Posts Tagged ‘party food’

Salsas and Dips

Party food – don’t you just love it?  Too often, though, it is a love-hate relationship, one that draws us in with its sensory allures and then leaves us feeling guilty and cold with empty calories.  Friday was Dan’s birthday and we celebrated all weekend long, including a barbecue with our island ohana yesterday.  I spent a considerable amount of time in the kitchen concocting the menu for the party, and I tried to be conscientious of the fact that people like to indulge at parties but that they feel better about that indulgence when the food is not only tasty but healthy, as well. This is not to say that I did not also bake up my fair share of naughtiness in the kitchen – I made two type of cupcakes, petit fours, sesame-ginger-mint potatoes, and pasta with a rich peanut sauce for the soiree – but the key to life is balance, no?  So I made sure to balance all that sugar with some pupus that feature our dear friends the vegetable, the legume, and the fruit.  I am sharing these recipes from all of the recipes that I made for the party not just because they all disappeared in the blink of an eye and got rave reviews but because they are all so easy to make.  What more can a hostess ask for than a delicious dish that is as low maintenance as it is sensational?
Black Bean Salsa

2 cups yellow pear tomatoes, sliced
1 mango, diced
2 15oz. cans black beans
¼ cup cilantro, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 jalapeno, minced
1 tbsp lime juice
1 tsp cumin
A few dashes of chipotle hot sauce
Salt and pepper to taste

Stir all of the ingredients together in a medium sized bowl.

Tomato Salsa

4 cups grape tomatoes
1 jalapeno, minced
¼ cup cilantro, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
Salt and pepper to taste

Pulse the tomatoes in a food processor until finely chopped.  Spoon out the tomatoes into your serving bowl, and reserve the remaining juice for the guacamole.  Stir in the jalapeño, cilantro, garlic, and salt and pepper.


2 avocados
1/3 cup reserved fresh tomato juice (from the tomato salsa)
1 tbsp lime juice
1 handful cilantro leaves
A few dashes of chipotle hot sauce
1 clove garlic, minced
1 generous cup grape tomatoes, halved
Salt and pepper to taste

Pulse the avocados, tomato juice, lime juice, cilantro, chipotle hot sauce, and garlic in a food processor until finely chopped.  Pour into a bowl, stir in the tomatoes and salt and pepper.


2 15.5oz cans garbanzo beans
3 tbsp lemon juice
2 cloves garlic
2 tbsp tahini
1 tsp red curry
2 tbsp olive oil
1/3 cup water
Salt & pepper to taste

Put all ingredients into a food processor and process and completely smooth, stopping to scrape down the bowl when necessary.


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I take both my football watching and my party food seriously. The Super Bowl is an event on both fronts. Today’s game was a particularly sweet one for me because, even though my team was not invited to the big dance, I am from Pittsburgh: it is my birth right to hate the Patriots.

My apologies to all of you New Englanders out there – it’s nothing personal against you. I just really, really dislike your team. No hard feelings. To make sure that we all stay friends, I offer you this recipe as a peace offering – it’s a fitting peace offering because I guarantee that if you bring it to your next sports watching function it will bring carnivores, vegetarians, and vegans together over one plate of delicious food: No Piggies in Blankets … or … Veggie Dogs in Sleeping Bags … or … Happy Piggies Don’t Sleep in Blankets (unexpected bonus of bringing these to a party: people have a really fun time trying to come up with names for them).

No Piggies in These Blankets
Makes 30 “No Piggies”

1 ½ cup soymilk
4 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
2 tbsp Earth Balance buttery spread
1 packet rapid-rise active yeast

2 packages Jumbo Smart Dogs (or other brand of “jumbo” vegan dogs)
Olive oil
Sesame seeds and/or poppy seeds

1. Pour soymilk into the bread pan in your bread machine. (If your bread machine calls for the yeast to be added first, reverse the order in which you add the wet and the dry ingredients.)

2. Sprinkle the flour over the soymilk, making sure that the soymilk is completely covered. Add the salt, sugar, and butter to three separate corners of the bread pan. Maker a shallow indentation in the center of the flour, making sure not to go down as far as the liquid, and add the yeast.

3. Set the bread machine to the dough setting and press start.

4. When the dough cycle has finished, remove the dough from the pan and punch it down gently. Take a little more than half of the dough, roll it out on a lightly floured surface and, using a pizza cutter, slice the dough into small squares about 2” x 2”.  Wrap the rest of the dough in plastic and put in your refrigerator for use in another meal in the next few days or place in the freezer for use sometime in the next few months.

5. Cut the vegan dogs into thirds. Wrap each veggie dog section in a piece of the dough, taking care to press the seam together, and set the dough wrapped dogs seam side down on a baking sheet that has a silplat sheet (a non-stick silicone sheet) on it or has been lightly greased.

6. Cover the dough wrapped dogs with plastic wrap and let rise for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400F.

7. Lightly brush the dough wrapped dogs with olive oil and sprinkle with sesame seeds and/or poppy seeds. Bake the veggie dogs for 12-15 minutes, until golden brown. Cool slightly on a rack.   These can be enjoyed warm or at room temperature.

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