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Posts Tagged ‘vertical’

Brian Newman: New Single “I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm”

Posted on: December 7th, 2017 by Ellen Swandiak

Just in time for holiday singalongs, Brian Newman’s new single, “I’ve Got My Love To Keep Me Warm,” is out. Newman’s tour After Hours is traveling around the US—which may include a surprise guest or two. See the website for dates and cities. Check out our interview with this new legend. briannewman.com

Get Your Friends Over for a Bout of Healthy Fun

Posted on: September 21st, 2017 by Ellen Swandiak

The first step to getting people over is doing a party invitation. We chose this design to coordinate with our party theme focused on Paleo recipes.

The Paleo Party Plan plays on  early instincts, with the foods that sustained us. Our invitation selection hints at this with its stylized flora. We found it on Paperless Post, who we’ve teamed up with, so you can invite and track guests through their website. Customize this design with your own compelling message, or feel free to use the message below. Get the party started. paperlesspost.com

CAVE IN
TO TEMPTATION

Join us for a back to basics
celebration at the
PALEO PARTY

add date/time/address

We’ll be playing sexy rock tunes, serving grain-free bites, and offering lightly sweet libations.

r.s.v.p.

https://www.paperlesspost.com/cards?q=Heather%20and%20Lace%20-%20Slate%2FSilver&card=23800

 

What to Drink On a Paleo Diet: Not-Too-Sweet Ciders, Infusions and Other Tips

Posted on: September 21st, 2017 by Ellen Swandiak

Though drinking alcohol is not something that’s encouraged when doing paleo, there are those times when celebrations are going to be on the calendar. We guide you on what to drink on a paleo diet when those occasions arise.

COCKTAIL CONSIDERATIONS

Sugar is the enemy on paleo diets, so when considering the bar, reflect on that. In the spirit category the best choices are: potato vodka, artisanal gin, cachaça, or tequila. For mixers, pair with fresh fruit (see our video featuring fresh fruit caipirinhas), sparkling no-calorie mineral waters, herbal teas, and slices of lemon or lime.

hobnobmag What to Drink On a Paleo Diet Infusions

Think about doing infusions into the spirits to add flavor without adding extra sugar. Many of the cocktail recipes on this website include infusions, explore our Signature Cocktail recipes or expertise from the city’s mixologists for some ideas. Basically, ingredients like herbs, teas, spices, and fresh fruits are immersed in the spirit, covered, and  stored in a cool spot for 24 hours to 2 weeks, depending on the amount of flavor desired.

Diet Tip: If you know you will be imbibing, spend the rest of the day eating lean proteins and veggies, avoiding fat and carbs.

LOW-SUGAR CIDERS QUALIFY

Another idea: DRY CIDERS, which are grain-free and low in alcohol, and an upscale offering. Flatiron Wines & Spirits in NYC has a nice artisanal selection, so I started there and chose three that fell into the light and dry category. To get your brain on the right track for tasting, here’s some useful hints. First of all, forget about that uber-sweet apple cider you had on your last apple picking trek. These ciders are sophisticated, much more in the tart category, and reminded me more of beer than something fruity. Also, they look similar to white wine, but there is a level of yeast and sourness that puts them into a category all their own.

At first taste, I was not entranced, but as I kept sipping, they grew on me. I recommend drinking with food, for a nice balance. Here’s my thoughts on three varieties we tried:

2015 EZ Orchards Cidre Dry Grown in the Willamette Valley of Oregon, their orchards host a variety of heirloom cider apples from French and English bittersweets to American semi-sharps.  I recommend this bottle for those who like drinking beer.

Tasting Notes: The cider has a pleasant amber color, and a light, nice fizz. It leans to the sour end of the spectrum, and is quite dry, with a flat finish. If you want to read an in depth report on the cider, take a look at the beautiful photos and story at Good Beer Hunting. About $15. ezorchards.com

2015 Sundstrom Cider Golden Russet Definitely my fave of the three. Produced with a single apple variety, grown upstate in Columbia County, New York, all apples are macerated for 30 hours before pressing into neutral oak barrels.

