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Hors d' Oeuvres: Perfect Bite-Sized Snacks for Cocktail Parties

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Hors d' Oeuvres: Perfect Bite-Sized Snacks for Cocktail Parties

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Do you know that you can prepare hors d' oeuvres on a budget? Try these simple recipes and surprise your family with these perfect bite size snacks.

Do you know that you can prepare hors d' oeuvres on a budget? Try these simple recipes and surprise your family with these perfect bite size snacks.

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Hors d' Oeuvres: Perfect Bite-Sized Snacks for Cocktail Parties

  1. 1. Hors d’ Oeuvres: Perfect Bite-Sized Snacks for Cocktail Parties Strictly speaking, of course, the recipes in this section are not hors d'oeuvre. Those, like an antipasto, are a collection of bits of various foods such as: sardines, anchovies, cooked celery, pickled beets, dressed eggs, thin slices of ham, bologna, and so forth. An antipasto is usually arranged in the kitchen and served on a plate to the diner; hors d'oeuvre are brought to the table in a little cart and selected by the diner to suit his fancy. But the term "hors d'oeuvre" has come to mean, particularly in the United States, almost any pre-soup or opening course, either hot or cold, except that curiously entitled method of serving various types of seafood, known as a "cocktail." Why raw oysters dipped, heaven forfend, in a mixture of ketchup and horse-radish should be called a cocktail and the same name given to a felicitous combination of gin and dry vermouth is beyond comprehension. Be that as it may, and it is, the dishes that follow are meant to be eaten at the beginning of a meal, but at the table with knife and fork, thereby differing from canapés, which are eaten before dinner also, but with fingers and toothpicks, along with, one hopes, proper cocktails or a dry sherry. I have selected twelve examples of an opening course which are, I think, fun to eat, fun to prepare, and which will make a bit of a show. After all, one does give dinner parties partly to show off one's skill in the kitchen as well as to entertain one's friends. Some of the dishes are not dissimilar to what the British call a "savoury" and serve at the end of a meal rather than at the beginning. A British brigadier, and a superb cook, once told me that a "savoury is a British invention for using up leftovers." But this is not a British cookbook, albeit an English friend was more than ordinarily helpful in its writing, and so I have put these recipes here before the soup.
  2. 2. A few of these first-course dishes require a little time to prepare—some things have to be cooked and then cooled, for example —and cannot be included as an integral part of a menu to be put together in sixty minutes. Most of them, however, can be prepared very quickly indeed. Whether you have a long time or a short one in which to cook your meal, you will find that these recipes will give you a prepossessing as well as a traditional way of starting it. ▼▼▼ ANTIPASTO SERVES 1 Photo owned by Fir Combining as it does the qualities of hors d'oeuvre and salad, an antipasto serves a most useful purpose. It may be used to start a meal—luncheon, dinner, or supper—it may be followed by soup, but may also replace it, and it should, in my opinion, replace the salad course. Antipasto is, as its name implies, peculiarly suited for inclusion in "Italian" meals which also contain: spaghetti, ravioli, fettucini, or any other farinaceous dish. There is no set "table of contents," and the items listed below are suggestions only. Any one of them may be eliminated; any number of others may be added. Some of these could be: sliced bologna, button mushrooms marinated in French dressing, artichoke hearts in olive oil, or pickled beets. More than most foods, an antipasto should appeal to the eye as well as to the palate, so a little time spent in making an attractive arrangement will be well worth while. For each serving, the following is suggested: 2 LEAVES CRISP LETTUCE 1/2 HARD-BOILED EGG, SLICED LENGTHWISE 3 ANCHOVY FILLETS 2 SARDINES 2 THIN SLICES TOMATO 3 SMALL RIPE OLIVES
