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Party Food: Small and Savory
     

Party Food: Small and Savory

by Barbara Kafka, Tom Eckerle (Photographer)
 

From nibbles for four to food for a crowd, bestselling cookbook author Barbara Kafka offers partytime recipes for the harried, the hurried, and the helpless. This is the book for the host or hostess who wants to create parties that are an unqualified success, with an array of food that is simple to prepare, reasonably inexpensive, and always delicious!

Overview

From nibbles for four to food for a crowd, bestselling cookbook author Barbara Kafka offers partytime recipes for the harried, the hurried, and the helpless. This is the book for the host or hostess who wants to create parties that are an unqualified success, with an array of food that is simple to prepare, reasonably inexpensive, and always delicious!

Party Food gives you more than four hundred recipes for finger foods, ranging from the quick and the easy to those that are more lavish and intricate, for party givers who enjoy spending more time in the kitchen. Party Food is as simple as focaccia and as unusual as Mini-Moussaka Rolls; as elegant as classic French PĊté en Croûte and as basic as the perfect Papaya Salsa to serve with chips.

Party Food is beautifully illustrated, brimming with 150 color photographs that show you not only individual dishes, but magnificent spreads and buffets.

Barbara Kafka has created exciting foods that will tantalize everyone's taste buds: Fresh Tomatillo Salsa, Roasted Red Pepper and Mushroom Salad, Vegetable Skewers, and Grilled Marinated Shrimp, which let your guests enjoy sensuous flavors while they mingle and help themselves from bowls and platters. The variety of recipes is astounding -- take your pick from fifty different dips and let your planning evolve from there. In addition, Party Food is chock-full of vegetarian recipes, which are highlighted in green.

One of the most important goals of party planning is making sure that throwing a party doesn't interfere with enjoying it. Barbara Kafka offers explanations of howfar ahead a recipe can be made, how dishes can be frozen and/or reheated, and how much of a given item you will need per person. She shares secrets such as freezing chicken to make it easier to cut into strips for kabobs, and using your microwave to reduce preparation time. She also offers a host of flexible recipes such as Sun-Dried Tomato Dip, which can be served by itself, used as a pasta sauce, or enlisted as a base for dozens of other dishes. Party Food is simply the single, perfect party reference for any occasion.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Kafka ( The Opinionated Palate ) here combines her talents for creating original recipes with good old common sense. This is a very practical guide to home entertaining (in our teetotaling times) when cocktail parties, as she writes, might be better characterized as ``informal parties without assigned seats.'' Hers is a gathering of ``finger food'' recipes and ideas for serving store-bought and previously prepared foods, of suggestions for such matters as how to phrase the invitations (``We're all wearing jeans'' or ``I hope it will be very gala'') to valuable--and not often shared--cooking methods: how to pit an olive, how to preserve pickles and chutneys, how to wrap foods in edible leaves and how to open oysters in a microwave oven. Some of the more novel recipes include glazed garlic on brochette, sweet-and-savory soy anise macadamia nuts, clams with black beans, and sage potatoes. A section on beverages rounds out the volume with recipes for nonalcoholic cocktails and champagne drinks. Author tour; HomeStyle Book Club main selection. (Oct.)
Library Journal
Kafka, author of the best-selling Microwave Gourmet ( LJ 9/15/87) and of columns for Gourmet and the New York Times , offers more than 300 delicious recipes for all sorts of occasions, from casual get-togethers to more elaborate cocktail parties. Recipes are arranged by type (dips and spreads, mousses and pates), and although most are upscale and sophisticated, others were created with young guests in mind; there are also a good number of vegetable/vegetarian dishes. Kafka emphasizes ease of preparation and lack of fuss, and many dishes can be completed well in advance of the party; she also includes a section on ``ready-mades'' in each chapter. Color photographs show off many of the finished dishes and offer inspirations for various menus and presentations as well. Highly recommended. HomeStyle Bks. main selection.
Barbara Jacobs
From the chef who convinced us that the term "microwave gourmet" was not an oxymoron comes a rather large helping--more than 300 recipes--of foods meant for entertaining. Kafka aims to "avoid the death of hosts from overwork," and, indeed, does a very credible job in explaining the delicate how-to's of frying, making pates, and wrapping and rolling. Many of the edibles are 1940s cocktail party fare, sprinkled with the savoir faire of the 1990s: salami rollups, meatballs, taramosalata, and ham spread, for instance. Others borrow from contemporary gastronomic fancies, such as carpaccio, potato leek frittata, southwestern seviche, crimson menace (beets), fajitas, and carrot and ginger terrine. In raising a party giver's comfort level with feeding 4 to 40, Kafka also manages to expand even a well-practiced cook's horizons, through a variety of sidebars and a homey, personalized narrative.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780688111847
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
07/28/1993
Edition description:
1st Edition
Pages:
323
Product dimensions:
8.60(w) x 11.09(h) x 1.01(d)

Read an Excerpt

Party Food: Small & Savo


By Barbara Kafka

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright ©2006 Barbara Kafka
All right reserved.

