Vindaloo is legendary, in her small circle of the world, at least, for making party punches that pack a wallop. By the time you get the ice in the punch bowl, you certainly don't want a feeble, watery version of an electrolyte beverage. Vindaloo's way of avoiding this mishap is to a.) use a lot of alcohol, and b.) make ice cubes out of the punch base (or at least out of the juices that are in the punch).
This New Year's Day, a large, beautiful decanter of punch was presented. Several guests commented on it as being the kind of drink that sneaks up on you.
This is a red punch, a tutty-fruity punch and a stout punch. It's refreshing and very drinkable. It also appears to be deceptively innocent, so children (and adults) with recent experiences involving Hawaiian Punch should probably drink straight ginger ale. It's the kind of punch that can derail all the best intentions to be a better person during the next year. What would one call such a punch?
Resolution Ruin Punch
1/3 cup sugar
1 quart cranberry juice
2 cups pineapple juice
3 Tbs. almond extract
1 1/2 cups bourbon
1/2 cup vanilla vodka
1 2-liter bottle ginger ale
1. In a large pitcher or container, mix together the sugar, cranberry juice, pineapple juice, almond extract, bourbon and vodka. Chill for one day.
2. Pour punch into decanter or punch bowl and add ginger ale slowly to retain carbonation. Garnish with fresh cranberries and mint leaves. Serves 24.
Here are a few more small bites to go with the punch...
Asparagus and Proscuitto Swizzle Sticks
A good friend turned me on to these. They are very easy--and very good.
24 asparagus spears of moderate diameter (or 48 pencil-sized spears)
8 slices proscuitto, each slice cut lengthwise into 3 strips
Parmesan cheese curls
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Wash, dry and trim asparagus spears.
3. Twist a strip of proscuitto (barbershop-pole style) around each spear (if using pencil-sized spears, use two spears to each strip of proscuitto)
4. Place on a baking tray and spray or brush with EVOO.
5. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, depending on thickness of spears. Asparagus can be enjoyed bright green and crispy or more toasted and tender, depending on your personal preference.
6. Place on a serving platter and garnish with Parmesan cheese curls. Serves 8 to 10.
Bright red and glossy on the serving plate, these will disappear fast!
1 jar Peppadew pickled peppers
4 oz. chevre, at room temperature
1 to 2 Tbs. cream or half and half
garlic, assorted herbs and freshly ground pepper
1. Drain Peppadews well.
2. Meanwhile, mash chevre with cream and your choice of herbs. I like black pepper, garlic and chive for color.
3. Using a pastry bag with a star tip, pipe cheese filling into each Peppadew
4. Chill until ready to serve. Makes about 16 to 20.
Tortellini Caprese Skewers
These appetizers are lovely on a long, elegant serving platter that is either black or white to show off their beautiful varied hue. Find the recipe here and the basil vinaigrette recipe here.
Mama V's Muffaletta on a Stick
These are gorgeous on the platter and a lot of fun to eat. Or serve each skewer in a tall, elegant glass, like a slim parfait glass, for a knock-out presentation. I followed the recipe here, but with the following variations: use an additional 10 slices each mortadella and smoked ham and stack and roll with Genoa salami and provolone as instructed. Use a good quality Italian dressing, such as Newman's Own Family Recipe Italian and add an extra generous pinch of Italian seasoning (I used Penzey's) to the bottled dressing.
More recipes from the New Year's Day party to follow...