One of the problems with my love of cooking is that it seems I never have the opportunity to actually make all of the delicious ideas saved on my computer and floating around in my head. After all, there are only so many gatherings and dinner parties I feel like hosting in my own home. So when someone is looking for help with their party, I love nothing more than to come to their rescue. This past weekend, my friend Kate and I had the opportunity to cater a holiday open house party. The hostess’s parents have held this party for years and years, and this was the first year they passed on the tradition to their daughter and her new husband. Over the years the menus have certainly varied, but Steph, our client, wanted to make sure that her first holiday party had food that was a little different from other recent offerings, with a variety of tasty options for her 50 guests. We decided to go with a cocktail party and prepared a wide selection of hors d’ouevres. We made a few desserts too, but kept this to a minimum since we figured that many friends and family would show up with their holiday cookies and other treats (we were right). Kate and I stayed throughout the party, continuing to cook and replenish the food so that everything was hot and fresh, and cleaning up at the end. The result? Steph got to mingle and socialize with her guests, and what party hostess wouldn’t be excited about that? The food was all very well-received, with many people claiming they just couldn’t pick a favorite, and others were being pleasantly surprised when they tried something new and loved it. I always have a lot of fun planning and creating these events, and this was no exception. On the menu was:
*Pumpkin-Cream Cheese Wontons with Cider Dipping Sauce
*Black Bean Cheddar-Chipotle Wontons with Avocado-Sour Cream
*Brie and Cranberry cups
*Cheesey Artichoke Purses
*Curry Mango Chicken Salad cups
*Pistachio-Crusted Goat Cheese Truffles with Honey on Baby Spinach Leaves
*Smoked Salmon Canapes on Potato Latkes
*Caramelized Onion Tartletts with Bacon and Sage
*Maple-Butternut Bisque soup shooters
*Southwestern Roasted Corn Chowder soup shooters
*Peppermint Tuxedo Brownies
*Cheesecake Wontons with Strawberry Sauce
Keep scrolling for pictures of some of our creations…
I chose to serve the curry-mango chicken salad in little wonton cups. Phyllo is another option, but given the volume we were making here, I found wontons to be a cheaper and easier option that is just as tasty. The wontons are baked in mini muffin tins, and then filled with scoops of the chicken salad. This type of appetizer is so versatile because you can use any filling you like, and they are easy to pick and eat without being messy.
Here’s a good one for all of you Pampered Chef fans. The tart shaper is perfect for pressing bite-size rich chocolate brownies (baked in mini muffin tins) into little cups for holding peppermint buttercream. Garnished with crushed candy cane Kisses, this is the perfect addition to any holiday spread.
Inspired by a recipe I got long ago from Peabody and by my own signature pumpkin ravioli, these crispy dumplings with a rich pumpkin-cream cheese filling and slightly-spicy cider sauce were the big hit of the night.
For these mini quiches, I started with a basic tart/quiche dough and used a round cutter to make circles from the rolled-out dough. I pressed these into my mini muffin tins and filled with a mixture of sauteed portobellos, a bit of onion and garlic, grated fontina cheese, and eggs beaten with milk. Obivously, you can choose any filling you desire!
Deliciously sweet and gingery maple-butternut bisque was served in little sipping cups . We found the best way to serve was by passing, to ensure it was enjoyed hot!