By The Gaffneys
Whether your New Year’s Eve celebration is small or large, appetizer foods are a great choice. They can be relatively easy to make and don’t require a lot of prep time, which allows you to enjoy time with family and friends. Also, you can make a variety of them to please all palates and be as creative as you want. In this series we will share some of our favorites.
This year, we will be writing a few blogs to help your party planning. The recipes are designed to be simple, quick, and separate you from the pack. There is nothing wrong with a bag of chips and a few cold beers, but a little extra planning and work might just add some fun to the party.
We will include non-alcoholic options and gluten free options when available.
Our first food and drink recipes are extremely easy, but make a great presentation!
For Food: Caprese Bites and Prosciutto Wrapped Mozzarella
One of the easiest appetizer foods to make are Caprese Bites. Aside from being tasty, they are also very colorful.
- Small Buffalo Mozzarella Balls
- Fresh Basil leaves
- Grape Tomatoes
- Balsamic Glaze (preferred) or Dressing
- Olive Oil
The go together simply by putting a grape tomato on the toothpick followed by a mozzarella ball with a basil leaf folded around it and then another grape tomato. If your tomatoes are on the larger size, you can always cut them in half and put them on the toothpick with the centers facing the mozzarella ball/basil leaf combo. If you chose the balsamic glaze, you can drizzle it over the finished product along with a touch of olive oil. If you opted for the dressing, then you can pour it into a bowl and place it on or near the serving dish to be used as a dip. The glaze is preferred due to its excellent flavor and because it also eliminates the chance of the dreaded double dipping. It can also be used with the next recipe.
Another flavorful favorite is Prosciutto Wrapped Mozzarella. They are the perfect blend of sweet, salty, and savory.
- Buffalo Mozzarella
- Balsamic Glaze
- Olive Oil or Cooking Spray
These go together easy but do require a bit of cooking. The first step is to slice the mozzarella. When choosing the mozzarella, I recommend the tube rather than the large ball as it will allow for uniform slices and most store have a pre-sliced option. Then wrap a slice of prosciutto around each slice of mozzarella. I also recommend prepping them ahead of time so they can be refrigerated before pan searing as it prevents the cheese from melting too much. Once you are ready to cook them, heat up a frying pan with olive oil in it. Medium hear should be sufficient but use your own judgement as only you know how hot your stove gets. Use enough olive oil to prevent sticking and get a nice sear on the prosciutto, but not drown in it. Once the olive oil is hot, pan sear the prosciutto wrapped mozzarella on each side, place on service tray, and drizzle with balsamic glaze.
For drinks: The Deconstructed Bellini
- Sparkling wine (Don’t go to cheap, but as it is a mixer, stay away from the pricey stuff. We will write a blog about the differences in sparkling wines later this week.)
- Sparkling water for a non-alcoholic version.
- Fruit juice (Go with more than one flavor. Orange is very traditional, but a pomegranate/blueberry juice or mango juice are extremely tasty. Avoid a juice like POM Wonderful as it is too overpowering.)
- OPTIONAL: blueberries, raspberries, etc.
What you need:
- Champaign flutes (you can purchase plastic Champaign flutes or just use cups – particularly if the cubes from your ice tray do not fit in a Champaign flute.)
- Ice trays (You can find so many neat ice tray designs that make entertaining ice cubes, but often they take up more space in the freezer than simple ice trays – it is your party, so you decide)
- Plastic wrap
Simply pour some juice into the ice trays, cover them with plastic wrap, and place them in the freezer. Chill the sparkling wine and/or water (with sparkling wine and white wine, I like to take it out of the refrigerator and place it in the freezer for about 15 minutes prior to serving.)
Take the frozen juice cube out, place into the glass and carefully pour the chilled sparkling wine/water over it. It will release more of the juice as the liquid hits the solid and it will avoid any spill over from a dropped cube or a reaction by the sparkling wine. OPTIONAL: drop in a couple berries for fun.