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New Year's recipes: 9 great appetizers to serve at your party

Party food is meant to be easy, both for the host to make and the guests to eat. Here are some starters to please everyone.

Artichoke dip

This dip is delicious unbaked. Crabmeat and
Credit: Newsday / Robert Mecea, Recipe by Marge Perry

This dip is delicious unbaked. Crabmeat and cooked chopped spinach may be stirred into either version.

2 (14-ounce) cans artichoke hearts, drained
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup sour cream
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese


1. Mince the artichokes in a food processor; add the mayonnaise, sour cream and Parmesan cheese.

2. If desired, coat a small baking dish with cooking spray, fill with dip and bake in a preheated, 350-degree oven 20 to 25 minutes, or until lightly browned. Makes 12 to 16 servings.

Cheddar Nibbles

The rosemary infuses the cheese with a
Credit: Marge Perry

The rosemary infuses the cheese with a little aroma, but does not get eaten.

1 cup drained oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, divided
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon parsley, chopped
1 (7-ounce) block Irish Cheddar cheese, cut in 1/2-inch cubes
1 small bunch fresh rosemary


1. Mince one sun-dried tomato. Combine it in a bowl with the olive oil and parsley; add the Cheddar and toss to coat it in the dressing. (The cheese may be used immediately or allowed to marinate overnight).

2. Cut the rosemary into 11/2- inch long pieces. Strip bottom 1/4-inch of leaves, leaving a stem. Cut remaining sun-dried tomatoes in half, place one half on top of each cube of cheese. Insert rosemary stem through the tomato into the Cheddar just far enough for stem to hold them together. If it is difficult to push the stem through tomato and cheese, poke a hole with a toothpick first, insert the rosemary stem in hole. To serve, arrange on a serving platter with a bowl in which guests can place the used rosemary stems. Makes 16 servings (about 48 to 50 pieces).

Lemony white bean dip with peppers and pita chips

Look for day-old pita breads, sold at
Credit: Doug Young, Recipe by Lauren Chattman

Look for day-old pita breads, sold at a discount.

6 (6-inch) pita breads, split and cut into 8 wedges each
Nonstick cooking spray
2 teaspoons paprika
2 (15-ounce) cans white beans, drained and rinsed
2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1 cup tightly packed fresh parsley leaves
¼ cup lemon juice
¼ cup olive oil
2 tablespoons water
2 red, yellow, and/or orange bell peppers, stemmed, seeded and cut into ¼-inch-thick strips


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread pita wedges on baking sheets in single layer and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Sprinkle with paprika and salt and bake until crisp and golden, about 15 minutes. Cool completely on baking sheets and store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

2. Place beans, garlic, parsley, lemon juice, oil and water in work bowl of a food processor and process until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl once or twice, as necessary. Scrape the mixture into a small bowl and season with salt. Refrigerate until ready to serve, up to 1 day.

3. Let bean dip come to room temperature and serve with pita chips and sliced peppers. Makes 2 cups bean dip.

Wasabi deviled eggs with salmon roe

Salmon roe, available in the refrigerator case
Credit: Doug Young, Recipe by Lauren Chattman

Salmon roe, available in the refrigerator case near the fish at most supermarkets and fish markets, is a cheap and festive alternative to caviar.

8 large eggs
1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons wasabi powder
2 scallions, white and light green parts, finely chopped
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons salmon roe


1. Place eggs in a pan in a single layer and cover with 1 inch of water. Bring water to a boil over high heat, cover pan, remove from heat, and let stand 10 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer eggs to a bowl of ice water to chill for 5 minutes.

2. Peel eggs and halve lengthwise. Scoop yolks into small bowl and mash with fork until smooth. Stir in mayonnaise, wasabi powder and scallions. Season with salt.

3. Spoon yolk mixture back into whites. (At this point, eggs can be placed on a platter, covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to 1 day). Top each egg with 1/2 teaspoon salmon roe just before serving. Makes 16 pieces.

