Thursday, November 18, 2010

Party Appetizers To Please

Most of us love to throw a party and apart from the liquor, one thing that people really look forward to is the grub. Great food can elevate the quality and the guest's appreciation of a party many fold. 

We often get intimidated by fancy recipes for party appetizers and ultimately simply serve chips or fry up some French fries or sauté sausages to save on time and effort. For the less lazy among you, here are some tips and recipes on making party appetizers that are easy but impressive at the same time.

·        Using a variety of ingredients, colors, shapes, textures etc make your appetizers look more attractive..
·        Plan your work and prepare what can be done in advance.
·        Try to estimate ahead of time how much of each to prepare to avoid waste of time and food.
·        If there is no meal to follow, include appetizers that are filling as well.
·        Salty and spicy foods make better appetizers than sweet ones
·        For passed and finger foods, allow fingers to remain clean as much as possible using toothpicks, skewers etc. Otherwise, provide napkins. 

How much to make?
Make an average of 5-8 appetizers per person per hour if there's a meal to follow and 8-12 appetizers per person per hour for a cocktail party or reception with no meal to follow. Consider budget, date and time, length of event, type of event, gender, and dietary restrictions.

Do's and Don'ts
·        Make sure you serve hot food hot! and cold food cold!
·        Space out the service of the appetizers evenly
·        If you have prepared a meal as well, don’t overstuff your guests with appetizers. Appetizers are meant to stimulate appetite, not ruin it.
·        Ultimately, make sure you enjoy hosting the party as well!

Assorted Passed

Devilled Eggs
Makes 10 pcs                                                                    Difficulty Level: Medium

5 ea      Whole Eggs
3 T       Mayonnaise
2 t        Red chilli powder
½ ea     Lime
t.t         Salt
t.t         Pepper

1. Make hard boiled eggs: Place the eggs in a pot and add enough water to cover. Bring to a boil. Turn off the flame and place a lid on the eggs. Remove the eggs after 12 – 14 minutes and immerse immediately in ice cold water to prevent overcooking.
2.  Once chilled, break open the shell and cut the eggs in half carefully without breaking it.
3.  Gently remove the yolk from each half and place in a bowl. Discard 1/4th of the yolks.
4.  Mash the yolks in a bowl till smooth and mix in the mayonnaise, squeeze of lime, red chilli powder, salt and pepper.
5.  Put the mixture in a piping bag and pipe into the egg halves.
6.  Garnish with a sprinkling of red chilli powder and keep refrigerated. This can be done hours in advance.

Button mushrooms with Garlic & Breadcrumbs
Makes 10 pcs                                                                    Difficulty Level: Easy

2 T       Butter or Oil
10 ea    Button mushrooms, washed and pat dry
2 ea      Garlic cloves, minced
2 T       Bread crumbs

1.  In a large skillet, heat butter and sauté the mushrooms and garlic till the mushrooms are tender for about 3-5 minutes.
2.  Add the breadcrumbs and cook for another minute and remove from heat.
3.  Serve hot with toothpicks.

BBQ Chicken Wings
Makes 10 pcs                                                                    Difficulty Level: Medium

10 ea    Chicken wings

2 T       Oil
1 ea      Onion, finely chopped
3 ea      Garlic cloves, finely chopped
½ T      Red chilli powder (optional)
½ C     Tomato ketchup
2 T       Soy sauce
1 T       Mustard
1 T       WC Sauce
2 T       Vinegar
as  needed Water
t.t         Salt
t.t         Sugar

1. Preheat oven to 200 C.
2. Heat oil in a saucepot and add the onion and garlic.
3. Sauté till translucent and add the rest of the ingredients.
4. Cook for 10 minutes and adjust consistency with water.
5. Cool down and toss half the sauce with the chicken wings.
6. Cook in the oven for about 40 minutes.
7. Remove from oven and toss in the remaining sauce. Serve hot. This can be done in advance and then reheated in microwave or oven when necessary. Remember to provide napkins when serving the wings.


