This past weekend, I was a busy bee in the kitchen. A good friend was turning 40, and she asked me if I would make some snacks for her birthday party. Work is very busy (no complaining here!), so I needed something easy and simple – my mission cocktail snacks that are healthy and yummy at the same time. I love cooking. But I didn’t want to be in the kitchen all day or not be able to socialize at the party.
What I served:
Grilled bread with ricotta and roasted grapes
This is one of my new favorites. Adapted from a recipe in Real Simple.
Preheat oven to 450. Spread red grapes on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with sea salt and pepper and fresh thyme. Place in the oven for 15-20 minutes. In the mean time, slice bread and also put it on a baking sheet and toast in the oven. When the grapes are ready, spread ricotta on the toasts and then put the roasted grapes on top. I drizzle just a touch of honey and then sprinkle a little coarse sea salt on top.
Slow roasted Roma tomatoes
This one I originally found from Tyler Florence and it couldn’t be any easier. Great by itself, or over a piece of bread. I like to make a large quantity and then I can use the extras in to make a big bowl of pasta (like I did this time with the leftovers – a very easy Sunday dinner.)
Preheat oven to 300. Slice Roma tomatoes in half (lengthwise). Toss with olive oil and minced garlic. Sprinkle sea salt and pepper and fresh thyme. Place in the oven for about 3 hours. You don’t have to do a thing to them. They are slowly roasting and smell wonderful. The slow roasting evaporates all the water from the tomatoes and concentrates the flavors.
Marcona almonds (I bought these from Trader Joe's.) I have to confess - sometimes just mixing something store bought and already done is okay.
Marinated olives with rosemary and Meyer lemon peel
I buy lots of mixed olives and then add in fresh lemon peel -I prefer Meyer lemons- and fresh rosemary. Easy to put in multiple bowls.
Roasted asparagus wrapped in prosciutto
Preheat oven to 450. Spread asparagus on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with sea salt and pepper. Place in the oven for 15-20 minutes. Let the asparagus cool and then wrap a piece of prosciutto around each stem. Always looks great on a plate. I had some really good aged balsamic vinegar leftover from a holiday dinner party that I drizzled it on top.
Edamame and arugula hummus
Adapted from Gourmet.
In a food processor, put 2 cups of cooked edamame, ¼ cup of olive oil, juice and zest of one lemon, salt, pepper, 1 bag of arugula, and 2 cloves of garlic. Pulse in the food processor until everything is smooth and integrated together. If the mixture gets stiff, you can always add in a little water. Add more lemon, salt and pepper or garlic to your taste.