Host an Appetizer Swap Party
It's like a cookie swap, but more grown-up. Uncork the Champagne, nibble, and trade.
Simple, festive idea that will make everyone smile: Guests bring homemade appetizers for eating at the party, with enough so that everyone can take home some for their own holiday soirées. Some tips for swapping:
- Give guests plenty of notice. Send out invites a month in advance. As part of the RSVP, have everyone tell you what they'll bring to avoid duplications.
- Also, it's a BYOC party—as in bring your own airtight plastic container so everyone can pack up favorites.
- That said, have extra foil, plastic wrap, and parchment paper on hand, if needed.
- Make sharing favorite recipes part of the fun. Find fun recipe card templates at skiptomylou.org/recipe-card-maker. Or share recipes online at weeatt.com. If you're e-mailing invitations, include the links.
- Specify quantities. If 12 people are attending, guests should make two dozen apps to eat during the party, plus another four dozen for swapping (everyone gets to take home 48 that way).
- Stick with recipes that can be served—and stand—at room temperature.
Bake and freeze these bites up to a week in advance. Try a trio of flavors like a fig jam and goat cheese filling, or finely chopped apples tossed with honey and cinnamon.
The filling can be made and refrigerated up to a day in advance, then brought to room temperature before filling the cups. Phyllo shells come conveniently prebaked, so they're ready to fill once thawed.
If you don't have a pastry cutter, use the rim of a drinking glass to cut rounds from the puff pastry. The light, fresh flavor of these tarts will be a hit with swappers.
Our polenta squares are an impressive and tasty item to bring to the swap. These are also tasty with chopped, dried figs or cranberries in place of the currants.
Love the flavor of potato gratin? How about a handheld mini version brought to you by delicious, flaky puff pastry? Either baby Dutch or fingerling potatoes work well here.
Start making the phyllo stacks about 30 minutes after you put the cheese mixture in the refrigerator. Or make the cheese mixture a day ahead, and assemble prior to the party.
You can either thaw the puff pastry in the fridge overnight or leave it out at room temperature for 1 to 2 hours until it's pliable. These palmiers look a bit more complicated, but don't be alarmed. Just roll each side in a jelly-roll fashion until they meet in the middle. Be sure to chill dough for 20 minutes before cutting.
Sweet-tangy chutney pairs beautifully with pungent blue cheese and toasty pecans. You can make the chutney up to three days in advance; assemble bruschetta shortly before serving.