Toasted bread w/ Chicken liver pate
Makes 10 pcs                                                                    Difficulty Level: Medium

5 ea      Bread slices, cut into half

2 T       Oil
¼ kg    Chicken livers, cut into cubes
5 ea      Garlic cloves, crushed
100 g   Butter, softened
2 T       Brandy or whiskey (optional)
t.t         Salt
t.t         Black pepper

1. Toast the bread in a pan, toaster or oven. Keep in an airtight container.
2. Wash the livers well and pat dry.
3. Heat the oil in a pan large enough to hold the chicken livers in one layer. (Else cook  in 2 batches)
4. Add the chicken livers and garlic and cook for 3 – 5  minutes on medium heat stirring constantly till cooked through.
5. Add the alcohol, seasoning, and cook for another minute.
6. Blend with the butter in a blender till smooth.
7. Place in a cup or ramekin, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
8.  To serve, spread a generous amount of pâté on each toast and serve cold.
Puri w/ Minced meat
Makes 10 pcs                                                                    Difficulty Level: Medium

10 ea    Puri     
1 T       Oil
100 g   Minced meat
1 t        Red chilli powder
1 t        Coriander powder
t.t         Salt
t.t         Pepper
2 T       Yogurt
2 T       Coriander leaves
½ ea     Lime

1. Heat oil in a pan and add the minced meat. Cook on high stirring constantly.
2. Add the red chilli and coriander powder and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
3. Cool in refrigerator.
4. To serve, make a hole in each puri with thumb and fill with minced meat mixture with a teaspoon.
5. Add a dollop of beaten curd, squeeze of lime and one coriander leaf and serve cold.

Puri w/ Roasted Eggplant
Makes 10 pcs                                                                    Difficulty Level: Easy

10 ea    Puri

1 T       Oil
1-2       Japanese Eggplant
1 t        Red chilli powder
t.t         Salt
t.t         Pepper

2 T       Yogurt
1 ea      Tomato, roughly chopped
½ ea     Lime

1. Preheat oven to 200 C.
2. Cut eggplant in half longwise, season with salt and place cut side down in a baking tray drizzled with some oil.
3. Bake for about 45 minutes till soft.
4. Allow it to cool down and then scoop out the flesh and chop coarsely.
5. Season with salt and pepper and add some red chilli powder and mix well.
6.  To serve, make a hole in each puri with thumb and fill with roasted eggplant mixture with a teaspoon. Add a dollop of beaten curd, squeeze of lime, some chopped tomatoes, and serve cold.

Crackers or Papdi w/ Roasted Garlic Yogurt
Makes 10 pcs                                                                    Difficulty Level: Easy

10 ea    Crackers or Papdi

1 Cup   Curd
2 T       Heavy cream
1 ea      Lime, juiced
t.t         Salt
t.t         Pepper
1 ea      Whole garlic
2 T       Fresh mint, chopped

1. To roast the garlic, cut off the top and place cut side up on a baking tray. Season with salt, drizzle some olive oil and place in a 180 C preheated oven for about 20 minutes till the outside is golden brown.
2. Remove from the oven and allow it to cool completely. Squeeze out the garlic and press with a knife and make a paste.
3. Hang the curd in a cheesecloth for a few hours.
4. Remove and mix with heavy cream, lime juice, roasted garlic paste, salt, and pepper.
5. Put in a piping bag and pipe onto the cracker or papdi.
6. Garnish with chopped mint leaves and serve cold.

