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Come Party With Me: Graduation - Menu (Vegetarian Appetizers)

It's really easy to get carried away and make enough food to feed an army at your graduation party. However, keep in mind that usually several graduation parties take place on the same day, on the same weekend, so your guests might be party hopping and therefore not too hungry. Small snacks, cooling dips, and flavor packed bite-sized appetizers are excellent ideas. Pay special attention to the presentation and make everything look super scrumptious so guests will be tempted to take a sampling. I'm offering options for both the meat-lovers and vegetarians by serving empanadas, a gourmet salsa with grilled pineapple and tomatillos, and Smoked Mozzarella and Sundried Tomato Cigars. Don't these recipes sound absolutely mouth watering? Check them out now, just

Grilled Pineapple-Tomatillo Salsa
From Latin Flavors on the Grill by Douglas Rodriguez

15 tomatillos, peeled and washed
3 (1/2-inch-thick) slices pineapple
2 chipotle chiles in adobo
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
3 tablespoon honey
1 onion, finely diced
1/2 teaspoon salt

  1. Combine tomatillos, chipotle chiles, cilantro, and honey in a blender and pulse until a bit chunky.
  2. Transfer to a bowl.
  3. Heat grill or grill pan to medium hot.
  4. Brush pineapple rings lightly with oil, and season with salt and pepper. Grill until brown and caramelized, about 8 minutes per side. Or cook on a grill pan over medium heat for 12 to 15 minutes on each side.
  5. Cool slightly, and dice the grilled pineapple into 1/8-inch pieces and add to the tomatillo mixture, along with the diced onion and salt.
  6. Place in refrigerator to chill, or serve warm.

Serves 6-8.

Smoked Mozzarella and Sun-dried Tomato Cigars
Modified from Giada de Laurentiis

6 sheets phyllo dough
4 tablespoon butter, melted
8 ounces smoked mozzarella, sliced 1/4-inch thick
8 ounces sun-dried tomatoes, drained

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. Lay a sheet of phyllo dough on a clean dry work surface. Use a pastry brush to brush the phyllo sheet with melted butter..
  3. Fold the phyllo sheet in half lengthwise, resulting in a 12 by 8-inch rectangle. Brush the top of the phyllo with melted butter..
  4. Place a few slices of smoked mozzarella at a narrow end of the phyllo rectangle, leaving 1-inch on each side. Top the cheese with a few pieces of sun-dried tomatoes..
  5. Carefully roll up the phyllo dough into a cigar shape starting with the cheese and tomato end. About half way through the rolling, tuck in the 1-inch ends of the phyllo dough, and continue rolling..
  6. Place on a foil-lined baking sheet, seam side down, and brush the top with butter. Continue rolling the 5 remaining cigars..
  7. Bake until golden, about 25 to 30 minutes..

Serve 6.

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