Off the Menu with Dara can be heard every Saturday from 11 a.m. to noon on News Radio 830 WCCO! See all of Mpls. St.Paul Magazine’s Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl’s Top 5 lists here!
My eight year old has been working on her Brownies’ snack badge, and so consequently I’ve been thinking a lot about the absolute easiest recipes in the world. The ones that are a couple things on a toothpick, and will satisfy a slightly snobby grown-up but still be easy to make by an eight year old working solo. Do such snacks exist? They do! And here they are. A couple things on a toothpick, easily assembled by the nearest Brownie or Cub Scout, my Top 5 Easiest Appetizers in the World!
Tomato Mozzarella Caprese Toothpicks
This is the classic, right? A cherry tomato, a mozzarella ball roughly the size of a cherry tomato (I like the Crave Bros. ones), and a basil leaf separating them. I don’t care if you’re the Queen of England—this is still excellent.
Summer Sausage, Cheese and Pickle Kabobs
These can get very fancy, if you use some good cheddar and an adorable gherkin, or they can be very simple. In any event, kids love them and adults find they go very well with a nice beer.
This one’s not very kid-friendly because it’s got a hot-pepper and an anchovy in the mix and it’s actually a classic Spanish pintxos – a little nibble served in northern Spain’s tapas bars. That said, the combination of olive, pepper, and anchovy on a toothpick is quite fantastic, and has big snob appeal—as well as being one of the easiest appetizers known to mankind. If you make them in advance and let sit in the fridge glazed with olive oil, that’s just fine. Goes beautifully with a true dry Spanish Sherry.
Apricots, Chevre, Pistachios
If you give a child a tub of chevre, and show them how to spoon some on top of a dried apricot, and then dump some chopped pistachios over the tip-top, you will have achieved the dream of all parents and turned your little one into a skilled appetizer chef.
Prosciutto-Wrapped Persimmons (hot or cold)
I’m going to have those renowned Minneapolis caterers the Chowgirls on the show soon because they have a new cookbook out. In there they have a really simple recipe: just take some ripe, Fuyu persimmons, cut them in mouth-sized bites, quarters or eighths, depending on the size, wrap in prosciutto, and add a mint leaf. These go so well with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc! If you’re inclined you can do an even fancier version, by replacing the mint with rosemary and cooking the little bundles in the oven. Easy and amazingly good.