Fete Fabulous
Be the toast of your own party with food and drinks

By Amelia Rasmus

Whether you’re throwing the biggest bash of the year or a small gathering for your best friends, there are two things that can make or break your holiday party: food and drinks.

Beer and chips are so frat party! Wine and cheese are so cliché!

Be the hostess everyone will envy. Plan a more sophisticated soiree with the following tasteful cocktail and hors d’oeuvre recipes:

Chinese Five-Spice Hot Chocolate
Hot Chocolate a l'Orange Web Extra!
Broiled Figs in Prosciutto
Herbed Pancakes With Avocado Butter Web Extra!
Ginger Snap
Vanilla Velvet Web Extra!
Marinated Olives
Cherry Tomatoes With Pesto Web Extra!
Champagne Cocktail Web Extra!
Sesame Honey-Baked Chicken Wings
Creamy Herb Mushrooms Web Extra!
Rainbow Quail Eggs
Fragrant Khandvi Rolls Web Extra!
Midnight Martini
Nut 'n' Holly Web Extra!
Warm Goat Cheese Appetizer
Herbed Yogurt Dip Web Extra!


“Hot Chocolate”
By Michael Turback, Published by Ten Speed Press

Chinese Five-Spice Hot Chocolate

1 star anise
1/2 teaspoon fennel seed
1 cinnamon quill
6 whole cloves
10 whole Szechuan peppers
4 cups whole milk
16 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
Whipped cream for serving
Ground cinnamon for serving

In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the anise, fennel, cinnamon, cloves, peppers and milk and bring to a simmer.

Remove from the heat and let steep 5 minutes.

Strain through a fine-mesh sieve to remove the spices and return the milk to the saucepan over medium-low heat.

Stir in the chopped chocolate until melted completely. Bring to a slow simmer and whisk 30 seconds.

Pour the hot chocolate into warm mugs and top with freshly whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

Serve immediately.

Makes 4 servings.

Hot Chocolate a l'Orange

1/4 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup whole milk
Zest of 1 clementine or Mandarin orange
Pinch ground cayenne pepper
2 pinches ground nutmeg
Pinch ground cloves
4 ounces semisweet chocolate (73 percent cacao), chopped
1 ounce Cointreau or Grand Marnier

In a saucepan over medium-low heat, combine the cream, milk, zest, cayenne, nutmeg and cloves. Bring the mixture to a simmer.

Let simmer 10 minutes. Add the chocolate and stir continuously with a wooden spoon until thoroughly melted. Stir in the liqueur.

Pour the mixture into a mug, and serve immediately.

Makes 1 serving.

By Katy Holder, Published by Thunder Bay Press

Broiled Figs in Prosciutto

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon orange juice
12 small, fresh figs
12 sage leaves
6 slices prosciutto, trimmed
and halved lengthwise

Put the butter in a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Melt over low heat, then cook the butter 8 to 10 minutes, or until the froth subsides and the milk solids appear as brown specks on the bottom of the saucepan.

Strain the butter into a clean bowl by pouring it through a strainer lined with a clean cheesecloth or paper towel.

Stir the orange juice into the strained butter.

Gently cut a cross in the crown of each fig, cutting 2/3 of the way through. Gently squeeze the base — the top will open like a flower.

Put a sage leaf in the opening of each fig, then wrap a piece of prosciutto around each one, with the ends tucked under the bottom of the fig.

Arrange the figs, cut-side up, on a cookie sheet and brush lightly with the butter mixture.

Move the oven rack to its lowest position, then heat the broiler to hot.

Place the cookie sheet on the rack and broil 1-1/2 minutes, or until the prosciutto is slightly crispy. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Makes 12 servings.

Herbed Pancakes With Avocado Butter


1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup self-rising flour
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup milk
4 tablespoons fresh, mixed herbs
1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
Melted butter, for frying
2 tablespoons baby capers, fried

Avocado Butter

1/2 ripe avocado, mashed
4 tablespoons butter, softened
1 tablespoon lemon or lime juice
1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper

Sift together the flours into a large bowl and make a well in the center.

Gradually add the combined egg, milk, herbs and pepper, whisking until the batter is smooth and free of clumps.

Heat a frying pan and brush with melted butter. Drop teaspoons of the batter into the pan and cook until bubbles appear on top. Turn and cook until golden underneath. Keep warm.

To make the avocado butter, mix the ingredients together until smooth. Spread on top of the pancakes, garnish with baby capers, and serve.

Makes about 50 pancakes.


