Simple, easy and elegant recipes that are always crowd pleasers: What are yours?
June 11, 2008 10:28 AM   Subscribe

Simple, easy and elegant recipes that are always crowd pleasers: What are yours?

Everyone has a few things they make that everyone always likes - often they are really simple. What are yours?

One of mine is these goat cheese toasts

It doesn't have to necessarily be that simple, but you get the idea. Great combination of ingredients, simple, but awesome. Thanks!
posted by Carialle to Food & Drink (51 answers total) 215 users marked this as a favorite
I also have a goat cheese recipe that always pleases--Goat Cheese Terrine. It can be made ahead, which is very helpful when there are lots of courses to be dealt with.
posted by idest at 10:38 AM on June 11, 2008

Bacon wrapped dates stuffed with parmesan cheese.
posted by mumbleitaliano at 10:41 AM on June 11, 2008 [1 favorite]

Cream Cheese Pinwheel things? I can't think of anyone that doesn't like those. They can also look really pretty laid on a platter.
posted by Mookbear at 10:42 AM on June 11, 2008

My fallback group recipe is Beer Can Chicken. Google it if you don't already know what it is.

It's easy, delicious, and it automatically starts the dinner off with something to talk about. People love it.
posted by bondcliff at 10:42 AM on June 11, 2008

Avocado Black Bean Dip

Mix together:

2 avocados, diced
1 can black beans, rinsed
1-2 roma tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup salsa
2-3 tbs minced cilantro

Serve with tortilla chips, pita, bagel crisps, or whatever strikes your fancy.
posted by i less than three nsima at 10:44 AM on June 11, 2008 [4 favorites]

Best answer: An easy, upscale baked pasta.
posted by als129 at 10:45 AM on June 11, 2008 [3 favorites]

Also maybe Green Onion Wraps... I use the Carl Buddig Beef that they sell in the packaged meat section. It's a nice flavor combination and they are pretty easy to make, so long as you really let the cream cheese soften.

I've also seen people use dill pickle spears instead of onions, but that's just bizarre to me.
posted by Mookbear at 10:47 AM on June 11, 2008

Caprese Salad (tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, basil leaves, a little olive oil, salt & pepper) looks impressive if you take a little time to arrange it.

Roasted Beet Salad (roasted beets, a little goat or bleu cheese, toasted nuts & vinaigrette)

Homemade Hummus with warmed pitas, olives and some pickled veggies.

Toasted Pound Cake (homemade or bakery-bought) with Vanilla Ice Cream and Homemade Raspberry Sauce (warmed and then strained raspberries, a bit of sugar & Grand Marnier).
posted by annaramma at 10:47 AM on June 11, 2008 [1 favorite]

Oh, and savory palmiers. Always impresses people who don't know how easy they are to make.
posted by idest at 10:50 AM on June 11, 2008 [1 favorite]

Pears poached in apple cider, it is absurdly easy to make and looks and tastes elegant.
Peel the pears and leave the stem. Put them into a pan and cover with cider. I like to add some nutmeg and cinnamon, but spice it to your taste. You simmerl the pears until they are tender, which takes about 20 to 30 minutes. Remove the pears and boil down the cider to make a syrup. You can plate them by just pouring some syrup on a plate and standing the pear up in that, perhaps with some extra syrup drizzled over the top, or you can slice them vertically, leaving the top unsliced and fan them out over a plate with the syrup. A bit of whipped cream is optional.
posted by caddis at 10:51 AM on June 11, 2008

Crowd Pleaser Hummus:

3 cans garbanzo beans, drained
juice of 2 lemons
1 cup tahini paste (roasted or raw, as you like it)
2 cloves garlic, pressed
2 tb olive oil
1/4 tsp ground cayenne
1 tb ground cumin
1/2 cup chopped cilantro (or parsley for you cilantrophobes)
salt & pepa

1) heat oil in a small pan. add garic & cook until it smells heavenly, but remove from heat before it burns.

