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Old 08-02-2013, 03:56 PM   #1
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Appetizer help needed

I need some ideas and am coming up empty - I'm hoping to leverage the collective DC wisdom to preserve my reputation...

In a week or so I will be camping with 60 folks who have been told that I am a fantastic cook - they actually printed this in the event brochure. At this bash there is an appetizer "potluck" where everyone brings something delicious to share and has a meet and greet social hour. I am coming up empty on ideas...

Here are the prep and service limitations:

I will have limited cooking facilities (in a tiny trailer trailer) but will have a fridge, stove and oven (all tiny). It will be hot - maybe as much as 100 degrees so I don't want to bake anything. I will have a limited amount of time to prep, in other words, I don't want to spend all afternoon making something.

I'll have to hand carry the delicious platter of __________ 1/4 mile to the event and once there, will have no refrigeration.

Some items are off limits: Shellfish (very allergic), anything highly perishable or hard to eat, prepared items like hummus and chips (there will be LOTS of that kind of stuff) or anything too "out there".

I need the appetizer to be beautiful, delicious and somewhat filling as there is no dinner planned after. Got any ideas?

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Old 08-02-2013, 04:06 PM   #2
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If money is not an issue I would do a beef tenderloin on the grill and make some little sliders. Offer a variety of sauces and serve the beef on small potato rolls.

Maybe a fresh cold gazpacho shooter with some nice peppery vodka added at serving time.
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Old 08-02-2013, 04:07 PM   #3
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This is a beautiful vegetable platter - great as a vegetarian option:
Lemon-Marinated Veggies Recipe

Another idea is to do an antipasto platter:
http://www.food.com/recipe-finder/all/antipasto-platter
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Old 08-02-2013, 04:07 PM   #4
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If you can do fish you could try a ceviche. Keep everything one ice.
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Old 08-02-2013, 04:13 PM   #5
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Geez, talk about setting the bar high for you, Janet! included in the brochure

Ceviche would be good. Fruit skewers with some kind of "special" dip/sauce/drizzle? Spicy or sweet nut mix, chocolate drizzled peanut or nut brittle. Mini quiches.
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Old 08-02-2013, 04:15 PM   #6
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I like the slider idea. Perhaps offer a couple of varieties of sliders..sliced ham, salami, Turkey, chicken...all of which can be sliced ahead of time. Some assembly required.
Or...bruschetta with some nice toppings/ For example:
Fresh tomato and basil
Blue cheese and mascarpone topped with a bit of roasted red sweet pepper.
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Old 08-02-2013, 04:42 PM   #7
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My iPhone isn't letting me search, but 3 things that come to mind for me are:

Satay
Summer rolls with dipping sauces
Tequila-spiked cherry tomatoes

I've posted recipes for the second two.

Sauveur (sp) magazine had a satay issue out within the past year with killer recipes.
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Old 08-02-2013, 04:52 PM   #8
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Some great ideas here ... satay is intriguing. I had actually contemplated making a pad thai sort of lettuce rollup or maybe with those rice wrappers and so this is along the same vein...

Sliders might work, but I think I would have a hard time keeping rolls from drying out almost instantly. (think high dessert...) but maybe in a lettuce wrap would work?

Ceviche sounds yummy but I'm not sure I can source the ingredients where I'll be.

Lovely ideas - thanks so much.....
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Old 08-02-2013, 05:14 PM   #9
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The rice wrappers take time (and if you haven't done them before, practice first). I was thinking lettuce wraps would be nice. You would have to cover the wraps with a damp towel.

Fresh Avocado Spring Rolls with Sweet Thai Dipping Sauce recipe - Canadian Living

I would be tempted to do something that could be made ahead and then cooked on a grill, something like this:

Recipe Details
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Old 08-02-2013, 05:16 PM   #10
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I think food on a stick is a great party appetizer. Here are a couple of ideas:
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Old 08-02-2013, 06:02 PM   #11
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How about tiny red potatoes boiled and doused with a butter/olive oil, garlic, anchovy sauce.

Sort of a bagna cauda.

Serve in a big bowl with toothpicks handy for spearing the little buggers.
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Old 08-02-2013, 08:27 PM   #12
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I'd suggest that nothing is quite as appetizing as the aromas from a blend of smoking woods at a campfire. So, my suggestions are:

1) A salad of thin slices of rare honey smoked duck with bite-sized pieces of nashi pears scented with orange flower water on top of a bed of pomegranate jelly. The duck can be salted and smeared with honey beforehand, then kept chilled until ready to be smoked before serving. The pomegranate jelly can be prepared beforehand and kept chilled until serving. The nashi pears can be chopped up beforehand and some lemon juice squeezed over them to prevent oxidizing, and then kept chilled until the dish is ready to be served, when you can lightly scent the nashi pears with the orange flower water.

Or:

2) A smoked rainbow trout rillette. Hot smoke the rainbow trout, remove the skin, take the flesh off the bones and then lightly mash the flesh with lemon oil to form a rillette. Serve with a tiny sprinkling of Almas caviar on crusty bread that has been buttered and toasted over the woodfire.
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Old 08-02-2013, 08:32 PM   #13
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Summer rolls has my vote. You can fill with lots of yummy stuff and you can keep them moist with a cool damp teatowel.

