cocktail party strategy of sticking to two or three dishes (rather than eight or nine) that look bountiful and feed a crowd. This is one we just served: tomato skewers piled high on a platter, dressed up with a little basil oil that takes two minutes to make. We're basically taking a caprese salad and putting it on a stick, and no doubt you've seen a variation of these skewers on a buffet or two in your day. But they really are hard not to like, and they couldn't be easier to throw together. We bought bocconcini, bite-sized mozzarella balls, to make the process even quicker, but you could also cut a big ball of mozzarella into chunks. On each skewer, we put three grape tomatoes and one piece of cheese. For the basil oil, we blended a couple of handfuls of fresh basil leaves in a blender with enough olive oil to make it fluid and creamy. We put it through a strainer, thinking we'd get clear green oil on the other end, but most of the basil bits came through the sieve. Next time we won't bother with that step; the bits of basil are a nice pop of color anyway. Because we were transporting this platter to another location for the party, we put our basil oil in a squeeze bottle and squirted it on once we got there. Done!
Related: Questions for Allie: Appetizers for a Stress-Free Cocktail Party? (Images: Elizabeth Passarella)