Aug 18 2013


Published by Christine at 1:37 pm under Uncategorized

My friend Sheryl and I attended two wedding receptions over the past 3 weeks (in her words, we’re now professional wedding guests), and while munching on some delicious appetizers before dinner, she mentioned that she was dying to host a cocktail party, where small bites, as opposed to a large meal, take center stage. One only has to mention the word party, and I’m there. Thus I volunteered my house for the gathering, we soon picked a Saturday, and before anyone could say “I need a refill on my Sauvignon Blanc,” we had a tapas party in the works.

Tapas (Spanish for appetizers) can be as simple or as elaborate as you want them to be, the point of serving tapas being that it encourages informal conversation and mingling in a way that a sit-down meal might not. Tapas bars have become quite popular here over the years, their menu typically a long list of small plates designed to be shared. Truth be told, this has long been my preferred way to eat. I enjoy variety, and at restaurants, I would much rather order two or three appetizer-sized items than a large plate.

For our gathering, we asked our friends to bring something to share, thereby ensuring a variety of things to enjoy. For my part, I prepared canapés of foie gras on homemade brioche with fig chutney; marinated mushrooms served on toasted baguette; and a large pressed roasted vegetable and mozzarella sandwich, cut and served in small pieces

Fig Chutney: sweet and tangy, with just a little bit of heat; the perfect foil for foie gras or goat cheese.

Foie gras canapés

One of my favorite things to eat, bar none

Roasted veg sandwich; perfect for a party or picnic - recipe follows

Our friends brought a variety of delicious bites, from ceviche to patatas bravas to goat cheese crostinis and more:

Potatoes with bravas sauce and a delicious aioli

Pesto and goat cheese? Yes, please!

The OMG factor in these tartlets goes to 11.

Spicy chickpea salad - I could not stop eating it.

Fantastic ceviche - and there's none left... {sobbing}

No tapas party would be complete without sangria.

For dessert, I made green tea sablés topped with a citrus and white chocolate cream and sesame nougatine (recipe – in French – here), and one of our younger guests made decadent and ridiculously good cookies topped with coconut. Our friend Janet made a beautiful key lime pie, which was so delicious it was unfortunately gone before I had a chance to take a picture of it.

The contrast in flavors and textures makes this dessert a real winner.

Seven layer cookies, which were named 'slutty brownies' for the evening.

The evening weather was wonderful, the company fabulous, the food elegant and delicious – what a great party we had! I can’t wait to do it again!

And now, by popular request:


Roasted vegetable sandwich

1 ciabatta bread, cut in half lengthwise
1 eggplant, cut in 1″ round slices
2 medium zucchinis, cut in 1″ lengthwise slices
1 large tomato, sliced
sliced fresh mozzarella
fresh basil
1/3 cup orange juice
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp dried italian herbs, or a mix of thyme, oregano and rosemary
1 or 2 cloves garlic, chopped
pepper to taste

Whisk together the OJ, olive oil, vinegar, salt, pepper and herbs. In a large bowl, drizzle this marinade over the eggplant a zucchini and toss to coat. Let this sit about 15 minutes. In the meantime, preheat your barbecue grill.

Slice tomato and place over paper towels. Sprinkle some salt over the slices and let them render water while you prepare the other vegetables.

Grill eggplant and zucchini over medium high heat, about 5 minutes on each side until soft and done. They should be lightly charred on the outside. Toast the bread over indirect heat on the grill. Note: you could also use peppers and mushrooms here. Let your taste guide your choice of vegetables to grill.

Once the bread and vegetables are done and cool enough to handle, assemble the sandwich:

Whisk the garlic in the leftover marinade, and drizzle over both pieces of bread. Place basil leaves on bottom piece of bread to cover. Next, layer slices of mozzarella, followed by tomato slices (patted dry with paper towels). Finally, layer eggplant and zucchini on the bread, and cover with top piece of bread. This will be a very thick sandwich.

Place a heavy pan on top of the sandwich to press it down for 15 to 30 minutes. The juices from the vegetables will run into the bread (and on your counter as well, so make sure you place a towel under the sandwich to catch some of this), and the flavors will blend to create a vegetarian delight.


5 responses so far

5 Responses to “Tapas”

  1. Sherylon 31 Aug 2013 at 12:57 pm

    this was absolutely one of the most delicious parties I’ve ever been too..christine outdid herself with the food, the ambiance, the laughs…it was a perfect summer evening for this tapas event (and when I said it to friends at least four said, “Topless party?”). The sandwich was out of this world good and I’m making it this week for my boyfriend…YUMMY!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Christineon 31 Aug 2013 at 4:22 pm

    We did have a good time indeed. I hope Jim enjoys the sandwich!

  3. Deb Amlenon 21 Sep 2013 at 12:24 pm

    We must do that again. Best party ever!

  4. Christineon 21 Sep 2013 at 2:35 pm

    Agreed! It was so good to see everyone so relaxed.

  5. Sheryl Robinsonon 18 May 2016 at 2:28 pm

    I’ve gone back to this page more than a few times since this party for the recipe, for the memories, for the photos! GREAT PARTY! Great friends…miss you my dear Christine!

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