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You know those times when you are invited to a party and you just feel like showing off just a little... not a lot, not like this took REAL effort, but just a little, like an oh I just whipped this up.

What do you make?

(I am going to a neighborhood block party Friday, and it will be the first one we have ever gone to in our new neighborhood, and I feel the need to just be a bit... extra.  Not over the top, just a resounding, yeah I can cook kind of dish.  I am trying to decide- do I make some homemade bread and then a simple spread for it, do I make a dip (I really like this roasted fennel and white bean dip), deviled eggs with parm and capers, do I make a bundt cake...)

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I would go for one of the more savory options, and I think some great dip(s) would be wonderful with bread and/or veggies.  Easy to nosh, easy to transport.  If you feel that's insufficient, maybe the bundt as well.

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I find sticky toffee pudding to be fairly easy and very impressing. 

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Bacon wrapped dates - they are attention getting and addictive... and avoid most allergies folks may be avoiding! To step it up a notch, you can get some jalapeño bacon or savory bacon at Whole Foods or do your own with a hot honey or bbq glaze, balsamic fig, etc... but just the base of a bacon wrapped date is killer... you can also stuff them with a nut (pecan, Marcona almond, etc.) and/or goat cheese (herbed?) or manchego, and you can throw in a little rosemary or something too... at the least - pile them all on the plate and decorate the border of the plate with long rosemary springs... this is a go to app that always leaves an empty platter to take home! 😎

My other go to, but a little harder to eat at a picnic type situation - better for entertaining at a home is burratta piled in the center of a pretty platter and then lots of sliced varied colored/sized heirloom tomatoes around it... dressed with a drizzle of good olive oil, balsamic glaze drizzle, salt and pepper and a bunch of chiffonade basil... serve with toasted garlic baguette slices. This one screams summer and a real treat! 😎

My last easy one is just cantaloupe cubes wrapped in procuitto with a basil leaf and a pretty toothpick - balsamic glaze! 

Those are my easy go to - kind of unique- crowd pleasers! Great post - I’m excited to see what others have up their sleeves (cause I get bored of my stuff! 🤪)

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1.  Strawberries dipped in chocolate, decorated with with either sprinkles or a drizzle of contrasting chocolate.  

2. Bamboo appetizer skewers of baby fresh mozzarella, a basil leaf slice, and a cherry or grape tomato, drizzled with balsamic and olive oil

3. 69 shrimp.  Marinate shrimp in your favorite marinade (I use half an onion, a quarter cup of olive oil, lemon juice, black pepper, and a green herb (basil, shiso, cilantro, etc.) whirled with a stick blender.  Put two shelled shrimp on a skewer together in a ying-yang pattern (head to head in the center, tails going out), grill, and serve with more of the same sauce.   

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I think the bundt cake sounds good. Hard to know about food for a block party if you haven't been to the previous ones. Bundt holds together well so it's okay even if people are carrying it in their hands.

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Chicken satay with peanut sauce

Pavlova topped with whipped cream and fruit 

Homemade bread with some fixings

Pizza rolls (my favorite filling is pesto with chicken and mushrooms)

Deviled eggs are always a crowd pleaser

Mini quiches (muffin-sized) are actually super easy, or even easier, one big quiche

Stuffed mushroom caps (a little pesto and goat cheese plus parm, et voila!)

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I’m pro-Bundt cake (depending on flavor, maybe with berries on the side (or in the center)).  IME as a contributor to potlucks, people are wowed by good baking.  

That said, in my experience as an eater at potlucks, the things I’ve been blown away by were roasted cauliflower (new to me at that point) and a particularly good white bean dip.

Bottom line — all your ideas are good ones.  So, how to decide?  To whom do you want to say “yeah, I can cook” — neighborhood at large (cake) or other people who cook (awesome dip or spread)?  And/or what do you want to be asked to bring in the future, lol?!

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Something that I make that always blows people away is a log of goat cheese (I buy the big log at Trader Joe’s)  baked in a very spicy, preferably homemade, marinara sauce. I use an oblong au gratin dish that is just the right size.   If you are going to the trouble of homemade bread, this is a beautiful and delicious topping for any bread. Always wows people  because I have never known anyone else to make it.  

