Weekend Special – A Tapas Party

It’s the long Columbus Day weekend. In my neighborhood that means rafts, docks and boats will be hauled out of the water. Stray pails, shovels and toys will be retrieved and put away. Porch furniture will be covered or stored in the garage. The last stray beach towel will be rescued from the back of the car, washed and folded away for the season.

Hopefully all that work won’t take more than an hour or two. Especially the outdoor projects. At least in New England, it looks like it’s going to be a wet, wet weekend. Better make sure you have lots of helpers.

How to spend a rainy fall weekend? Well you could fret and pout. Hang out at the movies or mall all weekend. Hibernate under a cozy quilt on the couch with back issues of People and a pulp fiction novel or three. Make and freeze enough soup and marinara sauce to feed the entire neighborhood for the entire winter and then some. Since it’s a three-day weekend, you may be able to do all of the above.

Speaking of the neighborhood … why not invite all of your friends and family over for an impromptu Tapas Party. Who wouldn’t like to spend an evening in good company with small plates of yummy appetizers and a glass of wine? A taste of sunny Spain will be just the thing this rainy holiday weekend. Cristoforo Colombo may have been Italian but his patrons but Ferdinand and Isabella ruled Spain.

What to serve? It may not be authentic but I like the idea of replacing dinner with tapas. You can explore lots of lovely dishes and enjoy a little bit of this and maybe a bit more of that. Unless you want 100% authenticity with a menu straight from a Barcelona café, it’s okay to serve any and all of your favorite hors d’oeuvres and appetizers. As long as the dish can be eaten with just a fork (no knives) it’s okay to go beyond finger food. Set out lots of small plates (I stack up every saucer I own) and forks (I go with salad forks) and let everyone help themselves.

To ensure your guests are not just full but satisfied, you will want your dishes to add up to a balanced meal. So don’t forget the veggies. As much as I like raw vegetables with a nice dip (Baba Ganoush is probably my favorite), you don’t have to stop there. Give my Lemon Rice Cakes with Spinach & Manchego a try. Or crostini with vegetables and a sprinkling of cheese. It’s hard to choose … Asparagus or Mushroom Crostini? Maybe both? Speaking of mushrooms and spinach, Flatbread with Mushrooms, Caramelized Onions & Spinach sounds pretty good.

On a cold rainy night, piping hot soup shots will be a welcome addition to your party. In keeping with the season, either Wild Mushroom or Roasted Butternut Soup (or both) would be a good choice.

Seafood is always welcome. My favorites include Mediterranean or Creole Shrimp and Seared Scallops. Or cut swordfish into cubes, toss it with olive oil and lemon juice, thread it on to skewers and grill or roast to perfection. Serve the fish with a spoonful of Caponata.

For those who like to nibble, set out small bowls of Spicy Olives or Tapenade with chunks of cucumber and my favorite Roasted Almonds.

In keeping with the small bites theme, you’ll want to end the evening with some of your favorite little treats. For rich and delicious, Triple Threat or Espresso Brownies work for me. But tiny espresso cups of Affogato or even mini Hot Fudge Sundaes sound pretty good too.

And if all this sounds like too much work? Well, make the party a potluck or forward this link to anyone guest list who offers to help!

Stay dry and have a great weekend. Bon appétit!

What are your plans for the holiday weekend? I’d love to hear from you! Let’s get a conversation going. To make a comment, just click on Comments below.

Want more? Click Here! for more seasonal menus or Here! for a complete list of and links to all the recipes on this blog!

I invite you to take a minute to learn about my philanthropic project Eat Well-Do Good. © Susan W. Nye, 2012

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