Sometimes you host a get together that will last longer than the usual cocktail party but still ends just short of being a full dinner party.
This means that you have to prepare food that is both cocktail friendly, meaning a variety of hand held bites, but still substantial enough to replace dinner when the party is over.
This was just one of those in between events. We knew that the conversation would take us past the traditional couple of cocktail hours, and it did, but since it was so casual, I did not want to prepare a full blown meal for dinner.
Presentation and plating were important as it had to be served on our coffee table and it had to be easily reachable by those surrounding the table. I did include side plates and cloth napkins, but aside of that, it was help yourself.
I made a large round platter with three selections, one of shrimp, another of grilled lamb sausage and the third of pepperoncini peppers and an assortment of multi colored baby tomatoes. I thought that some dipping sauces would be nice so I included one that was cool, one garlicky and lemony and one that was spicy hot. It seems that spicy hot is a must these days.
While grilling the sausage and shrimp on the barbecue, I grilled some rustic bread drizzled with olive oil and rubbed with a garlic clove after toasting.
The third component was a tomato galette, cheesy and delicious.
I rounded out the platters with some store bought dips and condiments and prepared all the cooked food in the afternoon so everything was served at room temperature. No last minute grilling or cooking.
It was a great evening and we had nibbles left overs for lunch the next day.
Perfect for an in between cocktails and dinner evening.
Grilled Lamb Sausage (from Whole Foods)
Baby Plum Tomatoes
Grilled Lemon Halves
Grilled Rustic Bread with Olive Oil and Garlic Rub