Whether you're a beginner in the kitchen or a veteran, every home cook needs some great appetizers in her arsenal. Make enough of them and you and your guests may just be able to skip dinner altogether. You can never have too many in your mental cookbook; it's fun to serve old favourites and exciting new bites every time. That said, Martha Stewart's new cookbook, , which hits bookshelves Sept. 8 and is available for pre-order now, is one book everyone should own. Today, the kitchen queen is sharing three recipes from her new book with us. These simple snacks are uncomplicated and delicious recipes that you can leave out for guests to nibble on while you're busy preparing more complicated appetizers and dishes. Read on.
Stock your pantry with different nuts and spices, and you can make quick and easy snacks anytime. Best of all, seasoned nuts go hand in hand with practically any drink. They can also take on different flavours, like our variations. Each mix keeps well for a week or more.
NOTE: Makes 3 cups
1½ cups capers, preferably salt-packed
Safflower oil, for frying
3 cups mixed roasted, unsalted nuts such as walnuts, blanched almonds, and hazelnuts
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest plus
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Rinse and drain capers, transfer to a paper towel-lined rimmed baking sheet, and gently pat dry with more paper towels. Let dry completely, about 1 hour. Preheat oven to 300°F. In a saucepan, heat 2 inches oil until it registers 350°F on a deep-fry thermometer. In quarter- cup batches, carefully add capers and fry, stirring, until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Using a long-handled slotted spoon or mesh spider, transfer capers to a paper- towel- lined baking sheet to drain. Adjust heat as necessary to maintain oil temperature between batches. Reserve 2 tablespoons cooking oil; let cool. In a bowl, toss nuts with reserved oil, lemon juice, and pepper. Spread in a single layer on a parchment-lined rimmed baking.
We scaled down an easy drop biscuit recipe to make bite-size snacks easier for handling with drinks. We also added boosts of flavour from cheddar cheese and paprika in the dough, plus a bit more paprika that’s sprinkled on the tops before baking. These can be made in less than an hour, and are best when still warm from the oven. In place of the cheddar and paprika, you can substitute Manchego and smoked pimentón.
NOTE: Makes 74 biscuits
2¼ cups all- purpose fl our
1¼ teaspoons baking powder
¾ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon coarse salt
2 teaspoons sugar
¾ teaspoon paprika, plus more for dusting
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 cup finely grated cheddar cheese (6 ounces)
1½ cups heavy cream
Preheat oven to 375°F. Whisk together fl our, baking powder, baking soda, salt, sugar, and paprika in a large bowl. Using a pastry blender or your fingers, cut butter into fl our mixture until it resembles coarse meal, with a few larger clumps remaining. Stir in cheese with a fork. Add cream; stir until dough just comes together (it will be slightly sticky). Scoop mounds of dough (about 2 teaspoons), 1½ inches apart, onto parchment- lined baking sheets. Lightly dust with paprika. Bake until golden brown, rotating sheets halfway through, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer biscuits (and parchment) onto wire racks to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature.
To Make Ahead:
Biscuits are best the same day but can be frozen in an airtight container up to 1 week; reheat in a 300°F oven, without thawing, for about 10 minutes.
Pottery Barn ($24)
A block of sharp feta makes an unexpected alternative to a wheel of creamy cheese and becomes wonderfully blistered and browned after only a few minutes under the broiler.
NOTE: Serves 6 to 8
1 block feta
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
Fresh oregano, for serving
Red-pepper flakes, for serving
Pita breads, for serving
Heat broiler. Pat dry feta, and let stand at room temperature 30 minutes. Transfer to a small baking dish, drizzle with oil, and broil, turning once, until caramelised, 4 to 6 minutes. Top with oregano, red-pepper flakes, and more oil. Serve with warm pita breads, cut into wedges.
Alabama Chanin for Heath Ceramics ($105)
Pick up a copy of Stewart's book for more recipes like these!
What are your favourite snacks to make for a party? Tell us below.