Tasting Notes: A clear, bright yellow color, resembling a fine wine. I recommend those who enjoy Pinot Grigio will also like this. It had notes of pears, yeast, and was slightly perfume-y. About $26.99 sundstromcider.com

2015 Art+Science, West Valley Cider This bottle added 10% quince into the apple mix, and is made of foraged fruits from Willamina, Oregon. Would recommend pairing this with food: fish and veggies.

Tasting Notes: The color on this one was a little cloudy, and yellow. It was very fizzy, funky, sour and bitter with a citrus leanings. About $15.99 artandsciencenw.com

Bollywood Music Videos with Elaborate Scenes and Dancing

Posted on: July 12th, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

The music, the dancing, the costumes, the flirting! Bollywood music videos have it all, see Hobnob’s most outrageous playlist.

You know how every Indian movie ends with a super over-the-top dance number? This video’s got tons of them, one after the other. That’s why I chose to include it in my party plan for hosting a mod, Indian bash. (see more of the plan)

You can use this video playlist to add wild color and sound to your party with elaborate visions of Bollywood. Perhaps a dance contest that imitates the best moves is in order. From YouTube.

The Eras of the Mini Skirt: A 60s 90s Music Mix

Posted on: March 22nd, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

What do the 1960s and the 1990s have in common? Mini skirts—plus some animated and effervescent music to keep your party energy upbeat, and may inspire twisting. Tune into this fun 60s 90s music mix.

Treat guests to alternating tunes from the days when mini skirts ruled: the 1960s and 1990s. These 60s 90s pairings will lure everyone onto the dance floor with its happy, irresistible grooves. Shake it up. We developed this music mix with the theme of MINI in mind, and have created an entire scenario around this idea. See the whole plan at this link.

(To hear the playlist from this page, you must have a Spotify account, be logged-in, and listen through the webplayer or desktop app. It’s free!)

Get Guests Roused to Attend a Party of Mini Delectable Bites

Posted on: March 1st, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

This party promises mini delectable bites, accompanied by small patterns, mini skirts, and tunes from the 60s and 90s.

We’ve teamed up with Paperless Post so you can invite and track guests through their website. Customize this design with your own compelling message. Explore the site for more options—and get the party started. See suggested invitation text below. paperlesspost.com

SMALL WORLD.
We’re switching the
party focus to
microscopic proportions.

join us for
TEENY WEENY BITES & WEE COCKTAILS
and a jumpin’ playlist of songs
from the ’60s and ’90s

add date/time/location

fit the pattern: arrive wearing
MINI PRINTS / MINI SKIRTS

r.s.v.p.

A Compilation of Sexy, Indy Love Songs

Posted on: February 1st, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

Nothing corny here. Indy love songs in this mix are edgy, and real, just like love actually is. Complicated Love delivers a full spectrum of musical styles and genres.

Follow the stages of love through song: meeting, attraction, complication, fights, and—THE FUN PART—making up. We’ve compiled an assortment of not-your-usual love songs that will take you through Valentine’s Day and beyond. See the rest of Hobnob’s party plan which features a menu of aphrodisiacs.

(To hear the playlist from this page, you must have a Spotify account, be logged-in, and listen through the webplayer or desktop app. It’s free!)

cupid: ©istock/zhemchuzhina

The Pasta Buffet’s Veggie Toppings: A Colorful Trio to Dress Up Your Dishes

Posted on: January 1st, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

Pasta is one of the easiest hosting tricks on the planet. Here are some ideas for including vegetables into a pasta buffet. Caramelized onions and peppers add a nice sweet component, as do the squash cubes. Best to balance with salty and meaty items.

See all the other pasta buffet components in my party menu Comfort Pasta for the full key to hosting a party in style. I’ve included recipes for three sauces, meat toppings, and some nice finishing touches.

recipe

Caramelized Onions & Peppers

This adds a nice pop of color and a touch of sweetness. I had a bottle of prosecco already open, which worked nicely in this dish—and in my glass while I was cooking.

