Edible Basics: A Party From the Pantry


Photo by Michael Piazza

An appetizers-only holiday party is festive and fun, especially when paired with a signature cocktail or big batch of boozy punch. But even a seasoned home cook knows that producing a party’s worth of hot little bites can be a challenge, especially for a large group and all at once. To lessen the load during this season of celebration, we need hands-off, stress-free recipes ready to go at a moment’s notice. 

Since winter in New England isn’t exactly brimming with locally harvested produce, now’s the time to rely more heavily on flavorful foods from far away. If you stock your freezer and pantry with the right “foreign” ingredients—like anchovies, salted capers, oil-packed tuna, hard Italian cheeses, all-butter puff pastry, along with the usual suspects like lemons, olive oil, local meat, smoked fish and root vegetables—you can have practically instant, homemade party food all season long, for your own gatherings or to bring to others’.

With a little advance planning and some dedicated freezer space, you can make a beautiful display of homemade hot and cold appetizers sure to please every palate. Pick up some local cheeses from one of the region’s premiere women cheesemongers, whip up a special cocktail or two and your work is done. Raise a glass to that!

This story appeared in the Winter 2019 issue.