I hosted BookClub last month. We read Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. It was good. I highly recommend it! I wanted to serve light and healthy appetizers because I made a heavy main course, Baked Vodka Pasta with Fresh Arugula, Spinach & Caramelized Onions.
Here’s the deal. I LOVE to cook and entertain, but last month I was in a SERIOUS time crunch!!! Not to go into details, but I had to rock this out Sandra-Lee-Style…..Semi-Homemade, which is SO NOT MY STYLE! But, with a few twists on these apps, I was able to pull it off quick, fresh and full of flavor.
Broccoli Florets, Easter Egg Radish, Cucumber Rounds, Orange Pepper Julienne, Asparagus Spears, Fennel Half Moons, Red Pepper Julienne, Whole Snap Peas, Fresh Baby Carrots, Mix Baby Heirloom Tomatoes
Wash, rinse, and slice veggies. Arrange on Platter. Toss with dressing at least 4 hours before party! You can even do it ahead that morning!!
I was able to hit up the Fresh Market for some Fresh, Organic Produce…but I did have the time factor against me. So I used a bottled dressing. That’s right. Normally I would have made a vinaigrette from scratch, but I was not entertaining at my own house, so I had to bring everything with me. I think Kelly (my FAB friend who let me borrow her house and mess up her kitchen!!!) already thought I was crazy!!! 🙂 I think I did add in some fresh Organic Parsley and Organic Basil that I had brought with me. And some Himalayan Salt and Fresh Ground Pepper!
So, here’s what I used. Found it at the Fresh Market…all organic ingredients. Light & Subtle Flavor. Perfect.
You could definitely used any of your favorite Italian or Balsamic Vinaigrettes. Add Herbs, Spices, Garlic etc to change it up. I was rockin’ the KISS Method again! 🙂 Now, just wrap and refrigerate or set it outside if its a cool day…and let it sit 2 hours to all day! Take wrap off and ENJOY! Raw & Delicious! Crisp & Crunchy! Fresh & Flavorful! Bright & Bursting with Color. A Vivid Rainbow for your viewing pleasure. We all know you eat with your eyes first!
Olives, Pickles & Cheese, Oh My!
Sharp Farmhouse Cheddar,Organic Sweet Gherkin Pickles, Emmentaler Swiss, Greek Feta, Olive Assortment
Again, here I was able to go to the Fresh Market. And it PAID OFF. Or, even better, support YOUR LOCAL CHEESE SHOP and FARMERS and BUY LOCAL!!! You can go to Kroger or your local grocery and buy those Kraft Cheese Cubes (BOOOO KRAFT!!!!!! DO NOT SUPPORT THEM!!!!!)….or you can go the extra step and actually serve good cheese. That’s up to you. I bought real Greek Feta and cubed it myself….it was rich and creamy and almost tasted like goat cheese. Def worth the Upgrade. I also bought the Olives from the Fresh Market Olive Bar and just got a random assortment. From Stuffed to Pitted…just a nice variety. Again, douse it in the dressing (everything…even the pickles and olives!!!) and let it sit for a few hours or up to all day. Then hit it with fresh salt and pepper before serving.
TIP: I used the Fennel Fronds (leftover from the previous veggie platter) to dust the serving tray and use as garnish. So pretty. Try and use as much as the fresh, organic veggies that you can. Waste not, want not.
This is about as delicious and easy as you can get.
For the Cookie Tray I bought Chocolate Dipped Coconut Macaroons from the Fresh Market that were absolutely amazing. Then I used their Almond Pillow Cookies (took me back to my Grandma’s Pound Cake and was so utterly delicious, it brought tears to my eyes!) Then I used the FM French Vanilla Pound Cake. Cut it in cubes and lightly toasted it in the oven. WOW!!! Toasted Pound Cake is WAY BETTER than regular…and the perfect dipper for my Chocolate Balsamic and Blood Orange Olive Oil. Awesome Flavors!
The Organic Strawberries were super easy. Wash, Core & Slice. 2 T Chocolate Balsamic and some Fresh Organic Chopped Mint. Let them masquerade for a bit….WOW. Tastetacular.
So, next time you are having a party or get-together or you need to take a dish, and are in a time crunch,…here are 3 delicious ideas that are quick, easy, enough for a crowd and super yummy!