“Low-Carb Cocktails”
By Marlene & Chuck Koch, Published by M. Evans and Co.

Ginger Snap

2 ounces brandy (or blended Canadian whiskey)
1/2 teaspoon Splenda
Diet ginger ale
Orange slice

Pour brandy into a tall Collins glass. Add Splenda. Stir.

Top with diet ginger ale. Garnish edge with orange slice.

Makes 1 drink.

Vanilla Velvet

2 ounces vodka
1 ounce light cream
2 to 3 teaspoons Splenda
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Pour all ingredients into a shaker half full of ice. Shake.

Strain drink into ice-filled rocks glass.

Makes 1 drink.

“Appetizers, Starters & Finger Food”
By Christine Ingram, Published by Southwater

Marinated Olives

1-1/3 cup unpitted, green olives
3 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
2 small, red chiles
2 to 3 thick slices lemon, cut into pieces
1 thyme or rosemary sprig
5 tablespoons white wine vinegar

Spread out the olives and garlic on a cutting board. Using a rolling pin, crack and flatten them slightly.

Crack the coriander seeds in a mortar with a pestle.

Mix the olives and the garlic, coriander seeds, chiles, lemon pieces, herb sprigs and white wine vinegar in a large bowl. Toss them well, then transfer the mixture to a clean glass jar.

Pour in cold water to cover.

Store in the refrigerator at least 5 days before serving at room temperature.

Makes 4 servings.

Cherry Tomatoes With Pesto

1 pound small cherry tomatoes

1 cup fresh basil leaves
3 to 4 garlic cloves
4 tablespoons pine nuts
1 teaspoon salt, plus extra to taste
1/2 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
6 tablespoons freshly grated pecorino cheese
Ground black pepper

Wash the tomatoes. Slice off the top of each and carefully scoop out the seeds with a melon baller or small spoon.

Place the basil, garlic, pin nuts, salt and olive oil in a blender or food processor and process until smooth.

Remove the contents to a bowl.

(If desired, the pesto may be frozen at this point, before the cheeses are added. To use when frozen, let the mixture thaw, then proceed to the next step.)

Fold in the Parmesan and pecorino grated cheese. Season with pepper and more salt, if necessary.

Use a small spoon to fill each tomato with a little pesto. Chill about an hour before serving.

Makes 8 to 10 servings.


“Field Guide to Cocktails”
By Rob Chirico, Published by Quirk Books


12 eggs, separated
1 cup granulated sugar
8 ounces bourbon
8 ounces cognac
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 pints heavy cream
Freshly grated nutmeg

Beat the egg yolks and sugar in a large bowl until light in color, about 3 minutes.

Slowly add the bourbon and cognac while beating at slow speed. Chill 3 hours.

Place the egg whites in a separate bowl and add the salt. With clean beaters, beat a few minutes to form peaks. Set aside.

In a clean, chilled bowl, whip the cream until stiff, using clean beaters.
Fold the whipped cream into the yolk mixture.

Fold the beaten egg whites into the cream-yolk mixture. Chill 1 hour.

Pour into a punch bowl and sprinkle nutmeg on top.

Serve in chilled mugs.
(Note: For a thinner mixture, add 1 to 2 cups milk.)

Makes 20 servings.

Champagne Cocktail

1 dash bitters
1 sugar cube
Cold, dry champagne
Twist of lemon peel

Add the dash of bitters to the sugar cube in the bottom of a chilled champagne glass.

Slowly pour in the champagne. Garnish with the lemon peel.

Makes 1 drink.


“Do It for Less! Parties”
By Denise Vivaldo, Published by Terrace Publishing

Sesame Honey-Baked Chicken Wings

36 (4 to 5 pounds) chicken wings
1 cup soy sauce
3/4 cup mirin or seasoned rice vinegar
1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons minced, fresh ginger
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 cup sliced green onions
3 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
3 tablespoons sesame seeds

Cut the end joints from the chicken wings.

Combine the soy sauce, mirin, honey, ginger, garlic, green onions and sesame oil in a large bowl. Add the chicken wings and stir to coat.

Marinate, covered and refrigerated, overnight or up to a day.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Arrange the marinated chicken on baking sheets. Bake 1 hour, or until the chicken is cooked through.

Sprinkle with the sesame seeds, and serve warm or at room temperature.

Makes 12 servings.

Creamy Herb Mushrooms

25 (about 3/4 pound) medium-size button mushrooms
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup sliced green onions
3/4 teaspoon minced garlic
3/4 cup herbed breadcrumbs
1/2 cup crumbled gorgonzola cheese
4 ounces extra-virgin olive oil

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees

Clean the mushrooms and remove the stems. Place the stems in a food processor or blender and process until smooth.

