Easy, Delicious Holiday Party Foods

If you've decided to throw a holiday party, have no fear: the folks at Gourmet magazine have some amazingly simple and delicious recipes for you, so you can invite your friends over, turn on some fun holiday music, and actually enjoy your own soiree!

Gourmet's executive editor, John "Doc" Willoughby, shared the recipes on The Early Show Wednesday.

So, put on your party clothes, roll out these elegant but unfussy dishes, and be prepared to have a good time!


Grilled Cheese with Mushrooms

Creamy Italian Fontina, earthy mushrooms, and a dash of truffle oil transform a childhood favorite into elegant little sandwiches.
1 1/4 sticks (10 tablespoons) unsalted butter
1 lb cremini mushrooms, trimmed and chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/3 cup dry white wine
1/2 lb chilled Italian Fontina, rind discarded and cheese coarsely grated (2 cups)
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
16 very thin slices firm white sandwich bread
About 1/2 teaspoon white-truffle oil (optional)

Heat 2 tablespoons butter in a 12-inch heavy nonstick skillet over moderately high heat until foam subsides, then cook mushrooms with salt and pepper, stirring occasionally, until liquid mushrooms give off is evaporated, about 8 minutes. Add wine and boil, stirring occasionally, until liquid is evaporated, about 5 minutes. Cool mushrooms to room temperature, about 10 minutes. Toss mushrooms with cheese and parsley in a bowl. Divide cheese mixture among 8 slices of bread (a scant 1/2 cup per slice), spreading evenly, then top with remaining 8 slices. Heat 1 tablespoon butter in cleaned skillet over moderate heat until foam subsides, then cook 2 sandwiches, without turning over, until undersides are browned, about 3 minutes. Transfer sandwiches to a cutting board. Heat 1 tablespoon butter in skillet until foam subsides, then return sandwiches, browned sides up, to skillet and cook until undersides are browned, about 3 minutes more, transferring back to cutting board as cooked. Make 3 more batches in same manner. Trim off crusts and cut each sandwich into 4 triangles. Top each triangle with a drop of truffle oil (if using). Cooks' note: sandwiches can be assembled (but not cooked) 3 hours ahead and chilled, stacked and wrapped in plastic wrap.

Makes 32 hors d'oeuvres.

Gourmet, December 2006

Chorizo and Potato Spanish Tortilla Bites

Rest assured that your guests won't leave your party feeling hungry: These omelet-like hors d'oeuvres, not to be confused with Mexican flour tortillas, are as hearty as they are delicious.

1 bunch scallions
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 medium onions, chopped (1 1/2 cups)
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
6 oz spanish chorizo (cured spiced pork sausage), cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 1/2 lb yellow-fleshed potatoes such as yukon gold (about 4 medium), peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice
9 large eggs
3/4 cup sour cream
5 oz manchego or white cheddar, coarsely grated (2 cups)

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 400°f. Lightly oil a 13- by 9-inch baking pan or dish. Finely chop white and green parts of scallions and reserve separately. Heat oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then cook onions, garlic, white parts of scallions, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, stirring occasionally, until onions are golden, about 6 minutes. Add chorizo and cook, stirring occasionally, until just beginning to brown and release oil, about 4 minutes. Reduce heat to moderate, then stir in potatoes and cover skillet. Cook, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes. Transfer mixture to a large bowl and cool slightly. Whisk together eggs, sour cream, cheese, scallion greens, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a bowl, then pour into baking pan. Sprinkle potato mixture over eggs (some potatoes will stick out). Bake until custard is set, about 20 minutes. Cool in pan on a rack to warm or room temperature. Trim 1/2 inch off each side, then cut tortilla into 1 1/2- by 1-inch rectangles. Cooks' note: tortilla can be baked 1 day ahead and cooled completely, uncovered, then chilled, covered. Cut into squares, then bring to room temperature before serving or reheat to warm in a preheated 325°f oven.

Makes 64 hors d'oeuvres.

Gourmet, December 2006

For more recipes, go to Page 2.