Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Fancy Apps and Zerts

I am a big fan of the show Parks and Recreation.

It's funny, it's smart and I can see a little bit of myself in Amy Poehler's character.

One of my favorite phrases that Tom (Aziz Ansari) comes up with on the show is "apps and zerts" as in appetizers and desserts. Watch his explanation of the phrase here.

I was asked to prepare some snazzy apps and zerts for a friend's lingerie shower recently.

After getting some advice from my mom and hitting up the new Fresh Market store in Rogers, I was set to bring on the girly party with 2 apps and 2 forms of a zert, if you will.

Cheese and crackers are a great party platter! But, you've got to find just the right cheese and pair it with just the right cracker.

For this party, I took a block of cream cheese, covered it in a tasty fig jam and served it with a simple butter cracker. The fig gives the dull flavor of the cream cheese a nice kick of fruit and that combo of crunchy and soft always wins.

If you're looking for a cream cheese topping with some real spice, I suggest putting a pepper jelly over cream cheese. It's such a classic southern appetizer, and that's for a reason, because the sweet and spicy combo is so stinking good.

For my next cheese, I picked an herb goat cheese and served it with some broken up lavash crackers. These rectangular seedy crackers are full of texture and taste and are very sturdy. Because no one wants to be that person who leaves half of their cracker in the cheese ball, right?!

I decorated the platter with a few sprigs from my Thai basil plant for color.

And for the sweet part: I decided to make two types of mini cupcakes.

I made these perfect vanilla cupcakes from The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook via the Joy the Baker blog.

And I thought what's more dainty and cute than a mini cupcake? And this way, guests won't feel guilty for eating at least a few of these golden lovelies.

I topped some of the cupcakes with the vanilla buttercream frosting I used in this post. And I bought some fresh raspberries to give the top of the cakes some nice, vibrant color. For the other cupcakes, I iced them with a smear of Nutella, which was so easy and delicious!

I hope these ideas can help you whenever you find yourself looking for some app and zert inspiration!

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