Melt the butter over medium heat in a large sauté pan. Add the processed mushroom stems, green onions and garlic. Saute 3 to 4 minutes, or until fragrant.

Remove from the heat. Stir in the breadcrumbs and the cheese, mixing well to incorporate.

Spoon the mixture into the mushroom caps, and arrange the filled mushrooms on baking sheets. (The mushrooms can be made up to this point a day in advance. Cover and refrigerate until ready to bake.)

Drizzle the mushrooms with the olive oil. Bake 10 to 12 minutes, or until heated through.

Makes 12 servings.

“Asian Tapas: Small Bites, Big Flavors”
By Christophe Megel and Anton Kilayko

Rainbow Quail Eggs

6 cups water
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon white vinegar
24 quail eggs
1 tablespoon nori flakes
1 tablespoon sancho pepper, or
1/2 tablespoon paprika
mixed with 1/2 tablespoon
ground red pepper
1 tablespoon purple seaweed

Bring the water, salt and vinegar to a boil in a saucepan over high heat. Add the eggs and boil 3 minutes.

Remove and plunge the eggs in cold water for several minutes to cool.

Peel the eggs and set them aside.

Cut a thin layer from the base of each egg to enable it to stand upright.

Coat 8 eggs with the nori flakes, 8 eggs with the sancho pepper and 8 eggs with the purple seaweed.

Serve the coated eggs in a platter.

Makes 24 eggs.

Fragrant Khandvi Rolls

2 tablespoons oil
25 to 30 fresh curry leaves or basil leaves, stems removed
2 teaspoons mustard seeds
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup chickpea flour
3 tablespoons plain yogurt
1 tablespoon oil
2 cups water
2 to 3 tablespoons freshly grated coconut
1 tablespoon minced cilantro leaves

Heat the oil in a skillet and pan-fry the curry leaves or basil leaves 30 seconds until they change color and become crispy. Remove the leaves and set aside.

Pan-fry the mustard seeds in the same oil 30 seconds until the seeds pop. Remove them from the pan and set aside.

Combine the turmeric, red pepper, salt and chickpea flour in a bowl.

Add the yogurt and oil and mix well. Add the water gradually and stir gently until smooth.

Pour the batter into a skillet and cook over medium heat 7 minutes, stirring constantly, until it becomes very thick.

Quickly transfer the mixture to a large baking tray or cookie sheet and spread it very thinly with a spatula into a flat rectangular sheet about 1/8 inch thick.

Trim the edges with a knife to straighten.

Cut the sheet in half, lengthwise, and sprinkle both halves with the grated coconut and minced cilantro leaves.

Roll each of the halves up tightly into a log, placing seam-side down.

Cut the logs into bite-sized rolls, place them on a serving platter or on individual plates, sprinkle with the fried mustard seeds and curry or basil leaves.

Makes 24 servings.

“The Pink Drink Book: A Cocktail Recipe Book for Women”
By Jaclyn Wilson Foley, Published by Foley Books

Midnight Martini

1-1/2 ounces vodka
1/2 ounce Chambord

Stir both ingredients with ice and strain.

Garnish with a lemon twist.

Makes 1 drink.

Nut 'n' Holly

1 part Irish Mist
1 part amaretto
1 part Irish cream

Combine all ingredients in a shaker.

Shake and serve straight up in a shot glass.

Makes 1 drink.

“Dish it Out: Feeding the Lasses”
By Kate Hart, Published by Conari Press

Warm Goat Cheese Appetizer

2 tablespoons olive oil
6 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
8 ounces goat cheese
1 teaspoon dried oregano
5 sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained and
cut into slivers
2 teaspoons capers
Pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a small skillet and sauté the garlic until golden brown. Set aside.
Cut the goat cheese into 1/2-inch-thick rounds and place in a single layer in a microwave-safe dish just large enough to hold the cheese.

Sprinkle on oregano, tomatoes, capers and reserved garlic. Grind pepper on top.
Heat in the microwave a minute or so until cheese is warm. Serve with crackers or baguettes.

Makes 6 servings.

Herbed Yogurt Dip

1 cup low-fat cottage cheese
1 cup plain, low-fat yogurt
2 tablespoons minced green onion
2 tablespoons chopped, fresh parsley
1 tablespoon chopped, fresh mint
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender and process until smooth.

Cover the mixture and chill. Serve with crackers and veggies.

Makes 2 cups.