May is the beginning of the party season! We offer some tried and true make ahead appetizers for graduation and family celebrations throughout the spring and summer. Warm weather parties can be complicated for small bites menus. I always try to keep the food inside a temperature-controlled, humidity and bug-free environment for serving. Allow room temperature items to be served for two hours and then replace them with fresh refrigerated items. Remember if you are serving warm food, you will want to use a crockpot, heated chafing dish or warming plate. I like to select food that provides choices for even the pickiest of guests.
One of my clients’ all-time favorite appetizers are these simple and delicious Caprese Bites. You can make them up to a day in advance, seal up and refrigerate. When you are ready to serve, platter and drizzle with the balsamic vinegar reduction. These add a colorful pizzazz to your buffet table.
- 1 8 oz. container Fresh Mozzarella balls (cherry size-called Ciliegine), or 1” squares of fresh mozzarella
- 1 pint small grape tomatoes
- 1 pkg. fresh basil
- Balsamic Vinegar Reduction (or the best tasting balsamic you can find)
- I love Branch and Vine’s Black Mission fig or traditional balsamic for this recipe.
- To make a reduction, place one cup of vinegar in a small sauce pan.
- Bring to a simmer and simmer until it is reduced in half, let cool.
- Drain cheese balls and cut in half.
- Cut basil leaves into long strips.
- Skewer a grape tomato on a toothpick.
- Wrap each cheese ball half with a basil strip and skewer it next to the grape tomato.
- When ready to serve, place skewers on platter and drizzle the basil wrapped cheese area of each stick with a bit of basil vinegar reduction.