Monday, December 29, 2008

New Year Cocktail Party

The cocktail parties that we throw are not like our mother’s that had somewhat goofy food, instead they are cornucopia of amazing flavored taste treats that fill us like dinner. You can have a grand assortment to accommodate all types of diets. Our stationary table is created with risers and fabrics to allow lots of interesting nooks to place food. We make all of our own sauces and dip, but there are many great pre-made ones available. Great crusty bread and a fun assortment of cheese and fresh fruit and veggies are all great items. Some of these years’ hot items are deviled eggs, turkey meatballs and pigs in blanket using mini Aidell’s sausages with homemade pastry and mustard. In this column I have included my three most popular signature tray pass items and my most requested recipes. As for the bar caterers use a formula that roughly estimates 10 people will consume 20 drinks at the average cocktail party. I would add 1 drink per person, as it is a holiday. If you pour 1.5-ounce shots you will get 16 cocktails from a 750 ml bottle while a liter bottle will yield 22. The average bottle of wine will get roughly 5 glasses. Most people don’t have a full bar, but serve beer, wine, sodas and a “featured drink.” You could make vodka martinis and also with a few additions add festive flair with cosmos, apple martinis, chocolate martinis and lemon drops. Be creative, have fun and have a happy and healthy New Year.

Shrimp with Coconut
3 Pounds Shrimp
3 cups shredded coconut (on a plate)
2 cups pancake mix
1 cup orange juice
1/2-cup coconut milk (more to thin the batter)
2 eggs
1-teaspoon cayenne pepper

Peanut or canola oil for frying
Set deep fryer or wok for 375. In a bowl mix pancake mix, eggs O.J. coconut milk and cayenne pepper. Holding by the tail dip each shrimp into the batter, roll in the coconut and drop into bubbling oil. Do not overcrowd the fryer; cooking several batches as necessary. Fry until shrimp are golden brown; about 3 minutes. (Don’t over cook, as the shrimp gets tough). Drain on a brown bag. Let cool a bit then serve.

Crab cakes with Remoulade Sauce
1 pound lump crabmeat, picked over
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 small red onion, minced
1 red bell pepper, minced
1 green bell pepper, minced
3/4-cup fine breadcrumbs
1/2-teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried mustard
1/4-teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
Mix all above ingredients. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours. Shape the crab mixture into 24 small cakes. In a heavy skillet, melt 4 tablespoons butter. Sauté the crab cakes for 5 minutes per side until golden brown.
Remoulade Sauce

1 egg
2 egg yolks
2 dill pickles, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon dried thyme
3 tablespoons balsamic
3-tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 cups olive oil
1/2 cup minced parsley
Fresh pepper

Place all ingredients in a food processor fitted with a steel blade except the oil. Process for 15 seconds. With it still running, pour the oil through the feed tube in a steady stream to make a thick sauce. Dollop over crab cakes.

Vegetarian Moonrolls
Similar to eggrolls but fresher with more veggies, a ton of flavor!

1-tablespoon olive oil
1-teaspoon sesame oil
Pinch of sea salt
1-cup carrots
1 each red and yellow bell peppers,
Halved and sliced
1 1/2 cups snow peas, thinly sliced
1 cup green or red cabbage, thinly chopped
2 cloves garlic
1-teaspoon fresh ginger
1/4-cup fresh cilantro
2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar
1/4-cup hoisin sauce
1-tablespoon chili sauce
40 pot sticker wrappers
1 egg, beaten
3 cups canola or peanut oil for frying

In a wok or fry pan heat olive and sesame oil. Add garlic and ginger. Cook for a minute and then add the rest of the veggies and cook about 6 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and add vinegar, hoisin sauce, chili sauce and cilantro.
To make moonrolls, moisten edge of wrapper with the egg then add 2-3 tablespoons filling in the center. 2 to 3 tablespoons of filling in the center. Fold in half and seal completely. They will look like half moons! Heat 3 cups of canola or peanut oil on high heat. Drop moo rolls in batches of 3 and cook for 1-2 minutes until golden. When cooled down a bit serve with sauce.

Dipping Sauce

3 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 inch fresh ginger, finely minced
1 cup apricot preserves
4 ounces Chinese mustard
4 Tablespoon rice vinegar (or sake)
Mix all ingredients together.

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