Cocktail Party Mini Appetizers

Before I get into this post I just want to say – Go check out the TNT Online Bake Sale at Steph’s Bite by Bite – all donations go to the fight against cancer. In return you get an amazing baked goodie from the talented food blogger community!

So last night I got the opportunity to make some party appetizers for a cocktail party thrown by one of the fabulous women I work with. The apartment was spectacular, the people were beautiful and fortunately the food seemed to match the atmosphere!

Crab Cakes & Mini Pulled Pork Tacos

I was taking photos with the Instagram app on my iPhone. I love that it gives you a bunch of filters. I do wish I had my camera with me to take more pictures of the food and party in general. I can live with it I think, just have to remember for next time!

I have to say that generally I don’t like cilantro, by itself no way – the smell actually makes my stomach turn a little. But in this dish it fit perfectly. These crab cakes had a great citrus flavor, full of crab and had a nice crunch. I was a little afraid to make them because like I said, cilantro isn’t necessarily something that I love and I was concerned I might not be able to tell if the taste is on point. Fortunately my PIC (partner in crime), Lindsay, is a lover of cilantro. So much so that she took the rest of the aioli home with her. 🙂

I felt that it might be a little strong so I added a yogurt sauce as a base, one that I previously made for my Open Faced Crab Cake Burgers, with a little twist. In stead of sundried tomatoes, I added 2 tablespoons of salsa, a little drizzle of sriracha and 2 teaspoons of mayo.

Mini Crab Cakes w/ Cilantro-Lime Aioli
adapted from Always Order Dessert 


8 ounces cream cheese
3/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1 egg
1/4 cup Fage yogurt
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon sriracha
1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
4 teaspoons + 2 tablespoons fresh chives, chopped, separated
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon chile powder
1 teaspoon jerk seasoning
7 ounces lump or claw crab meat, picked through for shells & coarsely shredded
1/4 cup + 1 cup panko bread crumbs, divided
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

for the Cilantro-Lime Aioli:
1 egg yolk, room temperature
juice of 2 limes
1 1/2 teaspoons dijon mustard
3 ounces fage yogurt
1/3 cup canola oil
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 garlic cloves
3/4 cup cilantro leaves, stems removed
Fresh chives, cut into 1″ pieces


Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease 1 mini muffin tin and 1/2 of another with cooking spray. Set aside until needed.

In your electric mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Then add 1/4 cup Parmesan and the egg, beat until combined. Add the yogurt, dijon, sriracha, zest, 4 teaspoons chopped chives, salt, and spices, mix until smooth. Remove the bowl from the mixer and fold in the crab meat and 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs with a spatula.

In a small bowl mix together the melted butter and left over 1 cup panko. Press 1 rounded teaspoon of panko into your prepared muffin tins. Then top with 1/2-1 tablespoon of crab filling. Repeat until you have used all the crumbs & crab filling.

Place in the oven and bake for 25-10 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool in pans for 5 minutes then move to cooling racks. To reheat, place on a baking sheet and cook in a 350 degree oven for 8-10 minutes.

While your crab cakes are cooking you can prepare the aioli – In the bowl of your food processor w/ blade attachment add your egg yolk & process. Whisk in the lime juice, yogurt and mustard.

Slowly trickle in the oils, one at a time, through the opening in your processor while the blade is whisking constantly. Continue until all the oil is incorporated and the mixture has emulsified.

Add the garlic cloves and cilantro, allowing it all to be processed and incorporated. Season with kosher salt to taste.

Place in a container, cover & refrigerate until ready to use.

To plate space the mini crab cakes across a platter, top with the yogurt sauce and then the cilantro-lime aioli and 1 chive.


For the tacos I actually made wayyyy too much pulled pork. I saw way too much but I really mean just for the amount of food I was serving at the party. I don’t mind being able to enjoy the awesome leftovers and my PIC got to take a big container home herself.

If I were to do it again and not go crazy I would only use 1 pork shoulder, not 2. I used the Pork Bun BBQ sauce I used a while back and slow cooked the pork shoulder in a char sui sauce over night – made me woke up starving!

This makes about 60 tacos.