2) put everything into your food processor and buzz it up. if you want it really smooth, do the beans first for a bit and then add the rest. Taste as you go - salt & pep to your liking. Add water to smooth it out if needed.

3) scrape into a bowl, dollop on some nice olive oil, sprinkle with a pinch of cayenne (or paprika for you cayenneophobes)

4) eat with toasty pita wedges, carrots, etc.
posted by gyusan at 10:57 AM on June 11, 2008 [1 favorite]

Idea 1) Take a good feta, drizzle a bunch of good EV olive oil on it, sprinkle with thyme/oregano, and bake for a ~10 minutes at 350 and plate with the oil. Serve with a bunch of crusty bread.

Idea 2) Get a fresh bagguette, some salted european-style butter, and some thinly sliced, good salami. Make salami and butter sandwiches and cut them up into sizes that people won't feel bad about eating.
posted by Schismatic at 11:12 AM on June 11, 2008

I don't think it's particularly elegant, but people seem to enjoy cream cheese and sweet chili sauce, on crackers or toasts. You put the cream cheese on a plate then pour the chili sauce over it. You can also use jalapeno pepper jelly.
posted by cabingirl at 11:18 AM on June 11, 2008 [1 favorite]

Pigs in Blankets. I'm serious.

Watch people smirk when you unveil them, then watch them get OBLITERATED in seconds. Not necessarily elegant, however.

Hot dogs cut in thirds
wrap in triangles of Crescent roll dough
Cook at 350 for about 10 min
posted by tristeza at 11:20 AM on June 11, 2008 [1 favorite]

Seconding the pigs in blankets, but I use cocktail franks. People turn into drooling lunatics over those things.

Also dates wrapped in prosciutto and chicken livers wrapped in bacon.
posted by Evangeline at 11:24 AM on June 11, 2008

Mildly fancy, but still easy and you can make large quantities easily:

1) nice bread, sliced about 0.5" thick, slightly toasted (outer edges turning gold)
2) hazelnuts
3) blue cheese (a decent one)
4) honey

...toast the hazelnuts in the oven, remove, wrap in towel & rub vigorously to loosen skins. Beware steam. Remove most of the skins this way, then re-wrap towel and beat it with a hammer to fragment the hazelnuts.

Put blue cheese on bread, place some hazelnut on top, toast briefly in oven (cheese should be *just* starting to melt). Drizzle with honey.

Eat, then die of happiness.
posted by aramaic at 11:30 AM on June 11, 2008 [3 favorites]

My mom makes pecan tassies in the miniature cupcake pans. They are very tasty and elegant. She sometimes uses almonds instead of pecans.
posted by Snoogylips at 11:41 AM on June 11, 2008

Kinda obvious, but: Devilled eggs. Garnish with chervil to be extra hifalutin.
posted by hjo3 at 12:00 PM on June 11, 2008

Best answer: - Boil 6 or 7 yukon gold potatoes in heavily salted water, along with 4 unpeeled cloves of garlic and about 10 black peppercorns. Drain and discard garlic and peppercorns. While still warm, slice into 1/2 inch thick rounds and gently toss with good olive oil, juice of half a lemon, half a diced shallot, a tablespoon of dijon mustard, a teaspoon of capers, a tablespoon of chopped tarragon or parsley, salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste. Serve with flaked, packaged smoked trout, fresh sliced beefsteak tomatoes, crackers and a cold Sauterne. About twenty-five minutes start to finish.

- Salt and pepper some lamb rib chops. Grill for three to four minutes per side. Serve with couscous mixed with golden raisins, orange juice, orange zest, olive oil and toasted pine nuts. Takes 20 minutes including prep. Grilled or roasted asparagus spears go nicely, along with a Pinot Noir or a nice pale ale.

