Try appetizers that give host time to mingle


POSTED: Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Are you hosting a holiday party? Make it easy on yourself with these fast, easy and tasty appetizers.

The Italian Torte can be made several days in advance and kept in the refrigerator until ready to serve. The rice for the Spicy Poke Sushi Rice Platter can be prepared in advance and the dish quickly assembled to serve. The Soybean “;Hummus”; Dip is one of the easiest, tastiest recipes a host could ever ask for — and healthy, too! It's so easy and tasty, it just might make it into your rotation of everyday favorites.

Happy munching and happy holidays!

Italian Torte

2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
10 slices provolone cheese
8 ounces pesto
3 ounces sun-dried tomatoes, chopped fine
Fresh basil leaves, for garnish

Mix cream cheese and garlic; set aside.

Line a loaf pan or a medium bowl with enough dampened cheesecloth to fold over the top. Line with layer of provolone. Spread half the pesto over the provolone, then half the cream cheese mixture on top of the pesto. Sprinkle half the sun-dried tomatoes over the pesto. Place another layer of provolone over pesto and repeat layers. Finish with a layer of provolone, which will serve as bottom of the torte.

Pull cheesecloth over torte to completely cover. Lightly press to firm the torte and remove excess oil. Refrigerate at least 3 hours.

To serve, remove cheesecloth and turn torte upside down onto serving plate. Garnish with fresh basil and serve with bread, crackers or pita bread. Serves 32.

Spicy Poke Sushi Platter

2 cups rice
2 cups water
1/3 cup Japanese sushi vinegar
1/3 cup mayonnaise or Miracle Whip
1/4 cup Sriracha hot chili sauce
2 tablespoons sesame oil
3/4 pound ahi poke
1/2 sweet round onion, thinly sliced
2 ounces radish sprouts, roots removed
Korean-style nori, julienned, for garnish
Japanese red ginger, for garnish

In rice cooker or 2-quart sauce pan, rinse rice; drain. Add water and cook rice.

Mix rice with sushi vinegar; cool. Spread on serving platter.

Blend mayonnaise, Sriracha and sesame oil; spread mixture on rice. Spread ahi poke over mayonnaise mixture. Sprinkle onion, radish sprouts and nori over poke and top with red ginger. Serves 15.

Soybean “;Hummus”; Dip

Adapted from Ellie Krieger, Food Network
2 cups frozen shelled soybeans
8 ounces soft tofu, drained
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup lemon juice

Place all ingredients in food processor or blender; process until smooth. Makes 3 cups.


Hawaiian Electric Co. presents this weekly collection of recipes as a public service. Many are drawn from HECO's database of recipes, accessible online at