MAKES 2 – 3 CUPS

GET OUT A SAUCEPAN…

2 TB olive oil
2 red bell peppers, cut into thin strips
2 large red onions, cut in half, then into thin strips
2 tsp salt

1/2 cup white wine (or prosecco)

Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat, add peppers, and onions, saute for 5 min. Reduce heat, cook another 15 min, stirring occasionally, till the onions brown and the peppers are nice and soft. Stir in the wine and cook until the it evaporates; about 6 – 7 min.

recipe

ROASTED KABOCHA SQUASH CUBES

Cutting the squash is the tough part. If you have a very sharp knife, use this method for peeling and dicing the squash. I started with this technique and switched to a very sharp peeler, which made it easier to get around the curves.

MAKES ABOUT 2 CUPS

PREHEAT OVEN 400ºF

3.3 LB kabocha squash, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 TB EV olive oil
s + p

harissa (optional)

Toss squash, oil and s + p together in a bowl. Spread out on a baking sheet lined with parchment. Roast for 30 min. While still hot, sprinkle with harissa, if you would like a little more flavor.

GREEN PEAS

Offer steamed green peas, for a quick and simple addition to the buffet.

NO-COOK GREENS

Add a bowl of one or more of baby arugula, sea beans (briny and crunchy accent), or watercress.

 

Quick Pasta Sauce: Spicy Oil & Garlic

Posted on: January 1st, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

This is my go-to for comfort: a simple garlic and oil with a little kick. This tastes even better the next day. You can make this quick pasta sauce in less than 10 minutes.

This sauce keeps it really simple. Oil and garlic meld their flavors together accompanied by a little salt, red pepper flakes, and a touch of parsley. Done.

I’ve included this recipe in our Comfort Pasta Buffet menu, which gives you the whole plan for creating a simply grand, pasta buffet to serve to guests at a party, with only a little bit of effort.

MAKE ABOUT 1 CUP (ENOUGH FOR 1 LB PASTA)

MAKE THE SAUCE

1 CUP EV olive oil
4-5 cloves garlic, chopped

1 tsp fine salt
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 TB parsley, chopped

Gently heat oil. To test if oil is ready, add a piece or two of the garlic, it should sizzle softly and immediately. Cook on low flame for 5 min, till garlic is slightly brown. Strain into heatproof container. Stir in the salt, pepper flakes and parsley.

Comfort Pasta Sauce: Creamy Madeira Porcini

Posted on: January 1st, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

Butter, cream, and intense flavors of porcini meld together in this recipe, that is making my mouth water writing this. As for buying the mushrooms, try to find a place that sells them in bulk. Some of the packaged varieties might turn out to be a little pricey. I got mine in Eataly, NYC, who has a whole section of different dried mushrooms on hand.

This recipe is one of three for sauces that have been included in my plan for hosting a pasta buffet. I predict your guests will be thrilled.

Makes ABOUT 1 QUART

SOAK THE MUSHROOMS

2 1/2 OZ dried porcini mushrooms
2 1/2 CUPS boiling water

In a medium bowl, pour boiling water over the mushrooms. Let mushrooms soak, covered, about 15 min. Strain mushrooms through mesh sieve, reserving the liquid. Chop mushrooms.

MAKE THE SAUCE

3 TB butter
1 large onion, cut in half, then sliced thinly
6 cloves garlic, minced

soaked mushrooms
1 1/2 CUPS madeira wine

1 pint heavy cream
1/2 CUP half + half
1 TB thyme, chopped
1 TB oregano, chopped
2 TB rosemary, chopped

1/2 CUP soaking liquid from mushrooms

juice from 1/2 lemon
2 tsp salt
1 tsp fresh black pepper

In a medium saucepan, melt butter, add onions and garlic. Saute over medium heat 7 min. Add mushrooms and madeira, raise heat to high and boil until liquid is reduced by half, about 5 min. Add cream and herbs, stir to combine. Carefully pour in mushroom soaking liquid, leaving behind the sediment. Boil 5 min, then lower heat to simmer. Simmer for another 5 min. Mix in lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper.

Pasta Buffet Meat Toppings: Mouthwatering Short Ribs & Chorizo Crumble

Posted on: January 1st, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

When comfort is calling, look no further than a pasta buffet menu for serving guests. These two meat toppings work as part of our menu of options you can choose to serve guests, covering all the bases of dietary prefernces. Along with the meat toppings, I thought to include steamed shrimp for those who are not into carnivore pleasures. Because I’m a really considerate host.

