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2014 Holiday Appetizer Thread

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 

I thought this might be fun. At our gatherings for Thanksgiving and Christmas (although I'd love to hear about other nation's holidays) I typically take pleasure in creating some of the appetizers. It's always been a fun creative process, although I've learned sometimes people just want a normal pickle and a slice of roast beef and turkey! I have to admit a relish tray along with a good meat and cheese tray still rank high as my favorites.

 

I would love to share some of the things I've done, and see ideas from others. I'll be tasked again this year for at least two large dinners so I'm ready to get my game on!

 

A couple years back I did a "juicy lucy" platter. This was an OK idea, but it was difficult to get the components together in a form factor that was easy to eat. I thought they looked tasty though!
 

 

Along the classic sandwich route, one of the first times I posted on Cheftalk looking for ideas on how to accomplish an app, I got some good feedback for "mini BLT's". These came out better and were easier to manage.

 

pancetta gorgonzola blts

 

I once did a grilled Mediterranean themed crostini with feta, kalamata olives, sundried tomato, and garlic marinated shrimp. Again while delicious seemed to be a little on the big side and took 3-4 bites.
 

 

 

I'm sure I'll dig some more up. Would love to hear what your favorite appetizer offering is for really any occasion.

post #2 of 22

Wow those look very appetizing!  The 2015 date threw me off though lol.  I guess you mean this holiday season?  

 

I like simplicity.  Nothing too messy.  I like pigs in a blanket truth be told.  Anything that involves scallops or smoked salmon.  

 

The only type of appetizers I don't like are communal bowls of dips.  Someone always comes along and dips right in the bowl and the double dipping is a total buzz kill.  

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post #3 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Koukouvagia View Post
 

Wow those look very appetizing!  The 2015 date threw me off though lol.  I guess you mean this holiday season?  

 

I like simplicity.  Nothing too messy.  I like pigs in a blanket truth be told.  Anything that involves scallops or smoked salmon.  

 

The only type of appetizers I don't like are communal bowls of dips.  Someone always comes along and dips right in the bowl and the double dipping is a total buzz kill.  

 

I can't believe I put 2015.. my company's fiscal year ends in September so everything we are doing is 2015 now and has apparently poisoned my thought process. I'll see if a mod can fix it.

 

I agree on the dips, although I love dips it isn't the best thing at a gathering. Scallops sounds interesting! My worry there would be whether a scallop once room temperature would still be appealing? Smoked salmon sounds good. I've done shrimp with a sour cream and chive mixture placed in cucumber "cups" before. It was ok, nothing spectacular.

post #4 of 22
Thread Starter 

This is a platter I created last year. Nothing spectacular I know. People seem to enjoy the meats and cheeses more than vegetables so this year I am thinking I'll focus on the meats and a nice selection of cheese along with relish and forgo the veges altogether, or at least really minimize them.

 

 

Any thoughts on platters like this? Would deli sliced cheese rolled into meat be good? I paired a london port roast beef with horseradish cheddar once and it seemed to be a hit.

post #5 of 22

I like the look of that platter!

 

Deli cheese rolled into meat, doesn't sound good to me. But then, I don't like cheese, so would much rather have a nice salami/meat platter with some pickles. The cheese on another platter so I don't need to chase that platter :D

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post #6 of 22
Thread Starter 

I just realized I could edit the thread title myself! 2015 is now 2014!

 

Butzy thanks for the feedback. That's probably a good point, that some people may not like cheese or at least certain cheeses. If I leave them separate they can combine them as they see fit. I guess that is part of the struggle of educating someone to something new while trying not to alienate people that already know what they like.

post #7 of 22
Thread Starter 

What are must have items on a relish platter? One thing I thought I'd add this year, I had never experienced and haven't seen since are caper berries. I was at the airport in Charolette, NC and had a layover when I visited a wine bar that offered charcuterie. I had to ask them what the heck that thing was but it was delicious. I've since had similar flavors from Indian "pickles" but I can't recall what exactly it was they pickled. Sour beyond belief though, in a good way!

 

My familiar list would be...

  • Black Olives
  • Green Olives (stuffed with pimento or maybe feta)
  • Cornichons
  • Cocktail onions?
  • Pickled veges like cauliflower/carrots that Italian delis have
  • Peperoncini

 

Any other killer items that I am missing?

post #8 of 22

Yeah, cornichons or pickled cucumbers are a must!

I quite like asparagus esp with ham.

All kind of pickles go well with it in my opinion.

 

Also some mustard and maybe a bit of chili paste.

Devilled eggs maybe (eggs mimosa)?

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post #9 of 22

The thing today is roasted vegetables, any kind with a touch of balsamic.      Try roasting them and rolling cheeses in them., Or put them in filo dough and make strudel style then cut and garnish

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #10 of 22

Last week I made a batch of mini frittatas, of sorts.

 

 

The batch in front was chorizo browned with a bit of minced onion and serrano, the back batch was mushroom, shallot and mozzarella.

 

And last year I made a batch of shepard's pies. I used rounds of wheat bread for the crust. Baked them to get a bit of color then put in the minced lamb, topped with the mash and cheddar,

 

mjb.

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post #11 of 22

I like serving in endive leaves.  I usually make shrimp salad in endive leaves but lobster salad would be good too.

 

For smoked salmon I get large pieces of salmon and lay it flat.  Then I smother it with cream cheese/sour cream/chive mixture and roll it up tight.  Refrigerate.  Then cut into little pinwheels you can serve plain, on top of bread or a cucumber.  Yum.