ISBN: 068811184X

Chapter One

dips, spreads and sauces

To me the most noticeable thing about party giving in the second half of the twentieth century is dips. Dips and their accompanying chips (pages 233 and 238-239), Crudités (pages 67-69) or other things eaten for their dippability are an almost inevitable part of any informal party. 'While many of the pleasantly gloppy mixtures owe their existence to cultures around the world, it is my belief that they strode front and center at cocktail parties in America where at one time they were so important there were special chip-and-dip platters for serving them. It is my guess that the virtual disappearance of household help after World War II and in the ensuing decades brought with it the virtual disappearance of the passed canapé and hors d'oeuvre at any but the most formal-probably catered, possibly at a hotel-event.

Dips require serving dishes but not individual plates, eaters but not waiters. We can stand and eat dips, at the same time managing a drink with our other hand. Most of them have the added advantage that they can be chip-and-dip platters for serving them. It is my guess that the virtual disappearance of household help after World War II and in the ensuing decades brought with it the virtualdisappearance of the passed canapé and hors d'oeuvre at any but the most formal -- probably catered, possibly at a hotel -- event.

Dips require serving dishes but not individual plates, eaters but not waiters. We can stand and eat dips, at the same time managing a drink with our other hand. Most of them have the added advantage that they can be made ahead and kept in the refrigerator for several days -- a great help when planning a largish party.

The prototype of the dip may be the cocktail sauce. Perhaps it was some genius of a party giver who first stationed the cooked, tail-on shrimp next to a bowl of spicy tomato sauce so people could dunk their shrimp. Toothpicks then came into their own. In its 1946 edition, The Joy of Cooking called for hollowing out a red cabbage, filling it with mayonnaise and surrounding it with shrimp on toothpicks.

Many of today's dips started life elsewhere as a sauce. Others were part of the cold mixed hors d'oeuvre table. They range from the fish salads of Scandinavia, such as Herring in Sweet Mustard Sauce (page 184), through Romanian Eggplant Dip (page 12), to some of the meze of Greece, such as Taramasalata (page 31). However, far and away the most made dip in America had no life except as a dip, although its ancestors may include all the creamed dishes that began "Mix a can of cream of mushroom soup with. . . ." It is that combination of sour cream and dried soup mix -- onion or vegetable -- whose recipe has come to dwell on the box of the soup-mix maker.

The "California Dip" made with sour cream and onion-soup mix can be dated accurately. It started as a groundswell recipe. In 1954, Lipton's noticed that the sales of its soup mix were surging in California. When they investigated, they found the dip. Even in 1950, Heinz was promoting a "dunking sauce" made with spices and cream cheese. In 1951 Kraft, the owners of Philadelphia cream cheese and Breakstone's sour cream, promoted a clam appetizer dip. The first reference to the word "dip" I have found -- but it probably was in spoken use earlier, as Helen Evans Brown could assume that people knew what she meant when she wrote about guacamole in 1952 -- is in the West Coast Cook Book: "Here is our favorite dip." Incidentally, it still is a favorite -- guacamole. Friends who would die of embarrassment before they admitted to liking -- I still do -- that fifties onion concoction will dig into salsa with blue corn tortilla chips or happily serve a tapenade or a bagna cauda.

As much as to ingredients, dips probably owe a large debt to the development of the blender, originally marketed in 1937 for making drinks, both ice cream and alcoholic. It wasn't until blenders came back on the market after World War II that they really got used for food. The introduction of the food processor varied the possibilities even more.

Long before dips came on the scene, English pubs were putting out on the bar crocks full of cheese spreads to be flattened with knives onto British biscuits. The spreads were made with the last of a Cheddar or Stilton that had been creamed with butter and Port, Sherry or Cognac. These spreads date from an even earlier custom of serving a large cheese such as a Stilton with a small rounded shovel called a cheese scoop. A hole would be cut in the top of the rind or wax outer cover of the cheese and the cheese would be scooped out until only the rind and a modicum of cheese remained. By this time, the cheese would be rather dry, and Port would be sloshed into the well to moisten the cheese and let the last bits be scooped out. Coming forward in time, manufacturers realized how popular the crocks of spread were becoming and started marketing cheese as a spread all ready in crocks.

Americans were spreading their equivalent of biscuits -- crackers -- with cream cheese, white and bland, mixed with any number of elements such as olives, nuts and smoked salmon and seasonings such as paprika, chives and dill to make spreads. In more recent years, the cheese is often cut with low-fat yogurt to make a less caloric and slightly more acid spread.

Both English and American cheese spreads had an earlier model as well, the softened butter spreads in tea sandwiches. The butters were used in a thin slick on bread or toast as the underpinning of canapés.

This chapter contains some of all these kinds of dips, spreads and sauces. If any of them are too thick for the way you want to serve them, thin with water or other liquid. Remember the dips will be thinner at room temperature than straight from the refrigerator. . . .

Continues...


Excerpted from Party Food: Small & Savo by Barbara Kafka Copyright ©2006 by Barbara Kafka. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Barbara Kafka is the bestselling author of Roasting: A Simple Art, which won a Julia Child Cookbook Award, and Party Food. She writes on a regular basis for The New York Times, is a TVFN (Television Food Network) regular, and contributes to numerous food magazines. She lives in New York City and Vermont.

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