Oscar entertaining made easy? It's formulaic!

ALISON LADMAN
The Associated Press
Modified: February 18, 2013 at 6:01 pm •  Published: February 18, 2013
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photo - In this Jan. 28, 2013 photo, using our building block approach to Oscar party canapes, diners are able to select from a buffet of ingredients -- from bases and spreads to toppings and garnishes -- to design snacks that suit their preferences as shown on this serving tray in Concord, N.H. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead)
In this Jan. 28, 2013 photo, using our building block approach to Oscar party canapes, diners are able to select from a buffet of ingredients -- from bases and spreads to toppings and garnishes -- to design snacks that suit their preferences as shown on this serving tray in Concord, N.H. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead)

Canapes may sound stuffy, but they actually are the ultimate in ease when it comes to party food. Plus, they look great and can be combined in endless ways to suit any taste.

So we created a simple formula for making canapes, dividing them into four components — bases, spreads, toppings and garnishes. For each canape, all you do is select one item from each category, then assemble. And the easiest way to assemble enough for a party is to set out all of your ingredients (clustered by category), then just start selecting and building.

If you're planning on an Oscars viewing party, you might even consider turning the making of the canapes into a pre-party. Set out everything on the counter, pour some wine and invite a few guests to come early and help assemble (and sample, of course).

And obviously don't feel locked into the ingredients we've included in these categories. Head to the grocer and see what inspires you. For example, we include recipes for mixing your own spreads, but to simplify you could grab prepared tzatziki, hummus, flavored cream cheese or cheese spreads.

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PARTY CANAPES

Each spread recipe makes enough to top 24 canapes. If you opt to use 24 of each canape base (for a total of 96 canapes), supplement the three spreads below with a purchased choice, such as hummus, tzatziki or flavored cream cheese.

Start to finish: 30 minutes

BASES:

24 multigrain crackers

24 thin slices of seedless cucumber

24 toasted baguette slices

24 purchased phyllo cups (found in the grocer's freezer section)



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