Today's guest blog post comes to you from Melissa and Denise of Twin Tables, two twins who have a knack for party food!
Let's face it, the holidays are busy. With shopping, planning, cleaning, and decorating, who has time to host a party? It is just so easy to say "not gonna do it." There is only one itsy-bitsy little problem with this. We love parties — and we absolutely love hosting them! So for Twin Tables we have to host and we have to be smart about it. How you ask? We'll we're glad you did. Here are our tips for a Twin Tables Easy-Does-It Holiday Party so you can be the host or hostess with the most-ess.
First, don't do everything yourself! The store is there for a reason. Our philosophy is buy two make one. For example, buy pre-cut vegetables and crackers. Then make a simple dip that will satisfy all tastes. Here are some of our go-to favorites:
Caper and Zucchini Dip
Black Bean Dip
White Bean Feta Dip
Second, cheese is your friend. Everyone loves cheese, even those that aren't supposed or claim to not want to eat it. We raid the cheese shop or counter for whatever tempts our tastebuds. A good rule of thumb is to grab different textures. Use a hard cheddar next to a soft brie to recreate one of Twin Tables' favorite combos. A few grapes or olives to round out the plate and a soft baguette and you are, as our brother would say, "golden!"
Third, if you must have more substantial foods, keep it simple. A big pot of chili will never disappoint. Jambalaya and a green salad will make the hungry full in no time. And it should take you no time at all to prepare. Though we are constantly disapointed to find out a way to a man's heart is not through his stomach, as both of us are still single, these dishes should be crowd pleasers and mindless.
Lastly, keep it fun. We love to play with our food and make it finger-friendly. No utensils means less clean up in our minds. But finger foods doesn't always mean expected. Try these rolled meaty bites. Sure, you could use your favorite salami or proscuitto, but we chose to go Italian and use bresaola, an air-dried, salted beef. For the filling we took store-bought (and low-fat, because, hey, we have to look good in our holiday dresses) ricotta cheese, and simply added lemon zest with red pepper flakes and a kiss of olive oil. Hopefully once people eat these beauties they will want to kiss us as well. A simple roll with a wee bit of arugula and our platter was not only amazingly simple, it was beautiful. A little bit festive, a little bit spicy, a little bit unexpected, these rolls remind us quite a bit of us. We can't wait for you to try as well.
Quick Bresaola-Ricotta Rolls with Arugula
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
8 oz low fat ricotta cheese
48 slices (not paper-thin) bresaola (or sopressata, prosciutto, or salami)
1 bunch arugula, trimmed
Extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling
Combine oil, lemon zest, red pepper flakes, and ricotta together in a medium bowl.
Spread a generous layer of the cheese mixture on each piece of meat, and top with a few arugula leaves. Roll prosciutto up around filling and arrange on serving platter, seam side down. Drizzle with more olive oil, if desired.
Yield: 12 servings