As part of the Comfort Pasta Party Buffet, I included these meat toppings to go along with veggie toppings, recipes for three sauces, and some special finishing touches. See the whole plan.

recipe

Melty Short Ribs

Make this a day ahead: the flavors meld, plus skimming off the fat day 2 gives you more pure meaty joy without the artery clog.

MAKES TEN 1/2-INCH SLICES

PREHEAT OVEN TO 350°F… SEAR THE MEAT

2 LB boneless beef short ribs
3 TB canola oil
s + p

Let meat come to room temp, pat with paper towels. Heat oil in a Dutch Oven over medium-high heat. Sear meat on all sides, about 2 min each side. Remove from the Dutch Oven and season generously with s + p. Set aside.

ADD FLAVOR… COOK

1 large onion, chopped
3 carrots, sliced thinly
10 cloves garlic, peeled
15 Castelvetrano olives

3 TB Arrowhead Mills organic spelt flour
1 TB tomato paste
make a bouquet garni with thyme, oregano, rosemary

1 1/2 CUPS Brandy
seared meat

2 cups beef stock

Add onions, carrots, garlic, and olives to Dutch Oven, saute over medium-high heat, about 5 min. Add flour and tomato paste and herbs, stirring constantly, 2 min. Add brandy, scrape the bottom of the pan, and add meat back to the pot, fat side up. Reduce liquid to half, about 10 minutes.

Stir in stock, scrape bottom, and bring to a boil. Cover and transfer to oven, middle shelf. Cook about 2.5 hours, till the meat is falling apart, remove Dutch Oven and let the meat cool in the pot. When ready to serve, cut into 1/2-inch slices and set in a small bowl.

recipe

Chorizo Crumble

A sprinkle of this works with all three sauces, for those who enjoy a touch of heat and meat.

MAKES ABOUT 1.5 CUPS

BROWN THE MEAT

1 TB canola oil
1 LB chorizo meat

Heat a frying pan, add oil. When oil is hot, add the sausage meat and break into pieces with a wooden spoon. Cook for 12 min, stirring occasionally, for extra crispy bits. Remove from pan with a slotted spoon.

Finishing Touches for a Pasta Buffet: Prosciutto Bacon

Posted on: January 1st, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

This ideas shows the dazzling finishing touches for a pasta buffet, where each guest can help themselves and create a pasta dish they love. If you want to see the rest of our plan for creating a wonderful pasta buffet, head to this link.

Once you’ve tasted prosciutto bacon, you might get into the habit of adding it to lots of dishes—like salads, dips, sandwiches, and burgers, to name a few. It’s like bacon, but thinner, with its own flavor profile.

MAKES ABOUT 3/4 CUP

FRY IT UP

6 slices La Quercia prosciutto, cut into strips
1 tsp olive oil

Add strips to a hot skillet and sauté until crispy.

Recipes for a No-Sweat Pasta Bar

Posted on: January 1st, 2015 by Ellen Swandiak

Nesting and comfort pastas go hand in hand—and this pasta bar allows you to please all your guests palates. I’ve mapped it out for you here, so you can just choose which recipes you want to include.

The idea for creating the pasta bar:

• Create 2 sauces and offer a table of toppings, so each person can customize their pasta to their liking. Choose from Creamy Porcini Sauce, Pecan Pesto, or a Spicy Garlic & Oil.

• Add a variety of meats, veggies, greens, and finishing touches to complete the menu. Here is a list of the recipes from The Comfort Pasta Party which can be found at this link.

