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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.

Sun-dried tomatoes and garlic make this a much more interesting dip than the usual onion-soup-mix stuff. It's a dip that not only tastes great but looks great--especially when served with crab claws for dippers. (Get the claws in an Asian market.) The dip also works well with large cubes of toasted French bread.

SUN-DRIED TOMATO DIP

6 cups cubed French bread

1 cup water

2/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes

2 cloves garlic

1 1/2 cups olive oil

1 cup mayonnaise

Salt

Cayenne pepper

Place bread cubes in large bowl. Add water and toss to completely moisten bread cubes. Squeeze out excess water. Puree in blender or food processor along with tomatoes and garlic until smooth. Slowly drizzle in olive oil until completely absorbed. Fold in mayonnaise. Season to taste with salt and cayenne. Chill until serving time. Serve with large buttered cubes of French bread or crab legs. Makes 4 cups dip.

Each 1-tablespoon serving contains about:

83 calories; 33 mg sodium; 4 mg cholesterol; 9 grams fat; 2 grams carbohydrates; 0 grams protein; 0.13 gram fiber; 94% calories from fat.

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