Appetizers and Hors d’ Oeuvres. Sounds French and it is as French as costly Burgundy wines, but don’t let that intimidate you. Hors d’oeuvres (literally translated) means “before or outside the main work.” So “work,” in a culinary sense, is a dinner. And “before” is the period of time before the dinner is served. We will concentrate on the before aspect, as that is where hors d’oeuvres (or “appetizers,” as many Americans prefer) play a very important role in the ultimate success of any dinner and an area where many home cooks need an infusion of new ideas.
There are two factors to be considered. First, invitees will undoubtedly arrive at various times, presenting a challenge to serve a small number that is rapidly growing into a larger group. Therefore, a variety of two or three appetizers should be offered, with cold appetizers served first and warm or hot ones offered when all or most of your guests have arrived, or are at the dinner table. Secondly, guests frequently do not know each one another, needing a common interest to create a convivial atmosphere that food can help provide.
In the time period between arrival and dinner service, attractive, flavorful hors d’oeuvres are an excellent way to break the social ice and start sparkling conversations. Hors d’oeuvres are a delightful catalyst to start any party off on the right foot, pleasantly filling minutes before dinner with tempting morsels and interesting conversation. But if the guests are offered an unimaginative collection of store-bought dips and chips, the atmosphere of the affair may unfortunately be subdued and little will be expected of the dinner to follow. The conversation may still be inspired, but may not be the conversation you had in mind.
Eye appealing appetizers and hors d’oeuvres are not difficult to make. They may be prepared earlier in the day and created with healthful, low-calorie ingredients. The hors d’oeuvres to follow contain some time-proven recipes; from zesty Caribbean Crab Cakes, to flavor packed Bruschetta, and season themed Angelic Deviled Eggs. The critical “before” dinner time frame is an excellent stage for you to display your culinary accomplishments. Delight your guests with what you have created in your home kitchen and stand by for the compliments.