Mezze party platter

Put this tasty Middle Eastern platter together in minutesHaving people over for drinks doesn’t have to be an onerous project. Serving Middle Eastern appetizers called Mezze can be an easy and delicious solution for last-minute entertaining. Many of the tasty ingredients can be kept in your pantry or freezer for spontaneous, stress-free entertaining. You can buy stuffed grape leaves, bright pink pickled turnips (they are delicious), olives, and even canned hummus and baba ghanousch at many good groceries or a Middle Eastern market. You can keep mini pita in your freezer to add to the plate. I added feta cheese, but no one would miss it if you didn’t.

I recommend draining the oil from the grape leaves and then covering them with a bit of fresh lemon. Fresh lemon perks up many canned or pre-made things from the shops and makes them “your own”. Remember darlings, so few people entertain any more, so making an effort these days is always appreciated. Get some wine, beer and bar basics. Don’t forget lots of cocktail napkins. Get good ones, they are everywhere these days. Coloured cocktail picks or fancy bamboo picks are good too, if you aren’t using forks. And if you don’t have a good ice bucket, get one – and plenty of ice. Handsome buckets in aluminum cost a song at a big box store or online. And you’ll want some non-alcoholic mixers too! Have fun – it’s a party! And don’t forget some snazzy music on your iPod or CD player. Keep it soft and sexy!
I like to make my own hummus. It takes only minutes and tastes fresh. It is easy with cans of organic chick peas kept in the pantry. Most people love it.
In a food processor or blender, add:
1 or 2 crushed cloves of garlic
1 can of can of rinsed organic chick peas
Juice of two lemons
½ cup sesame oil
1-2 tbsp olive oil
1-2 tbsp chicken stock, preferably organic. Add it slowly to thin the hummus to your taste. It lightens it and does not add calories.
1 tsp salt – or to taste
½ tsp cayenne pepper, or to taste
2 tbsp fresh chopped parsley (optional)
Blend until smooth
Taste and correct seasoning
Decorate the top of the hummus with a little paprika or some olives.