  3. 3. 2 STUFFED GREEN OLIVES 2 SPRING ONIONS 2 SMALL STALKS CELERY 3 THIN SLICES CUCUMBER 1 SLICE SALAMI 1 THIN SLICE BOILED HAM 2 WEDGES LEMON Place the lettuce leaves on a salad plate and arrange the other items on them. Garnish each plate with two lemon wedges. A vinegar cruet and a pepper mill should be on the table. ▼▼▼ ARTICHOKES FIGARO SERVES 6 One of the most beautiful public dining rooms on the East coast is that of the Sheraton- Carlton Hotel in Washington. Dining there can be a very pleasant experience, and one thing which makes it so is a luscious and attractive appetizer called Artichokes Figaro. "Mac" Rossi, the highly competent headwaiter there at the time, graciously gave me the recipe, and I am thus able to include this fine first course. The recipe calls for Thousand Island dressing, which in turn calls for mayonnaise, ketchup, and chopped hard-boiled egg (see Sauces and Dressings). You may use one of the commercially prepared Thousand Island dressings, which will probably not have chopped egg in it. If you do, chop a hard-boiled egg, not too fine, and stir it into the mixture described below. Artichokes Figaro are filling, and if they are to precede a full dinner, I would allow only one to a customer, or, if two, omit the salad. Artichoke bottoms may be bought in tins, six to eight to the tin. 6 ARTICHOKE BOTTOMS ½ POUND CRAB MEAT ¾ CUP THOUSAND ISLAND DRESSING 1 CHOPPED HARD-BOILED EGG (IF NEEDED) FRESH BLACK PEPPER 6 STRIPS PIMIENTO CAPERS 6 LETTUCE LEAVES Cook the artichoke bottoms for about ten minutes in boiling, salted water. Cool them. Mix, gently but well, the crab meat, the dressing, the chopped egg, if necessary, and a sprinkling of freshly ground pepper. Place a pyramid of this mixture on each artichoke bottom, being careful to cover the full surface of the artichoke. Across the apex of the pyramid lay a strip of
  4. 4. pimiento, and garnish with a few capers. Arrange each appetizer on a lettuce leaf and serve cold. ▼▼▼ AVOCADOS BARBARA SERVES 4 Photo owned by Takeaway I have it on good authority that there are certain areas in the United States, which shall be nameless but in some of which avocados are grown, where salad is actually served as a first course for dinner. This is a gastronomic heresy, not because it alters the traditional relation of courses—those great gourmets, the Chinese, serve soup at the end of a meal and with good reason—but because the pungency of salad dressing ruins one's taste for the dishes that follow and plays havoc with the palate if wine is being served. While Avocados Barbara may seemingly be open to a similar criticism, the blandness of the cheese will more than overcome the tartness of the small quantity of vinegar. At the same time this recipe will provide those who like to rearrange the order of courses, or who have a curious yen to open a meal with a salad, a comparatively safe method of following such dark and dubious paths. Certainly with Avocados Barbara to start your meal you will want no salad to follow. 2 MEDIUM AVOCADOS 1 TEASPOON MUSTARD 1 TABLESPOON VINEGAR 3 TABLESPOONS OLIVE OIL l½ CUPS CREAMED COTTAGE CHEESE 1 TABLESPOON WORCESTERSHIRE SAUCE
  5. 5. ½ CUP GREEN PEPPER, DICED FINE ½ CUP COOKED HAM, DICED NOT SO FINE FRESH BLACK PEPPER 2 LARGE RADISHES 4 PIECES LETTUCE Cut the avocados in half, remove the seeds, and peel the fruit. Place the mustard in a small bowl, add the vinegar, and stir into a paste. Add the olive oil and stir well. Put the cottage cheese into a larger bowl, and add to it the vinegar and oil mixture, the Worcestershire sauce, the: diced green pepper and ham, and a little freshly ground black pepper. Stir it well, and heap the mixture in the avocado cavities. Cut the radishes in half and garnish each mound of cheese mixture with half a radish. Arrange the lettuce on salad plates, place an avocado on each, and serve, well chilled, with toasted saltines. ▼▼▼ CANAPE BACCARA SERVES 4 This is one of the recipes which Francis Di Lello gave me for this book, and I know of few things better for starting a meal, particularly if you and your guests wish to prolong the cocktail hour by bringing your drinks to the table. The canapé goes well with alcohol in any form: be it cocktails or wine. The recipe as given to me for one serving seems overly generous, an attribute typical of Francis. I have taken the liberty of adjusting its proportions to those I think less likely to interfere with the meal to follow. Even so you will have ample. 1 TOMATO 2 HARD-BOILED EGGS 1 GREEN PEPPER 1 LARGE STALK CELERY 2 TABLESPOONS TUNA FISH 4 SARDINES ½ TABLESPOON ANCHOVY PASTE 3 TABLESPOONS RUSSIAN DRESSING 4 PIECES BREAD 3 TABLESPOONS BUTTER Douse the tomato for fifteen seconds in rapidly boiling *water and peel it. Chop the eggs, tomato, green pepper, celery, tuna fish, and sardines very fine. They should be as fine as you
