Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Spice it up!

One thing I truly enjoy about pulling a show together for a gallery, after the paintings are hung, is planning the food. A gallery, worth its salt, serves great food and wonderful wine on opening night at the Artist’s Reception. It should be a celebration! It should be creative, a feast for the eyes! Being the “Foodie” that I am, I am always on the lookout for new, fun appetizer recipes for just such occasions.

Most galleries serve big bowls of pretzels, chips, etc. with an occasional cheese tray from Sam’s or Costco. Here at For Art’sake, we are all “Foodies” and love to cook. Well, maybe not David and Claud, but they do love to eat! So, we plan a great array of party food for our events.

The secret is to have food that can be picked up and eaten in one bite. That way there isn’t a problem with used plates and forks lying around the pieces of art! So, we have been talking finger foods for days now.

The menu will come together as the food is brought in from our collective kitchens. You all know how plans can change as the day progresses? Well, that can happen to a menu also.

It sounds like there will be some Oriental, maybe a little Mexican, some German and of course, Italian.

While thinking about the recipes I might use, I decided I should share some of them with you. After all, you “Foodies” hang in there with me when I go on and on about the vineyard and painting. You deserve recipes for your patience.

The “usual” cocktail buffet table includes Deviled Eggs, Meatballs, and something with shrimp or crab. It is usually a shrimp or crab dip. Boring!  I like to shake it up a bit......there is no reason to always serve the same old thing!

The first recipe is from Master Cook and it is called

Buffalo Style Deviled Eggs
12 Eggs, at least 1 week old (they peel easier!)
1/2 cup blue cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon parsley, minced
1/2 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon celery salt
2 ribs celery, finely diced

Hard cook eggs. Cool, shell, then cut in half to make 24 shells. Mash yokes and mix well all other iingredients, except diced celery. Spoon or pipe the yoke mixture back into shells. Garnish with diced celery.

Next is a meatball recipe from the National Pork Producers Council. Italian meatballs are spectacular, but every now and then, you just want something a little different.

Pork and Apple Meatballs
1 pound ground pork
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup shredded pared apple
1/4 cup soft rye bread crumbs
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup apple jelly

Sprinkle salt, cinnamon and pepper over pork; add apples, bread crumbs and walnuts. Mix lightly but thoroughly.

Shape mixture into 40 balls (1 scant tablespoon each). Brown balls (half at a time) in large frying pan. Pour off drippings. Add water, cover tightly and cook slowly 15 minutes. Remove balls to warm chafing dish. Stir apple jelly into cooking liquid and cook until melted. Pour sauce over meatballs.

Now, for the Crab recipe. This one is Oriental, served with a great Plum Sauce.

Crab Spring Rolls with Plum Dipping Sauce
3/4 cup cooked crab meat, flaked
1/2 cup cabbage, minced
1/3 cup cooked green beans, chopped
1/3 cup raw bean sprouts, chopped
2 tablespoons canned bamboo shoots, chopped
1 teaspoon pickled ginger, minced (1 to 2 teaspoons)
1 tablespoon green onion, chopped
2 tablespoons grated carrot
1 teaspoon cilantro, chopped (1 to 2 teaspoons)
Spring roll (Lumpia*) wrappers

Plum Dipping Sauce
2 tablespoons plum jelly
1 teaspoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons rice vinegar

In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients and mix well. Put 3 tablespoons of filling on front section of the spring roll wrapper. Form the filling into approximately a 3-inch by 1 1/2-inch mound. Fold one end of the wrapper over the filling. Next, fold the 2 sides toward the middle, then roll the wrapper up and place seam side down on a platter. At this point, the spring rolls may be sliced in half and served on a garnished plate with the dipping sauce, or they may be left whole and fried in hot oil, my preference.

Plum Dipping Sauce Instructions:
Combine ingredients and gently heat until jelly is melted. Serve warm. Makes approximately 1/4 cup.
I usually triple this part of the recipe. I love lots of Plum Sauce!

Now, mind you, if you are coming to the Artist’s Reception on Saturday evening, no matter how well I plan, I can’t guarantee these particular menu items will actually be there. But there will be food!
The Color, Color and more Color Show will be this Saturday evening, 9/18 from 6 to 8pm.
For Art'sake Gallery,  10 South Silver, Paola, Kansas.

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