New Year's Eve puts a lot of pressure on hosts and hostesses. You want the night to be fun, but you're running back and forth from the kitchen to the living room, and you're beat before the clock strikes midnight. The recipes for these tasty one- or two-bites can be prepared ahead, and once you've cooked them, they can be served hot or at room temperature and still be enjoyed.
Persimmons are a seasonal fruit so they make the perfect appetizer for a winter party.
Look for the tomato-shaped Fuju persimmons and not the acorn-shaped Hachiya persimmons. The salty prosciutto and the sweet persimmons are a perfect culinary match.
Ingredients (40 Appetizers)
- 5 Fuju persimmons
- 13 slices of thinly sliced prosciutto
- 40 small sprigs fresh rosemary or 40 toothpicks
- Olive oil for brushing
- Slice off the top of each persimmon. Cut each persimmon into quarters length-wise, then cut each quarter in half, so you'll have 40 persimmon pieces.
- Cut each prosciutto slice into thirds. Wrap each persimmon slice with a piece of prosciutto and secure with toothpicks. Alternatively. use a toothpick to pierce each prosciutto-wrapped persimmon, and stick a small sprig of rosemary in the hole.
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and arrange the prosciutto-wrapped persimmons evenly spaced. Brush each piece with olive oil, then bake 20 minutes, until the prosciutto has crisped.
- Remove the persimmons from the oven, wait 1 or 2 minutes and serve. These can be served at room temperature as well.
Wedge Salad Lettuce Cups
This simple appetizer brings together all of the flavors of the Classic Wedge Salad in a couple of tasty bites.
Ingredients (About 30 Appetizers)
- 1/2 pound bacon
- 2 heads butter lettuce, leaves separated
- 30 cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
- 1/3 pound crumbly blue cheese
- Lay out the strips of bacon on a foil-lined baking sheet. Put the bacon into the oven, then heat the oven to 350°F. Roast the bacon 20 to 25 minutes, until crisp. Drain the bacon on paper towels and discard the bacon fat.
- Cut or rip the bacon into small pieces, and sprinkle the bacon into the lower half of the lettuce cups. Place 2 tomato halves on the bacon, then crumble blue cheese on top. Serve at room temperature.
Mini Two-Bite Pizzas
Frozen cheese pizzas are the base for this super-easy and popular cocktail-party favorite.
Ingredients (48 Mini Pizzas)
- 4 frozen cheese pizzas
- Toppings of choice (sliced sausage, sliced pepperoni, sliced cherry tomatoes, shredded basil, extra cheese)
- Slightly defrost the pizzas so they are still frozen but pliable. Using a 3-inch biscuit cutter, cut out 12 rounds of pizza.
- Preheat oven to 425°F (or follow baking instructions on the packaging). Arrange the mini pizzas on a baking sheet.
- Put 2 slices of the topping on each pizza. (For a mini-Margherita pizza, sprinkle a little of the shredded basil on the pizzas and then a couple of sliced cherry tomatoes on top.)
- Bake 15 minutes until the cheese is bubbly. Remove the pizzas from the oven, and let them cool 2 or 3 minutes before serving.
Roast Beef with Horseradish Sauce on Melba Toast
You can certainly roast a piece of beef yourself the day before, or you can buy thinly sliced roast beef at the deli.
Ingredients (About 35 Appetizers)
- 2/3 cup creme fraiche or sour cream
- 2 tablespoons prepared horseradish
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1 box Melba toasts
- 1 pound thinly sliced roast beef
- Radish or other sprouts or watercress
- Combine the creme fraiche or sour cream, horseradish, mustard and salt in a bowl, and blend together with a fork.
- Lay out the Melba toasts on a serving tray. Cut the beef into 2-inch strips and drape each piece on top of the Melba toasts.
- Using a 1/8 teaspoon, place a dab of the horseradish sauce on top of each piece of roast beef.
Place a couple of sprouts or a piece of watercress on top of the sauce and serve.
This appetizer can be made the day or two (or even the week) before. Freeze the sausage rolls, then slice and bake. So easy!
Ingredients (30 to 40 Appetizers)
- 1 package puff pastry, defrosted
- 1 pound Italian sausage (or other sausage) meat
- 1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water
- English mustard (Colman's) or honey mustard
- Lay out 1 sheet of the defrosted puff pastry on a lightly floured cutting board or other work surface.
- Take a portion of the sausage meat and roll it in your hands into a cigar shape that is about 1-inch in diameter and slightly less than the length of the short end of the puff pastry.
- Lay the sausage cigar at the top of the puff pastry, and roll the pastry around the sausage, leaving 1/2-inch border. Cut off this portion of the pastry and brush the 1/2-inch border with the egg.
- Press the pastry together, sealing it. Lay the roll on a parchment-lined baking sheet that can fit in your freezer. Repeat with the remaining puff pastry and sausage. Freeze overnight.
- Preheat oven to 425°F. Slice the rolls into 4 or 5 equal pieces, and arrange them on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake 20 to 25 minutes, until the pastry is puffed and golden brown.
- Remove from the oven and wait 2 minutes before serving with the mustard as a dip.