  6. 6. can cut them. Put them in a bowl, add the anchovy paste and the Russian dressing, and mix everything very well. Place the mixture in a double boiler over boiling water and heat well. While the mixture is heating, cut the crusts from the bread and melt the butter in a large skillet. When it is hot, sauté the bread on both sides until brown. If sweet butter is available, use it; ordinary butter is satisfactory. Place the hot mixture on the sautéed bread and serve hot. ▼▼▼ MUSHROOMS FARLOW SERVES 4 Because it was raining that morning in New Hope, it seemed a long way into town to the grocer. Then, too, the wine had run deep and red the night before and now the martinis looked very cold, very pale, and very inviting. Besides, the hostess said, there was a pound of mushrooms in the cellar. Several hours later a man had cooked the mushrooms with a few things he found in the kitchen. They were extremely good, but hardly an adequate luncheon for six hungry and not completely sober people. As appetizers, however, the mushrooms were a great success. Despite the general liquidity of the atmosphere the party moved as one man to town and there feasted on chiens chauds. While I do not recommend this dish as a prelude to hot dogs, you will find it quite appropriate before a proper luncheon or dinner. 16 MEDIUM-SIZE FRESH MUSHROOMS 3/8 POUND BUTTER 2 TABLESPOONS CHOPPED CHIVES 2 TABLESPOONS CHOPPED PARSLEY 1 TABLESPOON WINE VINEGAR ½ TABLESPOON WORCESTERSHIRE SAUCE ½ TABLESPOON DRY MUSTARD SALT PEPPER PAPRIKA 4 LETTUCE LEAVES Remove the stems from the caps; wash the caps. Melt a quarter pound of butter in a flat, low- sided pan. Arrange the mushrooms, open side down, in the butter, and broil under a low flame, basting occasionally, for about fifteen minutes. While the caps are cooking, chop the stems very fine, and sauté them in a skillet over a low flame in the remaining butter until almost cooked. Add chives, parsley, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, dry mustard, salt, and
  7. 7. pepper. Continue to cook, stirring into a paste. Remove the mushroom caps from the broiler and stuff them with the paste. Arrange the mushrooms, stuffed side up, on the pan, and return to the broiler until heated through. Dust with paprika and serve hot on lettuce leaves. ▼▼▼ OYSTERS CANCALAISE SERVES 4 Photo owned by David Monniaux More different courses can be prepared from seafood than from any other variety of edible. Seafood is prominent among hors d'oeuvre, it makes fine soups, excellent stews, and is frequently used as a fish course. It is the basis of many main dishes, and a component of innumerable salads. I know of no way of using it as a dessert, but one probably exists. Of all seafood, oysters are the most versatile. As with French wines, each small locality contends that its oysters are the best, or that its own method of preparation is superior to all others, a bootless argument with scant rhyme, little reason, and no possible conclusion. But this recipe from the old French oystering port of Cancale makes a fine opening course for any luncheon or dinner. If served before a luncheon no salad will be needed. A truffle may be substituted for the pickled walnut. 2 SMALL POTATOES 2 TABLESPOONS MAYONNAISE 1 DOZEN LARGE OYSTERS 2 TEASPOONS OLIVE OIL JUICE ½ LEMON ½ TEASPOON FRESH PEPPER 1 PICKLED WALNUT 4 LETTUCE LEAVES
  8. 8. Peel the potatoes and boil them. Place in refrigerator to cool. Cut them into fine dice and mix well with the mayonnaise. In a small skillet or saucepan, poach the oysters in their own juice until plump. Put the olive oil and lemon juice in a small bowl, grind in the pepper. Add the cooked oysters to this marinade, stir them well, and allow them to marinate until cool, about fifteen minutes. Cut the walnut into thin slices. Place one lettuce leaf on each plate, divide the diced potatoes evenly, and place each portion on a lettuce leaf. Put three oysters on each mound of potatoes, pour the marinade over the oysters, and garnish each trio of oysters with two or three slices of walnut. Serve cold. ▼▼▼ OYSTERS KANAKAS SERVES 4 Most hot oyster dishes intended for the opening course of a dinner or the piece de resistance at luncheon or supper require considerable time to prepare and many ingredients, as well as a quantity of rock salt, a commodity not normally kept in the pantry. Oysters Rockefeller or Algonquin are beautiful things, but no chef should enter into their preparation either lightly or in haste. This hot oyster dish can be made in about ten minutes, allowing five for cooking and the other five for preparing the ingredients and serving. Kanakas is the name of the proprietor of the first restaurant where these oysters were served. I had tried them several times in my own kitchen, when one evening I was dining out and asked the owner of the restaurant if he would not like to serve me a new oyster dish. I said I would name it after him. He agreed, and the oysters were delicious. It has always seemed to me, however, that two dollars and a half a portion was a little too much to charge me for preparing my own recipe. 