The rush of December and even early January can leave you feeling exhausted. Shopping, wrapping, planning…and then in the midst of all that chaos you are expected to show up at a handful of holiday parties with an appetizer? While store-bought might seem like an easy solution, there are some quick plates that you can throw together and wow the crowds with at the next merry get-together.
This white bean tomato dip is just different enough from the run-of-the-mill onion packet to make an impact at the next soiree.
First, heat 1/3 cup of vegetable broth in a saucepan until it is almost boiling, but not quite. Then add two cloves of minced garlic and let it simmer. Next pour the broth/garlic mixture into a food processor and add in a can of Northern White Beans (drained), ¼ cup olive oil and ½ cup sundried tomatoes. Note: using the sundried tomatoes that come in a jar with oil is recommended and do not drain or rinse them.
Blend all of the ingredients together until it is sort of smooth and then let it sit covered in the fridge for at least an hour. This can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator even overnight. Serve it with some pita crackers, vegetables or even a sliced baguette. Let it sit out at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before serving and just top it with a little chopped cilantro for an added burst of flavor.
I feel like people used to always serve stuffed mushrooms at parties – or at least the ones I attended with my parents growing up. Needless to say, I grew to like them and have developed my own recipe that I just don’t use enough…but you should if you’re hosting or heading where an oven is handy.
To start, thoroughly wash the mushrooms and pop the caps off, then put them aside. Chop the mushroom stems and then heat some olive oil in a small skillet and add in the chopped stems, two to three minced cloves of garlic, some breadcrumbs, ½ tbsp of dried sage and a little dry white wine. Sauté these all together over a low heat and then when there is just a minute or two left, add in the feta cheese and mix it in. Then remove this from the heat and stuff each mushroom cap (by hand is easier) with the mixture and place them on a cookie sheet, drizzling with olive oil as you go. Bake them in the oven at 325 degrees for about 15 minutes; make sure to keep an eye on it to ensure the mushrooms don’t shrivel up.
Surprisingly, this one might be the most memorable and it is also the easiest…ladies and gentlemen, I give you vodka tomatoes. You want to work with either cherry or grape tomatoes for this and after rinsing them, cut shallow slits in the tops and place them into a large bowl. Fill the bowl with at least half a bottle of vodka and a few cloves of minced garlic, stir it all up and put it in the fridge for 12 to 24 hours. Then, before its party time, drain the tomatoes and serve in some festive glassware with toothpicks. Be warned – people will overestimate how many they can handle and enough of these together almost count as a cocktail.
Enjoy and happy holidays!