By Wedding Blog Contributor Dawn Viola
With everyone wanting to toast good fortune to the happy couple, impromptu celebrations just might become more frequent as your wedding day approaches. By keeping a few pantry party essentials within reach at all times, youâ€™ll be the toast of the town when the doorbell rings, with a plate-full of appetizers and cocktails for all.
1. Herbed goat cheese. Keep a package of goat cheese (chÃ¨vre), at least one fresh herb (flat leaf parsley, fresh thyme or dill), and a box of artisan water crackers in your kitchen at all times. When friends or family drop in unannounced, mix minced fresh herbs with cracked black pepper, then roll the goat cheese in the herb mixture. Place on a pretty white plate with fresh fruit or fruit preserves, and serve with crackers for an impressive last-minute cheese plate.
2. CruditÃ©s with dill dip. Sour cream is another staple that will satisfy unannounced guests. Keep a 16-ounce container in the fridge and mix with a dash of pepper sauce, 1 tablespoon of dried dill, 1 teaspoon onion powder, salt and pepper to taste. Serve with crisp carrots, endive, celery or cucumber wedges.
3. Quesadillas. A package of flour tortillas will save the day when friends come to call. Place a thinly sliced apple, shredded Cheddar and a sprinkle of kosher salt between two oiled tortillas. Bake or pan fry until golden brown on both sides. Cut into bite-sized pieces and serve warm.
1. Sangria. Keep at least one bottle of white wine in the refrigerator at all times. This can be mixed with berries, peaches and other in-season fruits for a quick and refreshing sangria.
2. The classics. Keep ingredients for a signature cocktail on hand at all times. Classic cocktails are back in style, so when friends come by, donâ€™t ask them what they want to drink. Just hand them an apricot lady or a classic Manhattan (2-oz. whiskey, 1/2-oz. sweet vermouth, 2 dashes bitters, maraschino cherry for garnish, shake with ice to chill, strain, pour).
3. Soda pop. Simple syrups can be made in minutes and infused with fun flavors like ginger, mint, basil and lemon. In a small saucepan heat 1 cup sugar with 1 cup water over medium-low heat until sugar dissolves completely; add grated fresh ginger or other fruit or herbs such. Remove from heat; let stand 10 minutes. Add 2 to 3 ice cubes to cool mixture slightly. Combine infused simple syrup sparkling water and fruit juice to create your own unique soda flavors.
No party is complete without tunes, so keep a variety of party play lists on your favorite devices for quick access to music mood setters.
— Dawn Viola is a professional chef, cooking instructor and the voice behind the award winning food blog, Wicked Good Dinner. Visit her online for more great recipes and newlywed cooking tips.