The sauces (choose 2):

-CREAMY MADEIRA PORCINI SAUCE
-PECAN PARSLEY PESTO
-SPICY OIL & GARLIC SAUCE

Protein additions (choose 2):

-MELTY SHORT RIBS
-CHORIZO CRUMBLE
-STEAMED SHRIMP

No cook greens additions (choose 1):

-WATERCRESS
-ARUGULA
-SEA BEANS

Vegetable additions (choose 2):

-CARAMELIZED PEPPERS & ONIONS
-ROASTED KABOCHA SQUASH CUBES
-GREEN PEAS

Finishing touches (choose 2):

-PROSCIUTTO BACON
-RED PEPPER FLAKES
-GRATED OLIEMAN GOUDA CHEESE

 

Meatless BBQ: Spiced Eggplant & Baby Potatoes with Bourbon Dip

Posted on: December 1st, 2014 by Ellen Swandiak

This recipe for meatless BBQ comes with a side of bourbon, by the way. That is, the glaze normally slopped on ribs is used here as a dip. See the original recipe for oven-roasted ribs to get the idea of how the flavors come together, or if you’d like to pair these two recipes on a party buffet. 

If you like the idea of including bourbon in this party mix, then check out the other recipes from my party plan: Alcohol Infusion. There you will find an assortment of recipes all with a spirit as an ingredient.

MAKE 2 LARGE BOWLS

GET YOUR SPICE GRINDER OUT

1 TB annato seeds, crushed in spice grinder
1 TB pink peppercorns, crushed in spice grinder

1/8 tsp cayenne
1/4 CUP chili powder
1 TB onion salt
1 TB cinnamon

Transfer annato seeds and pink peppercorns into a bowl and mix everything together.

PREHEAT OVEN 425ºF… MAKE THE BITES

2 striped eggplants

bag of baby tricolor potatoes

fresh thyme, for garnish (optional)

Bourbon Glaze (recipe)

Prepare eggplant: cut into 4 equal slices lengthwise. Sprinkle salt on top. In 30 min, blot the liquid from the eggplant with paper towels. Cut into bite size cubes. Toss in a bowl with olive oil and sprinkle on the spice rub to cover.

Meantime, wash potatoes and cut into bite size pieces. Toss in a bowl with olive oil and sprinkle on the spice rub to cover.

Place on two separate foil-covered baking pans. Place potatoes on top shelf in oven, the eggplant in the middle. Bake for 20 min, toss with spatula, continue baking for another 10 min. Garnish with thyme while hot. Serve with a glass of toothpicks and Bourbon Glaze (as dip) on the side.

Make BBQ Ribs in the Oven: Bourbon Glazed Baby Back Ribs

Posted on: December 1st, 2014 by Ellen Swandiak

I had this idea for BBQ ribs in the oven due to the fact that I live in Manhattan, where grilling outdoors is not really an option. But I had a hankering, and was determined to see if it could be done indoors. Here’s the deal: The ribs are baked in three phases, first inside an aluminum foil tent for one hour, then the tent is removed and ribs are glazed every 15 minutes for another hour. The last half hour the ribs are left alone to absorb the glaze. So plan ahead: 3 hours of cooking time are required. That’s after marinating overnight, or for at least 4 hours. This recipe requires commitment!

The recipe for the Bourbon Glaze on the ribs ties in with my party theme with all food having an alcoholic element in it. And this glaze works nicely on the baby back ribs or, for your vegetarian friends, on roasted potatoes or eggplant—see the recipe at this link. Be sure to serve with plenty of napkins.

MAKES ABOUT 14 RIBS

DO AHEAD: MARINATE THE RIBS IN A SPICE RUB

1/2 CUP turbinado sugar
2 TB chili powder
1 TB cumin
1 tsp cayenne
2 TB salt

2 1/2 LB baby back ribs, membrane removed

Mix sugar and spices together. Pat rub onto ribs. Wrap and place in the fridge overnight, or at least 4 hrs.

MAKE THE BOURBON GLAZE

The date molasses gives this glaze its sweetness, the tanginess comes from the vinegar and worcestershire, and the punch from the bourbon. Makes about 3 cups.

2 TB grapeseed oil
1/2 CUP onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced

1 CUP bourbon
1 CUP white vinegar
1/2 CUP ketchup
1/4 CUP Alwadi date molasses
2 TB Coleman’s prepared mustard
2 TB turbinado sugar
1 TB honey
1 TB Worcestershire sauce
1/2 TB chili powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne

In a large saucepan heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic, cook until lightly brown, about 5 min, stirring occasionally. Whisk remaining ingredients in a bowl, add to saucepan, simmer 20 min. Sauce should be slightly thickened.

