Your New Go-To Party Hors d’oeuvre: Deviled Eggs

Bon Appetit Southern Deviled Eggs

 

What Makes a Great Cocktail Party?

I am a firm believer that the success of cocktail party hinges on two things: great drinks and easy-to-eat food.  In many social situations, it’s important to consider how you will eat whatever food you select.  Going out for lunch with a new client?  Select a dish you can eat with utensils; no one ever looked like a sophisticated professional eating a sandwich.  The same goes for first dates, meeting the parents, and business outings.

For cocktail parties, hostesses should consider where and how guests will be eating when selecting what to serve.  Where will visitors sit?  How many people fit at a table?  I have been to some parties where fabulous food is served, but there was no easy, much less socially acceptable, way to eat it.  One of the worst offenders in the delicious, but unmanageable party foods is steak.  Even filet requires a knife and fork and a flat surface, forcing guests to find a place to sit and somewhere to place their drink.  There’s nothing worse than watching someone struggling to enjoy a party, not make a mess of themselves and their surroundings because the hostess didn’t consider this important detail.

The Perfect Cocktail Party Recipe

One of my favorite dishes to serve at cocktail parties is deviled eggs.  They are the perfect two-bite appetizer and very wallet-friendly.  I also love that these eggs can be dressed up and glammed out, like these Truffled Deviled Eggs Anne Burrell makes,  or simple and classic, depending on your crowd and your mood.

Tonight I made Bacon Deviled Eggs, from Bon Appetit’s Savor the South issue (February 2012).  They are fabulous!  I top mine with a dusting of hot paprika for a little extra kick.  Serve yours on a charming egg plate, and rest easy, knowing you are serving the perfect party hors d’oeuvre.

Jadeite Hen Egg Plate

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo credit: Bon Appetit, Farm Girl in Pink

Perfect Cocktail Party Dessert Recipe: Cheesecake Stuffed Stawberries

When you are invited to a party, it is always a thoughtful gesture to offer to bring something.  Not only does this show your appreciation, it also allows the hostess one less thing worry about.  Even the best hostess can find herself in need of an extra hand, so don’t be surprised if she takes you up on your offer!  Always check with the hostess about what she plans to serve so as not to overlap food or drinks, though there’s nothing wrong with having an extra bottle or two of champagne on hand!

One of my favorite treats to bring to parties is cheesecake stuffed strawberries.  They are delicious, simple to make, and can be made on short notice! They also make for a stunning presentation and, on top of all that, they are easy to eat.  (Never underestimate this detail, at cocktail parties especially.  Having food that guests can eat in a bite or two and doesn’t require a knife and fork is essential.)

Ingredients:

1 lb. strawberries, rinsed & patted dry

1 8 oz. cream cheese block, softened

3/4 C. confectioners’ sugar

1 T. vanilla extract

1 t. lemon zest

2 large graham crackers

1/4 C. dark chocolate chunks

1. The key to this dish is prepping the berries.  Cut the top off of each berry.  Then, carefully slice off the bottom of the strawberries to create a flat base.  The trick is to cut the bottom of the strawberry so that the top will sit level.  This will be important when you fill each berry; the cheesecake mixture will cause uneven berries to topple.

 

2. Using a strawberry huller or a small melon baller, scoop out the inside of the berry.  Set berries aside.

 

 

 

3. In a bowl, beat together the softened cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar, and vanilla extract until smooth.  Fold in lemon zest.  (These ingredients can be increased or decreased based on your taste preference and sweetness of berries.)

 

 

4. Fill a piping bag (or a large Ziploc bag rigged to operate like a piping bag), with the cheesecake mixture.

 

 

 

5. Pipe the mixture into each strawberry, filling the berry.  I like to have a good berry-to-cheesecake ratio, so I fill each berry, and then add an extra dollop on top.

 

 

 

cocktail part dessert6. Sprinkle the graham cracker crumbs over the tops of the strawberries.

 

 

 

7. Finish with the dark chocolate pieces, nestled in the cheesecake mixture.

Enjoy!

 

 

I adapted this recipe from this Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries post on The Sweets Life.