So I figured I might as well share the recipes - all perfectly suitable for your own get-together.
Maple-Glazed Apple-Chicken Sausage Bites
1 package cooked apple-flavor chicken sausage links, 12-16 ounces
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
1 Tb. stone ground mustard
1/2 tsp. dried crushed sage leaves (or 2 tsp. fresh minced sage)
20 pretzel sticks, 20 to 24
Preheat oven to 375-degrees F. Cut sausage into 1" slices. Place on a rimmed baking tray. In a small bowl, combine maple syrup, mustard and sage.
Bake sausage for 8 minutes. Brush generously with maple glaze. Bake for another 8 minutes more or until sausage is heated through. Use pretzel sticks as edible toothpicks to serve sausage slices.
Roasted Asparagus Wrapped in Prosciutto
1 1/2# pounds asparagus
1 Tb. olive oil
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
10 paper-thin slices prosciutto
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Break off and discard tough ends of asparagus. Peel the bottom half of each spear with a vegetable peeler or paring knife. Rinse very well and pat with paper towels.
Arrange asparagus on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Shake pan to coat spears. Roast on center rack 12 to 15 minutes, depending on width and freshness of asparagus, or until just tender. Remove from oven and cool completely. If making several hours in advance, transfer to a platter, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
Cut each slice of prosciutto lengthwise into thirds, then wrap each around an asparagus spear, leaving the tips and ends exposed. Arrange on a platter and serve at room temperature.
2 cups blanched almonds
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
8 large fresh sage leaves
2 Tbs. fresh rosemary leaves
1 Tbs. fresh thyme leaves
1 tsp. sea salt
Set a metal strainer over a large heatproof bowl to quickly drain the almonds at the end of cooking. Put the almonds and olive oil in a 3- or 4-quart saucepan with a lid (the nuts and oil should fill no more than one-third of the pot). Set the pot over medium heat, stirring almost constantly until the almonds are lightly golden, 3 to 10 min., depending on your stove and pot. Toss in the sage, rosemary, and thyme simultaneously and cover the pot immediately with the lid to prevent the oil from spattering. Remove the pot from the heat. The herbs will make a popping sound as they cook.
After the popping dies down, remove the lid and immediately pour the almonds into the strainer. Spread the drained almonds on a rimmed baking sheet and toss with the salt. When they’re thoroughly cooled, store them in an airtight plastic container at room temperature.
Lemon-Rosemary Chicken Skewers
8 skinless boneless chicken breast halves (each about 7 ounces)
48 - 8" bamboo skewers, soaked in water 30 minutes, drained
1 - 1 pint basket grape tomatoes or small cherry tomatoes
1 cup olive oil
1 cup fresh lemon juice
6 bay leaves, broken into small pieces
3 Tb. chopped fresh rosemary
4 large garlic cloves, pressed
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. hot pepper sauce
Cut each chicken breast half lengthwise into 6 thin strips. Thread each strip completely onto 1 skewer, leaving 1/2 inch of skewer exposed at 1 end. Press 1 grape tomato onto end of skewer. Divide skewers between two 15x10x2" glass baking dishes, stacking skewers if necessary.
Pour oil into bowl. Whisk in next 6 ingredients. Pour marinade over chicken. Marinate 1 hour at room temperature, turning often, or cover and chill overnight.
Remove skewers from marinade and grill chicken until just cooked through, about 8 minutes. Transfer to platter.
Toasted Pecan & Gorgonzola Spread from Pestos, Tapenades, & Spreads by Stacey Printz
8 oz. whipped cream cheese
1/2 cup Gorgonzola cheese
1/4 cup toasted pecans
2 Tb. fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1/4 tsp. powdered mustard
2 ripe pears
Place all the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and pulse to combine. Be careful not to overblend as you still want small pieces of pecan to stud this spread. Serve on crusty baguette slices and top with thin slices of pear.
Nancy Olin's Black Bean and Corn Salsa from Party Dips! by Sally Sampson
5 Tb. olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tsp. cumin
1 Tb. chili powder
pinch cayenne pepper
4 ears of fresh corn, kernels cut off the cob
3 Tb. water
1 can (15.5-ounces) black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup scallions, minced
1 juice of lime
salt, to taste
black pepper, to taste
Place a medium-size skillet over medium heat and, when it is hot, add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, the garlic, cumin, chili powder, and cayenne and cook for 1 minute. Add the corn and water, cover, and
cook until the corn is tender, about 3 minutes.
Off the heat, add the beans, scallions, lime juice, and remaining 3 tablespoons oil, season with salt and black pepper, and stir well to combine. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to overnight to let the flavors develop.
Platter of Assorted Cheeses
We like to serve with crackers and marmalade, in this case blood orange.
And if you're interested in those happy beverages, besides the typical beer and wine, hubby and friend Greg manned a very mini bar, offering either the house Mojito or hubby's favorite Ginger Snaps.
1 1/2 oz. vodka
1 oz. ginger liqueur, such as Domaine de Canton
1 oz. fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp. agave syrup
1/4 tsp. peeled and grated fresh ginger
pinch each ground cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg
cinnamon stick, for garnish
Sprite (diet ok) to top off (our addition)
Shake all ingredients except Sprite in an ice-filled cocktail shaker. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Top off with a couple ounces of Sprite, and garnish with a cinnamon stick. Serves one.
So there you go! A party in a post.