Pour through mesh strainer. Save the onions to use as a relish. Allow to cool. Put in covered bowl and let it sit overnight in the fridge for maximum flavor, or use immediately.

HOBNOBMAG BBQ ribs in the oven

SET OVEN TO BROIL: SEAR THE RIBS

aluminum foil
marinated ribs

Set a wire baking rack over baking pan, and place ribs meat side up. Set under the broiler for 4 min to caramelize the sugars.

START BAKING THE RIBS … LOWER OVEN TO 300ºF

Remove pan from the oven. Remove the baking rack with ribs. Position aluminum foil on bottom of the pan and measure enough to fold into a tent over the ribs and baking rack. Bake in the tent for 1 hr on middle shelf.

FINISH THE RIBS …LOWER OVEN TO 275ºF

bourbon glaze

Remove ribs from the oven, open foil tent and trim excess with scissors. Brush glaze onto top, flip over, glaze the rib side. Return to oven ribs up and continue cooking for 1 hr, basting both sides every 15 min, flipping ribs back up to the meaty side after 30 min. After the hour is up, keep the ribs in for an additional half hour without basting so the glaze becomes solid. Ribs are done when thermometer inserted in the center reads 145º.

Before removing from oven, put the oven on broil. Keeping the ribs on the middle shelf, broil for 5 min. Remove from oven, allow to rest 10 min. Slice between the bones. Serve with glaze on the side.

Donut Balls with Pumpkin: Autumn Flavors in a Tiny Package

Posted on: December 1st, 2014 by Ellen Swandiak

Mmmmm. It’s great to serve just a little something sweet. Donut balls fit the bill, which allows them to be part of a dessert buffet, or served all on their own, allowing guests to determine the portion by how many they choose. Normally, I resist frying food, preferring to bake instead. But these donut balls take on a new life when fried in oil, making them dense and chewy and slightly sweet—something you can really sink your teeth into. I tried a baking version of this recipe, but it did not result in anything that resembled a donut, unfortunately.

I’ve created an entire party menu, based on the idea of balls! That is, meatballs, fish balls, and some for vegetarians. I suggest you push the idea even further, and host a traditional ball, like they did in the old days. See the details.

MAKES ABOUT 50 BALLS

START THE DOUGH… MIX WET INGREDIENTS

1 CUP almond milk
1 large egg
3/4 CUP pumpkin puree
1 tsp vanilla extract

In a medium bowl, whisk ingredients together.

MIX DRY INGREDIENTS… MAKE THE DOUGH

1 1/2 CUPS white flour, sifted
1 CUP kamut flour, sifted
1 CUP pecans, ground in a food processor
4 TB turbinado sugar
4 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground ginger

1/4 CUP salted butter, melted

In a large bowl, whisk together everything but the butter. Stir in wet ingredients, then the melted butter, till a soft dough forms.

HEAT OIL FOR FRYING

5 CUPS canola oil

Add the oil to an 8-inch heavy-bottomed pot. There should be 2 inches of oil in the pot and 2 inches to the top of the pot. Attach a deep-fry thermometer, heat oil over medium heat to 350ºF.

 

MAKE THE BALLS

Line a baking sheet with paper towels. Take a small ice cream scoop and fill about halfway. Move the lever back and forth to get more of a round shape, then drop carefully into the oil. Do not overcrowd. Spin the balls in the oil to obtain an even golden brown, about 2 min.

Using a slotted spoon, transfer the donut balls to the paper towel-lined baking sheet. Allow to cool slightly. [note: If the dough gets sticky, dip scoop into a small bowl with oil to lubricate the process. The balls expand while frying in the oil, so do a few tests before determining the final size.]

WHILE DONUTS COOL, MAKE THE GLAZE

1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 – 4 TB almond milk

Sift confectioners sugar into a medium bowl. Slowly stir in vanilla extract and milk till smooth and drippy.

GLAZE THE DONUTS

Place a cooling rack over paper towel lined baking sheet. Dip the balls into the glaze one at time and coat thoroughly. Transfer to the rack, to allow excess glaze to drip off.

