All the gifts are wrapped and you're about to kick your feet up and plan a well-earned post-holiday tackling of our Twin Cities Taproom Guide
. . . But then you remember--gasp--you're
in charge of apps for the family gathering at Great Aunt Ermine's tomorrow. Step away from the cookbook, and instead put your trust in this cull from the Mpls.St.Paul Magazine
staff. Consider it our gift to you.
BRUSCHETTA from Jennifer Blaise Kramer, editor, Mpls.St.Paul Home & Design
There's nothing worse than feeling like you've missed your own party. I like to do a lot of prep work early and either make the main course ahead of time or get it nearly ready to go so I can spend less time fussing and reading recipe details during cocktail hour and more time chatting with my guests. This also means super simple appetizers. I typically buy a few cheeses and nuts and make one thing. Here's one go-to:
1 baguette thinly sliced in rounds
5 ripe Roma tomatoes
Handful of pitted Kalamata olives
Drizzle baguette rounds with a touch of olive oil and broil for a few minutes until lightly toasted. Right away, rub them with a clove of garlic and set aside. Roughly chop tomatoes, olives, and a few leaves of basil and mix together in a bowl (this can be done in advance). Top each round with a spoonful of tomato mixture. Grate a touch of Parmesan cheese over each and pop back under the broiler for about two minutes. Serve warm.
SWEET HAM SANDWICHES (and more) from Emily Howald Sefton, editor, Mpls.St.Paul Weddings
The key to party food is allowing people to have one hand free for a beverage so here's a recipe for an appetizer that’s super easy for people to pick up and eat with one hand.
1 lb. thin sliced ham
½ lb. of your favorite Swiss cheese slices
2 packages Hawaiian sweet rolls
1 stick butter, melted
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp poppy seeds
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
½ cup brown sugar
Cut rolls in half, and place in 9×13” deep baking pan. Put one slice of ham and ¼ piece of Swiss cheese on each. Put top back on. Mix sauce ingredients and pour over sandwiches. Let set for two hours in the refrigerator and then bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes, uncovered.
This is definitely my favorite salad to serve at a party. Big hit:
Strawberry Spinach Salad
2 bunches/bags fresh spinach
1 pint fresh strawberries, sliced
1/2 red onion, sliced
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup feta cheese or crumbled goat cheese
1/2 cup sugar
2 tbsp sesame seeds
1 tbsp poppy seeds
1 1/2 tsp onion, minced
1/4 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp paprika
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
Place all dressing ingredients in cruette and shake vigorously until well mixed
Drizzle dressing on salad.
Another easy party treat:
1 Pillsbury French Loaf (Find it in the refrigerated section near the cookie dough, though if you're feeling ambitious, you can get frozen bread dough, thaw it, and roll it out)
1 package pepperoni
1 package (approx. 2 cups) provolone or Italian blend shredded cheese
1-2 tbsp olive oil
1 egg yolk (optional)
Unroll the bread dough onto a cookie sheet so it is one flat layer. Drizzle olive oil over dough and spread evenly. Sprinkle with Italian seasoning. Top with one layer of pepperoni and one layer of cheese (just enough to cover the dough). Roll the loaf back up the same way you unrolled it. Optional: stir egg yolk and spread over top of rolled up loaf.
MICHE AND HOPE CREAMERY BUTTER from Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl, Senior Writer, Mpls.St.Paul Magazine
My big potluck trick lately is to get a whole loaf of Patisserie 46 Miche and a pound of Hope Creamery salted butter, cut, and serve. It's really spectacular. (The loaf of bread is as big as a 12-pound turkey, they sell it by the quarter.) I promise—people will love it!
WOLFGANG PUCK’S ROASTED ROOT VEGETABLE MEDLEY
from Heidi Raschke, executive editor, Mpls.St.Paul Magazine
I clipped this recipe from the St. Paul Pioneer Press
a few years ago, and it has become my bring-a-Thanksgiving-dish go-to. It’s easy to make, and I haven’t met a dietary requirement yet that ruled it out. It’s plain enough for picky kids (who can pluck out a carrot or potato), vegan, gluten-free, low salt, low-cal. Most of all, its gorgeous harvest colors and simple hearty flavors make it a delight to serve—and eat.
8 to 12 slender carrots, peeled and trimmed
8 to 12 baby turnips, peeled
6 to 8 fingerling potatoes, scrubbed and cut lengthwise in halves
1 or 2 large parsnips, peeled, trimmed, and cut diagonally into 1-inch-thick slices
1 or 2 medium onions, trimmed, peeled and halved, each 1/2 cut into quarters
1 or 2 large beets, peeled and cut into thick wedges
1 or 2 kohlrabi bulbs, peeled and cut into thick wedges
1 celery root, trimmed and halved, halves cut crosswise into 1-inch-thick slices
1 whole head garlic, separated into cloves, unpeeled
2 or 3 sprigs fresh rosemary, sage, or thyme
Freshly ground black pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil
Preheat the oven to 400° F. Put all the vegetables and the herb sprigs in a large baking dish. Season well with salt and black pepper, drizzle generously with olive oil, and toss them with your hands to coat them evenly.
Put the baking dish in the preheated oven and cook, stirring the vegetables occasionally, until they are tender and golden brown, about 45 minutes. Serve the vegetables from their baking dish or transfer them to a platter to accompany a roasted main course.