Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

In Your Kitchen: Little Sweet Potato Latkes

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

In Your Kitchen: Little Sweet Potato Latkes

Article excerpt

The first holiday party invitation arrived in my mailbox over the weekend, proof that it's not too early to start planning for hosting family and friends next month.

Cocktail parties (including my own) often follow the tried-and- true formula of cheese platter, dips and maybe a spiral-sliced baked ham or beef tenderloin. Well-prepared and creatively presented, this menu is popular for good reason. But for something different, a menu of small, individual bites is fresh and playful -- and depending on what you choose, just a bit more work.

I'm not talking about hors d'oeuvres and canapes, the fussy party foods of yesteryear. I mean mini foods, the pint-sized renditions of "big" foods that are already an established trend. Restaurant menus feature sliders, mini lobster rolls and tiny tacos; party supply stores now carry disposable versions of the little vessels caterers use to serve shooters of soup and spoonfuls of mac and cheese. And let's not forget cake pops.

"Tiny Food Party!" by Teri Lyn Fisher and Jenny Park taps into this trend. Blogging partners at Spoon Fork Bacon in Los Angeles, the women say they "wanted to create an hors d'oeuvres-style cookbook with the specific idea of taking existing dishes and shrinking them down into one- or two-bite finger foods to make for get-togethers."

A few of the book's recipes are familiar: mini crab cakes; seafood salad in cucumber cups; deep-fried mac and cheese bites. But most are fun surprises, such as deviled quail eggs, chicken Parmesan crostini and mini Philly cheesesteak sandwiches on pint-size baguettes made from frozen and thawed roll dough. There are a number of ethnic recipes, including Indian potato samosas, pajeon (Korean scallion pancakes) and the Brazilian street food coxinha (chicken and corn balls).

The authors also provide recipes for desserts and drinks, even party menus: Tiny BBQ Picnic (potato salad bites, fried apple pies, ginger-mint lemonade); Tiny Comfort Food (shepherd's pie, white chocolate cheesecakes, bloody Marys); Tiny Breakfast Food (chicken 'n' waffles, homemade pop tarts, coffeecake cocktails). And despite the "ordinary" sound of many of the recipes, they boast interesting twists. Those bloody Marys, for example, are mixed with soju instead of vodka, spiced with sriracha and garnished with pickled green beans and a deep-fried quail egg. …

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