Just a little bit

Published 8:02 pm Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Finger foods are perfect summertime fare.

Finger foods make summer parties light and portable

While winter winds and frosty air make us crave hearty, richer fare, summertime is all about keeping it light and portable.

To that end, people tend to focus more on the lighter side of the menu, visit tapas bars, or confine themselves to just having a little something from the appetizer menu.

Moreover, summertime means garden parties, picnics, and barbecues where people want their food to not only taste good but serve as an appropriate mingling companion. So, it must be light. It must be all but impossible to spill. And it must — if it is not to stand alone — serve as a tantalizing prelude to the meal to come.

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Finger foods are perfect summertime fare. But not just any chicken leg qualifies as a finger food.

First of all, a good finger food must travel well. According to Corey Duncan, owner of The Catering Place on Holland Road, finger foods should not confine a person to a seat.

“You don’t want something where you need a plate, a knife and a fork,” he said.

Next, interesting finger foods often take a course from the table to a partygoer’s hands. For instance, Duncan often serves chilled gazpacho in a shot glass with a wedge of a grilled cheese sandwich for dipping.

This miniaturization of an otherwise table-bound dinner course makes for a light and fun treat that party-goers can carry with as much ease as their gin and tonic. And since gazpacho is a chilled soup, it will help keep guests cool when the temperatures are high.

If it’s heartier bites one seeks from finger foods, Duncan suggests serving a coffee-glazed tenderloin, cooked to medium rare and served at room temperature, with a dollop of horseradish for dipping. He also suggests smoked shrimp on a piece of fried cornbread with gouda cheese or a nice barbecue sauce.

Most important, though, Duncan reminds party-throwers and partygoers to just break things down and take their time.

“It’s just cooking,” he says. “It’s not rocket science.”

He urges people to enjoy mini cheeseburger sliders with French fry shooters and other finger foods at parties, but only in moderation. Finger foods can be very tempting when displayed on elegant elevations and handsome garnishes. But try not to overdo it, Duncan urges.

His main advice for those hosting parties and serving finger foods is “feed them, don’t fatten them.”

From a health standpoint, it can be easy to overindulge when small bites are involved. Just remember to take time to savor every tasty morsel.

Hot Dog and Bacon Roll-Ups


  • 2 packages hot dogs, cut in half
  • brown sugar
  • 1lb. bacon, cut into in the middle

1. Take a piece of hot dog and piece of bacon, wrap bacon around hot dog.
2. Stick a toothpick through bacon to hold.
3. Place one layer in bottom of Crock Pot and cover with brown sugar.
4. Repeat until all the hot dogs have been used.
5. Cook 3 to 4 hours.

Glazed Apple Pork Kabobs


  • 1 cup apple jelly
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons butter


  • 1 lb boneless pork loin, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 3 apples, seeded and cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons lemons, juice and zest of
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper

1. Soak skewers in water for 60 minutes.
2. In small saucepan, make glaze by mixing together the jelly, lemon juice and zest, cinnamon and butter. Simmer until well blended.
3. Sprinkle lemon juice, zest and salt and pepper evenly over pork and apple cubes. Thread pork onto skewers and spoon glaze over all.
4. Grill over hot coals 10-12 minutes; turning frequently. Baste frequently.

Garam Masala Deviled Eggs


  • 6 hard-boiled eggs (recipe #24799 offers perfection!)
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoons minced green onions
  • 1 tablespoon minced seeded jalapeno chile (or to taste)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons minced mango chutney
  • 1/2 teaspoon scant garam masala
  • finely chopped radish, to garnish

1. Shell eggs, then cut in half lengthwise.
2. Transfer yolks to small bowl and mash with fork. Mix in mayonnaise. Stir in next 4 ingredients. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Spoon yolk mixture into whites. Top generously with chopped radishes.

Little Smoked Salmon Cucumber Cups with Peppered Creme Fraiche


  • 1 medium cucumber, cut into 1-inch slices
  • 10 tablespoons creme fraiche
  • zest of one large lemon
  • fresh ground black pepper, to taste (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 225 g smoked salmon (8 ozs)
  • salt (optional)
  • lemon slice, to garnish (optional)
  • dill (optional) or parsley, to garnish (optional)

1. Cut the cucumber into 1 1/2 inch slices, and carefully hollow out the centre (with any seeds) with a pointed teaspoon, so you are left with a shallow hollow.
2. Mix the lemon zest and black pepper with the crème fraiche and adjust seasoning to taste, adding the black pepper bit by bit to ensure a favourable taste! (We like ours quite peppery!) I have not suggested salt as the smoked salmon is salty, but do add salt to taste if you wish.
3. Spoon a little seasoned crème fraiche into each cucumber cup, about 1 teaspoon per cup.
4. Cut the smoked salmon into 6-inch long strips and about 1/2 inch wide, and curl them around to make a little circle, then place the circle of smoked salmon on top of the crème fraiche.
5. Garnish with lemon slices if you wish, or with dill or parsley. Makes about 30 according to size of cucumber.

6. You can prepare the cucumber cups and crème fraiche several hours beforehand — cover them and store them in the fridge, then assemble them just before you are ready to serve them.

Recipes courtesy of www.food.com