In keeping with my “party food” theme, I knew I just had to do a mini sandwich for my wine party. I knew there was no way I was going to take all that time making little tea sandwiches with the crusts cut off so I went the Italian way. Besides, since I’d already brought in Asian, French and Greek style cuisine, why not add a little “amore” to the mix?
These little bites are layered with smoked turkey, honey ham, roasted red peppers, havarti, pesto and balsamic vinegar. I used a large rectangle of pre-baked foccacia with asiago cheese on top to make the whole thing easy and quick. These are great assembled the night before and sliced just before they go out on the platter. Not planning a party? Try this as a regular sandwich!
My boyfriend and I went to Freeport, Bahamas a year ago over Christmas holiday. There was a big cold front that came rolling in and we were not prepared for it! We desperately needed jackets and gloves but of course it was the Bahamas and there were none to be found. Needless to say, we spent a lot of time indoors. One of my favorite “indoor” spots while we were there was this wonderful Greek restaurant we found. I know it sounds strange – Greek in the Bahamas? We actually went twice over those few days, it was that good!
From that point forward I’ve had a new found love for Greek food and I wanted to capture all the delicious flavors found in so many Greek dishes in one of my appetizers for the wine party. Stuffed with orzo, mint, oregano and fat free feta cheese, these lamb and beef meatballs are a real mouth-pleaser. I knew there would be a deep red wine that would pair well with their sweet spices and deep flavors. Bathed in a sauce of tomatoes and eggplant, they stand up well enough to be a meal on their own.
Sushi is one of my favorite foods to eat and probably my least favorite food to make. I find it difficult for several reasons: A. I’m not a sushi chef, B. It’s so difficult to roll tightly, and C. It’s so much more fun to watch someone experienced create a masterpiece! Nevertheless, being that sushi is one of my favorite foods, for our wine tasting party, I wanted to make something that tasted like it without struggling. Since I’ve seen such a trend lately on cooking competition shows to “deconstruct” popular dishes, I thought I would try the same thing with sushi.
These sushi bites combine some of the traditional California roll flavors with a twist. So simple to make, they layer cucumber, krab mix, and multigrain rice crackers. Topped with smoked salmon and a drizzle of ponzu sauce, you have all the delicious fresh flavors of sushi without all the work! I loved these so much, I made a version of them for my lunch every day this week.
What is a party without crusty French bread? And when you take that bread, toast it in the oven and top it with something delicious, you have more than a party – you have a celebration! Crostini, meaning “little toasts,” is the perfect base for party food. You can top them with anything from sweet, to salty, meat or veg, herbs and olive oil or cheese. You can even have a crostini bar with many different toppings where your guests can come up with their own combinations.
This particular concoction takes crusty toasted French baguette slices and tops them with creamy goat cheese and a smidge of basil. I could have stopped there but I wanted to play on the sweet and salty notes and thought that the brackish prosciutto would contrast well with the bright, sweet and acidic flavor of the pineapple. These are so simple to make, anyone can put this together beautifully and impress their friends! (Psssst, my wonderful and helpful boyfriend actually assembled these for our wine party!)
Mushrooms are sexy. Yep, that’s right. I said sexy. Their earthy, rich and distinctive flavor can be delicate or robust. They pair well with cheese, all kinds of vegetables and can even be the star in place of meat. They taste bright and airy when raw, creamy and intense when cooked. Mushrooms are used in every type of cuisine but I particularly like the way the mushroom is showcased in French cooking. So, when faced with the challenge of creating a food menu for my wine tasting party, I knew immediately that I wanted to make mini wild mushroom tartlets.
I chose four different kinds of mushrooms for these tartlets based on what was readily available – crimini, oyster, shiitake, and porcini. Different combinations will alter the flavor and intensity of the tartlet. Dried mushrooms that have been reconstituted (as I did here with the porcini) add a concentrated flavor and you can use the leftover cooking liquid to make some delicious soup! I even made the filling a day ahead and assembled and baked the tartlets the next day. Paired with mild leeks, salty bacon, thyme and gruyѐre cheese, these mini bites are classy and simple party food at its best. After one bite you won’t believe they are only 25 calories a piece!