Langley Family Christmas: Chef Dez suggests making appetizers

Cooking in Langley column by Chef Dez suggests some quick but impressive appies.

  • Dec. 9, 2015 6:00 p.m.

Appetizers are a hit during the holiday season

Whether it’s a formal champagne event, or just a get-together with loved ones, tasty appetizers are a must for any successful holiday season party.

There are so many outlets for one to buy appetizers pre-made from the freezer section, but this eliminates all the fun and creativity. Preparing for an evening of guests should be enjoyable and what you prepare should be an expression of your personality. There are numerous options that are not only delicious, but easy as well.

It is nice to have small morsels of food that people can manage with one hand to “pop” into their mouths. This is extremely helpful when a drink is being held in the other hand and there is an abundance of standing and socializing. A perfect example of this would be canapés.

They are simply pronounced (can ah pays) and are defined as bite-size open-faced sandwiches. Most canapés consist of a base, a spread, and a garnish. Get the bakery to slice your bread lengthwise and toast these sheets of bread in the oven. Then symmetrically place small dollops of spread on every square inch and cut the bread into the squares that are now mapped out. Garnish each one and place them on a platter.

An example of a spread and garnish would be horseradish-flavoured cream cheese with small pieces of thin beef and a parsley sprig.

Chicken wings are an extremely popular appetizer, and the price of ones that are already “flavoured and cooked” compared to raw ones is drastic.

A simple marinade or sauce can be made from ingredients you most likely have in your refrigerator already like barbeque sauce, ketchup, or hot sauce, mixed with a variety of other ingredients. Half the fun is creating something uniquely yours. Nothing is more satisfying than hearing someone say, “Wow, have you tried Katherine’s wings? They’re incredible!” The other half of the fun is all the money you will save.

An extraordinary appetizer would be an Italian antipasto platter. This can be easily assembled with a collection of morsels normally found in an Italian pantry.

Make a quick marinade of equal parts of balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil for artichoke hearts, tomatoes, grilled asparagus, roasted peppers, or any other vegetables you prefer. Arrange marinated veggies on a platter with sundried tomatoes, melon pieces wrapped in proscuitto, roasted garlic heads, chunks of Parmesan cheese, and slices of baguette, for example.

The options to choose from for the appetizers you are going to serve are immeasurable. Food is a great social aspect of bringing people together, and even more wonderful when you have made it from scratch.

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