3 SPRING ONIONS 3 TABLESPOONS BUTTER 1 TEASPOON SALT, WITH MONOSODIUM GLUTAMATE ½ TEASPOON BLACK PEPPER 3 TABLESPOONS WHITE WINE 1 PINT OYSTERS 4 SPRIGS PARSLEY 1 LEMON, QUARTERED Chop the onions very fine, including half the green tops. Melt the butter in a skillet or shallow saucepan. When hot, sauté the onions until soft. Add salt, pepper, and wine. As soon as the sauce comes to a boil, add the oysters and cook over a low flame until the edges curl and the oysters are plump. Arrange the oysters on individual dishes, pour the sauce over them, garnish with parsley and lemon quarters, and serve. ▼▼▼
  9. 9. PROSCIUTTO HAM AND MELON SERVES 4 Photo owned by Basilicofresco Prosciutto ham and honeydew melon combine to make one of the standard and one of the best opening courses for any meal. The combination is not only a treat for the diners, it is also a treat for the harried chef, as it can be prepared—arranged would be a better word—in haste with no leisurely repentance later. And because it should be served chilled but not cold, it may be placed on the table in advance of dinner if kitchen space is at a premium, as it sometimes is for many people and always is for me. Italian in origin, this hors d'oeuvre will be found on the menus of good restaurants and on the tables of gourmets throughout Europe and the United States. Cantaloupe may be substituted for honeydew, but the dish will lose in delicacy. The ham should be paper thin. 1 SMALL HONEYDEW MELON 8 GENEROUS SLICES PROSCIUTTO HAM 1 LARGE LIME, QUARTERED Cut the melon into balls or, better, into cubes about an inch square. Place two slices of ham on each plate. Arrange the melon pieces on top of the ham in any way that pleases your fancy. Or you may cut the ham into smaller pieces and wrap a melon segment in each piece. Sprinkle each plate with the juice of a quarter of a lime. Serve chilled. ▼▼▼ RUSSIAN EGGS SERVES 4 For political reasons, perhaps, Russian Eggs seldom appear on restaurant menus in the United States, but they are of frequent appearance in Western Europe and make a simple and noteworthy dish for starting a meal. They owe nothing to the present regime in the Soviet
  10. 10. Photo owned by Raeky Union, and if you are opposed to serving them on political grounds you might well rechristen them "Czarist Eggs," which would, of course, have political connotations also. Whatever name you use, you and your guests will find no difficulty in eating them. The recipe calls for smoked salmon, but you may substitute, without too much damage to the taste and spirit of the dish, pimiento. 4 LETTUCE LEAVES 4 RARD-BOILED EGGS ½ CUP MAYONNAISE 8 ANCHOVY FILLETS 2 SLICES SMOKED SALMON 4 TEASPOONS CAVIAR 2 TEASPOONS CAPERS 1 LEMON, QUARTERED 4 SLICES TOAST CUT IN NARROW STRIPS Place a lettuce leaf on each plate. Slice the eggs lengthwise, and put one egg on each lettuce leaf, flat side down. Cover with mayonnaise. Place an anchovy fillet across each egg. Cut the smoked salmon into narrow strips, and arrange the strips over the eggs. Place half a teaspoon of caviar on each egg slice, and garnish each plate, with half a teaspoon of capers and one lemon quarter. Sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper, and serve cold with toast strips on the side. ▼▼▼ SARDINES DA GAMA SERVES 4 The single item most frequently used in any combination of cold food served as a meal's opening course is the sardine. French hors d'oeuvre or Italian antipasto would be unthinkable without those little fish. Yet sardines seldom appear alone, except on railroad dining cars,