- Dredge a chicken breast in panko bread crumbs, salt and fresh cracked pepper. Saute in olive oil until golden brown. Rest for five minutes on paper towels. Slice in half and grill, interior down, for about 2 minutes on a grill pan, just for added flavor and grill marks. Serve grilled-side up over frisee dressed with olive oil, salt, lemon juice, a bit of red wine vinegar, some snipped tarragon leaves, salt and pepper. Top with halved cherry tomatoes and very thinly sliced red onion. Takes about twenty minutes or so. Serve with cold Pinot Gris.

- My personal favorite is whole roasted chicken. Rub your chicken with butter, salt and fresh cracked pepper. Roast at 425 for 35 minutes breast side down. Flip and roast breast up for 10 minutes more, or until thigh juices run clear. Rest for 15 minutes. Served with arugula dressed with lots of lemon juice, olive oil, and shaved parmesan. Salt and fresh cracked pepper, of course. Serve with cold Viognier. Takes about an hour, but most of it is hands-free roasting time. Good opportunity to have a nice piece of soft camembert on a heel of french bread.
posted by TryTheTilapia at 12:00 PM on June 11, 2008 [10 favorites]

Steamed asparagus with lemon juice or with vinaigrette dressing. Very easy, very yummy, and a great complement to all the starchy and fatty stuff that predominates at most party tables.
posted by amtho at 12:03 PM on June 11, 2008

Bacon Penne Pasta.

Cook 1 lb bacon, cut in 1 inch squares, in frying pan until limp. Best to do this in batches.
Meanwhile, start your water for some penne pasta. When boiling add pasta, cook until desired firmness. I like al dente for this recipe.
Drain most of the bacon grease out of the frying pan and then add ALL the bacon back in, with finely chopped fresh rosemary. As bacon gets crisp, add tomato sauce (your choice to use store-bought or to have already made your own). Heat until tomato sauce is warm.
Drain pasta from water; add pasta to tomato sauce with bacon. Stir in black olives, if desired. Serve with bread for sopping up sauce, and parmesan cheese to taste.

I may be forgetting something because this is off the top of my head. Will check recipe at home and edit if there are errors.

This dish serves plenty and also holds up really well as leftovers. Also handy because it puts one big bowl on the table, so you don't have to worry about plating.

The dish gets better the better the ingredients you use, so splurge on good bacon, fresh rosemary and the best tomato sauce you can buy or make.
posted by 100watts at 12:09 PM on June 11, 2008 [1 favorite]

Asian Style Slaw -

Bag of shredded cabbage (I get the red and purple mix, because it's the prettiest.)
1/2 Paul Newman light Ginger Sesame Dressing
1/2 Whatever other Asian Soy dressing is available
Coarse Black Pepper
Red Pepper Flakes
Optionals - A bit of Thai peanut sauce, Chopped Scallions, sesame seeds, crushed peanuts.

You can find more refined recipes for a similar dish, but this is what I made up one night when we really needed a quick side dish from ingredients already in the fridge. Now people request it specifically. It's best if you give it about 20 minutes to let the flavors meld. Takes 5 minutes to put together and it's always gobbled up immediately.
posted by 26.2 at 12:10 PM on June 11, 2008 [4 favorites]

Throw some bananas on a charcoal grill and liberally brush with $ALCOHOL.

Jack Daniels, Tequila, spiced rum all work wonderfully.
posted by neilkod at 12:15 PM on June 11, 2008

Fruit and Spinach Salad

I usually make this for work potluck type things, and I rarely have any left to bring home. It has very few ingredients.

1 bag baby spinach (rinsed)
1 pint strawberries, sliced thin
1 mini tin mandarin oranges (drained)
Handful of sliced blanched almonds
Raspberry vinagrette dressing

Put in a bowl. Toss it all together. Yum.
posted by sandraregina at 12:20 PM on June 11, 2008 [1 favorite]

1.) Fish in a baking dish. Asparagus laid out on top of fish. Sliced Lemon + Butter + Spices drenched rubbed and sprinkled all over salmon & asparagus. Dish covered with aluminum foil. Check typical baking times for fish on google. Bake accordingly. I can make this without taking up hardly any counter space.

