Holiday Open House ~ need cold food ideas

kawfeeaddictDecember 4, 2006

Hi everyone, We're have a neighborhood, afternoon open house and expect about 36 people. I originally thought hot items, but where they will need to be tended to and require chafing dishes, I'm now thinking of cold items only to free up the kitchen and us.

We have drinks and desserts under control but what do think of tea sandwiches with cheese platters, hummus, crudite, etc.?

Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated!

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Do a shrimp cocktail display. I usually don't like doing them. But,I did a huge silver bowl this past weekend with ice in the bottom of it in a plastic bag. I froze that and then put it in the bottom of the dish. Poured shrimp with tails on over it. It kept them ice cold the entire party. People loved it. I am always surprised by that. But, it's a good one. Just cocktail sauce in a large dish. I put a small bowl near it for tails so people could discard. I'm telling you it's an easy dish!

    Bookmark   December 4, 2006 at 11:50PM
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I have a couple of party favorites that work well. One is a crab-filled pepper strip, great for the holidays because you can use red and green pepper. The filling is crabmeat, plain yogurt (or sour cream), parsley, and scallions. You cut the peppers in strips wide enough to hold the mixture. Another option is to do a pork tenderloin that gets made ahead and served at room temperature. Have chutney and/or mustard on the side for those who like it that way. I hope you have a wonderful party!

    Bookmark   December 5, 2006 at 10:09AM
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Easy dish that everyone loves: Put a brick of cream cheese on a plate. Top with a sweet/hot jelly such as strawberry jalepeno jelly. Serve with crackers. This is the easiest thing I make at parties and people love it.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2006 at 10:39AM
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I am very proud to pass on my son's masterpiece! And it's SO easy. Oven-dried tomatoes on crostini (just a baguette sliced thin on the diagonal, drizzled with olive oil, and baked a few minutes). The ODTs are easy to make -- halve plum tomatoes, drizzle with olive oil, top with any herbs you like or have handy, and bake at a low temp for a few hours. These are amazing warm, but still excellent at room temperature. You could probably use oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes and it will be almost as good.

The only caveat is that they vanish VERY quickly -- we've never even had them last until all the guests arrive.

I like lowspark's idea, too -- it's great. Chutney is also a good topping.

You mentioned hummus; it is always popular, and it's a little more main-dish-y than our other suggestions. An eggplant salad goes well with this, too.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2006 at 12:22PM
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Well, I think if you're serving cold food, I'd at least offer hot buttered rum or hot sangria, perhaps?

Don't offer anything that needs to be cut with a knife; using a fork and juggling a glass of wine is the most you can ask of any guest.

Sliced meat platters are good, and they can look very festive if you roll them up and pin them with colorful toothpicks (which makes them also MUCH easier to pick up as opposed to slices fanned out on a tray).

Cube the harder cheeses; makes it easier to pick up than having to slice everything.

Crostini are good with everything, including a tuna-red pepper spread on top. You can also smear them with cream cheese and top with a slice of smoked salmon and a sprig of dill; these will go very fast!

You can use cucumber rounds as a base instead of bread or crackers -- this is good with crab salad, or hummus.

I'd still do a couple of lasagne casseroles, myself. Not too tall, just a couple of manageable layers. Or stuffed medium-size pasta shells. Bake one, put it out, then 1 hr later bake the other one and put it out. Easy, and doesn't need to be kept warm although a warming tray, which you can probably borrow from someone, helps. I'm just not fond of a buffet with nothing but cold foods, particularly when people are drinking.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2006 at 9:51PM
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