It wasn’t too long ago that people were talking about food when they mentioned apps. As in appetizers. Little starter bites to begin a meal. Or something salty to nibble with a cocktail. Seems funny now that “apps” have taken on a whole new meaning. I’m always happy to find a new app for my phone that makes life a little easier. Need a taxi? Done. Want to send a birthday card? A few quick taps and your Aunt Susie is covered. And much like the apps on your iThing of choice, which are designed to make life simpler and just plain better, the food kind can also streamline a busy, over-scheduled life by removing some of the work.
Between the holiday anchors of Thanksgiving and Christmas, your calendar will be peppered with a dizzying array of gatherings large and small. In some cases, you’ll need to bring a dish. Or if you’re the host, you’ll need an idea of what to serve. Any app – you choose the meaning here – worth its salt (that was a hint) should be easy, accessible and fast. Keep a stable of go-to appetizer recipes at the ready and you’ll be all set.
I keep a bottle of Prosecco chilled in the fridge. Just in case. I might set out a dish of nuts (either purchased from the store or made right here, such as these). Or I’ll whip up a quick feta dip, like this one or this one for vegetables or pita chips.
I also keep a package of frozen all-butter puff pastry in the fridge. Just in case. It can be used for a quick yet indulgent dinner with a handful of fresh vegetables (check out two of my faves, one with mushroom and the other with zucchini). It’s also a fantastic base for easy party vittles. Yes, I just said vittles – as if you’ll be hosting a family of Siamese cats.
This week, I paired one of my favorite seasonal vegetables with puff pastry to make this tasty, pretty tart. It’s a two-step process since you roast the squash first, but it’s well worth the extra time. The best part is that you can serve it at room temperature, meaning you can bake it much earlier in the day and let it sit out until your guests arrive. Then, just slice and serve. Easy peasy, right?
What’s your favorite app (again, interpretation left to your discretion)?