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stick it
skewered goodies

by Yee-Fan Sun
1 2 3 4

Who says skewers are just for the grill? One of the quickest ways to dress up simple eats for a schmancy party is with a good old-fashioned stick. Yup, skewering has the amazing ability to transform just about any ordinary old recipe into a bite-sized cocktail treat. Just assemble a few select ingredients onto the stick of your choice, and voila! Instant party food.

Sure, long bamboo skewers and plain old wooden toothpicks work dandy, but there are a plethora of other options for threading your edibles as well. Go kitschy with fun plastic picks or retro frilly cocktail picks; opt for something more upscale with a long sprig of fresh rosemary. Skewered eats can be stacked horizontally on a plate, arranged to stand neatly upright on a platter or perched in a shallow bowl. You can even get fancier with your skewers by stabbing them into a decorative fruit base -- a pineapple, for instance, makes a particularly over-the-top presentation. Just slice a whole pineapple on the diagonal, and discard the bottom half. The pineapple top will now have a nice flat base that will sit easily on a serving plate, and you can proceed to pop in your skewered hors d'oeuvres all over the pineapple top.

As for what to skewer, just about any bite-sized solid ingredient is a potential candidate. Cocktail nibbles like olives, cured meats, cold shrimp and cheese are classic skewerables, as are kebabs made of a colorful array of grilled meats and veggies, but feel free to get inventive as well. Look to your favorite recipes for inspiration on what ingredients to pair together. Turn a salad staple into a skewered appetizer by deconstructing the ingredients and reassembling them on a pretty cocktail pick -- insalata caprese, for example, becomes perfect finger food when you chunk the mozzarella and skewer it with individual basil leaves and cherry tomatoes, and pasta salads can often be made-over into delicious cocktail skewers. Your imagination's the limit, so have fun experimenting. Here are a few ideas to get you started…

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