  11. 11. whose menus list them at outrageous prices, by the tin, under luncheon suggestions and not before the soup, where one would expect to find them. There is, however, a splendid method of preparing sardines to be served alone, or virtually alone, as a first course—with or without soup—at luncheon or dinner. The best, if indeed not the only, variety for this purpose is the Portuguese skinless and boneless sardines, which come neatly packed five to a tin. Take care in removing them from the tin, as the final appearance of the appetizer will be much enhanced if you make it with whole fish rather than with bits and pieces. 1 HARD-BOILED EGG YOLK 1 TOMATO 2 TINS SARDINES 1 TEASPOON DRY HORSE-RADISH 1 TEASPOON WORCESTERSHIRE SAUCE 1 TEASPOON DRY MUSTARD 3 DASHES TABASCO 1 PINCH CAYENNE ¼ TEASPOON SALT ¼ TEASPOON BLACK PEPPER 4 TOAST ROUNDS Put the egg yolk through a sieve. Cut the tomato into four thin, even slices. Remove the sardines from the tins. Pour the oil from the tins into a small mixing bowl and add to it the horse-radish, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, Tabasco, cayenne, salt, and pepper. Select the eight best sardines. Put the remaining two, and any bits or pieces, into the mixing bowl and stir the mixture well with a fork to make a kind of paste. Put a slice of tomato on each toast round and cover with two whole sardines. Spread the mixture from the bowl over them, place in a broiler under a hot flame (400 degrees), and broil for about a minute and a half. Sprinkle with the sieved egg yolk as a garnish and serve at once. ▼▼▼ SMOKED SALMON CHARTREUSE SERVES 6 It is hard to believe that you can improve in any way on smoked Scotch salmon, with a dash each of olive oil, lemon juice, and a sprinkling of freshly ground pepper, as a means of starting a meal. Yet it can be done—by adding baby artichoke hearts. A man was seeking a rather special dish for a rather special occasion when the idea came to him in a flash, if not of light, at least of genius. The name derives from the color of the artichokes, although the fact
  12. 12. Photo owned by Jurg Vollmer that the girl was wearing a chartreuse sweater may have had something to do with it. If it is available, use smoked Scotch salmon; otherwise I suggest a variety of frozen, tinned Nova Scotia salmon marketed by Vita Products. It must be kept in a freezer, but it is really smoked and not: salted, has a lovely flavour, is sliced very thin, and is always useful to have on hand. 12 CRISP LETTUCE LEAVES 6-12 SLICES SMOKED SALMON 24-36 BABY ARTICHOKE HEARTS IN OLIVE OIL WHITE WINE VINEGAR l8 THIN SLICES CUCUMBER 3 LEMONS, QUARTERED FRESH BLACK PEPPER Arrange two lettuce leaves on each plate, add one or two slices salmon, depending on size, to each plate. Drain the artichoke hearts, reserve the oil. Divide the artichoke hearts among the servings. Pour a little oil over each, add a little less vinegar to each serving. Garnish with cucumber slices and lemon quarters, and serve. Within reach of each guest should be a pepper mill and thinly sliced pumpernickel, or rye bread, or melba toast. ▼▼▼ SHRIMP ICARUS SERVES 6 Icarus, you will recall, was the Greek whose father, Daedalus, built the labyrinth in Crete where both were imprisoned and from which they escaped by means of wings attached to their bodies with wax. Icarus Hew too near the sun, which melted the wax, and he fell into the sea and was drowned. Unlike Icarus, these shrimp have only one wing—with which it is well known that a bird cannot fly—but like Icarus they "go down" easily and quickly. In addition to being a fine method of opening a meal they provide a pleasant change from the
  13. 13. usual good but unimaginative shrimp cocktail. They are filling, however, and four to a customer are ample if a dinner is to follow. The artichoke should be cooked well in advance that it may cool before use. Photo owned by Sambaharat 24 ARTICHOKE LEAVES, COOKED ½ CUP HOLLANDAISE 6 SPRIGS WATER CRESS 24 MEDIUM-SIZE COOKED SHRIMP PAPRIKA Select a large artichoke, plunge it into a big saucepan of boiling salted water, and cook briskly for about forty-five minutes. While it is boiling, make the Hollandaise (qv). Place it and the cooked artichoke in the refrigerator to cool until you are ready to serve. Remove the two dozen largest leaves from the artichoke. Place a sprig of water cress in the center of each plate. Arrange the artichoke leaves in a circle around the water cress, with the thick ends of the leaves in the center. On each leaf at this end place one cooked shrimp. Put a quarter teaspoon of stiff Hollandaise on each shrimp. Sprinkle with a few grains of paprika and serve. This reproduction is brought to you by Susan Alexander Truffles. Visit our page if you’re looking for truffle inspired dishes.

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