It’s 5 O’Clock Somewhere Friday: Party Picks

I don’t know if you’re aware of it or not, but there’s less than a week till Thanksgiving.  I know, it crept up on me, too.  But don’t freak out, I’ve got the appetizers covered; you can’t go wrong with this fun idea.  You can make them in the morning, put them out when your friends and family arrive, and they can pick to their heart’s content.  These are light enough so they won’t compete with the main event, but substantial enough to keep hungry scavengers out of your hair while you’re shuttling a sloshing vat of scalding turkey grease across your kitchen.

Think of this as craft project meets the cocktail hour.  First you need to decide what you want on your picks so you can gather your ingredients.  Next, set yourself up with a cleared space, some picks, skewers, or other long pointy objects, a cutting board, and a few small sharp knives.

Then, go to town mixing and matching.  You can go with just one type of pick, or plan a whole kaleidoscope of different combinations, it’s up to you.  There’s something about having different bite sized tastes all layered up on a skewer that’s universally appealing.  My first pick is a classic tomato basil and mozzerella with a tiny wedge of hard sausage or salami.  I used small balls of marinated fresh mozzerella for a little extra flavor.  If you can’t find the small balls of cheese, you can cut chunks from a larger piece of fresh mozzerella.

Spear a small tomato first, then fold a leaf of basil and spear that, followed by the mozzerella, and then secure it all with a nice chunk of salami or hard sausage.

You can lay them out on a plate, alone or in combination with different variations, or get creative and serve them in small martini, or shot glasses.

Party Picks


  • cocktail picks or skewers
  • small balls of marinated mozzarella cheese
  • cherry tomatoes
  • basil leaves
  • salami or summer sausage


  1. Thread each cocktail skewer with a tomato, a folded basil leaf, a mozzarella ball, and finally a small chunk of salami or sausage.

I love going grocery shopping this time of year because the stores are filled with specialty items they don’t stock at any other time.  Like this pumpernickle cocktail sized bread…I used it to make teeny double decker chicken salad sandwiches skewered with a pickle and a bit of red onion.

Make your chicken salad in a small food processor so it’s got a smooth, almost pate-like consistency.  This helps to keep the tiny sandwich compact enough.  Then spread it on two layers of the bread.  You could use tuna or egg salad, too.

Cut off the crusts, cut the bread in quarters, and then slice the quarters in half diagonally.  You’ve got a perfect little chicken salad on pumpernickel ready to be skewered.

A tiny pickle and a snippet of red onion completes the deli theme.  If you make these ahead, be sure to cover them with a damp cloth and wrap tightly with plastic, or the bread will dry out.

Skewer whatever strikes your fancy— have fun with it.  Here are a couple more ideas…

Brie, fig and walnut  (I used dried figs but fresh would be better)

Spiced olive, cocktail onion and sun-dried tomato

By the way, these make great game watching food, and you could easily make an entire meal out of them.

I got inspired by the Wisconsin Milk Board’s Party Picks…see them here.

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  • Reply
    18 Recipes For Salami Day - From Val's Kitchen : From Val's Kitchen
    January 7, 2015 at 4:47 am

    […] Party Picks (collage bottom row on the far right) […]

  • Reply
    Rachel @
    November 20, 2012 at 10:49 pm

    Thank you so much! Your blog is amazing I’ve come to really love it!

  • Reply
    From Beyond My Kitchen Window
    November 19, 2012 at 1:29 am

    Eating little pick me ups like these is so much fun. They look yummy!

  • Reply
    Magnolia Verandah
    November 17, 2012 at 9:08 am

    Oh yes these look perfect – I could just pop these in my mouth right now!

  • Reply
    Inside a British Mum's Kitchen
    November 17, 2012 at 12:12 pm

    Fantastic party pick ideas!! I’m bookmarking this for the Holidays!!
    mary x

  • Reply
    The Café Sucré Farine
    November 16, 2012 at 7:22 pm

    Love all these ideas Sue. You’re always very inspirational to me!

  • Reply
    November 17, 2012 at 1:44 am

    What a glorious way to start a holiday meal. Your photos, ideas and instructions are terrific and add a wonderful dimension to Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations. Have a great weekend. Blessings…Mary

  • Reply
    Heather Schmitt-Gonzalez
    November 16, 2012 at 5:15 pm

    I knew it was coming and it STILL snuck up on me. sheesh. i love all of these little bites – I could probably fill up on them. those little sammie skewers are awesome!