Try these easy dishes and drinks for a beach-house bash
Everything on the island is just a little more laid back, even holiday entertaining. Alicia Cahill, Coast Monthly’s food stylist, whips up some recipes that will make throwing parties this season seem like a relaxing day on the beach.
Easy Cheesy Appetizers
4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
¼ teaspoon ground white pepper
2 teaspoons green onion, minced
4 ounces feta cheese
½ cup finely chopped fresh parsley
½ cucumber, peeled and sliced into 12 thick pieces
12 grape tomatoes
Beat the cream cheese, Worcestershire sauce, pepper, green onions and feta cheese at medium speed in a mixing bowl until creamy. Chill, tightly covered, for 1 hour or until firm.
Shape mixture into ¾ inch balls and roll in chopped parsley.
Stack one ball on each cucumber slice. Pierce tomato with bamboo pick and add cheese ball and cucumber slice. Serve immediately.
Spicy Shrimp with Mango and Jalapeño
½ cup olive oil
¼ cup chardonnay
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons Cajun seasoning
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
Pinch cayenne pepper
½ pound raw shrimp
1 mango, peeled, removed from pit and cubed
1 raw jalapeño
Combine first 6 ingredients in a baking dish, add shrimp, cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400 F.
Bake for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until shrimp is cooked all the way through. Remove from oven, set aside.
Cut jalapeño into thin slices (at least as wide as serving pick). Gently slide onto pick. Slide shrimp onto pick followed by cubed mango.
Place on serving tray. Sprinkle or grind red pepper flakes on top.
4 tablespoons (½ stick)
unsalted butter, melted
6 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups milk
2 cups all-purpose ﬂour
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh herbs
1 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 450 F. Adjust oven racks so pan can be placed in the center of the oven with plenty of room for popovers to rise.
Spray the wells of a standard 6-cup popover pan with nonstick cooking spray and pour ½ teaspoon of melted butter into each cup.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk and herbs, then whisk in 2 tablespoons of the melted butter.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour and salt, then add in the egg mixture. Whisk vigorously until smooth.
Pour the batter into the prepared cups, taking care not to overfill, and bake for 20 minutes.
Reduce the oven temperature to 325 F and bake for 15 minutes more. Remove from the oven and invert the pan onto a wire rack.
Return oven temperature to 450 F. Let the pan cool, then spray the wells with nonstick cooking spray, pour ½ teaspoon of melted butter into each one, and bake the remaining batter. Serve immediately.
Merry and Bright Champagne Punch
1 bottle Champagne, chilled
3 cups cranberry-apple juice, chilled
¼ cup thawed white grape juice concentrate
¼ cup Grand Marnier or other orange liqueur
Stir together all ingredients, except Champagne, in a 2-quart glass pitcher or drink dispenser.
Pour juice into flutes and top with Champagne. Garnish with fresh cranberries, if desired.
Rosemary Olive Wreath
2 to 3 boxes of fresh rosemary sprigs or cuttings from your garden
1 container bocconcini cheese
8 ounces of mixed olives from grocery store olive bar
Jar of sweet cherry peppers
Arrange rosemary sprigs into wreath shape on a serving platter. Top with olives, cheese and peppers. Serve.
Pavlova with Berry Sauce
5 large egg whites,
at room temperature
Pinch kosher salt
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch, plus extra for sprinkling
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup cold heavy cream, beat into whipped cream
½ pint fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
½ pint fresh raspberries
¼ cup pomegranate arils
1 cup cold heavy cream
1 half-pint fresh raspberries
½ cup sugar
1 (12-ounce) jar of seedless strawberry jam
1 tablespoon cherry kirsch
Preheat the oven to 180 F.
Place a sheet of parchment paper on a half-sheet pan. Trace a 9-inch circle on the paper using a plate as a guide. Turn the paper over so the circle you drew is on the reverse side. Sprinkle parchment with cornstarch.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, add the egg whites and salt. Using the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on high speed until firm, 1 to 2 minutes. Slowly add the sugar and continue beating on high until firm, glossy peaks appear, about 2 minutes.
Remove the bowl from the mixer. Sift the cornstarch onto the beaten egg whites and pour in the vinegar and vanilla. Combine the ingredients into the whipped whites by gently folding with a rubber spatula. Spoon or pipe the meringue into a wreath shaped on the parchment paper using the circle as a guide. Smooth with the back of a spoon as needed.
Bake for 1½ hours. Turn off the oven, and, keeping the door closed; allow the meringue to cool completely in the oven, about 1 hour.
Move the cooled meringue wreath to a serving plate and spread the top completely with whipped cream. Drizzle raspberry sauce over the top. Stud with berries, arils and sprigs of mint. Serve immediately with extra berry sauce.
Berry Sauce: Place the raspberries, sugar and ¼ cup water in a small saucepan. Bring mixture to a boil, decrease the heat and simmer for 4 to 5 minutes stirring occasionally.
Pour the cooked raspberries, the jam and kirsch into a Vitamix container or the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Process until smooth. Chill until ready to use.
DIY Party Pineapple
Coastal Texans are all about good manners. When invited to a party, they rarely go empty-handed. While you can’t go wrong with wine, Cahill suggests getting a little creative with a tropical twist.
Reward the holiday hostess with a party pineapple. Grab a bottle of your favorite bubbly, 48 Ferrero Rocher truffles, some tissue paper and raffia.
Cut sheets of yellow tissue paper into 3-inch by 3-inch squares.
Cut green tissue paper into 12 long leaf shapes. Remove the brown paper liners from each of the truffles. Using a hot glue gun, glue each truffle in the center of a yellow tissue square.
Glue the tissue-lined truffle to a second square, creating a double layer of tissue. Glue the double-lined truffle to the base of the bottle. Continue in that manner, gluing tissue-lined truffles around the bottle forming five rows up the bottle.
Next, carefully hot glue the leaves above the top row of truffles, checking to ensure they reach the top of the bottle. Tie raffia around the neck of the bottle.