When it’s time to celebrate, keep snacks easy and fun
It’s easy to work up an appetite with all the celebrations. We asked Alicia Cahill, owner of The Kitchen Chick in Galveston, to whip up ideas that make gatherings sweet and simple with these quick party bites.
Citrus Celebration Tea
Servings: 10 to 12
6-8 large lemons
4-6 large oranges
1 cup pineapple juice
2 quarts water
11⁄2 cups sugar
8 regular-size tea bags
Optional: 1 cup bourbon
Garnish: lemon or lime wheels
Carefully peel lemons and oranges, removing pith, reserving rind. Squeeze juice from the lemons to measure 11⁄2 cups; squeeze the juice from the oranges to measure 2 cups. Combine juices with pineapple juice and set mixture aside.
Place rind and tea bags in a large pitcher. Set aside.
In a large saucepan, bring water and sugar to a boil, stirring often. Boil 1 minute then pour over tea bags and rind; steep 20 minutes.
Discard tea bags and rind, squeezing tea bags gently. Stir in juices, cover and chill at least 2 hours.
Stir in bourbon, if using, pour into ice-filled glasses and garnish.
Cracker Spoons with Pimiento Cheese Dip
Servings: About 4 dozen
1 (14.1-ounce) package refrigerated pie crusts
1 egg white, beaten
2 teaspoons Jane’s Krazy Mixed Up Salt or other seasoned salt
1⁄2 teaspoon red pepper
Creamy Pimiento Cheese Dip, see recipe
Preheat oven to 400 F. Unroll pie crusts, cut with a 4- or 5-inch spoon-shaped cutter, brush with egg white and sprinkle with seasoned salt. Place cutouts on Silpat or parchment paper-lined baking sheets.
Bake for 10 minutes or until lightly browned and crisp. Remove from baking sheets and cool completely.
Creamy Pimiento Cheese Dip
Makes about 1 3⁄4 cups
1 (10-ounce) block sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1 (8-ounce) block of cream cheese, at room temperature
1⁄2 cup mayonnaise
1 (4-ounce) jar diced pimiento, drained
1 teaspoon grated onion
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1⁄4 teaspoon ground red pepper
Dash of Worcestershire sauce
Salt and white pepper, to taste
Chives, finely chopped
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine shredded cheese, cream cheese, mayonnaise, pimiento, grated onion, mustard, ground red pepper and Worcestershire sauce and beat at medium speed for 1 minute or until creamy. Season with salt and white pepper to taste. Garnish with chives.
Sriracha Caramel Corn
Makes 6 cups
1 stick unsalted butter
3⁄4 cup packed light brown sugar
1⁄4 cup light corn syrup
1-11⁄2 teaspoon Sriracha, to taste
1⁄2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1⁄4 teaspoon baking soda
6 cups popcorn, popped
Preheat oven to 250 F. Line a baking sheet with a Silpat or parchment paper; set aside.
Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium high heat. Add in brown sugar, corn syrup and salt and stir to combine. Bring to a boil and cook for 4 minutes. Remove from heat and add Sriracha, vanilla and baking soda.
In a large bowl, toss popcorn and brown sugar mixture until evenly coated.
Spread popcorn onto prepared baking sheet in an even layer. Place in oven and bake for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. Let cool completely before serving.
½-inch piece ginger, peeled
3 garlic cloves
1⁄2 pound wild-caught Gulf shrimp, peeled and deveined
1⁄4 bunch cilantro
1⁄4 cup water chestnuts
1 egg white
1 green onion, thinly sliced
11⁄2 tablespoons low sodium
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1⁄2 loaf sourdough bread
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
1⁄3 cup vegetable oil
Place ginger and garlic in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until pieces are finely chopped, 6-8 times. Scrape down sides of bowl and add the remaining ingredients (shrimp through sesame oil). Pulse an additional 8 to 10 times, or until the mixture resembles a paste-like consistency, but still retains some texture.
Cut slices of sourdough with a small cookie cutter or with a knife into 1-inch squares. Trim away all crust.
Spread 1 tablespoon of mixture onto each square of bread and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Repeat until all bread squares have been smeared with shrimp paste.
Add oil to a cast-iron skillet and place over medium-high heat. Working in batches, carefully place pieces of bread, shrimp-side down, and fry for 3 minutes or until golden brown. Flip pieces over and fry for an additional 1-2 minutes. Drain on paper towels. Serve hot.
Strawberries with Cardamom Cream
1 container strawberries, green tops removed and split in half lengthwise
1 cup mascarpone cheese
1⁄2 cup chilled heavy cream
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1⁄4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1⁄2 teaspoon ground cardamom
Dark chocolate shavings
Slice the backs of each strawberry, ever so slightly, so they lay flat. Using a small measuring spoon or melon baller, carefully hollow the inner center of each strawberry.
Place all whipped cream ingredients into a medium bowl. Using a hand mixer beat mixture until medium-stiff peaks form.
Place whipped cream into a piping bag fitted with a star tip. Alternatively, place it in a plastic storage bag and snip one corner. Pipe cream into strawberry half. Sprinkle with dark chocolate shavings.