A couple of weeks ago, I felt blue because we can’t travel; thank you, 2020, and Coronavirus! So I decided to try some of my own advice on What to do When You Can’t Travel and have an international themed dinner. Harkening back to our trips to Barcelona and wandering through the Boqueria, I decided on a Spanish theme. Make-Ahead Tapas are the perfect thing for a fun little cocktail party.
Everyone loves small bites. These treats can be hot or cold, and you don’t have to have a fussy sit-down dinner to enjoy good company and conversation. The best thing about Tapas is that you can make many of them ahead of time, so you get to enjoy the party.
The key to any successful Tapas party is to have a good balance of plates available for your guests to choose from. When deciding which Tapas to serve, remember you want a variety. Some of the bites should be warm and some cold. You also want to mix up the textures and flavors.
Since we could only have our “Quaranteam” folks to the party (my husband and our two closest friends), we kept the menu small. But it’s easy to add to a Tapas Bar without even cooking if more people show up. Make a cheese plate with Manchego, Cabrales, and Goats Cheese. Add in some cured meats like Jamon Serrano (ham), olives, and yummy Marcona Almonds
What Was On The Make-Ahead Tapas Bar?
We put together a crudites platter with a creamy White Bean and Cheese Dip and popped a bottle of Cava to start off. From there, we moved on to Canapes with Cheese and Artichokes and some Spicy Chorizo a la Sidre.
Also on the menu were luscious Mushrooms in a Madeira Cream Sauce, Eggplant with Goat Cheese and Roasted Red Peppers, and Gambas al Ajillo. We washed down these enticing bites with an earthy bottle of red wine from right here in California.
For an easy pop of veggie, I pan-roasted up Shishito peppers and sprinkled them with a touch of sea salt. Shishitos are very much like the Padrons you would find in Spain, so they make an easy substitute.
Not to be left out, our friends brought over a couple small plates of their own. Pork Katsu and Brown Rice and Chicken wrapped in Nori. These are not your typical Tapas dishes, but they worked and added an excellent Asian influence to the evening.
We had flan and shortbread cookies and an excellent whiskey to round off the night on a sweet note. These items were all store-bought but in the spirit of our Spanish influenced meal.
Tapas, Small Plates, Appetizers – Little Bites Bring Great Pleasures
Some wise person once said you can’t change what life brings you, but you can change how you react. We can’t travel right now. But we can bring a bit of the excitement of a different city or culture into our home, through the food we find on our travels.
This week we took a trip back to Spain with good friends and never left our home. The spicy flavors of the Gambas, the sweet, creamy mushrooms, and all the other small plates renewed our spirits. The make-ahead Tapas were easy to prepare and provided the perfect way to bring an end to an otherwise routine week.