Chips w/ Spicy Tomato Salsa
Serves 20                                                                          Difficulty Level: Easy

1 pkt    Banana chips, long
1 pkt    Tapioca chips, wide
1 pkt    Potato chips

For the salsa,
2 ea      Onions, roughly chopped
3 ea      Tomatoes, roughly chopped
2 ea      Green chillies, roughly chopped
2 T       Coriander leaves, roughly chopped
1 ea      Kiwi fruit or avocado, roughly chopped (optional)
2 ea      Limes juiced
2 T       Olive Oil
1 T       Tabasco sauce
1 T       Soy sauce
t.t.        Salt
t.t         Pepper

1.To make the salsa, mix together all the ingredients.
2. Take half the mixture and pulse in a blender till semi-smooth.
3. Add back to the rest of the mixture and mix together well. Keep refrigerated till service.
4. Serve on a platter with assortment of chips

Crudités w/ Remoulade Sauce
Serves 10                                                                          Difficulty Level: Easy

2 ea      Celery stalks, carrots, cucum bers, peeled, cut into batons
10 ea    Cherry tomatoes on toothpicks
3 ea      Radishes, cut into quarters

1 C      Mayonnaise
2 T       Cornichons, chopped finely
2 T       Capers, chopped finely
2 T       Parsley, chopped
2 T       Spring onions, chopped
½ ea     Lime
t.t         Salt
t.t         Pepper
As needed Milk

1. Mix the mayonnaise with cornichons, capers, parsley, spring onions and squeeze of lime. Season with salt and pepper and adjust consistency with milk.
2. Cut the vegetables into desired shape and keep covered in a refrigerator.
3. Arrange the assorted vegetables neatly on a platter and serve with the remoulade sauce.

Finger Sandwiches

Roasted Bell Peppers and Mushroom Sandwich
Makes 10 pcs                                                                   Difficulty Level: Medium

3 ea      Red, yellow, green capsicum/bell peppers
4 T       Oil
1 C      Onions, sliced
1 C      Button mushrooms, sliced

2 T       Mayonnaise (optional)

1. Roast the whole peppers on an open flame turning it on different sides till the entire surface is blackened. Remove and place in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a place immediately to trap steam and facilitate the skin peeling.
2. Peel the skin off and cut in half. Discard the seeds and cut the roasted peppers in thin strips.
3. Heat 2 Tablespoon of oil in a pan and add the onions. Season with salt and cook on high till translucent and then reduce to medium stirring constantly. Cook till it starts to brown and caramelize.
4. Heat 2 tablespoon of oil in a pan and add the sliced mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper and cook on high stirring constantly for about 3 to 5 minutes till cooked.
5. Mix together the roasted pepper strips, the caramelized onions and the sautéed mushrooms. Taste and adjust seasoning.
6. Cut the buns in half and toast on a pan with some butter.
7. On the bottom half, spread some mayonnaise, place a spoonful of the mixture and even out. Place the top half and cut into half for quarter.
8. Secure with toothpicks and serve.

Grilled Chicken Sandwich
Makes 12 pcs                                                                   Difficulty Level: Medium

6 ea      Whole wheat bread, sliced
2 ea      Chicken breast, boneless, skinless
t.t.        Salt
t.t         White pepper
2 t        Mustard sauce
3 ea      Cheese slices (optional)
2 T       Mayonnaise (optional)

1. Toast the bread gently on both sides on a sauté pan. (can be done in advance)
2. Place the chicken breasts on a cutting board and pound it with a mallet or rolling pin to even out the surface to about the thickness of a finger.
3. Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper.
4. Heat oil in a non-stick pan and gently place the breasts. Cook on medium high heat for about 2-3 minutes, turn over to the other side and repeat. Make sure the chicken is cooked through but not overcooked and dry.
5. Remove from the pan and immediately place a cheese slice on top allowing it to melt onto the chicken.
6. Place the chicken on one slice of toasted bread. At this stage you can add a variety of toppings or fillings such as spicy tomato salsa, mayonnaise, lettuce, tomato etc or just leave it as it is.
7. Place another slice of toasted bread on top and cut into half or quarter. Secure the mini sandwiches with toothpicks. Serve hot.

1 comment:

  1. My mum is going to try the Salsa.. and I want to try my hand at the mushrooms. Will tell you how it goes! :)