Create an Illusion
Want to look like you spent more than you actually did? Display hors d’oeuvre on several small plates scattered throughout the entertaining space rather than on one large serving tray.
Watch the Salt
Salty snacks may leave guests parched, which can lead to excessive drinking. The solution? Go easy on the seasoning and the charcuterie. Also, as much as we like wine and cocktails, make sure ice water is readily available.
Many store-bought appetizers (cheese straws, fried egg rolls, mini quiches, etc.) are ultra-rich and high in calories. Head to the produce and seafood aisles for healthier alternatives : cucumber with smoked trout, shrimp, oysters, mango and avocado verrines, seafood ceviche. Stuffed mushrooms or even gazpacho are also great options!
Preserve The Crunch
Spread butter or cream cheese on crackers and grilled bread before adding a moist topping. This creates a protective barrier, keeping them dry and crispy longer.
Do The Math
Calculate about five appetizers per guest. For a cocktail reception without a formal meal, aim for 10 to 12 pieces each.
Presentation is Everything
Crackers and chips are great, but not for every single hors d’oeuvre. Let your imagination run wild and use items like bamboo skewers, appetizer spoons, endive leaves and shot glasses to keep things interesting. For more ideas, visit ricardocuisine.com/holidays/.
Have a Plan
Have a few empty bowls on-hand for skewers, pits, shells and used napkins. Also, make sure guests have somewhere to put down their drinks: Eating while holding a glass, a napkin and a clutch can be quite the juggling act.
Put those kids to work! Hand them a serving tray and voilà: Adorable mini-waiters. Or if you’d prefer to keep the children behind-the-scenes,they can help out by preparing appetizers de bouchées. You have less to do; they’re kept busy. Win-win.
Bigger is Not Better
Skip oversized, messy or hard-to-eat hors d’oeuvre. The perfect appetizer can be eaten effortlessly in just one or two bites.
To save a few dollars, kick off the evening with a spread of affordable bites like crudités, olives and bruschetta. Then when appetites have calmed down, serve big-ticket items like lobster and duck. Trust us: No one will be the wiser.