While serving an amuse-bouche course may seem too chef-y (If I'm not sure how to pronounce the name of the course, should I be serving it?), soup shooters can be a fun way to transition from cocktails to a holiday dinner.
A soup shooter is also an opportunity to highlight local, in season flavors, like the carrots and beets I found at the farmer's market over the weekend. If you, like me, can't serve up a soup course since you don't have a dining room to offer everyone a seat in front of the soup, this is another option. No tureen necessary.
We've got five soup shooter tips after the jump.• Glasses: You'll need a set of small glasses to put this off. I started with a sweet set of tiny cut-glass juice glasses I found at Angel Street Thift. This year, I added 10 of these small cordial glasses from Crate & Barrel ($1.95 each). Before you buy, think through what you already have and you might not need to buy anything: tall shot glasses from a vodka set or smallish tea cups could work.
If you must buy new stuff, think of it as an investment. Depending on what you buy, small glasses have a future for sherry, juice, Irish coffee treats, mini chocolate sodas, a champagne tasting, or even bud vases.
• Sip-a-bility: If you're going to serve the soup in a small glass -- without a spoon -- make sure your soup can be sipped. Cream soups and purees may need to be made a bit thinner than recipes suggest.
• Gracious Garnish: Think about how you'll garnish your soup shooter. This white celery root soup is garnished with ruby-like pickled beets. I saw some delicate dill at the Greenmarket that looked just like a tiny pine branch. Dill would be a perfect garnish for a cream of carrot soup. A single crouton, parmesan crisp or piece of boiled shrimp will also work.
• Be Local: See soups as an opportunity to serve locally grown vegetables to your guests. Celery and celery root, squash, sweet potatoes, chilies, apples, local cheese, Ronnybrook cream, and beets from local farmer's markets can all find their way into your soup shooter. Make these ingredients the star of your amuse-bouche course.
• Soup Starters: Here's some inspiring recipes to help us think about a soup amuse-bouche: Lady Curzon Soup with mussels and curry, Chantrelle Mushroom Soup Shooter served in Crate & Barrel's Roly shot glasses ($4.95), and Curred Carrot Soup.