Now Playing:

Arts & Life

local | Food | Laurie Wolf's Recipes

Laurie Wolf's Recipes: Holiday Hors D'Oeuvres

At this time of year, there are lots of opportunities to get together with friends and family. In my case, those gatherings often involve good food, good drink and good company. But when the myriad of seasonal activities have you scrambling and feeling pressed for time, it can be tough to muster up culinary inspiration. Whether you’re playing host or you’ve been asked to bring a dish or two to share, a selection of appetizers can serve as both a practical and crowd-pleasing choice. Need some ideas? Try out a few of these hors d’oeuvres at your next holiday fête. Fair warning: They taste delicious, so get ready to receive lots of compliments.

Chickpea Fritters

Bruce Wolf

Ingredients (Makes about 24 fritters)

  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 pkg. (6 oz.) baby spinach, rinsed
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • ½ cup feta cheese, in two separate bowls
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons chopped onion
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon Aleppo pepper
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Canola oil
  • Garnish with plain yogurt, smoked salt, feta cheese
 and thyme


  1. Place all ingredients, other than the garnish, in a food processor. Pulse until blended but still somewhat coarse.
  2. Chill the mixture for 30 minutes.
  3. Heat the oil in a large skillet. Divide the chickpea mixture into 24 pancakes.
  4. Cook, in several batches, until golden brown on both sides, about 3-5 minutes per side.
  5. Place the pancakes on a clean dishtowel or paper towels to drain and keep warm in a 200-degree oven.
  6. Arrange on your platter and top with the garnish of yogurt, smoked salt, feta and thyme.

Smoky Deviled Eggs

Bruce Wolf

Ingredients (Makes 24 pieces)

  • 12 large eggs, hardboiled and peeled
  • 2-3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2-3 tablespoons chopped smoked salmon
  • 2 tablespoons minced scallion, white parts only
  • 1 teaspoon capers, plus some for garnish
  • ½ teaspoon salt


  1. Cut the eggs in half horizontally and remove the yolks.
  2. In a small bowl mash the egg yolks with a fork. Gently stir in mayo, salmon, scallion, capers and salt.
  3. Spoon the yolk mixture into the egg white halves. Garnish before serving with capers.

Black Bread with Avocado and Scallion

Bruce Wolf

Ingredients (Makes 24 pieces)

  • 24 pieces party-size black bread
  • 2-3 tablespoons mayonnaise or cream cheese
  • 3 tablespoons scallion, chopped
  • 3 radishes, chopped
  • ½ avocado, chopped and tossed with lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons dill, chopped


  1. Spread the black bread with either mayo or cream cheese.
  2. Combine all the remaining ingredients and toss to combine.
  3. Divide the ingredients among the bread slices. If desired, garnish with the gill.

Pita Crisps with Braised Cumin-Scented Lamb

Bruce Wolf

Ingredients (About 24 pieces)

  • 4 pita breads
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup braised lamb, shredded*
  • 3 pitted dates, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons golden raisins
  • 2 tablespoons shallots, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons pomegranate seeds
  • 1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses


  • Heat oven to 325 degrees.
  • Place the pita breads on your work counter. Brush the tops with the oil and sprinkle with the cumin and salt. Bake until golden and just crisp. Allow to cool and break into uneven pieces.
  • Divide the lamb among the pita chips.
  • In a small bowl combine the dates, raisins, shallots and pomegranate seeds. Place a teaspoon on top of the lamb.
  • Just before serving, drizzle with a touch of the pomegranate molasses.

*Braised Lamb Shanks

Ingredients (Serves 3-4)

  • 3 lamb shanks
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 large onion, chopped
1 stick celery, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and chopped

  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 2 tablespoons chopped thyme
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper

  • 2 cups red wine, full-bodied


  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Heat a skillet over medium high heat. Add the olive oil and butter. When it is bubbling, add the lamb shanks. Brown the shanks until golden, turning frequently in the pan.
  3. In the same pan, sauté the onions, celery, carrot, and garlic for 4-5 minutes until softened and a little golden.
  4. Stir in the flour, thyme, salt and pepper, and place the lamb shanks on top.
  5. Pour in the red wine, stir, cover and put it in the preheated oven.
  6. Leave the dish in the oven for about 3 hours.  Turn the lamb shanks over halfway through the cooking time.
  7. After 3 hours, the lamb will be incredibly soft. Remove the shanks from the liquid and shred enough meat for one cup. Save the remaining lamb and liquid and serve with roasted or mashed potatoes.

Roasted Potato Nachos

Bruce Wolf

Ingredients (Makes 24 slices)

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 medium potatoes, thinly sliced
  • 3 jalapeños, split in half and seeded
  • 3 strips bacon
  • 2/3 cup smoked trout, cut or broken into small pieces
  • 2 tablespoons crème fraiche mixed with 1 teaspoon prepared horseradish
  • Sprinkle of salt
  • Chives or thinly shredded scallion for garnish


  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Spread the olive oil on a large baking sheet with an edge. You will be baking the potatoes, jalapeños and bacon at the same time and temperature. Just keep them in their own sections, but don’t worry if they are close; eventually they will all be combined. Bake until the potatoes are tender, the jalapeños soft, and the bacon as crisp as you like. Everything cooks in about 25-30 minutes.
  3. Place the potatoes on a clean dishtowel or paper towels.
  4. Chop the peppers and bacon and place in a small bowl. Add the chunks of trout and set aside.
  5. In another small bowl combine the crème fraiche with the horseradish.
  6. Place the potato slices on a serving platter and top with the chopped peppers and trout. Place a little dollop of crème fraiche on the corner of each potato and garnish with jalapeno, bacon, chives or thinly shredded scallion and smoked trout.  
Laurie Wolf recipes hors d'oeuvres

More Arts & Life

More OPB

Related Content