a couple of hors d’oeuvres

After the last post, I thought I should brighten things up a bit. So…

We were kicking around a party, one a bit fancier than paper plates and greasy hands (bbq, fried chicken, and so forth). I realized I’ve not shared my favorite ‘standard’ hors d’oeuvre recipe.

As with most of my recipes, the basic idea is simple and inexpensive while tasting fairly good. And you can easily kick it up a few notches with variations.

The basic is cream or neufchatel cheese, deli-thin meat (and yes, supermarket bulk is fine), and either/or brined green olives or sweet gherkins.

What you’re going to do is put a bit of cream cheese – about the size of a pat of butter – in the center of a slice of meat. You’re then going to put a bit of the green (a third of an olive, the equivalent of the gherkin) on top. You’ll then envelope fold the meat, using just a touch more cheese to glue the envelope closed.

OK, diaper fold. Assume for a moment your bit of meat is squarish (you bought the less expensive meat – fine for this recipe to a point.) Set it so it’s more or less a diamond with one point facing you. Put pat of cheese in center, top with green. Now take the near end and fold it over the cheese and olive, making sure it’s fairly snug. Bring over the left, then the right – and tuck the right back in so the total doesn’t hang out when you’re finished. Now put a dot of cream cheese on the remaining point. Finish by folding/rolling the bundle toward that point, and press lightly to seal.

I’ve done this with a variety of meats and cheeses and ‘greens’ such as scallions and dills and mint. Thing is, an 8 ounce box of cheese will wind up making pretty close to 50 of these things. Hey, they’re BITE SIZE, ok?

Second favorite but growing close is stuffed olives. Now if you’ve the money get good pitted olives. If you’ve the money and the time get really good olives and pit them yourselves. Thing is, even the ‘standard black’ you get in cans is surprisingly good here. You’re just going to stuff things in the hollows. Almonds work well. If you use smaller nuts make sure they’ll stay – you might again want something like glue to hold them. (By the way, almond stuffed black olives with a little honey dribbled in the hole first a delight, but they’re messy.) You can stuff them with cheeses, of course, but I’ve found that the unexpected tastes are more popular. Bits of apple or cherry or other fruit, for example. A small bit of lox, possibly around a bit of scallion, goes very quickly.

Both of these are work, but they’re surprisingly easy work. As in: about six years ago I had a small group of 11 year olds helping (with the bribe we’d save about a quarter for THEIR party). Provided you cut the veggies that need cutting first, it’s a safe, tasty special that they can do without worrying about it being “right”.

And best of all, even if you use ‘better’ ingredients they make a LOT for not so much money. Useful, that, doncha know.

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