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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Vacation Party Food Part 1: Wine Tasting and Finger Food

Because there's too much to say in just one blog post!

Vacation is over and I couldn't be happier.  Don't get me wrong- I absolutely loved spending the last week with my family, the Officer and her family, and friends, old and new.  However, somewhere between Michigan and Texas, I contracted the black plague, or some similar form of illness, and so spent the entire past week feeling pretty miserable.  Wouldn't you know, the day I had to fly out of Texas was the first day I started feeling better.

Anyhow, let's start at the beginning.  Last Sunday, my sister hosted a wine tasting party at her house.  I had volunteered to help make party food because, well, that's what I do.  Mary put together some delicious-looking cheese and cracker plates, caprese-style nibbles, meatballs (both animal and vegan versions), as well as a trio of dips: olive tapenade, roasted red pepper spread, and hummus.  No lie, this was a pretty impressive spread.

My contribution to this smorgasbord was a platter of delightful little tea sandwiches.  I must admit, they were amazing and delicious and adorable!

I'll share the recipe in a sec, but first, I must confess that not everything I create is gold. I had also attempted a phyllo-strawberry-chocolate dessert which ended in disaster and probably ruined Mary's cookie sheet.  Sorry, sister!

In my first attempt, I rolled the strawberries in phyllo to create "cigars."  They fell apart when I tried to take them out of the pan.  In my second attempt, I made little rectangular "packages" out of the dough.  But still, the juice from the strawberries oozed out the corners and made a sticky mess.  On top of that, I used way too much chocolate [only I could screw up a chocolate recipe!] so that, while the desserts were still edible, they were entirely too sweet for me.

Umm, yeah.  So!  Moving on...

The tea sandwiches were super easy to put together, but impressive.  I would consider these an excellent party food option for any occasion.

A couple of notes:  I used store-bought garlic hummus, but decided that it needed even more garlic, so I stirred in some chopped garlic.  This step is optional, of course, and I will note that in the recipe.  Also, feel free to use any veggies you like.  Cucumber and tomato are more traditional, but zucchini, bell pepper, or summer squash would be just as lovely.  And lastly, white bread makes these sammies authentic, but if you prefer a hearty, whole grain bread, change it up as you see fit.  I won't judge.

1 loaf good quality white bread (or bread of choice, up to you)
1 ripe avocado
2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp dill
1/2 tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper
8 oz tub garlic hummus (you won't use all of it, but I don't know that it comes in a smaller size)
1/2 tsp chopped garlic, optional
3-4 Roma tomatoes, cut into 1/4 inch slices
1 medium cucumber, cut into 1/4 inch slices

In a small mixing bowl, scoop out the avocado flesh  and mash with a fork until only small lumps remain.  Stir in lemon juice, dill, and garlic, and mix well.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  If desired, stir chopped garlic into tub of hummus.

To assemble the sandwiches:  Take out 2 slices of bread.  Spread avocado mixture on one slice and hummus on other slice.  Arrange 4 slices each of the tomato and cucumber on one slice of bread.  Top with remaining slice of bread.  Cut sandwich in half twice, creating 4 squares.  Stick each quarter with a toothpick to keep sandwiches from falling apart.  Repeat with remaining ingredients.

Stay tuned for yet another blog post this week!  Vacation Party Food Part 2: Wedding Funness in Texas!

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