Bloody Mary Tomatoes and More No-Cook Appetizers

Casey Barber

by Casey Barber on December 12, 2011

As much as I feel bad for the December birthday babies getting their big day overlooked year after year, I always have to throw a self-indulgent pity party for those of us who are chained to the stove straight from November through New Year’s Eve. You would think the Pilgrims, Indians, Dear Lord Baby Jesus, Santa Claus, and the New Year’s Baby would have convened to discuss the complete inconvenience of having the nation’s two biggest food holidays so close to one another, and vote to spread the love a little bit.

But they didn’t, and so we’ve become accustomed to shoving sheets of gingerbread cookies into the oven as soon as the Thanksgiving turkey vacates the premises, to cleaning up the hot mulled cider mugs so we can make room for Champagne flutes. It’s enough to make even the most dedicated party host rebel and order up a plate of pre-steamed shrimp cocktail from the local mega-mart.

Let’s not go to the shrimp cocktail well, please? Instead, why don’t we all take a breath and try one of the 15 no-cook hors d’oeuvres I’ve created for iVillage. If you can’t even bother to turn on a toaster oven to brown your baguette slices, hey, don’t worry about it. There’s no law saying these hors d’oeuvres aren’t just as good on crackers and fresh bread—in fact, they’ve been designed so you won’t have to heat a thing.

bloody mary tomato appetizer
None of these appetizers should be confined to making a once-a-year appearance around the holidays, either—they’ll translate from festive cocktail hour to backyard barbecue just fine, and to be frank, this is the way I like to eat when I’m alone. Bits and bobs on crackers, cheesy nibbles, and swipes of spreads alongside a glass of wine; it’s the Lorelai Gilmore diet, only with fewer boxes of takeout.

From a new version of the classic cheese-and-nut ball to spicy quick-marinated mushrooms to a crazy artichoke dip-guacamole mash-up, I had a lot of fun working on the recipes. But hands down, my favorite of the bunch are the Bloody Mary tomatoes. It’s sort of an edible shot glass for my favorite brunch drink, dousing crunchy celery in vodka, horseradish, and Worcestershire sauce before stuffing the soaked-up bits into fresh grape tomatoes.

They’re so good I have to share them with you now. If you’re serving these at a family party, just leave the vodka out of the recipe. The same spicy, zesty flavors will still stick, but they’ll be safely booze-free for your younger guests. Whet your whistle with the following recipe, and please take a peek at the other 14 no-cook recipes at iVillage!

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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Amber | Bluebonnets & Brownies December 12, 2011 at 9:43 am

This is SO clever, Casey. I am smitten!

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Living Large December 12, 2011 at 10:30 am

History geeks such as myself would tell you that Baby Jesus was most likely born in the spring, as shepherds wouldn’t have been moving their flocks in December and the Indians really aren’t too keen on Thanksgiving, given their ancestors who shared with the Pilgrims opened them up to hundreds of years of war and near-annihilation, so really, our huge food holidays *should* be spread out! :) That withstanding, these look absolutely amazing and I plan on making them for a Christmas party I’m attending on Thursday! Thanks!

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Casey Barber Casey Barber December 15, 2011 at 6:24 pm

I love this history lesson! I knew the Indians weren’t really gathering for the Thanksgiving feast, but that’s a really logical perspective on when Baby Jesus would have actually been born.

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Joan December 12, 2011 at 6:52 pm

mmmm can’t wait to try these!!

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art and lemons December 12, 2011 at 7:24 pm

How did you know? I can barely eek out firing up the stove for dinner this week, let alone think about cooking for guests next weekend. Can’t wait to give some of these recipes a spin!

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Tracy December 12, 2011 at 8:06 pm

Thanks for the recipes, Casey! I can definitely use some quick ones right about now!

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Aimee @ Simple Bites December 12, 2011 at 8:07 pm

Bloody brilliant these are! And I can’t wait to check out the other fourteen.

I have to say I LOVE celebrating Thanksgiving in October and having some space between the holidays. I don’t know who picked Canada’s holiday dates, but it works. =)

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Sarah - A Beach Home Companion December 13, 2011 at 12:53 am

Very nice Case! I am bookmarking this page for NYE, I’m thinking the Smokey Sweet Almond spread will be perfect. Great pics too!

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Carol Mastria December 13, 2011 at 7:59 am

Love Bloody Marys and this recipe Casey! What a great idea! I think I will try them out this weekend, with a Bloody Mary by my side…..

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wino December 14, 2011 at 6:23 pm

They all look great. Perfect for the Holidays

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Kris @ Attainable Sustainable December 16, 2011 at 2:13 am

Oh goodness. Those bloody Mary tomatoes sound awesome!

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