It’s that wonderful time of year, also known as the holidays, when we gather with friends and family over tables and tables of finger food.
It just also happens to be a very busy time of decorating, planning and shopping. That’s why it’s a good idea to have an arsenal of hors d’oeurve recipes you can quickly whip up and take to parties with little notice or prep time.
Here’s a tip for hosts and hostesses: Let your guests help! When someone asks what he or she can bring to your party, assign them something. Most of the time, they really are happy to help and are asking you in all seriousness.
Our local farmers markets have a lot of prepared home canned goods, cheeses and breads to help make your holiday party prep easier.
I’ve shared just a couple of recipes you can pull together using those items and saving yourself a ton of time. Bring them to a party or include them with other dishes your guests bring at your own get-together.
These little cranberry bites are a little sweet and a tad tart — just like I am about this stage in the holiday season. They look impressive, but are very easy to make. The last time I made these, I used some goat cheese found at my local farmers market and a little rosemary from my small herb container garden.
I tend to hoard jars of preserved figs in the back of my pantry, but I’ve seen quite a few available at almost any market I visit. I usually use my whole jarred figs for these little crostini, but you could easily use spreadable jam instead. If you’re not a fan of figs, your favorite fruit spread would work as well. The mint gives these crispy, sweet bites some holiday flare. Our market has a baker who has crostini already cut and toasted to perfection, which would make this dish even easier.
Not piling all of the party responsibilities on yourself is one of the best things you can do to allow yourself to actually enjoy the party. Make use of the helpful ingredients at your local farmers market or other local vendors. And don’t forget to get a little help from your friends! You’ll be doing yourself and your guests a favor by letting them join in the compliments to the chefs, and giving yourself some time back to really celebrate the season.
Cranberry Goat Cheese Bites
Recipe is by Teresa B. Day.
1 package frozen puff pastry, thawed
1 cup whole berry cranberry sauce
4 ounces goat cheese
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary
1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
2. Cut the pastry into approximately 3-inch-by-3-inch squares. Press each square into a mini-muffin tin.
3. In a small bowl, whisk together cheese, honey and milk.
4. Spoon a little cheese in the bottom of each pastry.
5. Top with cranberry sauce. Pull together all four corners of the pastry and pinch together. The pastry will “bloom” while cooking.
6. Bake about 10 minutes or until puff pastry corners are lightly brown.
7. Sprinkle with rosemary. Let cool 5 minutes before serving.
Fig and Mint Crostini
Recipe is by Teresa B. Day.
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 small baguette, sliced into about 16 pieces, toasted
16 jarred figs, sliced in half if whole figs
4 mint leaves, sliced julienne style
Sea salt, to taste
1. Spread ricotta on each crostini. Top with two fig halves or spread jam evenly.
2. Sprinkle mint leaves and drizzle with fig syrup.
3. Sprinkle a pinch of sea salt on top before serving.
4. Serve immediately or chill and serve later.