Author Topic: Something a little more sophisticated?  (Read 1706 times)

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jillybean

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Something a little more sophisticated?
« on: December 30, 2013, 01:14:49 PM »
I am not a foodie or a cook, plus I'm pretty introverted and don't socialize formally a lot.  Anywho, my neighbor across the street has a New Year's Eve party every year.  Everyone brings something to nosh on.  I've notice that the things people bring usually require some effort and are a little more sophisticated.  I brought my spinach dip that everyone usually LOVES, but it seemed much too simple and casual for the other efforts.

So any ideas on something I could take that's a little less pedestrian but easy enough to make?  I don't mind putting in some effort, but nothing seriously complicated, please.
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Oh Joy

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Re: Something a little more sophisticated?
« Reply #1 on: December 30, 2013, 01:25:24 PM »
My vote is to bring the spinach dip everyone loves, but serve it in a prettier way...just depends what appeals to you.  Some ideas:  Hollow out a beautiful round loaf of bread.  Surround the main bowl with stuffed mini bell peppers (cut the tops off and dig the ribs out, then pipe some dip in by putting it in a baggie and cutting the corner off).  Use a gorgeous platter and fancy crackers.  Surround it with an artfully arranged selection of veggies. 

Ringing any inspiration bells yet?

auntmeegs

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Re: Something a little more sophisticated?
« Reply #2 on: December 30, 2013, 01:26:18 PM »
I might have just the thing!  I made these for two holiday parties this year and they were a huge hit.  I love to cook so I might not be a good judge of what is considered complicated for those that aren't into cooking but I thought these were fairly simple and everyone LOVED them, they were the first things to go at both parties. 

Steak Bites:
Garlic Naan bread (if you don't have access to that, you could use little toast points or a thicker flatbread)
Steak (I used London Broil but you could use another cut of meat too, or you could even go the deli counter at the supermarket and get some roast beef if you don't feel like making your own)
Carmelized onions
Fresh Mozzarella cheese

To assemble:
-lightly toast your garlic naan or flatbread, whatever you decide to use
-cut into bit-sized pieces
-place slice of beef on each piece
-layer a small pile of carmelized onions onto the steak
-top with a slice of fresh mozz cheese
-bake in oven until cheese is melted (don't leave in too long or steak will start to cook)
****optional - drizzle with balsamic glaze right before you put them out for consumption. 


Hmmmmm

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Re: Something a little more sophisticated?
« Reply #3 on: December 30, 2013, 01:41:11 PM »
Here's 3 super easy items that everyone loves.

Ham & Cheese Palmiers (can substitute turkey for the ham or can leave meat completely and instead put in fresh sage leaves)
http://www.finecooking.com/recipes/ham-gruyere-honey-mustard-palmiers.aspx

Marinated Manchego Cheese. Take some toothpicks in a pretty cup and a few crackers.
http://www.finecooking.com/recipes/manchego-marinated-olive-oil-herbs.aspx

Spicy Olives (works well with taking the above cheese too)
http://www.finecooking.com/recipes/spicy-spanish-olives.aspx

gollymolly2

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Re: Something a little more sophisticated?
« Reply #4 on: December 30, 2013, 01:43:34 PM »
I agree with Oh Joy's suggestion to bring a fancy-looking version of your dip, since everyone loves it. I'd try searching for "spinach dip" on pinterest, and I bet there are a ton of serving ideas on there.

doodlemor

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Re: Something a little more sophisticated?
« Reply #5 on: December 30, 2013, 01:47:07 PM »
My vote is to bring the spinach dip everyone loves, but serve it in a prettier way...just depends what appeals to you.  Some ideas:  Hollow out a beautiful round loaf of bread.  Surround the main bowl with stuffed mini bell peppers (cut the tops off and dig the ribs out, then pipe some dip in by putting it in a baggie and cutting the corner off).  Use a gorgeous platter and fancy crackers.  Surround it with an artfully arranged selection of veggies. 

Ringing any inspiration bells yet?

POD  I get several cooking magazines, and much of the stuff is simple and wholesome, with a classy presentation. 

If you have a clear/patterned glass platter, and a clear/patterned glass bowl, I think that would suffice.  You could put the clear bowl of dip in the center, and arrange the veggies and/or crackers around it.  Having a selection of different colored vegetables would be very enticing and appealing.

jillybean

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Re: Something a little more sophisticated?
« Reply #6 on: December 30, 2013, 01:58:16 PM »
Thanks for the responses, all!  Wow, I honestly never thought of just dressing up my humble spinach dip.  What a great idea.  Also, Hmmmmm, yummmm!  You kind of hit the nail on the head with the type of things people bring, and they look like something I could actually do!  Thanks!
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EllenS

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Re: Something a little more sophisticated?
« Reply #7 on: December 30, 2013, 01:59:55 PM »
POD to the dressed-up spinach dip.  A sprig of fresh herbs on top is nice.

