Get the jump on holiday parties with hot appetizers |

Get the jump on holiday parties with hot appetizers

by Michelle Palmer

Rick Gunn/Nevada Appeal Stuffed mushrooms.

For many years, I have mentored students and guest taught in Northern Nevada culinary programs. So when I was invited to attend Carson High School’s scholarship award banquet last spring, I was very excited.

It gives me so much joy to see students, whose lives and career choices I might have influenced, get a scholarship for their passion, largely because I remember how much of an impression my teachers made in my life.

Last year, I was invited to Las Vegas to speak at my junior high home economics teacher’s retirement party. She had become a principal. It was an honor to wear my chef coat with “Nevada Governor’s Mansion” embroidered on it and to thank her and tell her in front of family and friends how she had influenced me in my life.

Among all the guests at the event, Linda and Ralph Marrone sat at my table. As Linda discussed her column for the Nevada Appeal, she leaned over and asked “When are you going to write an article?”

If you don’t know her personally, when Linda asks, we do – lovingly.

So in preparation for the holiday season, I suggest the seven “P”s of party planning so you get the chef, date and location of your choice: “Proper Prior Planning Promotes Perfect Party Presentation.” (Can you tell I grew up with parents who were both Marines?)

So beat the rush by selecting your location and call your chosen chef now to schedule your perfect holiday event.

If you prefer to prepare your own menu, here are some warm and hearty fall and holiday recipe suggestions.

Michelle’s Stuffed Mushrooms Appetizer

Seedless green grapes

Crimini mushrooms, brushed clean, stem removed

Cream cheese, softened

Fresh chives, cut 1Ú8-inch pieces

Parmesan cheese, finely grated

Amounts depend on your palate and how many guests. (Three to four mushrooms per person are usually sufficient.)

Place a grape inside the cap of each mushroom. Cream together cream cheese and chives. Encase grape with cream cheese mixture, sealing grape inside. Press Parmesan on top of cream cheese. Place on cookie sheet and cook 6 inches under broiler until lightly browned.

Nutty Bleu Cheese Dessert

1-2 ounces bleu cheese per person, sliced in wedges (I like Point Reyes)

Toasted almonds, hazelnuts and pecans, diced small (allow 1 teaspoon of each nut per person)

Honey, warmed (I like to use local raw organic honey)

Place cheese on plate, sprinkle assorted warm, toasted nuts over top, drizzle with warm honey. Enjoy!