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Throw an hors d'oeuvre party to welcome Spring


Fresh Spring Pea Soup served in Demi Tasse Cups

A visit to your local farmer’s market reveals a transition from the darker greens of winter to the vibrant and fresh greens of spring. The stalls are full of delicate herbs (like mint, chervil and chives), tender, young English peas, fava beans, ramps, asparagus and baby artichokes. Yes! We’ve made it through the dark, rainy winter, and now moved into the season of new growth.

It’s time to celebrate with a tasty hors d’oeuvre party featuring the earth’s lively new offerings.

Decorate pastel covered cocktail tables with a splash of yellow daffodils, or pots of colorful tulips- always sure signs that Spring has sprung. Use plenty of fresh herbs or tiny blossoms (I like arugula flowers- pictured alongside the cups of soup above) to garnish your platters and trays, and showcase the wonderful produce we’ve waited for through the long winter.
 


Mini Potato Pancakes with Smoked Salmon and Chives

Here are some ideas to get you started.

Serve a fresh pea soup in demi-tasse cups (available at Crate and Barrel). Yes, you can serve soup at an hors d’oeuvre party. A sip from a dainty little cup is just the thing to chase away any lingering winter chill (an idea you can borrow for your Passover dinner, too, serving mini matzoh balls in a rich chicken soup as your guests arrive). Finish with a bit of creme fraiche and a drizzle of mint pesto.

Pass mini potato pancakes garnished with pretty pink slivers of smoked salmon, garnished with a sprig of chive or dill, and warm chive scented gougéres (mini cheese puffs made by adding a cup of Gruyere cheese and 2 T. snipped chives to profiterole dough). You guests will pop them in their mouths like candy, and they happen to go perfectly with a light bubbly wine. Wrap asparagus spears in prosciutto, and splash a bit of extra virgin olive oil and balsamic on them, or serve a pureé of fava beans with a shaving of Parmesan on crostini.
 

But hurry- Spring’s offerings are fleeting.


Chive Scented Gougeres

Fresh Pea Soup

1 medium onion, chopped @3/4 cup
2 teaspoons or so unsalted butter
3 cups shelled fresh or frozen peas
2 1/2 cups low-salt chicken broth

Sauté the onion in the butter, stirring occasionally until tender. Add the peas and chicken broth, and simmer until peas are tender.

Pureé the mixture in a blender, then pass through a sieve back into the pot to heat. Season with freshly ground white pepper and salt.

Mint Pesto

1 bunch mint
@ 1/2 C. Olive or Canola Oil (or mixture)
1 T. Pine Nuts
Puree mint and pine nuts in blender, drizzling in oil until a desired consistency is reached.
 

  • 3/4 cup chopped onion
  • 2 teaspoons unsalted butter
  • 3 cups shelled fresh or frozen peas
  • 2 1/2 cups low-salt chicken broth
  • 3/4 cup chopped onion
  • 2 teaspoons unsalted butter
  • 3 cups shelled fresh or frozen peas
  • 2 1/2 cups low-salt chicken broth

Gisele Perez, aka L.A. Party Planning Examiner, is the owner of Small Pleasures Catering (www.smallpleasurescatering.com) in Los Angeles. She may be reached at: Gisele@smallpleasurescatering.com

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