Party Time – Oscars? No?

My first posting in two months. As promised, it is Friday and I have some news for you all. I have set up an email account for the blog. Anything you may not want to post or tell me quickly, can be sent to: simplyfoodtales@gmail.com. There are a few things I would like to mention about etiquette.

  1. Please remember I like many of you am busy at times. Though it is officially summer, I have classes and work. Thus, when you email, please be courteous and wait at least 2 days for a response. Should your email be urgent, please mark it so in the subject line and I will get to it promptly. Further, there isn’t any reason to send multiple copies of your message; you will receive a confirmation email once your message has been delivered to your inbox. I thank you all in advance for your patience.
  2. There are many different things you can email me for. While I’d like your messages to have unique subject lines, if you add things such as comment, question, suggestion to your subject lines it would be very helpful to sort through things quickly and reply accordingly.
  3. While I welcome suggestions or criticisms, please be mindful. If you have a criticism, please don’t bother sending it if you don’t have a suggestion for a solution. A criticism on its own doesn’t help me whatsoever. Further, please remember, that there is a person in front of the keyboard so be polite. Please don’t send hurtful or spamming messages as they will not be replied and be reported. Though I am sure that this will not be the case, a reminder goes far.

So now, time to actually get to the juicy blog entry. The recipes in this post come from a birthday party we had for a few friends back in January. I volunteered to cook this time around. Wanting to do something different, I decided (with agreement) to do an appetizer party. So then, I got to thinking, what I could do as appetizers that would double over as dinner since this was in the evening.

I’d always wanted to do an ‘app’ party but there were conditions that had to be met. They had to be apps first of all. I say this because I remember a few years ago, my elementary school had had a finger food ethnic festival (I know what you’re thinking, no, I wasn’t still in elementary school, but I was a volunteer and so I was invited). While there were a wide variety of foods, one parent had decided to buy biryani. Now to be clear as to what that is: it is meat layered with rice and spices and then cooked on a low temperature for hours. Now don’t misunderstand me, if you ask me what my favourite type of rice dish is, I would say biryani. This one was no exception. It smelled fabulous. However, it was quite inappropriate for what the event was. One couldn’t eat it without cutlery, or on napkins. Thus, when planning an app party, things had to be able to be eaten with fingers or toothpicks and without plates. Another thing was that things had to be relatively cheap. The following recipes add up to be about $10 per person (we had six people including me). The next thing that had to happen was convenience. The apps had to be easy to prepare, take very little time, and had to be made ahead. It took approximately three hrs. to make everything on this list. The final condition to be met was portability. Thus, everything you see in these pictures is in easy to transport boxes. The fruit, vegetables, cheese, and crackers can be taken in zipper bags. Remember to pack these at the top to avoid damage to them.

Things that don’t really have a recipe but can be prepped quickly – fruits, vegetables, crackers, cheese, chips, etc.

Item 1: Dip

So what to eat those veggies, chips, and crackers with? If I went out and bought a dip it wouldn’t be too expensive, but I wanted to retry a recipe I had invented years ago. For the dip, it’s simple:

1 tub of 500ml sour cream

1 Knorr packet of dehydrated soup, your favourite

Simply mix both ingredients in a bowl. I used vegetable soup since it actually has vegetables in it, but things like broccoli, mushroom, or onion would be fabulous too. This is one thing that tastes better the longer ahead of time it’s made. You must make sure that it is combined really well and it must be chilled for at least 2 hours. The flavours combine more over time. I made these two days before and it was amazing.

Item 2: Mini meatballs

1 lb. ground meat (I used chicken, but you can use pork, beef, lamb, etc.)

2 tsp. turmeric*

2 tsp. chilli powder**

2 tsp. cumin powder*

2 tsp. oil

3 tbsp. chopped coriander

2 eggs whisked

Breadcrumbs as needed

Oil for deep-frying

Combine first five ingredients together. Using half a teaspoon measuring spoon, form round meatballs.  Roll meatballs in breadcrumbs. Put aside and heat the oil. Test it by dropping a drop of egg into the oil. If it bubbles and rises immediately, it’s hot enough. Dip each bread-crumbed meatball into egg and then oil. Fill pan, but don’t overcrowd. If egg happens to be in excess, don’t bother taking it off before adding it to the oil; it makes it pretty.  Turn after about 2 minutes and take out once it is browned on both sides. Reduce the heat to medium for the subsequent batches.

*Found it most Indian food stores. If you don’t have any, substitute curry powder and that’ll be fine.

** Adjust this to taste

For vegetarians: substitute mashed potatoes and instead of the spices, mix it with minced green chillies, turmeric, salt, and oil. Follow the other instructions.

Item 3: Chicken Salad

2 cups cooked and shredded chicken

½-cup mayonnaise

2 tbsp. raisins

3 tbsp. mustard – your favourite kind (I used honey-mustard)

Salt and pepper to taste

Process everything in a food processor until somewhat smooth. Stir in celery if you wish. Serve with crackers.

Variance: For egg salad, substitute five boiled eggs for the chicken and omit the raisins. Add 1 tbsp. of margarine.

Enjoy!

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