Yesterday, we had a houseful of relatives over to make Christmas cookies (over 75 dozen!) Throw in some OSU football, our niece’s 20th birthday dinner and yet another viewing of Pitch Perfect – and viola! We had the makings of a fantastic day-long holiday kick-off party.
To get things started, I put together this quick self-serve Bloody Mary Bar:
Assemble the Antipasto Skewers
To make the mini antipasto skewers as pictured, you will need:
15 decorative wooden skewers
30 cocktail onions
30 pepperoni slices, folded in half, then folded again
15 large green olives, stuffed with blue cheese
To assemble, thread the ingredients on each skewer in this order: cocktail onion, pepperoni, olive, pepperoni and cocktail onion.
Of course, you can get creative and use whatever items you desire. Other ideas you could try include artichoke hearts, grape tomatoes, hard salami slices, prosciutto, dill pickle chunks, pickled green beans or chunks of lime.
Create a Celery “Sculpture”
Rather than just tossing the celery sticks in a bowl, why not get a little creative? Take a short square vase and fill half full with water. Wash celery stalks and cut in long enough pieces so they won’t get lost in the bottom of your serving glasses. Use the shorter left over pieces from the cut stalks to fill in the vase around the longer stems.
This will create visual interest, plus keep your taller stalks standing upright.
You can either leave the leaves on for decorative effect – or remove them for a cleaner effect. I chose to remove them since the skewers had a decorative topping.
Tip: If you assemble this in advance, you may want to turn the taller stalks (assuming you trimmed off the leaves) over right before guests arrive. This will prevent the exposed ends from looking dried out.
Mix Up the Bloody Marys
The following isn’t a recipe. It’s an ingredient list – and it is meant to be used as a starting point. You will need to taste and adjust to find the right balance for your tastes. The key is to add small amounts of each ingredient to the tomato/vodka mixture – and tweak by adding small amounts of whatever flavors you want to enhance.
Note: I love, love, love fresh horseradish – BUT going overboard with it can ruin the whole recipe. Some roots are more intense than others, so you will definitely want to start small with this ingredient and add in small increments.
If you mix up a batch a day or two (or more) ahead, the flavors will meld to create a richer flavor profile than if served immediately.
2 parts tomato juice to 1 part vodka
fresh horseradish root, grated, to taste
hot sauce, to taste
Worcestershire sauce, to taste
fresh garlic, finely minced, to taste
onion powder, to taste
fresh lime – 1 whole lime yields about 1/4 cup of fresh juice
salt and pepper, to taste
I mixed mine up in two batches – one with 2x the amount of horseradish and hot sauce for a little added “kick.”