Friday, January 13, 2012

"Entertaining with Ease" Goal

Little Plates Party Tray
I snapped this photo just before our guests arrived last Friday.  We had two couples over for drinks.

One of my goals has been to make entertaining easier and less of a big production so that we actually invite people over!

Everyone I know has an aspect of entertaining that really gets them frustrated or intimidated, so they put it off.

In my case, I have never enjoyed the hors d'oeuvres aspect of entertaining.

Over the last few months, I solved my "problem" by taking one of my Dansk trays and placing little decorative plates and bowls in it.  Some are from our travels, and others are finds from tag sales or consignment shops. 

In the little dishes, I have found that finger foods work the best, with little serving spoons and toothpicks.

A bowl of nuts is popular -- cashews or pistachios.  A mix of pitted olives, too.  We put cheesespread on little toasts or crackers. Little halves of sweet cherry tomatoes with goat cheese and sprinkled with basil.  Fresh dates with marscapone, an almond and sprinkled with cinnamon.  Slices of a fresh fruit -- we used persimmons before Christmas, and now we are using the Texas grapefruit we received as a holiday gift.  (A slice of grapefruit doused with basalmic vinegar and pepper is quite tasty.)

We vary what goes in the plates based on what we have on hand and what we see at Wegman's.  It could be little bites of anything. 
Salmon on rye with dill.  Peanut butter on Triskets for kids.

This same approach could be done in any style from contemporary to country.  It's the tray that pulls it together and makes it look great.

The tray makes it easy to pass the hors d'oeuvres.  You can have extra little plates staged in the kitchen ready to go and take the tray in and swap them out.

And the tray minimizes spills and drips on your furniture.

At this party, I also served bite-size crab cakes to have something hot.  They are super easy.  If you didn't see the recipe the first time, click here:  Quick Crab Cakes.


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