Mini Pulled Pork Tacos
Char Siu sauce adapted from Serious Eats
BBQ Sauce adapted from Cuisine at Home, Issue 74, April 2009


1 bone-in pork shoulder
1 onion, cut into thin slices

for Char Siu Sauce:
2/3 cup hoison sauce
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup agave nectar
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons Mirin
2 teaspoons Chinese five spice

for the BBQ Sauce:
1/4 cup each hoison sauce, ketchup, soy sauce, and apple sauce
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons mirin
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon lemon zest
1/4 cup agave nectar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon water

for the slaw:
1 1/2 cups shredded carrots
1 1/2 cup shredded red cabbage
2 cups savoy or green cabbage
2 tablespoons black sesame seeds
1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons thai sweet red chili sauce
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1 teaspoon agave nectar
2 tablespoons sesame oil

60 – 3″ diameter corn tortillas or soft taco shells
60 cilantro leaves – stems removed and rinsed


Place the sliced onion on the bottom of the slow cooker, salt the pork shoulder well then place on top of the onions. Mix together all ingredients for the char siu sauce and cover the pork shoulder with the suace. Cover and set slow cooker on low, cook overnight.

Remove the pork from the slow cooker, place on a pan and shred pork from bone. Let cool then cover and place in fridge until ready to be used.

In a large saucepan mix together the hoison, ketchup, soy sauce, apple sauce, garlic, oil, pepper flakes and zest. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat, cook for about 12 minutes.

In a small bowl mix together the agave, cornstarch and water then add to the saucepan. Bring back up to a simmer, cook until it thickens, about 2 minutes.

Add pork, toss to coat and reheat the pork. Remove from heat.

Mix together the carrots, cabbages, and sesame seeds in a large bowl. In a smaller bowl mis together the rest of the slaw ingredients, whisking in the oil.

Heat tortillas either in a pan or 10 at a time in the microwave, covered with a wet paper towel.

To plate take a tortilla, place a heaping tablespoon of pulled pork  on the tortilla, top with a large pinch of slaw, drizzle with dressing & fold tortilla to close, held by a cilantro leave w/ toothpick through it.

Asian Pulled Pork Tacos


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9 Responses to “Cocktail Party Mini Appetizers”

  1. March 14, 2012 at 4:37 pm #

    These mini appetizers are fabulous!! I would eat more than a “mini” portion… 🙂 YUM!

  2. March 8, 2012 at 9:52 pm #

    Yum and Yum. Not usually a fan of crab cakes, but these look sooo pretty and perfect for finger food–I’m sure they were a major hit! And that aioli sounds like the perfect accompaniment… The tacos are ad-o-ra-ble!! Judging from the list of ingredients, they must have packed a punch of flavor. Thanks for two great recipes!

  3. March 8, 2012 at 7:26 pm #

    Unlike you, I use plenty of cilantro into my cooking, in fact I don’t feel complete if cilantro does not get into my curries, love that smell blended into the spices. Both of these recipes are so good but I will try the with crabs first and then bookmark the other for later trying.

  4. March 4, 2012 at 11:54 am #

    PS…if you’re interested in hosting the monthly love events (we’ve done greenslove, citruslove, chocolate love, etc), you can click through to Junia’s site on my blog post. We pick a theme and all the hosts post at the beginning of the month, and others can add their posts with that theme if made during that month.

  5. March 4, 2012 at 10:05 am #

    We have appetizer parties once a month. Those crab cakes look like a MUST!!! for our parties!

  6. March 3, 2012 at 11:59 pm #

    Great apps! I love instagram when I’m out and don’t feel like lugging my camera around. Hope the party was fun!

  7. March 3, 2012 at 8:52 pm #

    These are stunning…perfect for a little nibble at a party!

  8. March 3, 2012 at 10:02 am #

    Two amazing appetizers…so yummy and beautiful!!! Sounds like a fun party, Lacy~

  9. March 3, 2012 at 8:33 am #

    I am not sure which I would try first! I do like southwestern as well as asian flavors and both look equally delicious.
    I have so many appetizer recipes, but I can never get enough of them. I do like to have an appetizer plate in place of dinner sometimes. Thanks for posting these two recipes. Hope you are enjoying the weekend!