An easy start. Entertaining is definitely an art – the kind that requires a host to master several of life’s skills. Some of which include the ability to create witty conversation, prepare a sumptuous meal and remain calm no matter what ill-fated surprise might present itself in the kitchen.
Hmmm. Seems a rather tall order.
Not only do I have to carry on a smart conversation (avoiding the juicy but potential pitfalls of politics and religion) I have to prepare and dazzle guest with great food. And I have to do it all without breaking a sweat or having the veins in my neck pop out. Like I said…a rather tall order.
So after several casual get togethers, I’ve found success can be summed up in one beautiful word.
Just saying it makes my blood pressure drop. And the way I see it, the perfect place to start is with the starters.
Finger foods, snacks, whatever you prefer to call them, appetizers keep everyone happily munching away while the meal is being prepared. So when one of my wife’s best friends explained how fig preserves and cheese were all the rage back east, I was rather curious.
Unlike the typical guest list, the ingredient list is deliciously short. Toasted baguette, cheese and fig preserves. If anything, this appetizer has the whole simplify thing down pat. So this weekend my wife and I decided to give it a test run. I wasn’t sure what cheese to use (there are about a bajillion to pick from) so I went for what was probably the obvious choice – a mix of herb goat cheese and cream cheese. The sweetness of the fig preserves offset the salty tang of the goat cheese while mixing in some cream cheese seemed to mellow all of the flavors out. It was simple and elegant at the same time. All in all a wonderful balance of flavors and easy to whip up on a moment’s notice. So I think it’s safe to say, it will make the guest list the next time we have people over.
The Ingredients & Method:
Baguette bread cut on the bias, brushed with olive oil and baked to a golden, crispy brown in 425° F oven. (about 10 or so minutes, watch carefully)
Fig preserves – your brand of preference
I suspect many types of cheeses would work so it’s more of a personal preference. (I went for the soft kind. 4 oz. cream cheese and 4 oz. garlic & herb goat cheese blended together.)
Set it up as “serve yourself” or pipe on toasted baguette slices and top with the fig preserves before serving. It’s really up to you.