If you want to do your own "artisan" bread boule, here is a no-knead recipe that is really very simple (about 10 minutes hands-on time but you do need to plan ahead for it to rise in the fridge)
Special dough container is unnecessary - we make ours in a large mixing bowl.

http://www.artisanbreadinfive.com/2010/02/09/back-to-basics-tips-and-techniques-to-create-a-great-loaf-in-5-minutes-a-day

cicero

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Re: Something a little more sophisticated?
« Reply #8 on: December 30, 2013, 02:44:49 PM »
i agree with dressing up the dish that everyone loves.

other options are to make fancy looking skewered salads (I made this for a foodie meeting once, served with pesto), layered salads in shot glasses, dried fruit wrapped in some kind of nice luncheon meat.

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lowspark

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Re: Something a little more sophisticated?
« Reply #9 on: December 30, 2013, 02:58:43 PM »
I love the idea of dressing up your spinach dip!!

But if you're still wanting to do something different, this is a pretty easy but very elegant and really delicious dish.
Brie en Croute. http://www.puffpastry.com/recipe/23992/brie-en-croute?pd=yes

It might look intimidating but believe me, it's easy. All you do is let the dough thaw (overnight in the fridge or for something like 20 minutes before using -- check the package for the exact time) then roll it out a bit. Lift up the dough from where you rolled it so it won't stick to that surface. Then here's what I do:

I put a layer of jelly (a spicy sweet works best, something like strawberry-jalapeno, but really, any jelly works), then a layer of chopped pecans, then lay the brie on top of that. Then top with more nuts and jelly. Then wrap up the dough. It doesn't have to be pretty at all because that wrapped part is the bottom.

Flip it over carefully (but really if it tears, just mush it back together to repair it - it's very forgiving). Then bake as per instructions on the link.

I don't bother with the egg wash and I never decorate with pastry scraps because I don't bother trimming it. As I said, no one sees that bottom part so it just all gets folded over and mushed together.

It takes about 10-15 minutes to put this together. It looks great and tastes great and seems very elegant and gourmet.


hannahmollysmom

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Re: Something a little more sophisticated?
« Reply #10 on: December 31, 2013, 04:34:31 AM »
I was going to suggest exactly what OJoy said!

I love spinach dip in a hollowed out bread bowl with chucks of bread to dip. And like Joy mentioned, a few colorful vegetables surrounding it, it will look fabulous!

I had some the other night where the dip was in a regular bowl, but the hostess had ripped up pieces of pita bread and toasted them in the oven. They were great "chips" to dip.

GreenHall

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Re: Something a little more sophisticated?
« Reply #11 on: December 31, 2013, 01:27:44 PM »
If its both popular, and easy enough to make you think you need to do more* - could you post the recipe?

*one last minute invite resulted in a grocery store run, and veggies and dip being my contribution.  They dissappeared, even among the teenage contingent.  If I think ahead enough I'll bring a nice dish/bowl for the "crudités" and a bowl for the ranch.

Mikayla

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Re: Something a little more sophisticated?
« Reply #12 on: December 31, 2013, 02:47:55 PM »
I, too, love the idea of dressing up the dip.  This is one of my alltime favorite things and as much of a foodie as I am, it's always the first thing I head for.  I've seen it in hallowed out pumpernickel boules.  Or get a pumpernickel and white just for contrast.  If you want to get artsy, cut the interior bread into cubes, put on toothpicks, and then arrange them between the boules or around the outside.

@GreenHall, I don't know if this is OP's recipe but this is the standard one among my peeps.  When you buy the soup mix, it's on the package: http://www.knorr.com/recipes/detail/9278/1/knorr-spinach-dip

Also, if you go to the main recipe page, they show photos of this dip used in appetizer bites, like on cucumber slices.  Gah, I could eat tubs of this stuff.


Outdoor Girl

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Re: Something a little more sophisticated?
« Reply #13 on: December 31, 2013, 03:19:17 PM »
Something that goes over really well and is really simple but a bit time consuming is caprese (sp?) skewers.  Half a slice of caprese salami, folded into quarters, alternated with cherry or grape tomatoes and small balls of boccocini or mozzarella, with basil leaves in between and drizzled with balsamic salad dressing.  They are quite striking in appearance and are very yummy.  So salami, tomato, basil leaf, salami, cheese, basil leaf, salami.

ETA:  But I do really like the idea of dressing up the spinach dip that you know everyone loves.  A friend does hers in a pumpernickel loaf, using the bread cut out as dippers and supplementing with some vertical bagel slices.  She finds pumpernickel bagels somewhere but any bagels would do.
« Last Edit: December 31, 2013, 03:21:16 PM by Outdoor Girl »
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jillybean

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Re: Something a little more sophisticated?
« Reply #14 on: December 31, 2013, 04:55:09 PM »
GreenHall, it is the Knorr spinach dip recipe that Mikayla posted.  Sometimes you need a little extra spinach in case it's too goopy.  It is awesome.  I have had people trying to get more bites as I'm packing it up.  I've decided to go with dressing the dip up, but I really loved some of the ideas posted here and definitely plan on trying them in the future.  Thanks again, everyone.
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