Tag Archives: safari

More Cocktails and Appetizers on the Wild Side!


As the More is More Mom®, I’m always up for more fun with family and friends. We’ve barely scratched the surface of our Safari Cocktail and Appetizer Party. You may recall that the stage is all set to greet our guests with a cool and refreshing beverage (detailed 7/28/10).

 

As for the menu, the warm weather beckoned a selection of delicious, cold appetizers;

  • Prosciutto Wrapped Mango Slices (recipe revealed 7-28-10)
  • Shrimp Cocktail in a tangy homemade sauce
  • Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad Spears
  • Greek Salsa and Pita Chips

 

The beauty of all the recipes that I am sharing with you today is that they are largely prepared in advance, leaving a little bit of assembly just before your first guest arrives. 

Nothing says over the top indulgence better than Shrimp Cocktail (except maybe caviar, but who really wants to eat all of those little fish eggs anyway?) served in an elegant martini glass. Now that’s instant glamour.

 

Shrimp Cocktail in a tangy homemade sauce:

To serve 6;

 

2 lbs cooked peeled shrimp, tails cut off and chopped into chunks (any size will do)

½ – 1 lb cooked peeled Jumbo shrimp. We’re going to artfully arrange a few tails over the rim of the glass for each guest. Beautiful!

Note: For the sake of simplicity and my sanity, I defrost my shrimp the evening before I am going to serve it. I store them in a Ziploc Baggie, lined with a paper towel (I prefer Bounty, the quicker picker upper. This is not a paid advertisement, darn it. I just so happen to be fan!). Rarely do I serve shrimp cocktail individually. As a rule I serve it in a silver platter that I toss in the freezer before the party to help the shrimpies stay nice and cold, but not soggy as they tend to get when directly served on ice.

Tangy Sauce;

In a mix bowl, lightly whip;

 

4 Tbsp heavy cream

Mix in;

 

4 Tbsp mayonnaise (am I a looser for using Hellman’s when I could have made it from scratch? I like to think that I am being practical. As it is, I could be using store bought cocktails sauce!)

4 Tbsp ketchup (now you know it’s good)

2 tsp Worcestershire sauce

Juice of one lemon…..which in my mind translates to a few tablespoons of bottled real lemon juice

Add more lemon juice as needed to make the sauce super tangy.

 

Stir in the chopped shrimp. Transfer to a container with a lid if you are leaving it in the refrigerator over night.

To Assemble;

1 head of Romaine lettuce, rough chopped (or any other hearty, crisp lettuce)

Fill each glass about 1/3 of the way with the lettuce.

Spoon the shrimp mixture over the lettuce, evenly amongst the 6 glasses.

Drape a few jumbo shrimp over the side of each martini glass.

For maximum impact, I placed all 6 martini glasses on a leopard tray.

Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad Spears:

I order a grilled chicken Caesar salad at nearly every establishment I patronize, so I’m kind of an expert. The individual spears were a party in your mouth! I tossed myself a little salad with the left over dressing a few days later and I’m telling you, there’s not a Caesar salad out there that rivaled it…..

This recipe makes approximately 20 spears.

Grill, on medium heat;

 

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into thin strips

Once the chicken cooled, I sliced each strip in half making it a more manageable serving size. As is my M.O., I placed the chicken in a Ziploc Baggie lined with a Bounty paper towel and stored in the refrigerator until ready to use.

The dressing was so tasty, you may want to double the recipe so you have more for later. In a bowl combine;

½ cup mayonnaise

½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

3-4 cloves of garlic minced (there is nothing wrong with garlic, especially if we are all having it)

1 tsp anchovy paste (I don’t care for anchovies, but the paste is essential to achieving that classic Caesar status)

1 tsp Worcestershire sauce (and maybe a splash more)

1 tsp dry mustard

Mix well and store in a bowl with a lid overnight.

To assemble;

2-3 heads of small romaine lettuce leaves. I used endive instead because it was the perfect size.

Separate the lettuce leaves.

Place 2 strips of grilled chicken in the leaf (it makes a nice little cradle)

Plop a dollop of dressing on top of the chicken

Garnish with shaved Parmesan (use your vegetable peeler to create perfect shavings)

If it floats your boat, top with capers.

Artfully arrange the spears on a platter and serve to the “oohs and ahs” of your guests.

Greek Salsa with Pita Chips:

The Mediterranean flavors are a welcome respite from your more traditional salsa.

