Solutions for Your Party Table
by Nancy Finch, Food Columnist
Party perplexities ... there are many.
Who to invite? What to serve? When to have it? HOW MUCH
My observation is that people are eating less and less
and drinking more and more lightly at parties. And that is a good thing.
Now, can you, as the hostess, suppress the compulsion
to cook yourself into a frenzy, greet the guests in a zombie state, and then
try to figure out what to do with leftover dips, finger foods, meatballs or
We went to a couple of parties last holiday season
where either the hostess thought she was feeding starvation victims or a lot
of invitees didn’t show. The quantity of leftovers was distressing.
I have, however, encountered the horror of every
hostess — running out of food! But that was rare.
As you get your nerve up to have a holiday party this
year, try to set some parameters. Plan easy-to-prepare party food that
won’t wear you out or break your budget, and keep the quantity down.
I’ve tried some recipes that give an appearance of
hours in the kitchen or, at least, elegance, but that were quite simple.
The Smoked Salmon with Capers and Cream Cheese is not
inexpensive. I wouldn’t plan on serving it for a crowd unless you can find
a better buy on smoked salmon than I did. But, for a smallish gathering, a
combination of cream cheese, capers and smoked salmon on pita rounds was
very simple and festive for a party table. This version is much easier to
eat than the salmon, capers, onions and chopped eggs so often served at
Mushroom Puffs were served by a friend as a yummy
appetizer and the Layered Shrimp Dip from my favorite Alabama cookbook was a
hit at a recent party I gave.
Ann Howard’s Mushroom Puffs
Directions: Stir together cream cheese and
capers in medium bowl. Spread evenly on pita rounds or lavash. Arrange
salmon on cream cheese. Top with sliced eggs and dill. Slice each round into
8 pieces. Makes 16 appetizer servings. (For perfect hard-cooked eggs: Place
eggs in single layer in a saucepan with at least one-inch water above. Cover
the pan, bring to a boil. Turn off the heat, remove pan from burner. Let
eggs stand in hot water with the cover on, about 15 minutes for large eggs.
Then run cold water over the eggs.)
*A Middle Eastern flat cracker-type bread.
Alabama Layered Shrimp Dip