 

A trick I learned here a long time ago was to cut season puff pastry with parmesan cheese and then cut into strips, twist and bake.  They're great near a cheese tray.

 

Oh this one is a go to!  Bread rounds topped with camembert and a small dolop of fig jam.

 

And this one is one of my favorites but it's never been a huge success at parties, can't figure out why.  I cut french bread into slices, then I slather it with herbed butter (parlsey, dill, chives, lemon) and top it with razor thin slices of radish, topped with sea salt.  I could eat that all day long.

 

Also, I have a good recipe for octopus sausage!

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post #12 of 22

@teamfat  that's a great idea, I underutilize my muffin tins, they can do so much more than just make muffins.  I sometimes make kourkouto http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/member/views/KOURKOUTO-WITH-ZUCCHINI-1274021 for large dinner gatherings but in a large baking dish which I then slice and serve.  If I make it in muffin tins it is so much easier to serve!

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post #13 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Koukouvagia View Post

 

Also, I have a good recipe for octopus sausage!

 

Tell us more!

 

mjb.

 

 

Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
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post #14 of 22

Not much to tell.  I got the recipe here http://www.cookingchanneltv.com/recipes/chuck-hughes/braised-octopus-and-tangy-potato-salad.html  and it's really great although the octopus can be cooked in any flavors you want.

 

So basically I put the octopus in a pot with some onion and garlic and chili flakes and I allow it to braise in its own juice for about an hour until almost tender.  Then I let it cool completely.  I cut the legs off and lay them down top to tail like the recipe says.  Then I roll it in clingfoil like a sausage, very tightly and put it in the refrigerator for a few hours or over night.  The skin of the octopus is very gelatinous and it all stays together.  Then when I'm ready to serve it I slice it thinly, arrange on a platter and drizzle olive oil, lemon juice and balsamic vinegar on it and top it with fennel fronds or even celery fronds will work.  Dill in a pinch.

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #15 of 22
Thread Starter 

Well I ended up using past experiences and decided to remove the veges and create a relish platter with a meat and cheese platter. The relishes are basically all store bought stuff, but the olive mixture is nice, it was in a marinade of olive oil and herbs and includes garlic, and peppers too. The cheeses are some of the best I've had, particularly the aged havarti, it's about perfect for what I want in a cheese. Nothing extraordinary, I used a little parsley from the garden and some small tomatoes I had to try and add a little color. I'm concentrating on roasting the turkey this year so didn't do anything crazy for apps. Happy Thanksgiving to all my cheftalk friends in the USA

 

 

post #16 of 22

Well done!

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #17 of 22

My favorite thing to serve is mini-tiropites or spanakotiropites, but they do take a lot of time to make. At least you can prep and freeze them far ahead and just bake off what you need. Around here they sell for over a dollar a piece if you buy them in a specialty market, but I've seen them at Costco too. (Haven't checked the price though.) My mom and her Greek girlfriends made 900 of these for an open house we had for my brother's bar mitzvah in 1963. They were gone in a couple of hours. :D

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post #18 of 22

A sampling plate of finger food that I recently did for the holidays

 

tiramisu in a chocolate box topped with glazed walnuts

French goat feta and apricot paste with micro basil

balsamic grilled flank steak rolled up with shaved parmesan and topped with an Amarena cherry

truffled potato chip with fig tapenade, gorgonzola cream, and micro mint

porcini dusted pork tenderloin on a sweet potato coin with a smoked paprika aioli and topped with an arugula pesto

duck confit and truffle mousse on a cheddar bacon cracker with white pomegranate arils

 

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post #19 of 22
Thread Starter 

Wow! Now that is some serious work for apps! I love tapas so a tasting plate is right up my alley! I don't think my holiday crowd would appreciate the amount of work that goes into a plate like that though.

post #20 of 22

Cheflayne-

 

How do you truffle a potato chip?  Couple drops of truffle oil? With a small brush?

 

Thanks

 

Mike

travelling gourmand
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post #21 of 22
Quote:

Originally Posted by MikeLM View Post

 

How do you truffle a potato chip?  Couple drops of truffle oil? With a small brush?

 

Sprinkle with truffle salt right when they come out of the fryer and are still hot.

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post #22 of 22

I was just admiring some of the posts made in this thread. Great job to all! 

 

These are pics from the last holiday party we were able to host. This was the Christmas back in 2008 and about as close as I have come to re-creating some of my work in the restaurant since I retired. Mostly given that was the year prior to the DD's venture into Competitive swimming. Funny, we've only pulled off one two parties since then. On a personal note; it's not my greatest work but noteworthy given certain circumstances of life.

 

Selection of cheeses, fruits marinated veggies, breads and crackers

 

(L) baked Ham and rolls, (CB) Rumaki, CF Cheese Puffs and (R)Swedish meatballs. Unfortunately the Rumaki and puffs were still in the oven.

 

Granted their not savory but I'd like to consider them as "sweet appetizers" given the DW and DD's desire for such items over the savory.

 

The dessert table. (Left) is a tower with truffels and a raspberry, Grand Marnier dipping sauce, fudge (made by the DW and DD and turtles. (Center) is a Raspberry, white Chocolate Cheese Cake with Macadamia nut crust and (R) are Home made oatmeal, pecan chocolate chip cookies also made by the DW and DD

 

Close-up of the White Chocolate, and Raspberry cheese cake with Macadamia nut crust. Sorry no cross-section. It was gone before I could get it. Hehehe To describe it.... Crushed Macadamia nuts and graham crackers topped with fresh, whole raspberries surrounded by velvety smooth white chocolate cheese cake topped with fresh raspberry reduction and white chocolate shavings.

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