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Small Plates: Appetizers as Meals    by Marguerite Marceau Henderson order for
Small Plates
by Marguerite Marceau Henderson
Order:  USA  Can
Gibbs Smith, 2006 (2006)
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

I've always enjoyed snacking more than dining - evening tapas in an outdoor cafe in Spain, Sunday dim sum in any big city Chinatown, or - as has become our family tradition - a New Year's Eve buffet. Now, in Small Plates, Marguerite Marceau Henderson offers us a wide selection of recipes for this 'relaxed style of entertaining and dining.' She urges readers to 'retrieve those precious small dishes from dusty closets, fill them with morsels of shrimp, chicken, vegetables, rice, pasta, or salad. Then invite fortunate friends to experience the joy of your small plates ... A complete dining experience is in the making.'

Recipes are classified under Breadstuffs, Meats and Poultry, Pasta and Grains, Sauces and Salsa, Salads, Seafood, Soups and Stews, and Vegetables (all that's missing is desserts). I love cheese straws and the Cheese and Herb Batons here look even tastier. The Cranberry-Ginger Stuffed Brie looks much too rich for all but holiday fare. There are all sorts of scrumptious Bruschetta choices (like Wild Mushrooms and Fontina, yumm!), and the pictures of Pear and Gorgonzola Crostada and Tomato and Olive Tart have me salivating. Coffee and Spice Lamb Kebobs will impress guests, or how about Maple Pecan Pork Tenderloin? A Frittata de Pasta looks fun to make and I have to try the Roasted Autumn Squash Risotto this Fall.

Brighten up the table with Mango-Avocado Salsa and Spicy Ginger-Peanut Sauce (with chicken skewers). Add the Cajun Shrimp and Andouille Salad and definitely the Roasted Beet, Spinach and Orange Salad. On the side, toss in some Feta and Herb Stuffed Shrimp and Zucchini and Two-Potato Pancakes with Smoked Salmon. A leek soup is always a winner, and the Roasted Pepper, Potato, and Leek Soup here looks especially good. And definitely the Oven-Roasted Cauliflower and Tomatoes with Blue Cheese Crumbs. Spread the buffet with these choice small plates, lay down a selection of matching wines, and impress your guests with a relaxed and savory dining experience!

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