2.) Cookies made from cake mix are my secret super power and endlessly impress my coworkers, friends, and distant relatives. They no longer impress my boyfriend quite as much, since he lives with me and experiences them very frequently. However, he still eats them.

2 Eggs.
1 box of cake mix. Normal cake mix. Maybe not vegan cake mix.
1/2 a cup of vegetable oil, or coconut oil, or even crisco if I get desperate.

Mix. Bake for eight or so minutes at 350.
Be prepared for glowing admiration. They are soft, they taste kind of like cake, and you can make them in like, 15 minutes. There is nothing not to love. Chocolate cake mix? Awesome. Lemon cake mix? That's awesome, too. Strawberry? Valentine's Day. Carrot Cake? Thanksgiving, Halloween. Each holiday, each flavor, equally delicious.
posted by redsparkler at 12:20 PM on June 11, 2008 [4 favorites]

Oh, sometimes I add blueberries instead of the mandarin orange slices. Or you could do both.
posted by sandraregina at 12:21 PM on June 11, 2008

You might want to check out Mark Bittman's blog, Bitten at the New York Times. Lots of delicious, simple recipes with videos, to boot.
posted by krisken at 12:44 PM on June 11, 2008

Although bread may not be super simple, I think that no-knead bread is pretty easy and pretty great. It does require you to plan ahead and start it the night before, but it only takes 5 minutes to mix everything up and cover it with plastic wrap.

Here's some tasty variations, I have made the steel cut oats one on that page. Fresh baked bread is always a crowd pleaser and people are usually very impressed!!
posted by sararah at 12:49 PM on June 11, 2008

Berry crisp

package of frozen berries (raspberries or blackberries are my favorites, but whatever you've got)

dump into a pie plate

Mix together
1 stick melted butter
1 c brown sugar
1 c rolled oats
1/2 c flour
(1/2 - 1 c chopped pecans, if you've got 'em)
and press on top of the berries. Bake at 400 F for 40 minutes or so.

Need more? Double it and use a 9 x 13 pan.
posted by leahwrenn at 12:49 PM on June 11, 2008 [3 favorites]

Paper-thin slices of good prosciutto wrapped around papaya slices.
posted by tatiana wishbone at 1:02 PM on June 11, 2008

Appetizers for surprise guests. Slap all of this on a nice serving dish and guests will be amazed at how prepared you are to host. Customize based on what you have in the fridge, but the basic rule is starch, protein, fruit, sweet

Starch - Thin sliced bread, Crackers, Pita
Protein - Brie or Blue cheese with jam, Hummus, Hard Cheese, Cream Cheese mixed with Fischer & Wieser Razzpotle Roasted Raspberry Chipotle Sauce
Fruit - Grapes, Cherries, Sliced apples or Peaches. Whatever you've got.
Sweet - Broken Dark Chocolate bar, cookies
posted by 26.2 at 1:04 PM on June 11, 2008 [5 favorites]

I make a polenta terrine that is beautiful and looks complicated. It's simple, though, and people really enjoy it.

Make a big pot of polenta. Add a bunch of grated parmesan at the end.

In a well-oiled loaf pan, pour a 1/2" layer of polenta. On top, add strips of roasted red pepper. Layer them *almost* to the edges, but not quite.

Add another layer of polenta.

On top, layer fresh basil leaves. Almost to the edges, but not quite.

Repeat, with various other ingredients, such as: Hard boiled eggs (leave them whole! like a treasure!), tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, blanched asparagus spears proscuitto, etc. Top, of course, with polenta.

Cover and chill overnight.

Invert the terrine onto a platter and slice. The colorful layers will woo your guests. Serve with a nice tomato sauce.
posted by mudpuppie at 1:08 PM on June 11, 2008 [3 favorites]

Some of my quick and easy appetizer favorites:
- Endive leaves filled with crumbled blue cheese and sprinkled with walnut pieces.
- Brick of cream cheese on a platter covered with sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil. Use as a spread for crackers or bread.
- Ripe avocado slices sprinkled liberally with lemon juice, salt and pepper. Eat on crackers or alone.

