliatelle with parsnips and pancetta (babbo cookbooks)

stuffed pork loin roast (molto italiano)

roasted cauliflower

I also bought beets, but I'm not sure what to do with them yet.

Rhubarb pie (this recipe)

checkerboard cookies

As you can see, I'm already a little heavy on the pork, so I didn't want to go with salumi or something. The other problem is that I'm at work now and I don't have time to go to a bunch of different stores on my way home. So, what do you think? I'm looking for something relatively light, easy to prepare, with no hard to find ingredients.

P.S. Should I add a salad to the menu?

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My favorite very quick appetizer is leaves of belgian endive with a little spoonfull of eggsalad or tunasalad. Just chopped boiled eggs with mayo and chives.. or canned tuna with a bit of mayo and capers. Much lighter than having something on bread or toast.

Edited by Chufi (log)
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I have the same worries when I serve a hearty meal like the tasty one you have planned. Based on the season how about some roasted asparagus and/or green beans. I know you have the cauliflower roasted as well but these are more light and grassy t me. Served as finger food along with an olive assortment.

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Thanks for all the ideas so far! I do love to do salads in endive, but I feel like I have done it to death already. Also, I really don't like mayonnaise, but I do like the idea of some sort of crudite with a dip. I never would have thought to do them with just olive oil and salt, but I think that's what I will do. Thanks weinoo! I happen to have a couple of different salts in my pantry (Hawaiian red, Fleur de sel...maybe another one). Also olives--duh! And asparagus sounds really good, too. Maybe I'll steam some and add it to the veggies for dipping.

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If you can get the two key ingredients this is a nice appetizer I made recently:

small new potatoes (a mix of red and yellow is nice)

taramosalata

Boil pototoes unilt just done (i.e. fully cooked but not falling apart). It doesn't take long since the potatoes are small; about the size of golfballs.

Let potatoes cool; chill in fridge. Cut in half, use the small end of a melon scoop to create a divot or depression in the cut side of each half. Fill with taramosalata. Tasty, fresh and easy.

Another idea is to fill small "cups" of butter lettuce with a mixture of tuna, chickpeas and mayonnaise. Spike with some lemon juice, salt and pepper and with some cayenne or smoke paprika if you like.

Prunes filled with blue cheese. Warm slightly in toaster oven, etc (You want the prunes and cheese softened a bit but you don't want the cheese anywhere near melting). Place on a platter and cover with a shower of chopped parsley.

edited to add: Sounds like a wonderful menu, by the way. :smile:

Edited by ludja (log)

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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How about a small roasted beet salad with citrus vinagerette?

Sounds nice; I might serve this as a palate cleanser and salad after the main course and side dishes. Toasted walnuts and/or feta or goat cheese are also a nice component to add to the salad.

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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I really don't like mayonnaise, but I do like the idea of some sort of crudite with a dip. I never would have thought to do them with just olive oil and salt, but I think that's what I will do. Thanks weinoo! I happen to have a couple of different salts in my pantry (Hawaiian red, Fleur de sel...maybe another one). Also olives--duh! And asparagus sounds really good, too. Maybe I'll steam some and add it to the veggies for dipping.

You're welcome. Live It Up! And multiple salts is a great touch - I do it often.

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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my go to is pan fried garbonzo beans with garlic and rosemary. can of drained beans- pat dry. bottom of large skillet covered with evoo and moderately high heat. add beans and make sure they are in one layer and let them get a bit crispy before shaking them and letting the crisp up on all sides. minced garlic and rosemary need the end of cooking, s&p

also truffle popcorn is a winner around here as are pistachios & salumi

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So I wound up going with veggie/olive oil/salt thing, and my friends thought I was a genius! I did steamed asparagus and string beans, raw baby zucchini, endive, and roasted beets. I also whipped up a mascarpone and hazelnut dip. Unfortunately I have a bit of a cold and I couldn't tell what the dip tasted like, but it was received well. LMF--those chickpeas sound great...I did a similar thing for a party where I roasted the chickpeas until they were crunchy like nuts. However, your method sounds much faster, I'll try it next time.

Of course, I forgot to bring my camera home, so no pictures, but it all worked out perfectly and everyone had room for dessert.

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I love all the ideas and am taking a few of them, especially the endive one. We are hosting a birthday party and everything is finger food. We are having popcorn and I like the truffle idea as well.

I adore beets and citrus - not only tasty but elegant.

Enjoy the festivities!

Whoever said that man cannot live by bread alone...simply did not know me.
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