Magazine article Sunset

Winter Party Ideas

Magazine article Sunset

Winter Party Ideas

Article excerpt

Here are three quick ways to make a winter gathering fun and memorable--a hearty seasonal appetizer, a party favor project, and a simple flower arrangement. January is crab season around the West, so celebrate with tiny crab cakes topped with roasted-pepper aioli--a perfect finger food (just double or triple the recipe to feed a crowd). Colorful and easy-to-make candy sticks double as favors. And amaryllis, widely available this month at florists and garden centers, make beautiful cut flowers for a winter centerpiece. Pull the three ideas together, and you've got a celebration your guests will love.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Panko-crusted Crab Cake Bites

PREP AND COOK TIME: 35 to 40 minutes

NOTES: The Japanese-style coarse bread crumbs called panko are available in many well-stocked supermarkets and in Asian grocery stores. You can make the aioli up to 2 days ahead and the crab cakes through step 3 up to 4 hours ahead; in both cases, cover and chill.

MAKES: 24 crab cakes; 8 appetizer servings

   12 ounces shelled cooked crab
  1/4 cup finely diced celery
  1/4 cup minced fresh chives
  1/4 cup mayonnaise
    1 large egg
    2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  1/4 teaspoon hot sauce
1 1/4 cups panko (see notes) or fine dried
      bread crumbs
      Roasted pepper-chive aioli (recipe
      follows)
      Fresh chives, rinsed and cut into
      1-inch lengths

1. Sort through crab and discard any bits of shell.

2. In a large bowl, combine celery, minced chives, mayonnaise, egg, mustard, and hot sauce; mix well with a fork. Add crab and 1/4 cup panko; stir gently just to mix.

3. Put remaining 1 cup panko in a shallow bowl. Shape crab mixture into 24 cakes, each about 2 inches wide and 1/2 inch thick. Turn each cake in panko to coat on all sides, pressing gently to make crumbs adhere. Place cakes slightly apart in an oiled 12-by 17-inch baking pan.

4. Bake in a 475[degrees] regular or convection oven until golden brown, 15 to 18 minutes. With a spatula, transfer crab cakes to a platter. Spoon a dollop of roasted pepper-chive aioli onto each cake. Garnish with fresh chives. Serve hot.

Per serving: 206 cal., 61% (126 cal.) from fat; 11 g protein; 14 g fat (2.2 g sat.); 7.6 g carbo (0.5 g fiber); 290 mg sodium; 79 mg chol.

Roasted Pepper-Chive Aioli

PREP TIME: About 10 minutes

MAKES: About 1/2 cup

  1/3 cup mayonnaise
  1/4 cup chopped drained canned roasted
      red peppers
    1 tablespoon minced fresh chives
    2 teaspoons lemon juice
    1 teaspoon minced garlic

In a small bowl, mix mayonnaise, roasted red peppers, chives, lemon juice, and garlic until well blended. …

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