Appetizer Ideas

I’m always on the lookout for appetizer ideas, since the right little morsel really shines at a party. It’s a challenge to come up with finger foods that are elegant without taking hours of preparation. The items in the following lists are eye-catching, delicious, and don’t take hours of preparation.

Although I love dips a great deal, these are intended to combat “dip fatigue.” That’s what happens when one party guest monopolizes the dip bowl, rendering it inaccessible to your other guests. With these finger foods, you can put them around the room, or even offer them from trays, and they can’t be monopolized.

  1. Finger sandwiches (trim bread crusts, cut sandwiches in triangles, and wrap in damp paper towels to keep fresh before serving)
  2. Cucumbers with dill-cream cheese spread piped on top (and a piece of pimiento)
  3. Chicken salad – try Guam Chicken Lemon Salad
  4. Vietnamese sandwiches (Crusty French bread, chicken or ham, cilantro, mayo, hot sauce, pickled carrots and onions) – If you live someplace where they sell these, they usually cost less than $3 apiece, and you can cut each one into 5 or 6 appetizer servings.
  5. Dates stuffed with almonds (try soaking the almonds in rosewater overnight first)
  6. Dates stuffed with Gorgonzola cream cheese
  7. Dried apricot half sandwiches with sweetened cream cheese
  8. Figs stuffed with sweetened Marscapone cheese and toasted pine nuts
  9. Tortilla pinwheels
  10. Strawberries, cut in half lengthwise, stuffed with sweetened cream cheese and chocolate

Marscapone-stuffed figs

Some ideas from the Silver Palette cookbook:

  1. Figs, wrapped in proscuitto and sprinkled with lime juice and pepper
  2. Chilled skewers of:

— Shrimp and grapes
— Melon, proscuitto, and smoked turkey
— Apple chunks and ham
— Lime-marinated scallops and avocado
— Cherry tomatoes and vinaigrette-marinated roast beef
— Swiss cheese, ham, and watermelon pickle (allow cheese to come to room temperature before threading onto skewers, or it will crack)

A couple more ideas from The Party Girl Cookbook:

  1. Endive leaves, each topped with a spoonful of sour cream and some fruity salsa
  2. A walkaround salad: In a very small drink cup (you could even use a Dixie cup), put a few tablespoons of creamy dip or dressing. Stand up an artful handful of assorted tall and skinny veggies, like carrots, celery, green beans, and broccoli.