Come Party With Me: Tree Trimming — Menu

I've invited some friends over this Friday for a holiday cocktail party. Since everyone (including moi!) will be attending a jewelry sample sale before, the snacks must be prepared in advance. Crostini with lentil and green olive spread can be made the night before the party. My dad will bake the brie with mango chutney twenty minutes before we arrive, so it's warm and gooey the second we walk in the door. A smoked salmon platter with dill sour cream waits chilled in the fridge and mini beef slider patties cook quickly.

To look at these recipes, which would be awesome for any holiday event,


Crostini With Lentil and Green Olive Salad

Crostini With Lentil and Green Olive Salad


1/2 pound lentils, preferably from Abruzzi, rinsed and picked over
1 small onion
1 garlic clove
1 bay leaf
1/2 dried red chile
1/2 pound green olives, pitted and coarsely chopped
1 large celery rib, thinly sliced
1 large shallot, minced
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Salt and freshly ground pepper
24 small thin slices crusty country bread
1 small fresh red chile, very thinly sliced lengthwise


  1. Preheat the oven to 400°. In a medium saucepan, generously cover the lentils with water. Add the onion, garlic, bay leaf and dried chile and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook over low heat until the lentils are tender, about 30 minutes. Drain the lentils, reserving 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid; discard the bay leaf and chile.
  2. In a medium bowl, mash 1 cup of the lentils with a potato masher, then stir in the remaining lentils.
  3. Add the olives, celery, shallot, 1/4 cup of olive oil and the vinegar. Season with salt and pepper and stir in the reserved 1/4 cup of cooking liquid.
  4. Arrange the bread slices on a cookie sheet and bake for about 8 minutes or until thoroughly crisp. Drizzle the crostini with olive oil and generously spoon the lentil salad on top. Garnish the crostini with slivers of red chile and serve.

Serves 6-8.

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Brie With Chutney

Brie With Chutney


1 8-ounce round Brie cheese
5 tablespoons mango chutney
Assorted crackers


  1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Split brie in half horizontally.
  2. Snip any large pieces of chutney. Place bottom half of cheese in a small shallow ovenproof dish. Top with 4 tablespoons of the chutney. Top with remaining cheese half. Spread remaining 1 tablespoon chutney over top of cheese.
  3. Bake, uncovered, for 15 to 20 minutes or until cheese is softened but not runny. Serve with crackers.

Serves 4 - 6.

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Smoked Salmon Platter with Dill Sour Cream

Smoked Salmon Platter with Dill Sour Cream


1 pound sliced smoked salmon
1/4 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons chopped fresh dill
2 tablespoons chopped shallots
1 tablespoon capers, rinsed and drained
Crackers or bread


  1. Arrange salmon slices on large platter.
  2. Mix sour cream and dill in small bowl to blend. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  3. Spoon sour cream mixture in center of salmon. Sprinkle shallots and capers over salmon. Serve salmon platter with crackers or bread.

Serves 8.

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Mini Beef and Sage Sliders With Gorgonzola

Mini Beef and Sage Sliders With Gorgonzola


12 mini dinner rolls, split
1 garlic clove, halved
Extra-virgin olive oil for liberal drizzling
1 1/2 pounds ground sirloin
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
10 fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
1 large shallot, finely chopped
2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 cups baby spinach, thinly sliced
3/4 pound Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled


  1. Preheat broiler to high. Place the rolls on a broiler pan and toast until golden. Rub with the garlic and drizzle with olive oil.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the beef with the Worcestershire sauce, sage, shallot and parsley; season with salt and pepper. Divide into 4 equal pieces and form 3 sliders from each piece, 12 mini sliders total.
  3. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat with a drizzle of oil.
  4. Cook the sliders for 3 minutes on the first side and 1 to 2 minutes on the other side for medium.
  5. Top each bun bottom with some spinach, a slider and a few cheese crumbles. Place under the broiler to melt the cheese a bit, about 30 seconds, then set the bun tops in place.

Makes 12 sliders.

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