What about grilled proscuitto wrapped asparagus? Cooled then drizzled with balsamic vinegar? You could do all kinds of funky pickle things.
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Old 08-03-2013, 12:00 PM   #14
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spring rolls, fruit, cucumber cups w/ wasabi mayo, sushi, etc.
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Old 08-03-2013, 12:34 PM   #15
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Thanks everyone for the ideas.... They have been helpful and hammered home some practicalities..

I tried making some rice wrapper roll ups last night... delicious but finicky to make and mine came out looking like giant alien slugs - clearly I'll need practice before a public appearance. I also think it would take me a couple of hours to make 60 - 70 of these. That idea is off the list. But the roll was an appealing idea.....

satay is also tempting and the pickly bit.. all good ideas so... here's what I've decided on


A Greek Platter

Stuffed grape leaves - I can make these at home the day ahead and have stacks of them
Lamb on small sticks (satay style but with a greek flavor profile). I can cut and marinate the lamb the day before.
Pickly Bits | Kalamata olives, cubes of feta and cucumber drizzled with oil and herbs
Bowl of yogurt sauce for dipping
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Old 08-03-2013, 12:41 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Janet H View Post
Thanks everyone for the ideas.... They have been helpful and hammered home some practicalities..

I tried making some rice wrapper roll ups last night... delicious but finicky to make and mine came out looking like giant alien slugs - clearly I'll need practice before a public appearance. I also think it would take me a couple of hours to make 60 - 70 of these. That idea is off the list. But the roll was an appealing idea.....

satay is also tempting and the pickly bit.. all good ideas so... here's what I've decided on


A Greek Platter

Stuffed grape leaves - I can make these at home the day ahead and have stacks of them
Lamb on small sticks (satay style but with a greek flavor profile). I can cut and marinate the lamb the day before.
Pickly Bits | Kalamata olives, cubes of feta and cucumber drizzled with oil and herbs
Bowl of yogurt sauce for dipping
It sounds good, JanetH. I'm glad you tried the rice wrappers at home--they are time consuming, a bit finicky, and take a bit of practice to get the knack of how to roll them, how much filling to put in so you get consistent shape/sizes, and how long to let them soak so they don't disintegrate. Definitely not a "never tried this, I'll do this for an event" type of thing.

You could probably do the grape leaves 2 days in advance, and have the Pickly bits and yogurt ready the day before. You might want to make 2 types of dip--one lemon based for the grape leaves and a mint-yogurt one for the lamb. I'm looking forward to directions so I can plan my trip to crash the event!
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Old 08-03-2013, 12:49 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Janet H View Post
Thanks everyone for the ideas.... They have been helpful and hammered home some practicalities..

I tried making some rice wrapper roll ups last night... delicious but finicky to make and mine came out looking like giant alien slugs - clearly I'll need practice before a public appearance. I also think it would take me a couple of hours to make 60 - 70 of these. That idea is off the list. But the roll was an appealing idea.....

satay is also tempting and the pickly bit.. all good ideas so... here's what I've decided on

A Greek Platter

Stuffed grape leaves - I can make these at home the day ahead and have stacks of them
Lamb on small sticks (satay style but with a greek flavor profile). I can cut and marinate the lamb the day before.
Pickly Bits | Kalamata olives, cubes of feta and cucumber drizzled with oil and herbs
Bowl of yogurt sauce for dipping
Sounds like a winner!
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Old 08-03-2013, 12:55 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by CWS4322 View Post
It sounds good, JanetH. I'm glad you tried the rice wrappers at home--they are time consuming, a bit finicky, and take a bit of practice to get the knack of how to roll them, how much filling to put in so you get consistent shape/sizes, and how long to let them soak so they don't disintegrate. Definitely not a "never tried this, I'll do this for an event" type of thing.

You could probably do the grape leaves 2 days in advance, and have the Pickly bits and yogurt ready the day before. You might want to make 2 types of dip--one lemon based for the grape leaves and a mint-yogurt one for the lamb. I'm looking forward to directions so I can plan my trip to crash the event!


I'm not sure why I thought those rice wrappers would be easy to handle but they were a mess. I got better as I went along but then had a little accident when I dropped a soaked one on the floor and it landed with a splay and the stuck like freshly pasted wallpaper..

You suggested a lemon sauce for the grape leaves... usually after these are cooked and cooled I've served them pre dressed with a lemon/oil/herb mix. What do you suggest as an alternative ?
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Old 08-03-2013, 02:27 PM   #19
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Quote:
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You suggested a lemon sauce for the grape leaves... usually after these are cooked and cooled I've served them pre dressed with a lemon/oil/herb mix. What do you suggest as an alternative ?
Stuffed grape leaves are traditionally served with an egg-lemon sauce called avgolemono. Here's a recipe: Stuffed Grape Leaves in Egg-Lemon Sauce - Dolmathes Avgolemono

Also, by yogurt sauce, do you mean tzatziki? I think it would go great with your appetizers. I posted a recipe here some time ago.
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Old 08-03-2013, 04:35 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by GotGarlic View Post
Stuffed grape leaves are traditionally served with an egg-lemon sauce called avgolemono. Here's a recipe: Stuffed Grape Leaves in Egg-Lemon Sauce - Dolmathes Avgolemono

Also, by yogurt sauce, do you mean tzatziki? I think it would go great with your appetizers. I posted a recipe here some time ago.
That lemon sauce is wonderful.
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