Mad About ... Parties
(This is a continuation of the Tiki Party post. I decided to break it up into several posts to make it a little more manageable. The original post was dated December 14 and can, quickly, be found in Labels under "Parties.")
Nuts and Bolts
(Pile this up in some of your little bowls and let people munch as they mingle)
1/2 c. butter
1/4 c. olive oil
1/4 c bacon fat
1/2 c. Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp. garlic salt
2 tsp. celery salt
4 c. mixed nuts
4 c. wheat Chex
4 c. rice Chex
2 c. (plain) Cheerios
2 c. thin pretzels
1 8-10 oz. package of Cheeze-its or other cheese cracker snack
Preheat oven to 200F.
Melt butter and combine, in pan, with oil and bacon fat. Stir in Worcestershire sauce. Add salts. Remove from heat and let stand for a few minutes. In a large roasting pan combine buts, cereals, pretzels and cheese snacks. Pour sauce over and toss. Bake, uncovered, for 2 hours. Turn every 30 minutes.
This recipe makes 5 quarts, so you can send some home with people in bags.
Salmon Mousse with crackers
(Serving suggestion: lay some banana leaves on a white platter or large plate; in the middle of the mold, arrange tropical flowers; around the mold arrange crackers.)
Recipe by Martha Stewart
1 tsp. unflavored gelatin (from a 1/4 ounce packet)
4 ounces smoked salmon, coarsely chopped
1 1/4 c. sour cream
1 to 2 Tbsp lemon juice
Place 3 Tbsp. cold water in a small saucepan, and sprinkle with gelatin; let soften, 5 minutes. Gently heat over low, stirring, just until gelatin dissolves; set aside.
In the bowl of a food processor, combine salmon, sour cream and lemon juice. Puree until smooth; season with salt. With motor running, add slightly cooled gelatin mixture, and blend until combined.
Pour into large ring mold or ramekins; I recommend a ring mold for this situation. Without touching the surface, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, 2 hours or overnight.
(If you buy frozen shrimp, look for "flash-frozen", this means it's frozen at sea. You can thaw a day ahead. If you are buying fresh, get it the day of your party and follow the directions bellow. I'm providing three cocktail sauce recipes - you can pick one or try all three! Look up more of the recipes at shrimpcocktailrecipes.com)
Shrimp recipe by Martha Stewart, Cocktail Sauces by shrimpcocktailrecieps.com
2 pounds large shrimp ((16 to 18 count)
4 quarts water
1 halved lemon
2 dried bay leaves
1 Tbsp. salt
Prepare shrimp: Hold each shrimp, leg side up, and peel shell from inside curve, leaving tail intact. To devein, gently run a pairing knife along center of outside curve from head to tail, exposing vein. Remove vein, wash shrimp.
Fill a large pot with 4 quarts water; add lemon, bay leaves, and salt. Cover; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 10 minutes. Return to a boil. Add shrimp. Cook until bright pink and opaque, about 1 minute 5 seconds.
Use a slotted spoon to transfer shrimp to a wire rack set over a rimmed baking sheet; cover with ice, and let cool, about 5 minutes. (To store, fill a bowl 3/4 full with ice. Put shrimp in reusable plastic bags. Place atop ice; cover with more ice. Refrigerate up to one day, replenish ice as needed.)
Arrange shrimp along the rim of an ice-filled bowl; set smaller bowl of cocktail sauce in the middle of the bowl and surround with tropical flowers.
Basic Cocktail Sauce
1 c. tomato ketchup
1/2 tsp. chili powder
dash of cayenne powder
1 tsp. prepared horseradish
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1 large minced garlic clove
In a small mixing bowl, add all ingredients. Mix until even and consistent. Transfer to a serving dish. You can make this a day ahead to let the flavors mingle.
Wasabi Cocktail Sauce
4 c. tomato ketchup
4 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/8 c. firmly packed brown sugar
1 tsp. wasabi paste
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. salt
In a medium size mixing bowl, add all ingredients. Mix until even and consistent. Transfer to a serving dish. You can make this a day ahead to let the flavors mingle.
Japanese Cocktail Sauce
2 c. mayonnaise
4 slices of canned peaches
3/4 c. mineral water
1 1/2 Tbsp. tomato ketchup
2 Tbsp. honey
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. turmeric
2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. white pepper
1/4 tsp. black pepper
pinch of salt
Add all ingredients to a blender. Pulse until you have a smooth and even texture. Transfer to a serving dish. You can make this a day ahead to let the flavors mingle.
