Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas Party Appetizers

I love Christmas, even with the stress of shopping, the crowds, and the extra work the season entails. I like the shopping and baking, but most of all, I like the gatherings. Les and I enjoy entertaining friends and family in our home, but I love to be invited to friends’ homes during Christmas time. We are lucky to have friends who enjoy entertaining, and do it well. We were invited to some great parties this year, including a couple of cocktail parties, a cookie exchange and an ornament exchange. I have eaten some delicious food in the last couple of weeks.

Barb and Rob had a wonderful cocktail party with “potluck” appetizers. Les and I really enjoyed ourselves at their party. Rob had lemon drop, hypnotic, cosmo and orange martinis waiting for us when we arrived. I brought stuffed peppers and spicy green bean/salami roll-ups. Sandy brought this impressive shrimp dish. I think these shrimp were the hit of the party (I didn't bring my camera, so I don't have a picture).

Conny made Crostini with Mushrooms, Blue Cheese and Bacon for her cookie exchange party, and they tasted like mushroom stroganoff. The crostini was the perfect appetizer to counter all the cookies we were munching on. The mushroom and blue cheese crostini were so good, I had to make them for Les to try. He was impressed! The only change Conny and I made to the recipe was to use bacon instead of prosciutto. I just browned the chopped bacon, and then removed it from the pan and drained the fat, but did not clean the pan. I added the three tablespoons of butter and continued the recipe as written. I stirred in the bacon when the recipe said to add the prosciutto.
Shannon invited me to a girls’ ornament exchange party this year, and I had a great time. Shannon is the “hostess with the mostess.” She served pomegranate martinis along with a fabulous spread. She served something similar to this delicious Blue Cheese and Bacon dip along with some other wonderful appetizers. The food was great, but the best part of the evening was the ornament exchange. Everyone brought a wrapped ornament, so we drew numbers, and then everyone got to pick a wrapped ornament to open. Shannon warned me this part of the evening would get a bit “cut-throat” since the a guest with a higher number could steal an unwrapped ornament from a guests with lower number. Shannon was right, the stealing does get a bit intense, but it was great fun!

Chris and Bernie invited us to a cocktail party last weekend. Les and I were both supposed to attend, but Les didn’t feel well, so he stayed home. Chris and Bernie are also wonderful hosts. Their house was very festive, and the company was especially merry. I had a great time. I put together these fig blue cheese and walnut crostini. Melissa gave me some homemade fig jam for Christmas, so I spread it on toasted baguette and topped it with a little blue cheese and a toasted walnut half. I like having some recipes on hand where I only need to assemble the ingredients.
Here is a sneak-peak of my Christmas table setting...

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