Vegetarian Meatballs with Mushroom Onion & Lentils

Posted on: December 1st, 2014 by Ellen Swandiak

These vegetarian meatballs are much lighter and less dense than a typical meatball, so handle them with care when cooking. I suggest tongs for turning. Once they are cooked they hold together much better. And will be a welcome treat at your party.

I’ve got more recipes in the shape of a ball on our Black Tie party theme, which mimics the idea of a traditional ball. See recipes made with fish, pork, cheese, and even a dessert rendition.

MAKES 50 BALLS (ABOUT 1 INCH)

START THE MIX… COOK THE ONIONS & MUSHROOMS

1 tsp EV olive oil
4 TB butter
1 large red onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, diced
1 LB cremini mushrooms, diced
3 TB oregano, diced
s + p

In a heated skillet, add oil, butter and onions; saute 5 min over med heat. Add the rest of the ingredients, lower heat and saute 7 min more. Transfer to large bowl.

MIX IT ALL UP

1 can Westbrae Natural Vegetarian Lentils, rinsed
1 tsp tamari
2 tsp thyme, chopped
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp salt
3 TB chia seeds
1 CUP panko bread crumbs
2 large eggs, lightly beaten

Add all the ingredients to the cooked onions/mushrooms and mix well. Roll into 1-inch balls.

COOK THE BALLS

canola-coconut oil

Heat about 1/2 inch of oil in a large skillet. Drop balls in carefully, do not overcrowd. Fry on med-high flame till nice and crispy on the outside. These are kind of fragile, so turn gently and fry on all sides to help hold it together. Drain on paper towels.

Pork Meatballs Banh Mi: An Asian-Inspired Treat

Posted on: December 1st, 2014 by Ellen Swandiak

If you’ve ever had a Bahn Mi sandwich, then you will totally understand the flavor profile of this small bite version. Pickled vegetables and pork really go hand-in-hand.

This recipe is just one from my party theme which focuses on food in the shape of a ball. If you are looking for more party recipes, then click here.

MAKES ABOUT 50 BALLS

MAKE THE PICKLED VEGGIES

2 CUPS carrots, shredded
2 CUPS daikon, shredded
1/2 CUP white wine vinegar
2 scallion tops, chopped
1/4 CUP honey
1 tsp salt

Toss ingredients together in med bowl. Marinate for 1 hour, tossing occasionally. Drain before putting into assembled bites.

START THE PORK BALLS

1 TB coconut-canola oil
1 med onion, finely chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced
1 TB coconut-canola oil

1 jalapeño, diced
2 tsp lemongrass, smashed, finely chopped
1/2 CUP pineapple, diced
1/4 CUP basil, finely chopped
1 TB fish sauce
1 TB hot sauce
1 TB sugar

In a hot skillet, add oil/onions. Sauté for 5 min. Add garlic, more oil and cook 3 min more. Add the rest of the ingredients, and sauté for 3 min more. Move to a large bowl, let cool a bit.

PREHEAT OVEN TO 450°F… FINISH THE PORK BALLS

1/2 CUP breadcrumbs
2 TB cornstarch
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp salt
1 LB ground pork

Add ingredients to the cooked onion mix. Mix with your hands. Wet hands, roll into 1-inch balls. Arrange on baking sheet lined with parchment. Bake meatballs for about 18 min.

MAKE THE HOT SAUCE

1/4 CUP mayonnaise
1/2 TB Thai red curry paste
1/8 CUP white wine vinegar
1 TB honey

Mix everything together in a small bowl.

TO SERVE

hot sauce
5-inch tortillas, toasted
pickled veggies
pork balls
toothpicks

Smear a little of the hot sauce on the tortilla. Place a couple dollops of the pickled veggies into the tortilla, leaving the ends clear. Roll tightly, trim off uneven ends. Cut into 1-inch wheels. Place one meatball on top of the wheel, and stab with toothpick to hold together.

Cod Fish Balls Appetizer with Sweet and Sour Dipping Sauce

Posted on: December 1st, 2014 by Ellen Swandiak

We came up with these fish balls as part of our Have a Ball party theme, where all the offerings are in the shape of a ball. How cool is that? These are wonderful to serve along with traditional meat-based versions, as well as a couple of vegetarian variations. Just make sure to label each one.

