Are you hosting a holiday gathering this season of parties? Are you going to a Hanukkah, Christmas, New Year’s or Valentine’s party and expect to be asked to bring a little something for the table? Your gathering or theirs, the something for the table needn’t be wine or dessert. Bring a canape tray.
Canapes are the greet-you-at the-door-to-the-party food. A kind of mini-appetizer, they often substitute for the appetizer and they are more mobile. Any corner of a room can have a canape plate because they are finger foods, unlike appetizers, many of which require fork or spoon.
Three squares of hard cheese, separated by an olive and a pearl onion and skewered on a long toothpick, is the classic quick canape. But here are three more, both easy to concoct and carry around a room or to a neighbor’s, that you might like to upgrade the canape offering.
Simple and tasty
1 6 oz. can tuna, drained
1 medium cucumber
1 small can sweet corn, drained
1/2 of 1 small red onion, minced
salt and pepper to taste
12 round crackers OR hearty bread cut into rounds (with a cookie cutter, for example)
Wash and cut the cucumber into a dozen 1/2 inch rounds. Mix together the tuna, onion and sweetcorn in a bowl. Add enough mayonnaise to get a moist, firm consistency, like a tuna salad. Season to taste and mix in a few drops of lemon juice for a light citrus taste. Spoon onto cucumber rounds or bread or crackers. Garnish with parsley or dill weed.
Note: This recipe can be used with canned salmon or crabmeat. It can be made a day ahead and refrigerated, covered.
An old favorite returns
2 4.25 oz. cans deviled ham spread
4 oz. cream cheese (softened)
1 Tbsp. onion (minced)
4 tsp. pimiento (finely chopped)
3 Tbsp. sweet relish
1 tsp. yellow or brown mustard
Your choice of crackers, at least 12
Mix all ingredients in a medium bowl until well blended and easy to spread. Place a dollop on each cracker, in the middle, and garnish with paprika, parsley, or other colorful choice. Save unused mixture in a covered bowl in the refrigerator to use for sandwiches or snacks.
ASPARAGUS POTATO BITES
Gluten free, vegetarian and savory
9 small yellow potatoes
6 spears of asparagus, tough ends cut off
5 tsp sour cream
1/4 to 1/2 of a sweet red pepper
2 1/2 tsp olive oil, divided
salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 450ºF. Cut the potatoes in half lengthwise (so the cut surface is oblong not circular). In a bowl, toss the potatoes with 1 teaspoon of the olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt and 1/8 teaspoon coarse black pepper. Put them in a parchment paper or foil-lined 9″x11″ cake pan. Arrange potatoes cut side up.
Roast until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork, about 15 minutes. Check on them sooner as small potatoes heat faster. When the potatoes are done, remove the pan from the oven and allow them to cool to room temperature.
Cut the sweet pepper into small chunks, almost minced. Toss the asparagus with the remaining 1 teaspoon of oil, a good pinch of salt and a grind of pepper. Put the spears on a baking sheet and place in the oven. Place cut pepper in a corner of the asparagus pan. Cook until the asparagus is bright green and just yielding to the pressure of a fork (about 4 minutes for thin asparagus, 7 for really thick ones). Remove the pepper when it begins to wilt, and the asparagus before it wilts. Transfer veggies to a plate to cool. Cut each asparagus spear into three equal lengths.
Arrange the potato halves on a serving plate, cut side up. If any are particularly unsteady, cut a thin slice off of the rounded bottom, making it flat so the potato can sit upright. Top each half with 1/4 teaspoon of sour cream, a little sprinkle of red pepper garnish and one length of asparagus. Give everything a small grind of pepper. Can be served warm (not hot or the sour cream will melt) or at room temperature. Makes 18 canapes.
By Jean Redstone