Happy New Year! I sincerely doubt that anyone who is hosting a party tonight still needs menu ideas, but just in case I thought I’d share some of the puff pastry tidbits I made for our holiday cocktail party a couple weeks ago. I am of the opinion that pretty much anything involving puff pastry is automatically tasty, so at our first cocktail party back in Hanover, I made piles of savory “palmier”-style nibbles. What I hadn’t taken into account was the fact that children were attending that party. Small children. Children who took palmiers in each hand, squeezed, and then released the torrent of crumbs onto the floor by the table. Rinse and repeat. By night’s end, the carpet was white with crumbs.
This year no kids were coming! I gave the puff pastry another shot, making three different options using good store-bought all-butter frozen sheets from Whole Foods. Missing from all photographic evidence except the table-views are the leek and sausage squares, which were dead simple. I made the topping the night before and then put bits of it on square of puff pastry and baked them. Savory, easy, and people loved them.
Item two: A vegetarian option, using olivada (black olive spread) and roasted tomatoes. I bought both toppings from the antipasto bar at Whole Foods, because I didn’t want to make myself crazy. Here’s how I assembled them: (Please excuse the grainy photos; something went weird with my camera that day.)
Unroll the thawed puff pastry (follow package instructions), figure out how big you want your hors d’oeuvres, and cut the sheet into strips that make sense.
Spread the olivada (or any other dryish spread of your choice) down the center of each strip, leaving the edges plain, and top with tomato or roasted red pepper bits spaced according to the size of the finished pieces.
Cut between the tomato pieces and place individual bites on a baking sheet (I covered everything in foil for easy clean-up.)
Top with grated cheese (I used parmesan) if you’re into that sort of thing.
Bake according to package directions until golden brown.
I would guess that it took me about 20 minutes to assemble 60+ of these.
The final puff pastry delight, the simplest, the one you’ve made before, and my favorite: Cheese straws. Who doesn’t love a cheese straw? Come on. They are a perfect food. Here’s how you make them, in case you never read a Martha Stewart Entertaining book when you were in middle school. (Ahem. Not that I know anyone who was obsessed with all those little tiny sandwiches and miniature deviled quail eggs and endive straws stuffed with salad.)
Unroll the thawed puff pastry, blah blah blah. Roll it out a bit thinner. Cut it in half. Brush with melted butter. Sprinkle grated cheese (I used cheddar and parmesan) on one half, top with the other half, roll them together.
Cut the sheet into straws and figure out if you want long or short ones. I went for short to maximize the number from the sheet.
Arrange on baking sheet, twisting each straw as you put it down. Brush with butter and top with black pepper if you want.
Bake until golden and delicious and hoard for yourself.
Oh fine, let your guests have them. You nice, sharing person.
Here’s most of the food before people arrived:
(Missing are the bacon-wrapped, parmesan-stuffed dates that I cooked off during the party so they’d be hot. I hated these; too sticky and sweet, but a lot of people gobbled them up. I’ll post the crazy-simple how-to next week. (Impatient? Put parmesan in a date, wrap it in bacon, and bake/broil it until the bacon it cooked.))
Your happy, blurry hostess in a festive apron:
And the glowy living room:
I know the last few months have been a bit sparse here at the Girl Reporter. I’ll try to pull myself together in the new year. I hope you all had a safe, happy and delicious holiday season–here’s to 2010! I’m excited about this one.