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Nothing is more satisfying than creating a memorable evening for friends and family and holiday parties demand a little extra sparkle. When the chaos of the season makes it seem impossible to make your dream party into a reality, simple elegant recipes can save the day.
Here are five festive appetizers that will impress your guests without leaving you too exhausted to entertain and enjoy your own party. Using a few well-selected ingredients, they are easy to pull together and constructed so your guests can pick them up and pop them in their mouths without worrying about dripping all over their holiday best. Elegant, light and relatively inexpensive to make, these holiday favorites also include options for any vegetarians in your crowd.
With these trouble-free recipes, a glamorous evening is easy. Pull up a chair by the fire and have fun.
Manchego and Fig
These appetizers are so delicious and simple you will want to make them time after time. The secret is combining the nutty taste of Manchego with sweet fig jam. Top it off with the nutty crunch of Marcano almond for a simply delightful bite. All these ingredients can be found in high quality markets. Buy a good chunk of high quality Spanish Manchego cheese. Cut the cheese into slices about ¼” thick and 1 ½” wide. The slices should be sturdy enough to be stiff when picked up. Spoon a small dollop of fig jam on top. Place one salted Marcano almond a top the jam. Dust with finely chopped rosemary.
Caprese on a Stick
This hors d’oeuvre is colorful on the platter and fun to eat. Gather miniature mozzarella balls, grape tomatoes, fresh basil and small wooden barbecue skewers or long, strong toothpicks. Assemble skewers by placing one basil leaf between a mozzarella ball and a tomato. Drizzle with a little balsamic vinegar and olive oil. (For a larger appetizer, alternate the ingredients on the skewer until you have the amount desired.) Create a pyramid on of these on your favorite platter for a fun display.
Asparagus with Prosciutto
Asparagus spears are always a statement of elegance and this effortless recipe is both delicious and healthy. Shave the tough asparagus stalks and blanch the spears. They should still be crunchy. Wrap each spear in a piece or two of prosciutto. Drizzle with a balsamic or light Dijon mustard dressing or eat plain.
Endive with Feta Relish
Use both white and red Belgian endive leaves for an especially beautiful holiday display. Separate rinse and dry leaves. Drain a one 8-ounce jar of pitted Kalamata olives and one 8-ounce jar of sundried tomatoes. Combine olives and tomatoes with 6 ounces of feta cheese in food processor. Pulse the ingredients until they are combined and form a chunky paste. Scoop the paste onto the wide end of the endive to create a crunchy, savory and richly-colored treat. Arrange the leaves decoratively on a platter.
Crab Stuffed Tomatoes
This appetizer is lovely to look at and offers a mouthful of flavor! Rinse a pint of cherry tomatoes. Slice off the tops and scoop out the insides. Mix 6-ounces of fresh or canned minced crab meat with ¼” teaspoon of horseradish, ¼” cup of mayonnaise, one teaspoon lemon juice, two tablespoons green onion. Mash ingredients together and add mayonnaise if the combination is too dry for your taste. Add salt and pepper. Fill cherry tomatoes with crab and sprinkle chopped dill on top for garnish.