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the fine art of finger foods | 1 2 3 4
continued from page 1

Choose foods that can be prepared ahead of time. Dips, spreads, fresh fruit and cheese platters can all be assembled well in advance and stored in the fridge. (Note: Donít store moist foods, such as cucumbers, dips, etc., with dry foods such as crackers Ö your dry goods will end up un-appetizingly soggy.) The fewer dishes that require last minute fussing-about, the better. This means that you should pretty much forget about doing anything fried Ė itís just too time-intensive, and you donít want to be slaving away in the kitchen while your guests are having fun without you. If youíre serving any hors-díouevres that absolutely demand to be experienced hot, consider cooking them in advance, then popping them in a pre-heated 375įF oven to warm up just before serving.

But how much to make?
Hungry guests are cranky guests, so youíre far better off over-estimating quantity than under-estimating. If youíre assuming your guests have already eaten dinner/will later eat dinner, you can estimate about 3-4 appetizer servings/person/hour. If youíre starting your party between the hours of 6 and 8, however, and expecting it to continue on into the wee hours of the evening, itís highly probable that your guests will be needing more substantial sustenance. In this case, youíre probably best off increasing your estimate to 6click here to open recipe for BRUSCHETTA WITH TAPENADE appetizer servings/person/hour, and serving at least one relatively filling dish (pizza, brushetta with a plentiful topping, mini-sandwiches, and hearty quesadillas are all good choices).

As for how many different dishes to offer, thatís really up to you. In my experience, itís pretty much impossible for one person to cook more than 6 dishes in a single day without completely destroying the kitchen/going completely bonkers, but if youíve got a super-human capacity for concocting elaborate feasts, by all means go nuts. On the other hand, variety is nice, so youíll probably want to make at least 3 different dishes.

Just in case your guests are hungrier than youíd anticipated, keep no-prep appetizers stocked. Good choices include marinated olives, artichokes and red peppers, fancy nuts, potato chips and tortilla chips.

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