I love to throw parties, but sometimes it’s nice just to have people over for wine or cocktails. It’s also nice to be able to put something together quickly on a budget. Entertaining doesn’t always have to be expensive or time consuming.

Friends & CocktailsOlive tapenade and hummus are always go to appetizers. You’ll just need a food processor. I also put together a simple after-meal cheese and chocolate board made richer with Port.

Appetizers & CocktailsThis week, I was really thinking about cost savings. Usually when I make tapenade, I use Kalamata olives, but these can be upwards of $5 a jar (never mind the money you’ll spend at one of those expensive supermarket olive bars). I thought I’d try a less expensive way using canned black olives — these are generally under $1 per can. I was very happy with the way this new take on tapenade turned out and my guests loved it.

Black Olive Tapenade
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  1. 4 garlic cloves
  2. 1 14.5 ounce can Black Olives
  3. 2 Tb. Drained Capers
  4. 1/2 cup Green Olives
  5. 1 teaspoon Oregano
  6. 1 Tb. Lemon Juice
  7. 1 Tb. Olive Oil
  8. Dash of Hot Sauce or dash of cayenne pepper
  9. Pinch of Pepper
  1. Combine all ingredients in bowl of Food Processor and pulse till gets to a nice minced consistency, don’t over do it or it will be mushy. Serve at room temperature with slices of your favorite baguette or crackers.
Shaun Myrick
Classic Hummus
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  1. 2 cloves garlic
  2. 2 cans garbanzo beans
  3. 1 cup tahini
  4. 2 tb olive oil
  5. salt
  6. cayenne
  7. ¼- ½ cup lemon juice
  1. Pulse everything in a food processor until you get the desired consistency. Use more or less lemon juice as needed. Chill and when ready to serve drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with seas salt or a flavored salt of your choice, I love to use a fennel salt or a roasted tomato grey salt to give a finishing kick.
Shaun Myrick

Cheese Plate with Port

I also put together this easy cheese board featuring Port. I had a few different Ports on hand over the weekend because we were testing new recipes (stay tuned!). Any kind of mild cheese will work — I chose goat cheese. Include some nuts (mixed nuts are fine; I used rosemary almonds), maybe some dried or fresh seasonal fruit, a good chocolate (Theo’s dark chocolate with sea salt was on my board) and a nice Port. I went for a wonderful choice from one of my favorite Washington wineries: Kestrel Cabernet Sauvignon Port.

Cheese & Porthow good is that

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