Day 40: Party food

It’s occurring to me now that not only is anyone reading this blog getting the inside scoop on our dinner habits, but a pretty good peek at my social life as well.

My Mom is having a party tonight to welcome the new curator of the Glenbow museum. She has a far more exciting social life than I do, and always has great parties full of artists, architects and all sorts of interesting people. I’m helping with the food, and I’ll be there too, so between cooking and partying will be in her kitchen from dinnertime on. Mike and W are on their own; they’ll figure it out.

A few things on the menu:

Romesco Dip

You have to try this dip – the first time I did I was instantly addicted! I adore it. The toasted almonds and bread thickens the dip and adds depth to the flavor and body to the texture. I often make a batch on Sundays to keep in the fridge and dip into with a spoon all week. All the fat comes from the almonds and olive oil, making this a great source of healthy monounsaturated fat.

1/4 cup sliced or slivered almonds
1 clove garlic, peeled
2 thick slices French bread, toasted
2 roasted red peppers
1 Tbsp. red wine, sherry or balsamic vinegar
1 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. chili flakes
2-6 Tbsp. olive oil (as much as you like – keep it low if you’re trying to cut calories)

Toast almonds and garlic in a small saucepan over medium heat for about 3 minutes, until the almonds are pale golden and fragrant. Transfer to a food processor. Tear the bread into chunks into the food processor. Pulse until the bread and nuts turn to crumbs.

Add the red peppers, vinegar, paprika and chili flakes and whiz until well blended. With the motor running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil and process until the mixture has the consistency of thick mayonnaise, scraping down the sides of the bowl.

Use to dip cooked, chilled tail-on shrimp, grilled bread or veggies. Makes about a cup.

Per 1/4 cup: 167 calories, 12 g total fat (1.4 g saturated fat, 8.1 g monounsaturated fat, 0.8 g polyunsaturated fat), 3.5 g protein, 13.4 g carbohydrate, 0 mg cholesterol, 2.2 g fiber. 61% calories from fat.

Curried Coconut Mango Chicken in Wonton Cups

Many people are under the impression that because it comes from a plant, coconut milk contains healthy fat. Unfortunately, coconut milk is the exception to the rule – it contains 24 grams of fat per half cup, and it’s virtually all saturated. An astonishing 91% of its calories come from fat! Light coconut milk is a much better choice, and if you want to boost the coconut flavor even further you can add a drop or two of coconut extract.

2 dozen wonton wrappers, thawed if frozen
a drizzle of canola oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tbsp. grated fresh ginger
2 cups shredded cooked chicken
1 tbsp. curry paste
1/2 cup light (or regular) coconut milk
1/3 cup mango or peach chutney
Juice of 1/2 a lime (about a tablespoon)
Chopped fresh cilantro (optional

To make the wonton cups, press fresh wonton wrappers into mini muffin tins, pressing any folds firmly to the sides, and bake at 350 F for 5-10 minutes, until pale golden. Set aside to cool. (These will keep for weeks in an airtight container.)

To make the filling, heat oil in a medium nonstick saucepan and cook the onion, garlic and ginger for about 2 minutes. Add the chicken, curry paste, coconut milk, chutney, lime juice and salt. Cook, stirring often, until bubbly and thickened. Cool slightly or chill before spooning into wonton cups. Sprinkle with cilantro.

Makes 2 dozen cups.

Per cup: 69 calories, 1 g total fat (0.3 g saturated fat, 0.3 g monounsaturated fat, 0.3 g polyunsaturated fat), 7.1 g protein, 7.3 g carbohydrate, 16.8 mg cholesterol, 0.1 g fiber. 13% calories from fat.

Caramel Corn

I am such a fan of caramel corn that I can only make it when I know there will be enough people around to help me eat it.

8 cups air popped popcorn (about 1/2 cup kernels)
1/2 cup roasted peanuts, almonds, pecans or other nuts (optional)
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup, maple syrup or liquid honey
2 Tbsp. butter
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. baking soda

Preheat oven to 250 F. Spray a large bowl with non-stick spray and put the popcorn in it, along with the nuts if you’re using them.

Combine the brown sugar, corn syrup and butter in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat and boil without stirring, swirling the pan occasionally, for 4 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla and baking soda. It will foam up at first.

Quickly pour over the popcorn and stir to coat well. Tongs work really well for this! Spread onto a cookie sheet or roasting pan and bake for 30 minutes, stirring once or twice. Cool. Makes about 9 cups.

Per cup: 196 calories, 2.9 g total fat (1.6 g saturated fat, 0.8 g monounsaturated fat, 0.2 g polyunsaturated fat), 0.9 g protein, 43.1 g carbohydrate, 6.9 mg cholesterol, 1.1 g fiber. 13% calories from fat.



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2 comments on “Day 40: Party food

  1. Dana mccauley
    February 10, 2008 at 2:22 pm

    Jules, Did you invest in a won ton factory?

  2. Fiona
    February 11, 2008 at 11:03 am

    The Romesco dip is kind of like Muhammara – have you tried that? With walnuts and pomegranate essence? I could just about eat my weight in it, it’s so damn good.

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