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How to Feed a Mob

December 15, 1991|DONNA DEANE

In ample space under the broadest shade, A table richly spread in regal mode, With dishes piled and meats of noblest sort And savour--beasts of chase, or fowl of game, In pastry built, or from the spit, or boiled . . . And at a stately sideboard, by the wine That fragrant smell diffused . . . --John Milton, Paradise Regained

People may be what makes a great party, but it's the food that sparks the crowd.

What follows are party recipes for good eating: finger food for nibbling during those first nervous moments; a salad to refresh and keep the mood light; chicken, crisp and flavorful, to get the juices flowing; a soup kept warm on the fire; and a sweet ending.

This is a variation on a recipe from "The New Basics Cookbook" by Julee Rosso and Shelia Lukins. We've added a little Dijon mustard to give the filling a little more bite.

CONFETTI NEW POTATOES

20 to 25 red new potatoes

2 stalks celery, finely chopped

2 green onions, white bulb and 3 inches green, quartered lengthwise and finely chopped

1 carrot, finely chopped

2 hard-cooked eggs, coarsely chopped

2 tablespoons finely chopped sweet gherkins

4 tablespoons finely chopped fresh dill

2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1/2 cup sour cream

Fill large saucepan with water and bring to boil. Drop potatoes in boiling water and cook until tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Drain and set aside to cool.

When potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut each in half. Cut tiny slice off bottom of each half to allow it to stand upright. Using small scoop of melon baller, carefully scoop out center of each, leaving firm potato shell. Place scooped-out potato centers in bowl. Reserve shells.

Gently toss potato centers with celery, green onions, carrot, eggs, gherkins, 2 tablespoons dill, parsley, salt and pepper. Mix mustard, mayonnaise and sour cream and fold into potato salad. Adjust seasonings to taste. With small spoon, carefully mound into potato shells.

Refrigerate, covered, until ready to serve. Sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons dill before serving. Makes 40 hors d'oeuvres.

Each serving contains about:

64 calories; 47 mg sodium; 15 mg cholesterol; 3 grams fat; 9 grams carbohydrates; 1 grams protein; 0.19 grams fiber; 39% calories from fat.

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