Cocktail Sausages with Roasted Pineapple
(Serve in a shallow bowl with a few toothpicks stuck in some of the sausages, and more in a serving dish on the side. Cocktail sausages (or "weenies") have been around for awhile and are super kitschy.)
2 (15 oz) packages cocktail sausages
1 (8 oz) can crushed pineapple (un-drained)
1 c. apricot preserves
1 c. brown sugar
In a skillet, lightly brown sausages. In a large bowl, mix pineapple, apricot preserves and brown sugar. Add to the sausages; simmer for 30 minutes.
Polynesian-style Ham with brown-mustard and blackberry jelly
To make life easier, buy a pre-cooked ham. Slice into thick slices and then dice into medium squares - big enough to spear with a toothpick.
In a medium saucepan, mix 1 c. brown mustard and 1 c. blackberry jelly. Simmer over low heat, until it's a little runny.
Place ham in a large baking dish. Pour sauce over and toss, making sure every piece is coated.
Bake until caramelized in a 350F oven.
It's not rocket science!
(In the spirit of finger foods, consider serving in lettuce cups)
4 c. shredded cabbage
1 (11 ounce) can of mandarin oranges, drained and liquid reserved
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. white pepper
1 c. crushed pineapple, drained
1/3 c. mayonnaise
In a large bowl, toss together cabbage, 1 Tbsp. reserved orange juice, salt, ginger, nutmeg and pepper. Toss pineapple and orange into the mixture. Stir in mayonnaise until evenly coated. Chill before serving.
As I noted above, you an serve this in lettuce cups to make it a little more handy. If you do go down that route, make the cups and arrange on a large platter that has been lined with banana leaves and strewn with chunks of fruit. If you prefer to leave in a bowl and let people serve themselves, put out with tongs and tuck a large tropical flower in the middle or off to the side.
Ambrosia Fruit Salad
(Perfectly old school!)
1/2 c. heavy cream
1 Tbsp. sugar
4 ounces sour cream
3 c. (approx.) mini marshmallows
1 c. Clementine orange segments (approx. 6 Clementine)
1 c. chopped fresh pineapple (canned is fine, just make sure to drain well)
1 c. freshly grated coconut (bagged coconut is fine, make sure it's unsweetened)
1 c. toasted, chopped pecans
1/2 c. drained maraschino cherries
Place the cream and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment and whip until stiff peaks are formed. Add the sour cream and whisk to combine. You can use a hand-held mixer, or, even do it by hand. Add the marshmallows, oranges, pineapple, coconut, pecans and cherries and stir to combine. Cover with plastic and refrigerate for 2 hours.
I recommend serving this in you most elaborate looking bowl and embellishing with lots of tropical flowers.
Rum-Soaked Grilled Fruit Skewers
(Make sure to soak your wooden skewers in cold water over night. This prevents any flair ups or burning when you grill.)
1/2 c. fresh orange juice
1/4 c. jelly made from tropical fruits - your choice
2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. minced fresh ginger
1/2 tsp. curry powder
2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
1 Tbsp. dark rum
40 1-inch chunks of assorted tropical fruit: mango, papaya, pineapple, kiwi fruit, and star fruit.
Make the marinade: blend orange juice, jelly, mustard, ginger and curry powder in a blender until smooth. Transfer to a small saucepan, cover, and simmer over low heat for about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. Add lime juice and rum.
Assemble skewers: thread four pieces of fruit onto skewer. Arrange in a shallow container. Pour marinade over, cover, refrigerate. Turn the skewers every so often. You can marinate for 3 hours or even overnight.
To grill: if you are using a multi-level grill, place the skewers on the upper rack. Cook until heated and slightly browned in some places. If you are using a single-level grill, keep the heat low and to one side, if you can. Cook to the same consistency.
Serve on a platter, lined with banana leaves. Pile the skewers as high as you can and tuck a few tropical flowers in there.
There you have it! Give yourself two weeks to get yourself together. Go through the check list, send out your invitations, time the cooking/serving, time the prep/serving of the drinks, buy all the decorations and supplies. In the days leading up to the party, try to get any food prep out of the way. The night before, decorate and set out all of your serving dishes so you have optimal space. The day of? Relax! Don't stress. As I said before, something is bound to go wrong and if it all goes belly up - have the number for pizza delivery near by. At least the drinks taste great, right?