Don't forget to garnish!
posted by platinum at 1:15 PM on June 11, 2008 [1 favorite]

Apparently goat cheese is "fancy." A friend of mine always makes this appetizer because she knows we all love it.

-Unsulphured dried Turkish apricots (or whatever kinda dry apricots you got, but these are the best)
-Goat cheese
-Fresh thyme
-Walnuts, toasted lightly in the oven

Mix the goat cheese with the chopped thyme. Then put a glob of your thyme-cheese mixture on an apricot, top with a walnut half, drizzle with honey. Repeat.

SO GOOD. And super fast and easy.
posted by fiercecupcake at 1:34 PM on June 11, 2008 [2 favorites]

So many foods that fall into the category of truly "simple, easy, and good" are so simple that they don't really merit a proper "recipe." Like fried Indonesian tempeh. Or proscuitto on melon (don't forget the salt & pepper).
posted by Brian James at 2:38 PM on June 11, 2008

Three perfect, easy recipes... no more than five ingredients apiece.

Tomato-Basil Couscous salad

Buy one bag of cherry tomatoes, the kind that are still on the vine in the mesh bag. Also one small regular tomato.
1/4 cup of freshly torn basil
1 cup of plain, unflavored couscous
1 tablespoon of brown grain mustard (you can use grey poupon too if you prefer)
2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons of balsamic vinegar

Prepare the couscous as usual (bring water to boil, throw in couscous). Allow to cool. Cut all the cherry tomatoes in half and rinse out the seeds so they are like little cups.

In a food processor or blender, pour in the mustard, oil, and vinegar, and cut up the one medium tomato into fourths. Puree contents; add salt and vinegar to taste. Pour dressing over couscous, throw in torn basil and cherry tomatoes, and stir until the cherry tomatoes are filled like little cups in the midst of the couscous.

You can adjust this up or down to make more or less very easily. Easy add-ins: Pine nuts, chopped black olives, chopped green onions, or crumbled parmesan cheese, but I like it plain.

Three-ingredient dip

Two medium avocados
Two containers of light cream cheese
One small can of jalapenos (the kind with the pickled carrots that comes in the mexican aisle of the grocery store works best and you need to include the juice as well)

Halve and pit the avocados; allow cream cheese to soften. Start by dumping the jalapenos into a food processor or blender and process for a bit; then, slowly add the chunks of avocados and cream cheese. As you add the ingredients, keep a measuring cup of water handy to thin everything until it's blended and perfectly smooth. Should be spicy, creamy and tasty! You shouldn't need any salt or other seasonings at all.

This dip/spread can be made as thick or as thin as you like, and works wonderfully with fritos, pita, as a spread on tacos and burritos, with crudite veggies, tortilla chips or as a base in a 7-layer dip that gives it an extra-spicy kick.

Monkey Bread

Two cans of biscuits (8 or 10)
1 stick butter
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
Raisins or nuts (optional)

Cut all biscuits into fourths. Grease a bundt pan and heat your oven to 375. Put the white sugar and the cinnamon in a ziploc or paper bag. Shake it up so it's mixed (note: if you want to cheat, you can actually just buy premixed cinnamon-sugar in the baking aisle and dump this in the bag, too).

Drop biscuit quarters into the sugar-cinnamon mixture and shake until coated (I usually toss 3-4 pieces at a time). When you've got the first can's worth of pieces done, line the bottom half of the bundt pan. Microwave the stick of butter and cup of brown sugar for 2 minutes or so, stirring frequently, until it's syrupy. Pour half over the first layer of biscuit pieces. If you're going to add raisins, nuts or both, do so now. Repeat the process with remaining ingredients.