In a medium bowl, combine;

 

2 cups of crumbled feta cheese (Costco sells huge containers of feta, of course, because everything is huge at Costco)

2 large tomatoes, seeded and chopped

5 scallions, whites and greens, chopped

1 cucumber peeled, seeded and chopped

1 cup Kalamata olives pitted and rough chopped

½ cup fresh, flat leaf parsley chopped (fresh just tastes like summer)

2 Tbsp fresh oregano chopped (fresh oregano is so flavorful)

2 Tbsp fresh dill chopped (okay, I know, enough with the fresh, but is just tastes so FRESH)

1-2 Tbsp lemon juice

1/3 -1/2 cup of olive oil (add slowly to see how much you really need. You just want a very light coating)

Cover and refrigerate for at least a few hours, but overnight is even better.

When you are ready to serve, transfer to a pretty bowl. I chose a lovely cut crystal to equal the formality of the martini glasses.

Serve with pita chips. I like Stacy’s in the jumbo bag from Costco, though you could certainly toast your own. Instead of tossing the chips in a predictable bowl, I served them in a cheetah patterned planter (that I only use for food service). I like the shape and whimsy of the planter.

Should you have any salsa left over, you might enjoy it spooned over a grilled chicken or fish on another night.

I hope you have as much fun with this menu as we did. What could be better than more time with friends on a beautiful summer night with more delectable dishes, more laughs, more good times and more memories? 

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Cocktails and Appetizers on the Wild Side!


What could be a better way to celebrate summer than with cocktails and appetizers on your patio, deck, porch or balcony? Come with me, the More is More Mom®, as we take a walk on the wild side….

Always and forever, the very best parties start with a cohesive theme. Celebrating the holidays is a total gimme because the theme is readily defined; the food and décor fairly expected. Throwing a soiree just for fun however offers an opportunity that is completely open to interpretation. Inspiration is everywhere. It can be as simple as food from a favorite region or country or a combination of colors for your menu or décor. My best advice is that you immerse yourself in your theme to make it as authentic as possible.

 

The extreme summer heat was perfectly relevant to a Safari inspired party. I set up my bar at my cocktail table on my deck. In a round, zebra skin tray I placed tortoise wine goblets, highball glasses and a monkey statue in the center to kick off my theme. Behind the glassware, to add height and gentle softness, I placed a large pot of impatiens. To the right, I offered a variety of spirits and placed chartreuse and brown zebra print beverage napkins. Be inventive. I borrowed a brown metal dragonfly that sits in my Powder Room as a decorative weight to keep the napkins from flying away. To the left I showcased a tall African mask, various cocktail making implements and two crystals bowls, one with mixed nuts for snacking and the other with wedges of lemons and limes. On the ground, next to my cocktail table, I filled a tall footed, metal plant stand with ice and nestled bottles of white wine, beer, soda and water to round out my beverage offerings.

The warm weather beckoned a selection of delicious, cold appetizers;

  • Prosciutto Wrapped Mango Slices
  • Shrimp Cocktail in a tangy homemade sauce
  • Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad Spears
  • Greek Salsa and Pita Chips

 

I set up my hors d’oeuvres buffet on my dining table outdoors. Setting up a pleasing arrangement is really quite simple; it should be bountiful and beautiful. I select platters and trays that compliment each other and my theme. I consider the number of serving pieces needed and how best to configure them for optimal reach. As a general rule, I like to use pedestals of varying height to create a display that is both user friendly and attractive.

In the center of the arrangement I anchored a pedestal on which I placed a glass cheetah patterned platter, which just screams Giorgio Armani, for the Prosciutto Wrapped Mango Slices. On an angle to the right, I used a leopard print tray to carry the martini glasses filled with the Shrimp Cocktail. To the left I filled an animal skin patterned platter with the Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad Spears. On the outskirts of the tablescape, you will find a cheetah planter filled with Pita Chips and a crystal bowl filled with the Greek Salsa. The rest of the buffet is filled in with potted flowers, pillar candles atop banana leaf holders, brown and cream zebra plates, more of the fun napkins from the bar and an urn holding utensils. The various heights and textures create a harmonious, gorgeous and generous feast.

The Prosciutto Wrapped Mango Slices couldn’t be easier and more delicious!

6 thinly sliced pieces of prosciutto, cut into 2-3 strips

2 ripe mangoes, peeled and sliced into spears

Handful of tender greens such as arugula or baby spinach

Handful of fresh basil leaves

Cracked black pepper

To assemble;

Stack 2 large tender green stems along with a 1 large, or a few small, basil leaves

Place a mango slice on top

Wrap a strip of prosciutto around the mango and greens

Artfully arrange on your platter

Sprinkle with cracked black pepper and serve

Your guests will be delighted with the sweet and salty freshness!

The remainder of the appetizer recipes can be found on July 29th at Trib Local on-line. For additional step by step photographs, please visit me at my website http://moreismoremom.com  If you have any questions, please email me at moreismoremom@gmail.com

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