Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Happy Holiday Canapes

Nothing says “retro fun” like canapés - cute, open-faced mini sandwiches made of a variety of simple, tasty ingredients. What better way to celebrate the old-school hospitality of the past than with these fun, tasty morsels, all done with a whimsical holiday twist!

In the past few years, our holiday parties have drawn inspiration from a variety of sources. Since it seemed like everyone else had done “retro” by this point, I thought it would be safe for *me* to do it without any conflict!

Inspired by Michael’s grandmother’s Betty Crocker Cookbook from 1956, I wanted to do canapés  The photos in the book showed lovely platters, all adorned with cleverly shaped, tastefully layered, and questionably hued pieces of bread, meats, cheeses, and garnishes. Visions of the perfect hostess, her hair exquisitely coiffed, starched apron falling into perfect scallops from her teeny waist, Stepford-like makeup framing her never-faltering “Delighted!” smile, serving these beautiful canapés from an heirloom silver tray.

Hmmm. Not quite me.

Preparing a number of these ahead for a party of 80 seemed neither practical nor fun, so I decided to offer “Make Your Own Holiday Canapés.” Armed with a box of assorted holiday-shaped cookie cutters, Michael and I tackled loaves of bread, pounds of deli meat and sliced cheeses.

The results were cute as hell! Small dishes of condiments, such as olives, pickles, and mustards, rounded out the offerings. Many simply treated the platters as fun, festive deli platters and grabbed a turkey elf and a cheddar ornament to munch on. Others got really creative: “The Teddy Bear loves the Elf and is eating a Snowflake while building a Snowman.” Chomp!

The possibilities are truly endless. You can create a fun variety of shapes to offer and display, and even take the time to create your own combinations.

Happy Holidays!

Happy Holiday Canapés
by Gary

Assorted deli meats, such as ham, turkey, roast beef (thick sliced, more compressed meats work well in this instance)
Assorted cheese slices, such as cheddar, Havarti, provolone, Monterey Jack
Assorted sliced bread (day-old bread works well here, as it will be toasted)
Holiday-shaped cookie cutters

Suggested Garnishes:
Yellow mustard (squeeze bottle of good ole’ yellow is what you need)
Spicy and/or coarse grain mustard (there is no reason to not be gourmet here)
Different flavors of mayonnaise (be creative - create some flavorful spreads with roasted garlic, wasabi, chipotle)
Olives, sliced (you will need something with which your guests can be creative)
Chopped celery
Chopped onion
Assorted chutneys and spreads (make an attractive and dynamic spread!)

Make sure your cookie cutters fit the meats, cheeses, and breads you select. Using a firm, downward motion, cut out your favorite shapes from the meats and cheeses, Keep covered in refrigerator until ready to serve.

Preheat oven to 300°F. Cut holiday shapes from bread slices. Place in oven and toast until lightly toasted. Remove to airtight container.

Arrange meats, cheeses, breads, and garnishes in a festive manner on plates and platters. Place condiments around in decorative vessels, with a variety of spreaders and spoons. Arrange holiday napkins and plates on your table. Make a few fun canapés of your own and lay them out so your guests will get the idea.

Sit back and enjoy the festivities!

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