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The No-Shopping Cocktail Party

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These five hors d'oeuvres can be made entirely from a well-stocked pantry.

Want to host a holiday get-together, but you’re short on time to shop (and cook)? This menu consists of five quick hors d’oeuvres and can be made entirely from a well-stocked pantry: spicy curry-spiked pecans; a simple white bean and artichoke dip that can be served with the seeded crackers (or, if you have them on hand, fresh vegetable crudités); olives marinated in herbs and lemon zest; and the crunchy Parmesan crisps known as frico in Italy. You may need to pick up one or two items that you’re missing, but there’s no need for a long slog through a crowded supermarket. As for cooking time, we’ve created a schedule that lets you work ahead, so all you have to do the day of the party is set up the food on serving dishes. But if it’s truly a spur-of-the-moment bash, you can make the whole menu with a couple hours of work in the morning.

Menu Timeline

Up to 2 days ahead:

  • Make the Seeded Crackers; store in a zip-top plastic bag.
  • Make the Malabar Pecans.
  • Make the Frico.

One day ahead:

  • Toss the olives with seasonings and let them marinate.
  • Make the White Bean & Artichoke Dip.

90 minutes before the party:

  • Cut up vegetables, if using.
  • Arrange hors d’oeuvres on serving dishes.

Shopping List

Pantry Checklist


  • Unsalted butter (4 Tbs.)
  • Garlic (6 cloves)
  • 2 lemons
  • Parmigiano Reggiano (2-1/4 cups grated)
  • Fresh rosemary (3 sprigs)
  • 1 lb. shelled pecans

Spice Rack

  • Fennel seeds (4 tsp.; or 2 tsp. fennel seeds and 2 tsp. caraway seeds)
  • Madras curry powder (1 Tbs.)
  • Kosher salt (1 Tbs.)
  • Sesame seeds (1 Tbs.)
  • Poppy seeds (2 tsp.)
  • Table salt (1 tsp.)
  • Cayenne pepper (1/4 tsp.)
  • 3 Bay leaves
  • Ground cinnamon (1 tsp.)
  • Ground cumin (1/4 tsp.)
  • Dried red chile flakes (pinch–optional)
  • Black peppercorns

Other dry goods

  • Canola oil (2 Tbs.)
  • Extra-virgin olive oil (1/2 cup)
  • 1-1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (6-3/4 oz.)
  • 1/2 cup whole-wheat flour (2 oz.)
  • 1 can (15-1/2 oz.) cannellini beans
  • 1 can (14-1/2 oz.) artichoke hearts
  • 1 pt. oil- or brine-packed olives, green or black, or a mix

  • Optional: pita chips or fresh vegetables (carrots, celery, bell peppers) for serving with the white-bean dip.

The Menu


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