Art Fare: The Blend Of Appetizers And Art

IN THE KITCHEN

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I have been in the newspaper business a long time about 25 years. But it is not the only work I have done. For a time, from June 1988 to October 1992, I worked for a community art center.

I kept my hand in newspaper work with a part-time job for some of that, but my main employment was coordinating performing and literary arts programs and helping in the other things the center did.

The main feature of the center was a series of arts exhibitions. Each of these exhibitions opened with a reception. Being a nonprofit, these were rarely catered affairs, the staff just rolled up their sleeves and put together the party fare.

It was never anything fancy, we were usually feeding between 125 to 250 people over the course of an evening, selling them liquor and encouraging them to buy the work.

The main things were cheese, fruit and meat trays, spinach dip in sheep herder bread, sometimes caviar and similar dishes. On one occasion one of the board members provided a couple of huge, smoked salmon for an event, brought back from a trip he had made to Alaska.

Spinach dip is almost as easy to make as it is to buy, and between the two, the homemade stuff is quite a bit better than the store-bought kind.

Spinach Dip

1 or 2 boxes frozen spinach, chopped

1 or 2 blocks of cream cheese

1 or 2 medium, white onions, finely chopped

salt and pepper to taste

lemon juice

1 or 2 rounds of sheep herder bread

Thaw spinach, squeeze out excess moisture and chop. Soften cream cheese and cut into cubes. Combine spinach, onions and cream cheese into a dip, moisten as needed with lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste.

Tear off top of bread and scoop out center, tearing top and center into bite-size pieces. Fill opening with spinach dip, serve on tray with bread pieces for dipping.

Caviar is outrageously expensive, so the trick is to make it go as far as possible.

Caviar

1 small jar black caviar

4-6 hard boiled eggs

snack-size crackers

Finely chop the eggs and place on a plate, empty jar of caviar on eggs and spread thinly. Serve with snack crackers of ready-made toast points.

Getting a whole smoked salmon is not an easy task, it can be mail-ordered, or you can use the small packages at the store.

Smoked Salmon Appetizers

Package of smoked salmon

Jar of small sweet pickles, drained

Cream cheese, softened

Slice salmon into strips, approximately one inch wide and maybe two inches long. Roll pickles in cream cheese, then wrap salmon strip around it and fasten with a toothpick.

I have to admit, I love smoked salmon so much, I would rather forego the pickles and the rolling and wrapping steps and just put some cream cheese on a cracker and top it off with the salmon.

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