If you ask anyone for their entertaining staples, they’ll probably say cheese and crackers. I love cheese and crackers as much as the next person (don’t try telling me it isn’t a meal, either), but if you entertain often, it’s easy to start feeling like your go-to spread is a little ho-hum If you want to take your next party or date night to the next level, create a DIY crostini bar. No bread? No problem. Dare Crackers are the perfect base for your favorite spread and toppings, and my favorite combinations are insanely easy to make.
I’m someone who loves to host, so I’m constantly reading magazines and blog posts about all sorts of fun and festive party themes. As much as I would love to host a nautical themed backyard barbecue for the Fourth of July or a Hamptons chic clambake on a beach somewhere, those plans are not in my immediate summer future. Simple ideas like this one though, are easily executed whether you’re hosting a a gathering for 20 or 10 or 1. ]
Whether prepping for an extravagant party or an impromptu get-together, Dare’s variety of crisp crackers are sure to make each bite better. You can select your favorite from a complete collection of mouthwatering crackers loaded with crunch and packed with flavor to make inventive summer canapés better.
What You Need:
- Pick your base: I like to keep a couple of boxes of Dare Cabaret Crackers and Dare Breton Original Crackers for last minute entertaining needs. As much as I love bread, and I do love bread, using crackers in place of crostini saves you time and avoids heating up your home with an oven when the weather is too warm. Dare’s extensive cracker varieties offer lite-bite dining options, too, which is always great for summer entertaining.
- Choose a few cheeses: Ahh, cheese. My favorite step! Grab a few of your favorite kinds of cheese. Soft cheeses that are easily spreadable will make you life easier and I like to have a combination, brie, goat cheese, ricotta — sky is the limit! I’ve also seen people use spreadable cheese wedges or prepared dips.
- Let seasonal produce inspire you! I love to go to farmer’s markets during the summer and fall and try to let what’s in season inspire a lot of my cooking. I’m especially excited for farm fresh tomatoes to pop up at the markets, so in the meantime, cherry or grape tomatoes are a good substitute. Thinly sliced cucumber, summer squash, bell pepper or even some fresh spinach or arugula.
- Use some fresh herbs: I had basil, chives and parsley on hand in my fridge, but you should use what you like or what you have growing in your herb garden. I’m especially partial to basil, which is just so fresh smelling and tasting and always screams summer.
- Raid your pantry: Some of the easiest combinations are things you already have on hand. Think about olives, jam, honey, spices, artichoke hearts, sun dried tomatoes, nuts. You can go in any direction with these, and it’s a great excuse to use up half-empty containers of whatever you have in your pantry from a previous recipe.
A Few of My Favorite Combinations:
- Goat cheese, apricot and honey
- Mozzarella cheese, pepperoni and basil
- Avocado, pesto and cherry tomato
- Goat cheese, strawberry rhubarb jam, cracked black pepper
- Brie, cucumber and smoked salmon
- Ricotta, prosciutto and fresh basil
- Brie, apple and chopped pecans
- Avocado, crab meat, chives
Let’s talk about these crab and avocado bites here for a minute. Avocado is quite possibly one of my most beloved things in the world. My boyfriend doesn’t like it (he’s not a fan of the texture) which initially devastated me as a committed guacamole addict, but I soon realized that his not liking avocado is in fact a very good thing: more avocado for me.
These crab and avocado bites are the perfect complement to a DIY crostini tray and the recipe is simple enough to whip up on its own, even if you’re not planning to go full throttle on the toppings, and even if your significant other won’t share the avocado with you. Trust me, you won’t really want to share anyway.
- 1 5-ounce can crab meat, roughly chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh celery, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 24 Dare Breton Original crackers
- 1 medium avocado, peeled, pitted and mashed
- 6 cherry or grape tomatoes, quartered
- Chives, optional as garnish
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- In a small mixing bowl, combine crabmeat, mayonnaise, celery and lemon juice. Add salt and pepper to taste. Chill for 30 minutes or up to two hours [you can do this step ahead of time].
- Arrange crackers on a cutting board, plate or serving platter. Spread a thin layer of mashed avocado on each cracker. Top with about half a tablespoon of crab salad, a piece of cherry tomato. Garnish with chives, salt and pepper, as desired.
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.