Monday, December 6, 2010

Appetizer Week

I feel pretty comfortable in a kitchen. Whereas I sweat bullets while playing the piano in front of other people, I have a bit more confidence behind the handle of a cast iron skillet. Of course I've had my fair share of kitchen disasters, but linguine is more forgiving than Listz, and I take more delight these days in deciphering the difficult passages of Julia Child than of Johannes Bach.

But there are still a few culinary categories in which I draw a complete blank; a lacuna in my epicurean education, if you will.

One such file of fright is... appetizers.


Two words.

Vegetable. Tray.

I can never think of anything besides a vegetable tray. Face it: nobody likes them! When was the last time you voluntarily munched away on raw cauliflower? Does anyone ever eat raw bell peppers dipped in Ranch dressing except at Christmas parties? Is anything more grotesque than a guest walking around with your uncooked broccoli stuck in their two front teeth? Can you daintily crunch a carrot during polite conversation?? Have you ever choked on a celery string in public?

It's just not pretty.

Sure, people feel guilted into loading up their 6" plate with vegetables so that they can justify the fudge, Christmas cookies and pie later in the evening... but spare your guests these trappings of temperance from the beginning, and skip the vegetable tray altogether.

But what to put in its place? Cheese trays are expensive. Hot dips are delicious but awkward on those tiny appetizer plates. 

This week, I will share some different bite-sized, make-ahead, elegant recipes that are best served at room temperature (why compete with your main course for oven space?).

After this week, you'll jump at the chance to bring the appetizer to potluck parties. Just try not to outshine the hostess.

You can thank me with $10's and $20's.


Sylvia said...

Oh, but I LOVE vegetable trays! :( I really do. I know I'm an odd duck in lots of respects, but I'm actually slightly disappointed when there's no vegetable tray at a party. This is due in large part to the fact that I still keep to a vegetarian diet, so when I see no vegetable tray, I wonder, "What is there for me to eat?" Also, they are great when you are doing some kind of fast or penance, to make it not so conspicuous to other party guests that you are Not Eating Anything--not to mention if you have dietary restrictions that make other appetizers off-limits. Don't get me wrong, I look forward to your recipes, but you needn't highlight their wonderfulness by bashing the vegetable tray! :-)

Justice Blank said...

I'm love savory appetizers, but I usually throw together a veggie tray too when we host. Most people dig in when I put out a fancy hummus (red pepper or extra garlic) with carrots and celery and maybe a little pita (I know it is not a veggie). Even if people don't eat it at the party I look forward to the left overs! I can't wait to see your recipes!

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