Bake for 35-45 minutes until the top of the pan is slightly hard and glossy; pull out and allow to cool for at least 5 minutes before you dump the whole thing out on a large plate. This is a real crowd-pleaser; it's not too sweet and will make your house smell wonderful.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 4:19 PM on June 11, 2008 [7 favorites]

Ooh. Baked Brie.

Take a wheel of brie and liberally sprinkle brown sugar on top. Wrap with strips of Crescent roll dough outta the tube. Stick in an oven for like 10 min.

[om nom nom nom]
posted by landedjentry at 7:05 PM on June 11, 2008 [1 favorite]

Mango guacamole:

1 mango
2 avocados
juice of one lime
one or two jalapeno peppers (spice to your taste), diced fine
salt to taste
a clove or two of garlic, diced

Mash everything together. Serve with tortilla chips.
posted by synecdoche at 8:19 PM on June 11, 2008 [2 favorites]

I really like this lemon-lime cream tart, from one of Jamie Oliver's cookbooks. The crust can be a bit time-consuming if you're not used to making pastry dough shells, but the beauty of it is that the crusts can be made, assembled, and frozen, so that when you want a tasty dessert (and it really is quite good ... *drool*), just pop a shell out of the freezer, whip together some filling, and bake. Presumably the shells could be used for a lot of other things, as well ...
posted by the luke parker fiasco at 8:39 PM on June 11, 2008

I'm also a fan of shortbreads ... really simple to make, but they seem like the kind of thing most ordinary folk just don't cook. I've gotten several recipes from places like Food Network, Epicurious, various food blogs, but the base is always almost the same: flour, sugar, butter, cornstarch, pinch salt. To this can be added: white pepper, sage, brown sugar (subbing for white), vanilla beans, almonds, espresso, lemon and basil, citrus, earl grey tea, mocha, five spice, cardamom ... press the dough into a 9" springform pan, prick with fork, score, bake, cool, cut into wedges. People are always impressed, and think you're much more of a creative cook than you actually are.
posted by the luke parker fiasco at 8:45 PM on June 11, 2008

3 ingredients: ripe mangoes, lime and chili flakes. Cube or chunk the mangos, squeeze lime(s) over mangos and then sprinkle chili flakes. The mangos need to be perfectly ripe so their sweetness is balanced by the acid of the lime and the heat of the chili
posted by jadepearl at 9:15 PM on June 11, 2008

For comfort food, I make the world's easiest cobbler. The beauty of this is that it's not overly syrupy or sweet. Also, there's a low fat modification that's pretty tasty.

1 Bag frozen peaches.
1 Bag other frozen fruit (blackberry, raspberry, blueberry, pineapple)
1 Box cake mix (yellow, white, cornbread - whatever)
1 Stick butter chopped into small pieces (full fat version)
1 can diet flavored seltzer

Use a deep baking dish or dutch oven. Layer fruit, then cake mix, then butter or seltzer. Bake for 1 hour at 325.

Serve warm with ice cream or heavy whipping cream or a pat of butter on top.
posted by 26.2 at 9:41 PM on June 11, 2008 [1 favorite]

Bailey's and cream. Yum yum! Two sponge cakes and some chocolate curls? The possibilities are endless.
posted by mu~ha~ha~ha~har at 3:26 AM on June 12, 2008

