Colorful hors d’oeuvres for summer parties

Alexandra Troy

Recently, Culinary Architect catered The Preview Party of True Colors at The Nassau County Museum of Art in Roslyn.

This powerful exhibition, created by the museum’s director, Dr. Charles Riley, highlights color in works of art, from the nineteenth century to today.

The challenge of creating this opening was to create a display that is delicious to eat and in keeping with True Colors theme.

The staff of Culinary Architect Catering immediately started to collect colorful serving platters and create a menu that was indeed, colorful, especially highlighting the colors of the shows promotional pieces.

This time of year vegetables are at their peak at Farmers Markets, and farm stands, not too mention vibrantly colored!

The following recipes feature fresh organic produce at its best.

All of these recipes have been reduced to serve 12 people instead of 250 and may easily be duplicated for home entertaining with ease. Let these delicious hors d’oeuvres be your next masterpiece.

True Colors Menu
(Serves 12)
Assorted Organic Crudites & Poached Vegetables
Artichoke Dip*
Red Pepper Dip*
Organic Carrot, Ginger and French Pumpkin Soup Shot
Grape Leaves Stuffed with Rice
Herb de Provence Marinated Mozzarella
Culinary Architect’s Famous Chips*
Beet, Taro, Cassava and Long Island Sweet Potato
*Recipe Not Given

Organic Crudites & Poached Vegetables
1 lb. carrots, peeled and cut on diagonal
1 head broccoli, cleaned, but left whole
1 head cauliflower, cleaned, but left whole
1 head celery, cleaned and cut on the diagonal
8 oz. cherry tomatoes and/or grape tomatoes

1. Prepare one large pot of boiling water. Add a pinch of baking soda.

2. Blanch broccoli for 60 seconds. Remove and wash under cold water. Add a pinch of sugar and blanch carrots for 60 seconds, remove and run under cold water. Repeat with cauliflower, drain all vegetables.

3. Once vegetables are drained, arrange on a platter and add tomatoes and celery. Cover with a damp paper towel, refrigerate until serving.

4. To Serve: Remove paper towels and serve with your favorite dip alongside.

Organic Carrot, Ginger and French Pumpkin Soup Shot
1 onion, roughly chopped
3 tbls. peeled ginger, chopped
1 lb. organic carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
1 lb. French Pumpkin, peeled and roughly chopped (available in season at Rottkamp Bros. Farm, McCouns Lane, Old Brookville 516-671-2566)
Homemade vegetable or chicken stock to cover
Herb of your choice (I use chopped chives)

1. In a saucepan, saute the onion in 2 tablespoons of vegetable stock. When soft and translucent, add the ginger and continue sauteeing until soft. Approximately 7 minutes.
2. Add carrots and pumpkin. Pour in stock to cover. Bring to a boil, then simmer until vegetables are soft, approximately 20 minutes.

3. Let cool for 10 minutes, then puree in a blender or food processor.

4. Refrigerate until serving. Maybe made up to 48 hours ahead of time.

5. To Serve: Pour soup 3/4 into a 2-ounce shot glass. (Disposable glasses are available at party supply stores.), garnish with your herb of choice.

Grape Leaves Stuffed with Rice
1 jar grape leaves in brine, rinsed or home blanched

Stuffing (1 1/2 cups)
1/4 plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1 medium clove garlic, smashed, peeled and finely chopped
1 1/2 tsp. fresh mint, chopped
1/2 cup long-grain rice (3 ounces)
2 1/2 cups water
1 tsp. Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a medium pan over moderate heat. Stir in onion and garlic and cook for about 5 minutes or until translucent. Stir in mint and rice and cook for 2 minutes longer. Add 1/2 cup water and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 4 minutes or until all of the liquid has been absorbed. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.

3. Form rolls by using 1 rounded teaspoon of the rice mixture and folding like a miniature burrito. Please seam side down in one of two 12X8-inch baking dishes.
4. Divide remaining water and 1/2 cup of lemon juice between dishes and cover each with foil.

5. Bake 50 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to stand, covered, until cool. Place in a smaller, deep container. Pour over remaining olive oil and lemon juice. Cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours.

6. To Serve: Place on a colorful platter in a pyramid-shaped pile. Garnish with fresh herbs if desired.

Herb de Provence Marinated Mozzarella
Reprinted from The Island Now publications, Friday, April 27, 2018
2 16 oz. container of freshly made organic Bocconcini, drained
1/4 cup best quality extra virgin olive oil
3 tblsp. Herbs de Provence

1. Place all of the ingredients in a covered plastic container. Shake. Let marinate for a minimum of 4 hours and up to 24.

2. To serve, place in a crock and put pretty toothpicks or skewers in a glass, so that people may help themselves.

Want to have a colorful party, host your event at The Nassau County Museum of Art.

A historical, Neoclassical Gold Coast mansion, located on 145 magnificent acres on the North Shore of Long Island, the museum offers a unique setting for any event or occasion. The museum houses world-class art exhibitions, stunning architecture and an unparalleled atmosphere for exclusive cocktail parties, client entertaining, corporate celebrations, board meetings, presentations and conferences, as well as elegant dinners and weddings for up 150 guests.

For more information, contact Museum Services Manager, John Ryan at

Alexandra Troy is owner of Culinary Architect Catering, a 35 year-old Greenvale-based company, specializing in private, corporate and promotional parties. Need help making your parties delicious and stress-free, CALL 516-484-7431 and you will be a guest at your own party! If you make any of these recipes, send me a photo at

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Alexandra Troy

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