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14 hours ago, levjn said:

Bacon wrapped dates - they are attention getting and addictive... and avoid most allergies folks may be avoiding! To step it up a notch, you can get some jalapeño bacon or savory bacon at Whole Foods or do your own with a hot honey or bbq glaze, balsamic fig, etc... but just the base of a bacon wrapped date is killer... you can also stuff them with a nut (pecan, Marcona almond, etc.) and/or goat cheese (herbed?) or manchego, and you can throw in a little rosemary or something too... at the least - pile them all on the plate and decorate the border of the plate with long rosemary springs... this is a go to app that always leaves an empty platter to take home! 😎

My other go to, but a little harder to eat at a picnic type situation - better for entertaining at a home is burratta piled in the center of a pretty platter and then lots of sliced varied colored/sized heirloom tomatoes around it... dressed with a drizzle of good olive oil, balsamic glaze drizzle, salt and pepper and a bunch of chiffonade basil... serve with toasted garlic baguette slices. This one screams summer and a real treat! 😎

My last easy one is just cantaloupe cubes wrapped in procuitto with a basil leaf and a pretty toothpick - balsamic glaze! 

Those are my easy go to - kind of unique- crowd pleasers! Great post - I’m excited to see what others have up their sleeves (cause I get bored of my stuff! 🤪)

I've done similar -- dates stuffed with goat cheese, given a little squirt of siracha along the edges, then rolled in chopped pistachios & fresh chopped herbs.  Never any left over.

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11 hours ago, smithhemb said:

Bottom line — all your ideas are good ones.  So, how to decide?  To whom do you want to say “yeah, I can cook” — neighborhood at large (cake) or other people who cook (awesome dip or spread)?  And/or what do you want to be asked to bring in the future, lol?!

Haha, yeah what do you want to be known for? And not mind making over and over, if necessary?  My parents brought freshly fried wontons to our neighborhood block party decades ago and were asked to make them every year thereafter.

Also, a cheesecake with pretty toppings always wows.

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Hahahhaha, yes, my Mom is ordered to make the same thing at all our family reunions.  I made homemade dumplings the other year, and they wanted us to make them again, but instead we did butter chicken and naan, they were ok with that too.  So I don't actually follow the make this again rule. I will make fairly time consuming things for our family reunion because a bunch of us cook together the day before at the hall, so it is fun, I will make layer cakes and etc.  

The grilled shrimp I brought to the picnic were super easy and really good, that is a great thought.

I guess, I just want something that is tasty enough we get invited to other neighborhood private events, hahahha!  So many good ideas above!!!! It makes me want another picnic so I can eat all your good food!  A cheesecake is a good idea, Hubby loves a bundt cake though, so if we end up with leftover it will be gone.  And the goat cheese log sounds great too- I have an unopened boursin that Hubby got as a three pack at costco that could get topped with spicy tomato sauce and eaten with homemade ciabatta... 

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So I braided a mixed AP and light wheat flour loaf.  I thought it turned out fairly pretty, except I did an olive oil wash, and I think an egg wash would have made it more shiny.  I served it with garlic boursin cheese topped with a spicy tomato sauce with olives, red pepper.  It was delicious.  BUT the party was pretty carb/cheese heavy and there was little dessert.  So I think next time baked good that is sweet, or something vegetable focused.  But more than half of my loaf got eaten, and a lot of the dip, and we warmed up the leftover the next day for lunch, so win-win.

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12 minutes ago, ktmoomau said:

  BUT the party was pretty carb/cheese heavy and there was little dessert.  So I think next time baked good that is sweet, or something vegetable focused.  

Is it wrong that this makes me think that the next party is guaranteed to be dessert heavy with few carbs and cheese?

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2 minutes ago, zgast said:

Is it wrong that this makes me think that the next party is guaranteed to be dessert heavy with few carbs and cheese?

Hahahahaha, I don't know that other people cared very much of that lack, to be honest.  And a lot of older guys just brought something easy for them- so I think cheese and grapes, pizza etc can be expected again.  But I will likely go veggie- which likely will be appreciated by a few people, but they will really appreciate it.

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