-for small dinner partays, i'm always excited for a chance to roast a whole duck, i rub & stuff it with a reduced mixture of honey, wine, salt, apricots, herbs. it hasn't ever gone wrong for me; just make sure you have an instant-read thermometer and be aware that it doesn't yield a lot of meat.
-i also really like to make chestnut soup (this is a very wintry thing); use bacon fat to cook the aromatics, it makes a difference.
-cauliflower soup: roast the cauliflower if you want an earthier, funkier soup or steam it if you want the pure-white cloudlike variety. either way, put some buttermilk in after pureeing your vegetables. make a hot chile oil (gently heat dried pepper flakes in a flavorless oil til the oil is colored and spicy, strain it) and drizzle it on just before serving.
-shrimp & grits; even grit-fearing yankees love this. cook the shrimp in a huge pan with thick little cubes of pancetta, scallions, onions, chives, maybe a little white wine, maybe cream. in the grits: tons of cream, butter, cheese if you want. so, so delicious. i miss the south terribly.
-i just discovered a fantastic recipe for rhubarb upside-down cake in Baking with Julia, and have made it three times in a month.. you can eat it with yogurt and call it breakfast, or with ice cream and call it dessert. or, eat it with ice cream and call it breakfast.
posted by pieliza at 7:59 PM on June 12, 2008

Damn! I saw the question and went to post my favorite recipe, which is the one you used as an example-the rosemary goat cheese toasts. You have great taste!

*No knead bread, mentioned above. Being able to easily make artisanal bread at home is pretty impressive.
*A classy twist on a favorite dip: mascarpone cheese mixed with a fabulous pepper jelly, served with water crackers or baguette.
*berries with balsamic vinegar and whipped creme or creme fraiche or ice cream
*Roasted green beans with big chunks of chopped onion and lots of cloves of garlic-toss with olive oil and salt, roast til garlic is soft. Serve with baguette and good butter (toss with a little balsamic, too)
*french radishes dipped in unsalted butter then coarse sea salt
*old fashioned, but fabulous-cheese twists made out of great parmesan and puff pastry
*homemade sorbet-some fabulous mix like champagne grapefruit or something else light and easy and fancy :)
posted by purenitrous at 8:10 PM on June 12, 2008

Homemade pita chips with hummus. Buy the kind of pita bread that splits open into pockets. Slice them all the way through so each pita becomes two discs. Brush both sides of each with olive oil (I use extra virgin for this but regular would be fine). Place them so the part that used to be "inside" is up - sprinkle this with a little bit of kosher salt and - the secret ingredient - za'atar, which is a Middle Eastern blend containing things like sumac, oregano, and sesame seeds. Though really you can play around with other spices here - some curry powders might work. Or just salt and cayenne pepper. Etc. Cut each disc into six triangles and bake on a cookie sheet at 350 for about 8-10 minutes or until evenly browned and crispy.

I just use store-bought hummus - making the chips is enough effort.

Another really simple thing I made for a New Year's party that were really liked: wrap dried figs and goat cheese in prosciutto. To keep things bite size, I cut the figs in half. Place them on a slice of prosciutto, along with a spoonful of goat cheese about the same size as the fig, and wrap up the prosciutto into a little "parcel." That's really all there is to it and they were the first thing to get finished off at the party - they were a big hit.
posted by dnash at 7:23 AM on June 13, 2008 [3 favorites]

fresh pita + peanut butter + banana + raisins
posted by storybored at 6:54 PM on June 14, 2008

this is my main, secret crowd please:

avocado-shrimp-bacon sandwiches.

basically you have avocado slices with fried bacon and cooked shrimp on top of baguette/bread and mayo. proportions are 1 shrimp/1/2 bacon/slice of avocado.

the combination of tastes is exquisite, i haven't seen this anywhere, and its a total crowd pleaser.

for super extra points - get raw shrimp, and cook it in butter and diced garlic. it seems like there's a lot of flavour to this, but it all comes together in a way that few other appetizers bring.
posted by olya at 7:42 PM on June 15, 2008 [3 favorites]

Spinach and Artichoke Dip served with an array of crudite, corn chips and slices of baguette for dipping. Every time I make this people demand the recipe, and the dish is mopped clean.

I use this recipe, and add spinch to it. 'Tis amazing.
posted by lottie at 9:03 PM on June 26, 2008

Here are two:
Petits Pains au Chocolat
posted by ragtimepiano at 12:51 AM on April 5, 2009

The second:
Avocado Coconut Ice Cream
posted by ragtimepiano at 12:53 AM on April 5, 2009

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