Ornamental Plaster Sculpting, Mural Painting, Faux Finishing, and Imaginative Interior Design.

Ornamental Plaster Sculpting, Mural Painting, Faux Finishing, and Imaginative Interior Design.
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Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Party Fare from Belle's Kitchen

At last week's "Gathering of the Goddesses", a ladies night event put on by Keystone Women's Circle (click here to see who we are), we served some pretty tasty fare from Tastefully Simple, as Keystone member Lisa Fahey is a TS rep, and a few things from my own repertoire, as I was teaming up with Lisa to teach "simple tricks of table scaping", in our 30 minute time slot.  The presentation focused on simple tricks to theme a potluck buffet, and basics to keep on hand to be able to put together a stylish spread, without using disposable party decor.  While our event had a Mardi Gras theme, we included some Easter ideas, since that's next up on the calendar, and we tossed in a few cooking tips that relate to potluck buffets, too.

Deviled eggs on a vintage serving plate...make extras if you expect this to serve more than three people!
Deviled eggs are classic potluck fare year round, and I happen to know a few tricks to make them both easier to fill and to transport, not to mention prettier.  I would give you an exact recipe for deviled eggs, but I don't have one, and trying to measure it out tonight mucked up the flavor, so if you don't have a recipe of your own, here's the general idea:

Hard boil as many eggs as you like.  Using eggs that are at least a week old makes them likely to peel easier.  Also, I peel them while hot, cracking the shell and peeling them under cold running water.  The shell slips right off, and any little bits are rinsed away.  Cut the eggs in half length-wise, and pop the yolks out, into a sieve.  Most recipes say to mash with a fork, but pressing them through a sieve gets them smoother, quicker.

Mix in enough mayonnaise or sour cream to make a very thick paste (about 4 parts egg yolk to 1 part mayo/sour cream), blend in some pickle juice and mustard, plus herbs or other seasonings of choice.  My friend Carol adds Worcestershire sauce, I add habanero sauce and fresh dill.  You want to end up with a tasty filling the consistency of cake frosting.
Now, instead of spooning this into the egg halves, like your mama probably taught you, spoon it into a disposable pastry bag, fitted (if you wish) with a coupler and 1/4 inch star tip.  You can skip the coupler and tip, and just snip the tip of the bag to about a 1/4 inch hole.  If transporting the eggs to a party, gently layer the whites into a carton, put a twist-tie on the end of your pastry bag of filling, and tuck it into a plastic bag, to keep it clean, and don't forget to bring along a serving plate.  It's way easier to fill them there than it is to transport them without the little devils slipping all over their carrier, even the ones designed just for them.
For the easiest and prettiest deviled eggs, fill with a pastry bag
When you are ready to serve, arrange the whites on a plate, and pipe the filling in.  If you don't have a deviled egg plate, any plate lined with lettuce will look beautiful, and keep them in place.

Garnish with a sprinkle of dill or other herbs.  In the summertime, use snippets of fresh herbs to make them really pretty.

I know, you Goddesses who were at the event already got all that, and are just checking the blog for the Pinarita (pineapple margarita) recipe.  Hang onto your Mardi Gras masks, already, I'm getting there. 

Pinarita for one:

1 oz tequila or sauvignon blanc wine
2 oz pineapple juice
1/4 cup fresh or canned pineapple chunks
1/2 oz triple sec
1/4 oz lime juice

whir in blender and serve over ice, or blend with 1 cup ice.  A salted rim on the glass really enhances the flavor of this drink.

Our party version:

1 bottle sauvignon blanc wine (or 3 cups/24 oz tequila)
1 48 oz container pineapple juice
1 whole pineapple, peeled, cored, and cut into cubes
1 1/2 cups triple sec
3/4 cup lime juice

Blend pineapple chunks with enough juice to process easily.  Put all ingredients in a punch bowl, stir frequently, and serve in ice-filled glasses, preferably with salted rims.

We served our pinaritas with lots of laughter, and a few bourbon-glazed chicken wings, shrimp with zesty lemon dip, chips and mango salsa, beer bread and garlic dip, a veggie platter, deviled eggs, and a key lime fondue with fruit and pound cake to dunk.  As long as you have lots of laughter, all the other stuff is optional!

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