In our party-giving years we often had last minute get-togethers that didn’t require a lot of intricate preparation. A variety of appetizers and drinks were all that were required for a memorable evening.
When I opened my take-out shop, I put all of these on the catering menu plus more. But these are the easiest by far and all can be made ahead.
These three Appetizers make a good variety for any occasion and are as good today as they were then.
These little toasts are great all by themselves. I always make extra just to have leftovers. The bread used for these is important. When I had my take-out shop, I tested several breads to see what worked the best. Pepperidge Sourdough Sandwich bread is the one that worked best for us. However, there are many more sourdough sandwich breads nowadays. Just use a sourdough bread for it's firm consistency.
I use a 2"x1 ½" oval cutter and can get 4 croustades out of one piece. The near end pieces yield less. The prepared croustades freeze beautifully before baking. They can be baked straight from the freezer in about 10 to 12 minutes. These are good hot or room temperature.
1 loaf Pepperidge Farm Sandwich Bread or other sandwich bread, prepared as above
Olive Oil as needed
¾ cup artichoke quarters, well drained (not marinated)
⅔ cup grated asiago cheese (Parmesan may be substituted)
4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature (⅓ less fat is fine
¼ cup mayonnaise
¼ teaspoon cayenne
⅓ teaspoon salt
Paprika as needed
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Using a 2 x 1-½” oval cutter (or anyone you wish) cut ovals out of the bread slices. Place on a parchment lined cookie sheet and brush with olive oil. Bake 7 to 10 minutes until lightly browned.
In the meantime, place the remaining ingredients, except the paprika, in a food processor and process until smooth. Place in a pastry bag fitted with a #9B tip. Pipe dip onto croustade and bake for about 8 minutes. Place paprika in a very fine sifter and dust the top of the croustades.
Make Ahead: These can be made and frozen, bake for about 10 to 12 minutes at 350°F. They are good, from the oven or at room temperature.
Yield: 24 croustades
These Spicy Meatballs were a must have appetizer at many of our parties. The beauty of this, aside from how good they are, is the fact, the whole recipe can be made and refrigerated a few days or even frozen for a few weeks. They taste better made a few days ahead. Just heat and serve..
1 pound ground beef (I use 10% fat)
½ pound hot pork sausage (I use Rice’s Hot Sausage)
½ cup milk
½ cup bread crumbs
½ teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Combine all of the above and shape into small balls. The number you get depends upon the size of the balls. Place on a foil lined, sprayed jelly roll pan and bake for about 20 minutes or until cooked through. You can turn them half way through if you wish. Cool.
Spicy Meatball Sauce
¾ cup packed brown sugar
½ cup vinegar
½ cup water
6 whole cloves
1 tablespoon dry mustard
Combine all of the ingredients in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer and simmer for about 5 minutes. Cool. Place the meatballs in the sauce and store in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days or freeze up to two months.
If frozen, thaw in the refrigerator overnight.
Place in a saucepan to heat. Serve in a chafing dish.
Yield: Depends upon how big you make the balls
SESAME SALMON WITH APRICOT GINGER DIP - the last of the three appetizers.
Appetizers just don’t get easier than this one and out of the three appeitizers this is the easiest. I can’t tell you the number of parties at which these appeared. The salmon is gorgeous sitting on a platter with the zippy, much requested, apricot ginger dip.
Side of Salmon
White Sesame Seeds
Black Sesame Seeds
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cut salmon into 1 ¼” cubes. Toast the white seeds in a 350 degree oven for 7 to 10 minutes until golden.
Combine white and black sesame seeds in a ratio of ⅔ white to ⅓ dark. Coat 5 or 6 salmon cubes in seeds on all sides. These can be covered and refrigerated a day ahead.
Place on baking sheet and bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Cool; refrigerate.
Apricot Ginger Sauce
¾ cup apricot preserves
2 tablespoons fresh ginger
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
½ teaspoon black pepper
2 cloves garlic
Place in processor and process until smooth. This may be made days ahead and stored in the refrigerator.
To Serve: This can be served cold or at room temperature. Place sauce in serving container. Surround with cubes of salmon stuck with toothpicks. Dip the salmon in the sauce.
Yield: Depends upon how big the salmon is.
I hope you enjoy these three appetizers as much as our clients and we did. They insure an enjoyable time for you as well as your guests since they are all make ahead.