Despite the fact that I attended grad school, "snack" is recently one of my most used words because 1. I have kids who don't like meals and 2. because whenever we entertain, it's too cramped and chaotic for dinner so I like to serve just wine and snacks, or hors d'oeuvres as the fancy French call them.
I have some theories about pre-dinner snacks. They should be relatively simple with recognizable ingredients. Complex gourmet canapés initially impress but don't really ease that meet-and-greet-time awkwardness—especially when the pilot goes out in your mother-in-law's semi-broken 1920s oven and you only realize it 1.5 hours into turkey roasting time.
Anyway, I have been called the "dip queen" by several friends and family members for good reason. And I have a few tricks up my sleeve that once I reveal will ruin me forever but I'm gonna do it - you're welcome.
- Easy Dip: mix sour cream with any spice mix (ala onion soup mix but preferably some kind of salt/herb mix). You can also add in mayo or yogurt for a creamier dip. Other fun stuff to make it seem sophisticated: lemon juice or zest, sherry vinegar, pesto, fresh herbs, chunky salt, chopped up smoked salmon, avocado, blue cheese, etc. Serve with crudite.
- Ricotta: drizzle with olive oil and good salt. serve with pita chips.
- Nuts: Mix pecans or mixed nuts with melted butter, brown sugar and fresh rosemary. Serve warm.
- Pickled Vegetables: add cut up cauliflower, radishes or carrots to a brine of vinegar, sugar and salt. (Or any good pickling liquid recipe you can find.) Drain and serve in a pretty bowl.
- Crostini: toast slices of baguette and smear with goat cheese or even cream cheese. Drizzle with olive oil or pesto and kosher salt.
Any other ideas out there? Please let me know!!