If you can’t find cod, you can substitute with sole, halibut, catfish or tilapia—just see what looks best at the fish monger.

See the other recipes to cover all the bases: meaty versions, some for vegetarians, one using pork with a Vietnamese twist, and even a dessert.

MAKES 26 BALLS (ABOUT 1 INCH)

COOK THE FISH

1 LB fresh cod fillets

Steam the fish in a steamer. Or, in a large pan, cover fillets with water, and boil until the water is all gone, up to 5 min. Let cool. Transfer to a large bowl and break into pieces.

FLAVOR THE FISH

2 cloves garlic, crushed in a press
1 TB parsley, finely chopped
3 scallions, sliced thinly
1/2 carrot, grated
1 jalapeño, diced
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 eggs
3/4 CUP panko bread crumbs

1 CUP spelt flour, set in a bowl

Add all the ingredients, except flour, to the pieces of fish, and mix well. (I used a potato masher to work the fish into tiny bits.) To make 1-inch balls, take a small amount in the middle of your palm and really squeeze the mixture, passing it back and forth, then roll lightly to create the ball. Lastly, roll the balls in the spelt flour.

FRY THE BALLS

canola-coconut oil

Heat about 1/4 inch of oil in a large skillet. Drop balls in carefully, do not overcrowd. Fry until golden brown, this cooks quickly, so turn frequently with tongs. Drain on paper towels.

recipe

SWEET AND SOUR SAUCE

If you have any leftover sauce, save it to use on sandwiches, or as part of a tangy salad dressing.

MAKES ABOUT 1.5 CUPS

IN A SAUCEPAN

1/2 CUP peach preserves
1 tsp ginger, grated
2 TB cognac
4 TB First Field Jersey ketchup
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1 TB tamari
1 clove garlic, crushed in a press
1 tsp cornstarch
1/4 tsp cayenne
1 tsp Thai red curry powder

1 TB sesame seeds, for garnish

Add all ingredients except sesame seeds to a saucepan and simmer until thick, about 10 min. Let cool a bit. Transfer to a blender to smooth it out. Move to a bowl and sprinkle the top with sesame seeds.

 

Steak Sliders Upgrade: Filet Mignon Topped with Cognac Cream Mushrooms

Posted on: November 1st, 2014 by Ellen Swandiak

When you really want to offer something special to the gang, look no further than these delicious steak sliders. The onion and mushroom topping hosts a bit of heavy cream mixed with cognac, giving them a decadent topping indeed. Think of offering these at your next sports-watching gathering, and see if you don’t come off as the host with the most. Ahem.

This recipe is part of my party theme featuring recipes with alcohol infused. So head to the link to find a whole repertoire of cool hors d’oeuvres that all have a touch of alcohol in the mix.

MAKES 10 SLIDERS

MAKE THE COGNAC CREAM MUSHROOMS

1 TB grape seed oil
1 CUP each: shiitake + white mushrooms, sliced thinly
2 shallots, sliced into thin rings
2 tsp salt

2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp fresh thyme

1/4 CUP beef broth
1/2 CUP cognac

1/4 CUP heavy cream
black pepper

In a heavy saucepan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms, shallots, salt, saute 8 min, until lightly browned.

Add garlic and thyme, lower flame to medium, cook 1 min. Add broth and cognac, raise flame to high, bring to boil. Lower heat, cook 8 min.

Stir in heavy cream and freshly grated pepper, simmer for 5 min. Add a splash of cognac at the end, if desired, to heighten the spirit flavor. The mushrooms will soak up the extra liquid in about 30 min.

SET OVEN TO BROIL… MAKE THE SLIDERS

6-inch piece filet mignon, cut into ten steaks
Baguette, semolina

Let steaks sit at room temperature for 15 min.

Cut a long baguette into ten 2-inch pieces, then each piece in half. Toast for 45 seconds under the broiler. Spread a little butter on top and bottom.

Broil steaks 3 min, flip over, broil 1 min. Remove from oven, sprinkle salt on steaks. Place one steak on each bun, top with lots of the cognac mushrooms. Hold together with long bamboo pick.