Need a great appetizer recipe to win a contest
December 17, 2010 7:57 PM   Subscribe

I need a great appetizer recipe for the annual contest at a holiday cocktail party. There will be serious amateur foodies in attendance. I'm terrible at design, so I'm not even going to try to win Best Presentation. What would you make if you were trying for Best Savory, Best Sweet, or Best Overall? A great drink recipe is a possibility, too--last year my homemade eggnog was runner up for Best Sweet (there was no "Best Boozy" category).
posted by Rula Lenska to Food & Drink (17 answers total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
Not sure if a Food Network recipe would be too 'obvious' or not, but if I were voting, this Roasted Beet and Goat Cheese Dip would be a serious contender in the savory category ... Earthy, tangy, and the bright magenta color is so festive!
posted by DingoMutt at 8:24 PM on December 17, 2010

Dates wrapped in prosciutto, skewered on (stripped) rosemary sprigs, under the broiler for 4 minutes, then drizzled with vanilla infused olive oil.

These are the first thing to go at every party I bring them to.
posted by lilnublet at 8:30 PM on December 17, 2010 [4 favorites]

Broiled pork loin (or beef tenderloin if you want to show off)
Boursin sauce ( 1 pkg Boursin garlic & herb to 1/2 cup +/- sour cream
pre-sliced rolls ( I use yeast rolls)
Yummy mini sandwiches !
posted by lobstah at 8:32 PM on December 17, 2010

Bacon fruit cups
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:36 PM on December 17, 2010

A friend brings crab cakes (Joy of Cooking recipe - which I would link to if I could find the right one, but I can't. Maybe you'll have better luck - sorry!) every year to my Christmas day bash, and they're everyone's fave. Mods to the recipe include: panko (vs. regular bread crumbs) as well as resizing from main course dimensions to cocktail size. She also whips up lemon garilc aioli to serve alongside.
posted by hapax_legomenon at 9:04 PM on December 17, 2010

These are way more delicious than they have any right to be.
posted by sugarfish at 9:23 PM on December 17, 2010

Twinkies on a plank! Might not win, but everyone who ventures a taste will love you forever. :)
posted by HappyHippo at 9:28 PM on December 17, 2010

My favorite is a winner for the crowds who will appreciate a lighter option on the table, but requires a fork to eat, so it not a great option if people won't be able to sit down at all.
In case they can: get a bunch of round, small size tomatoes, cut off the top and hollow them out. I like to fill them with (cooked) couscous mixed with sauteed mushroom, basil, garlic, parsley and a bit of chili. Then cover the top of the filled tomatoes with a nice cheese that melts at low temperatures, such as a brie. Stick it in the oven for 20-30 minutes at around 200-250 degrees, and you're done! The nice thing about this recipe is that you can fill the tomatoes with any number of foods, and the presentation is much cleaner and brighter than many other appetizers.
posted by msk1985 at 9:35 PM on December 17, 2010

I'm a sucker for mini Yorkshire puddings (mini meaning you can make them in small muffin sheets) with a nice piece of beef tenderloin/filet/roast beef in/on it and a dab of horseradish sour cream. Not only are they tasty, but they are tasty whether right out of the oven, room temp, or even cold. Not to mention being holiday-like, perfectly bite-sized and not messy. I actually just saw someone making them yesterday on the Cooking Channel, which is probably why they're on the brain.
posted by buzzkillington at 9:41 PM on December 17, 2010 [2 favorites]

At a contest I wouldn't for a dip or anything that is aggregated together. Each person should get a thing.
posted by StickyCarpet at 7:39 AM on December 18, 2010

I've no notion if you're a Top Chef fan, but I went to their website, plugged in "appetizer" and "cocktail party", and got these recipes. They're also categorized by skill level to prepare and price. Good luck! (Edamame dumplings...mmmmmm!)
posted by epj at 7:49 AM on December 18, 2010

Crab Rangoon with real, fresh crabmeat is astonishingly good. "Astonishing" is not hyperbole here. People just forget how much better real crab tastes than the fake stuff, and getting a bite of the real thing unexpectedly is sheer bliss.

It depends on what sort of foodies you're dealing with here, but if you think they might go for the high-end comfort-food thing, it's worth a try.
posted by nebulawindphone at 8:23 AM on December 18, 2010

These are really, really good. And pretty easy to make.
posted by BundleOfHers at 10:19 AM on December 18, 2010

For savory--I have a recipe for deep-fried indian meatballs with mint & cilantro; they are fabulous, especially dipped in raita. Memail me if you're interested.
posted by torticat at 8:45 AM on December 19, 2010

Like lilnublet, I'm a fan of gussied-up dates. I stuff mine with slivered cheese (always manchego), almonds (whole, smoked), or both. Depending on the audience, I'll wrap 0, .5, or all of them with bacon.

In other news, I mashup my love of food with my tolerance for combinatorial statistics.
posted by knile at 12:32 PM on December 19, 2010 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks, everyone! I didn't choose a best answer because everything sounds great.

I went with the mini yorkshire pudding + roast beef + horseradish sauce. They were popular, but the guy who brought broiled dates with bacon and gorgonzola won for Best Savory.

I also made candied Cheetos for the amusement factor, and won for Best Original. And at least five people asked me for the recipe. Go figure.
posted by Rula Lenska at 2:00 PM on December 19, 2010 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Forgot to say you have to scroll down the page for the candied Cheetos recipe.
posted by Rula Lenska at 2:05 PM on December 19, 2010

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