Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Entertaining/Finger Foods

The holidays bring upon many opportunities for gathering with friends.  Whether or not the get-together is small or large- food is almost always involved.  I know that the food at social events can create a lot of temptation and desire, but this holiday season ask the host/hostess if you can bring a snack for everyone- so you'll have something to eat yourself and to share with others.  If you end up hosting a party- don't worry about pleasing others with ham sandwiches and deviled eggs- with a little creativity and time your guests will never miss the meat.

My favorite finger food item to take to a party is stuffed mushrooms.  I like baby cremini (portobella ) mushrooms, but button mushrooms can work as well.  These are stuffed with spinach, some of the mushroom stems, salt, garlic, and walnuts.  The cleaning of the mushrooms is the most time-intensive step, but the execution requires little culinary skill.  Even my mom who can barely boil water can pull off these mushrooms with no problem :)

Spinach Stuffed Mushrooms

20 cremini mushrooms (1' to 1.5" in diameter)
1 cup raw walnuts
2 cloves garlic (pressed or minced)
2 cups of raw spinach
pinch sea salt

When cleaning mushrooms, don't submerge them in water, just get a damp paper towel and wipe them gently.  As you're wiping, pop off the stems and reserve about half.  Lay mushrooms out on a baking sheet.  In a food processor pulse walnuts, stems, garlic, spinach and salt.  Scoop into mushrooms and bake or dehydrate.  325 works in about 15-20 minutes.  You'll know they are ready when the mushrooms smell fragrant.  If you have any fresh parsley or nutritional yeast hanging around- either or both also are great with these.

Other great party foods include thai spring rolls, mini shiskabobs, hummus, olive tapenade, and cold salads- like a quinoa salad, or a soba noodle salad.

These pictures posted are from a baby shower I catered recently, and a clothes swap I had at my house this summer.  I served the stuffed mushrooms at both occasions.

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