Zucchini 'Caprese'

WHAT YOU'LL NEED: 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
Credit: Marge Perry

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1 medium zucchini (about 8 ounces) cut into 1/4-inch thick slices
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 large tomato, halved and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup loosely packed whole basil leaves
5 ounces fresh mozzarella, cut in half and then into 1/4-inch slices


1. Bring the balsamic vinegar to a boil; continue boiling until it coats the back of a spoon and is reduced by about half; about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.

2. Coat grill rack with cooking spray. Lightly brush zucchini slices on both sides with oil, reserving remaining oil. Sprinkle the zucchini and tomato slices with the salt. Place the zucchini on the grill and cook 2 minutes on each side, or until lightly marked and crisp-tender.

3. Alternate basil leaves with tomato, mozzarella and zucchini slices in an overlapping layer on a platter. Garnish with small basil leaves, if desired. Drizzle with the remaining oil and the balsamic.

Whipped goat cheese spread

WHAT YOU'LL NEED: 4 ounces goat cheese,
Credit: Doug Young, Recipe by Lauren Chattman

4 ounces goat cheese, softened
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh basil or 1 tablespoon pesto (optional)
1 tablespoon lemon juice

HOW TO: Combine goat cheese, cream cheese, basil or pesto if desired, and lemon juice in a medium bowl and beat with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Scrape into an airtight container. The cheese spread will keep in the refrigerator for up to a week. Makes 2 to 4 servings.

Kobe beef sliders

WHAT YOU'LL NEED: 1 1/2 pounds ground
Credit: Bruce Gilbert, Recipe by Jason Day

1 1/2 pounds ground Kobe beef (or ground beef with at least 20 percent fat)
Pinch of salt and pepper
Olive oil, for searing sliders
20 mini burger buns
1/4 cup Thousand Island dressing
10 sweet gherkins, halved crosswise


1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line a sheet pan with aluminum foil. Combine ground beef with salt and pepper and shape into 20 balls.

2. Film a large griddle with olive oil and place over medium-high heat. Sear sliders so they are golden-brown on both sides, about 1 minute on each side. Transfer sliders to sheet pan and bake 5 to 10 minutes, depending on degree of doneness preferred.

3. Remove from oven and let rest for 2 minutes. Place patties inside hamburger buns and top each with 1/2 teaspoon of Thousand Island dressing and half a gherkin. Makes 20 sliders.

Shrimp with mango-ginger ketchup

WHAT YOU'LL NEED: 2 pounds medium shrimp,
Credit: Marge Perry

2 pounds medium shrimp, peeled
1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning blend
2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
1 cup chopped onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
2 large ripe mangos, peeled and chopped
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup cider vinegar
2 teaspoons curry powder
½ teaspoon salt


1. Toss the shrimp with the Cajun seasoning. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large, nonstick skillet over medium-high; add the shrimp and cook until no longer translucent; about 2 minutes on each side. Transfer to a plate to cool. (May be done hours in advance and refrigerated.)

2. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in the skillet over medium-high; add the onion, garlic and ginger and cook, stirring, until the onion is soft, about 4 minutes. Add the mango, sugar, vinegar, curry powder and salt, and cook until mango is very soft and mixture thickens, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and cool slightly. Transfer to blender or food processor and puree. Refrigerate until serving. (May be made 2 to 4 days in advance.) Makes 16 appetizer servings.

Mocha beef kebabs

WHAT YOU'LL NEED: 1 1/4 cups unsweetened
Credit: Doug Young, Recipe by Paul Komsic

1 1/4 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup unflavored, very finely ground coffee
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon pepper
3 pounds beef-stew meat, cut into 1-inch chunks (40 pieces)
20 (6-inch) bamboo skewers
3 red bell peppers, cut into 1-inch pieces
Cooking spray


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl. Put beef cubes into rub and mix with hands so they are well coated on all sides.

2. On each skewer, alternate 2 chunks of beef and 2 pieces of red pepper, leaving some space in between.

3. Spray sheet pan with cooking spray and bake skewers 8 to 12 minutes, depending on preferred doneness. Let rest briefly, and serve.

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