Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Two 4-Ingredient, No-Cook New Year's Eve Appetizers, Take II

This time last year, I shared two four-ingredient appetizers that are perfect for New Year's Eve. You can find them here, if you'd like. (They're both my mom's recipes so all kudos to that fine woman. My family's been making these for ever and ever.)

This year, I wanted to do the same. I'm a big fan of small bites that are assembly only (i.e. no cooking), and that look pretty all lined up on a platter. Classy appetizers balance out plastic champagne flutes, I figure.... 

They DO NOT balance out losing your phone in your own apartment sometime after midnight. Maybe I'll find it when I move out? 

These two recipes totally fit the bill, and would you look at that? They're each four ingredients. -ish. 

They also both involve cheese, as all good things do. I skipped the crackers since I'm pretty sure you can navigate that one on your own. Plus, these one-biters are naturally gluten free, which takes the guess-work out of finding gluten free crackers that don't taste like cardboard or packing peanuts. (Though put some cheese on that cardboard, and... yep gone.)

How are you guys ringing in 2015? I'll be in a house with a broken oven, so if you have any more no-cook or stove-top recipes please share in the comments! (I'm thinking tacos for dinner - extra guac.) If you'll be somewhere with an oven, these lemon pepper chicken wings are out. of. this. world. I'm already jealous.

Catch ya next year, friends!

Appetizer Recipe 1: Caprese Bites with Balsamic Drizzle 

- Use cherry tomatoes, NOT grape tomatoes. Cherry tomatoes are rounder (as opposed to oblong) so they'll stay upright on the platter, believe it or not. The Kitchn breaks down the difference between the two here.

Cherry tomatoes (see note)
Mozzarella cheese, cubed 
Fresh basil
Balsamic glaze (like this from Trader Joe's)
Salt and pepper, to taste

Core the cherry tomatoes by cutting around the stem-end with a paring knife; angle the tip of the knife towards the center of the tomato. Don't cut all the way through to the bottom!

Use a small spoon or the back of a utensil to scrape the seeds and juices out of each cored tomato. (I usually do this right over a garbage can then shake the tomato upside down a few times.)

To assemble each bite, wrap one small basil leaf or half of a large basil leaf around one cube of mozzarella. Stuff the basil-wrapped mozzarella into one of the tomatoes. Repeat with all of the tomatoes, and arrange on a platter. 

Sprinkle salt and pepper over the assembled caprese bites. Drizzle with the balsamic glaze right before serving. 

Appetizer Recipe 2: Brie-Apple Bites with Pecans and Honey

Granny smith apples, sliced and tossed with lemon juice or apple juice to prevent browning
Brie cheese, sliced 
Pecans, roughly chopped and toasted 

To assemble, top each apple slice with a piece of brie, and a few toasted pecan pieces. Arrange on a platter, and drizzle with honey. (Try running your honey bottle under warm water or resting in a bowl of warm water so it pours easier.)

Possible Substitutions
- Instead of apple: sturdy pear slices
- Instead of brie: goat cheese, blue cheese, sharp cheddar
- Instead of pecans: walnuts, almonds, pistachios
- Instead of honey: warmed jam (maybe raspberry), balsamic glaze 
- Add prosciutto

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