I've got the perfect party menu for you — it covers the meat, cheese, veggie, and seafood basics. Serve classic spinach-and-feta-filled spanakopita, soy-glazed chicken yakitori, spicy cheese fondue with bacon for dipping, and crab salad canapes. For these delectable recipes, keep reading.
1 stick (1/2 cup) plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 lb baby spinach
1/2 lb feta, crumbled (scant 2 cups)
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
10 (17- by 12-inch) phyllo sheets, thawed if frozen
- Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat, then cook spinach, stirring, until wilted and tender, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat and cool, about 10 minutes. Squeeze handfuls of spinach to remove as much liquid as possible, then coarsely chop. Transfer to a bowl and stir in feta, nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Melt remaining 1 stick butter in a small saucepan, then cool.
- Cover phyllo stack with 2 overlapping sheets of plastic wrap and then a dampened kitchen towel.
- Take 1 phyllo sheet from stack and arrange on a work surface with a long side nearest you (keeping remaining sheets covered) and brush with some butter. Top with another phyllo sheet and brush with more butter. Cut buttered phyllo stack crosswise into 6 (roughly 12- by 2 3/4-inch) strips.
- Put a heaping teaspoon of filling near 1 corner of a strip on end nearest you, then fold corner of phyllo over to enclose filling and form a triangle. Continue folding strip (like a flag), maintaining triangle shape. Put triangle, seam side down, on a large baking sheet and brush top with butter. Make more triangles in same manner, using all of phyllo.
- Bake triangles in middle of oven until golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool slightly.
Make ahead: Pastry triangles can be formed, but not baked, 3 days ahead. Arrange in 1 layer in heavy-duty sealed plastic bags, then freeze. Bake frozen pastries (do not thaw) in same manner as above.
- Appetizers, Finger Foods
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces
4 scallions, white and light green parts only, cut into 1-inch lengths
6 shiitake mushroom caps, quartered
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup mirin
2 tablespoons kecap manis (sweet Indonesian soy sauce)*
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 tablespoon Sriracha chile sauce
1 teaspoon minced garlic
Vegetable oil, for brushing
- Thread each of 8 metal skewers with 3 pieces of chicken and 3 pieces each of scallion and shiitake.
- In a saucepan, combine the soy sauce, mirin, kecap manis, sugar, ginger, Sriracha and garlic; bring to a boil. Simmer over low heat, stirring, until slightly thickened, 8 minutes.
- Light a grill or preheat a grill pan. Brush the skewers with oil and grill over high heat, turning, until nearly cooked through, about 5 minutes. Brush the skewers with the sauce and grill, turning, until the chicken is cooked through and nicely glazed, about 3 minutes longer. Serve at once.
*If you can not find kecap manis, simply use 2 tablespoons of dark soy sauce mixed with a little brown sugar instead.
- Appetizers, Poultry
3/4 pound grated parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 cup milk
1 cup chicken broth
1-1/2 tablespoons finely chopped chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
8 ounces cream cheese, cut into chunks
Thick-cut bacon, cooked and cut into 1-inch pieces, for dipping
Small new potatoes, boiled and halved, for dipping
Gala apples, cored and sliced, for dipping
Pretzel rods, for dipping
- In a bowl, toss together the parmesan cheese and cornstarch.
- In a medium saucepan, cook the milk, chicken broth and chiles over medium heat until warm. Add the cream cheese and cook, whisking, until smooth, about 5 minutes.
- Bring to a simmer and add the parmesan mixture, a large handful at a time, stirring until smooth. Cook the sauce over low heat for about 5 minutes.
- Serve the fondue warm with the bacon, potatoes, apples and pretzel rods for dipping.
- Appetizers, Cheesecake
1 orange bell pepper
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
2 teaspoons whole-grain mustard
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/2 baguette or ficelle, cut into 1/4-inch-thick pieces
1/4 pound jumbo lump crabmeat, picked clean
1/2 celery stalk, strings removed, cut into 1/8-inch-thick slices
1/2 small carrot, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch-long matchsticks
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon white-wine vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh marjoram leaves, for garnish
- Heat a grill to hot, or turn on the broiler. Cook bell pepper until it is completely charred, turning so all sides cook evenly, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer warm pepper to a small bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and set aside until cool.
- Using your hands, rub off charred skin. Slice pepper in half, and remove seeds and stem. Cut pepper into diamond shapes that are slightly larger than a piece of baguette.
- Using a wooden spoon, mix together butter and two mustards in a small bowl until well combined. Spread a generous dollop of mustard butter on each slice of bread.
- Place remaining ingredients except marjoram in a medium bowl, and toss to combine.
- Place a pepper diamond on each piece of bread, and top with a mound of crab salad. Garnish each canapé with several marjoram leaves, and serve.
- Appetizers, Crostini