Canapés for all
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Canapés for all

From Family Features

An outdoor canapé party is a great way to admire your beautiful thriving garden and entertain inexpensively. Finger foods offer delicious diversity for a crowd and can be dressed up or down for occasions like Sunday brunch or intimate at-home weddings.

Whether it’s a few friends gathering or several dozen, here are some tips – offered by professional party giver Gisele Perez – to streamline your efforts and guarantee a memorable occasion. She suggests you:

Watch the weather. Have a tent or some kind of cover to keep food and friends out of the sun or rain.

Set your tables in advance, adorn with edible arrangements. Arrange multiple seating areas plus one communal table to encourage intimate and group conversation. Use splashes of vibrant color most pronounced in your garden. Arrange wildflowers, herbs and grasses, summer fruits-such as ripe cherries, strawberries, small apricots and plums-in favorite pitchers and tall clear canisters. Garnish trays with edible herbs, blossoms and leaves.

Add ambiance with mood lighting. For a pleasant subtle glow, string twinkling lights throughout bushes, planters and tree trunks.

Streamline kitchen time. Set up your coffee maker/service the night before. Clean, cut and bag produce for quick-assemble salads and spreads. Stagger your foods. For example, while something is cooking, cooling or being prepped, start the proceedings with a selection of small simple-assemble open-faced sandwiches. Purchase mini fruit tarts and petit fours from a favorite bakery; serve with selection of truffles.

Communal punch is pleasing. Festive and unfussy with less mess (no bottles or cans to clean up), the bowls also make lovely centerpieces. Have two styles, cocktail and mocktail.

To Make Canapé Base

Use “pain de mie,” a sturdy, firm thin white sandwich bread available at many bakeries (Pepperidge Farm or Thomas’ are good supermarket choices).

Spread layer of cream style cheese mixed with a favorite herb mixture on slice of bread; top with slice of swiss cheese.

Use cookie cutters to shape the canapés (circles, squares, triangles, leaf, half moon shapes, etc.) before decorating with variety of toppings.

Topping suggestions:

Grilled zucchini
Thin sliced radish, cucumber
Thin sliced apple, peach, pear, plum
Grapes, halved
Smoked salmon
Capers
Roasted red and yellow peppers
Artichoke hearts
Sliced hard-boiled egg
Thin sliced red onion
Thin sliced beets
Blanched asparagus tips
Colorful grape tomatoes
Fresh herbs for garnish (dill, thyme, basil, oregano and chive)

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