Monthly Archives: October 2014

Appetizers 101(Beginning of Series)

Appetizers. What image comes to mind? Many people have no idea what an appetizer actually is.
The word “appetizer” actually means the obvious, something to whet the appetite. These are intended as a not-too-filling taste of foods to get your body and mind in gear for a really big meal, usually a sit-down, formal dinner. The phrase “Hors d’oeuvres” has the same meaning. But few people now use them that way.

(We’ll discuss finger-foods, as well.These are more, eat-as-you-go, munch and socialize. They are more hearty, more of a meal…more like tapas.)

“Tapas” has entered the world as the Spanish version. However, tapas and the New World version, ‘Bocas’ and ‘Botanas’ can also be combined to make a full meal, more on the order of a light buffet.

“Anitpasto”,(literally:before [the] pasta), is a light food served while sitting at the table as a first course in a big Italian meal. It is also meant to stimulate the appetite. We’ll see examples in a later post.

Every canapé is an appetizer, but not every appetizer is a canapé. “ Canapé” comes from the same root word as “canopy”, and so a canapé consists of something on top of something.

Examples: Caviar on a water cracker is a canapé; a skewered bean curd ball is not. Squirt cheese on a Ritz is a canapé; a cocktail wiener is not. (NONE of these will be discussed in this series, I can assure you.)

Everyone needs to know how to come up with a few decent appetizers. You don’t see yourself having a sophisticated cocktail party? Maybe you never will, but you don’t ever have to, and you never know when you might be in the position of having guests who gather and need something to either tide them over until you all eat,(your place or going out), or just need something on which to nibble to keep them from fainting while you talk or have a meeting.

Think of family and friends in your house or others for the holidays. Everyone smells the food cooking, but not all is ready or you are waiting for the family members who are late coming in…and there are always family and friends who are late. Tide the early ones over and wow them simply with the ideas I offer.

You may sometime be invited to a gathering where you are asked to take an appetizer and as I brought up before, you don’t want to take a plate of brownies like a non-foodie friend did.
Keep these in mind:

Idea #1: Keep it simple. Don’t think you have to use caviar or paté de foie gras. In fact, never use caviar and paté de foie gras.

Idea #2: Look into your own repertoire of recipes…is there something that can be made in a smaller version or cut-up or spread that can be a single or two-bite offering?
[Examples in past blog posts here include the recent Coconut Chicken (Sept. 2014), Fish Tempura or Mini Codfish Cakes (March 2013),Worcestershire Chicken (Oct. 2012) or Ranch Chicken (Sept.2012), Mini Baked Tomatoes (Oct. 2013), Mini Twice –baked Potatoes (March 2013)]

Perhaps you have another seared meat recipe, meatball or meatloaf recipe that is a hit?  Marinated tofu? Anything that is tasty and can be skewered on a toothpick? Think outside the roasting pan.

Idea#3: Unless you know for certain that everyone gathering will have the same dietary needs and tastes, make an assortment or appetizers that include low-carbohydrate and nut, dairy and/or gluten-free offerings. It can be easy with the guidelines I will offer.

Are there any questions or any type of recipe you’d like to see?

I will be back very soon with recipes and pictures. I was told by several readers that my post on the NuNaturals Give-Away was too long and so it was ignored by them. I’ll keep the posts shorter and closer.
I want to thank everyone who entered and stopped by to comment here or on the Food ,Friends, Family Facebook page:

See you soon!