This new year, let’s make a resolution to throw more parties. The good news is that parties don’t have to be complicated! I’ve got a few simple recipes for hors d’oeuvres that jazz up the things you’d probably already pick up for a party. The bonus is that with a well stocked cupboard of spices, this is a Trader Joe’s one-stop-shop situation. More time drinking, less time hors d’oeuvre-ing.
The players are pretty common cupboard staples for me with olives, garbanzo beans, and mixed nuts. Everything for these appetizers can be found at Trader Joe’s minus the sesame and poppy seeds, but if you’re opting for a larger grocery store/have a well stocked pantry then you won’t have any problem with those.
First up: the Marinated Olives. Super easy, lemony, and garlicy, and my new favorite way to eat any olives. These are the perfect thing to make ahead, and take about 5 minutes to throw together.
Lemon & Garlic Marinated Olives:
Makes about 1 1/2 cups
1 14 oz can (or 1 1/2 cups, drained) of whatever olives you want
1/4 cup olive oil
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
zest from 1 lemon, removed with a citrus zester
pinch of red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons lemon juice
Drain the olives and set them aside in a bowl big enough to occasionally toss them.
In a small saucepan combine the oil, garlic, lemon zest, and the red pepper flakes. Heat the mixture up over medium heat until the oil’s hot and you hear it sizzle and see bubbles. Pour the oil over the olives, add the lemon juice, and toss the olives in the marinade. Let the olives sit at room temperature for 1 hour, tossing it together every 15 minutes or so to make sure all the olives are coated in the flavor. After an hour check for salt content (it probably won’t need it) then place in the refrigerator until you’re ready to serve or serve right away. Try to serve the olives at room temperature if you can, when they’re cold the flavors will be muted.
Next is the Sesame and Poppy Seed Maple Nuts. Trader Joe’s already has Sesame Honey nuts but these are next level with the addition of poppy seeds (they can be used for more than muffins and salad dressing!) plus you get to have a mix of nuts instead of just the lonely cashew or almond.
Sesame & Poppy Seed Maple Nuts
Makes about 2 1/2 cups
12 oz (2 cups) mixed nuts, I like the dry roasted with less salt option at TJ’s
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
4 teaspoons sesame seeds
2 teaspoons poppy seeds
salt if needed
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
In a large non-stick skillet combine all the ingredients minus the salt and mix it together over medium heat until the maple syrup starts to heat up and bubble. Cook for 3-4 minutes until everything coats the nuts evenly and the bottom of the pan is dry (you’ll be able to notice a difference from the more loose syrup that coats the bottom of the skillet when you first add it).
Transfer the nuts to the prepared baking sheet and spread them out to cool completely. Once they’re cool they should no longer be sticky, break up any chunks if you want and serve.
Last but definitely not least is the Crispy Dukkah Garbanzo Beans. If you’re unfamiliar with Dukkah it’s a spice blend from Egypt that involves a few different spices/ingredients that you normally wouldn’t find together, like sesame seeds, fennel seed, and hazelnuts or almonds. Trader Joe’s has a nice blend for a reasonable deal, but if you’d rather make your own I’d recommend this recipe. The only trick to this snack is that it’s not the best for making a large amount of time in advance. It holds well for a few hours though so you can definitely still plan ahead.
Crispy Dukkah Garbanzo Beans
Makes about 3 cups
2 14oz cans garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
3 tablespoons Dukkah
2 tablespoons olive oil
additional salt if needed
Preheat the oven to 400F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
Working in a couple batches carefully pat the garbanzo beans with some paper towels and transfer to the parchment lined baking sheet. Toss with the dukkah (measured out first so you can use the same tablespoon) and the olive oil. Roast for 15 minutes, stir the garbanzo beans, roast for another 15 minutes, stir, then roast for 5 more minutes for a total of 35 minutes.
Remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes, test for salt content and add more if needed. As soon as they cool go ahead and serve them, they’ll stay crispy for a few hours but they’ll turn a little chewy after that.