Come into the confessional and tell the truth. Have you ever purchased a meat and cheese tray at the grocery store and simply set it on the table, after removing the lid? I thought so. Poor dear. That doesn’t do much to build your entertaining cred. Go forth and don’t do it again. Next time, try snacks on sticks instead!
Fill the bottom of a glass vase with something edible. I used cherub tomatoes, but you could use baby carrots, olives, pepperoncinis, jalapenos, even mushrooms.
You will need some long skewers, or perhaps a combination of long skewers and slightly shorter ones.
Load your skewers with snacks of your choice. Here are some options:
Cubes of various types of cheese. You can purchase ready-made cubes. I made my own with the Genius Nicer Dicer.
Cherry or cherub tomatoes (washed, of course, and if you get both red and yellow ones, so much the better)
Pieces of raw peppers
Artichoke hearts (but they need to be whole, rather than quartered, for best results, and should be marinated to provide the best flavor — just be sure to dry them off a bit, so they aren’t slimy)
Little fans of salami slices (fold in half, then into quarters) or cubes of summer sausage or beef log
I also took a can of refrigerated bread sticks, sliced them thin with a pizza cutter, and made shapes with them — zig zags, circles, hearts, worms. I baked them with a little melted butter brushed on top, some grated parmesan cheese, and a few shards of minced parsley, then threaded them onto the skewers after they cooled.
Looking at this in retrospect, I think I would use curly parsley, rather than flat, and nestle it down at the mouth of the vase, rather than having it the same height of the skewers. After all the goal is to show off the food!
One more thing I would do differently… I would thread the food on from the pointed end and push it to one inch from the other end. Then I would place the skewers in, pointy side down, into the vase, leaving the snacks on sticks at the top end of the skewers with an inch of bare skewer for handhold. I think that would make them easier to grab and eat.