A Feast of Appetizers

2012-12-06T09:00:00Z 2012-12-07T08:54:04Z A Feast of AppetizersBarb Ruess nwitimes.com
December 06, 2012 9:00 am  • 

It's December and in December we like to host a casual gathering titled: Christmas Cocktails & Feast of Appetizers. It's one of my favorite events of the year. Instead of juggling the timing of entrees and side dishes and making sure I'm offering a perfectly balanced menu, I throw all caution to the wind and encourage people to eat with their fingers. I make a half dozen or so appetizers, none of which require utensils (unless toothpicks count as utensils) and a couple desserts. My guests pitch in with one or two more appetizers or desserts. The final result? A counter filled with delicious foods of all varieties; something for everyone; and a guarantee that you won't leave hungry.

I think this idea is similar to the notion behind small plates. When you host a Feast of Appetizers you get to try lots of different foods without feeling like someone needs to roll you out the door at the end. And, in my opinion, it's the very best way to host a holiday gathering. This is such a busy time of year and there's a lot less pressure involved in throwing together appetizers than full-fledged dinners.

I'll be making a batch of these roasted peanuts for our party. I think it will be perfect to have in bowls strategically placed around the room for people to snack on in between appetizer helpings.

Spiced Peanuts

  • 2 tablespoons ground coriander
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 3 large egg whites
  • 6 cups unsalted, dry-roasted peanuts
  • 3 tablespoons sesame seeds
  1. Preheat oven to 300.
  2. Combine first 6 ingredients in a small bowl.
  3. Beat egg whites in a medium bowl for 1 minute or until frothy. Add spice mixture, peanuts, and sesame seeds; stir well. Spread the mixture in a single layer on a jelly roll pan lined with parchment paper. Bake at 300° for 30 minutes or until the nuts are dry and roasted, stirring occasionally. Cool completely.

Barb lives in Crown Point with a hungry family that includes three kids. You can find her out running, wishing for a day warm enough to visit Lake Michigan, on Twitter and writing her daily blog, Quick Like A Bunny where you never know what she'll be talking about.

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