Among the many life lessons my mother has taught me, I learned that creativity, playfulness and fun should be embraced at every age. My mother loves entertaining for friends and family and finds it very rewarding to create unique experiences to share with the people she loves.
I wanted to write our next interactive ibook ”Hostess Vixen” (available on the iPad in iBooks at the end of February) in honor of the most fabulous entertainer I know, my mother. Of course, some things never change though. Instead of just being dedicated to her, I must admit, my mother pretty much wrote the book (I mean, she just is the best!). My inquiring to her for tips for the book started off with “I am trying to remember how you made those fabulous crab cakes” but quickly changed tone to more along the lines of “could you just type up each ingredient, step by step instructions and then perhaps whip up a batch and take a picture?”
My mother is a lot of things: she has a hilarious sense of humor, is a much-loved math professor by her students, is the most thoughtful mother, daughter, sister, friend anyone could ask for, but she can also throw the most killer dinner party that would make Martha Stewart blush.
Hostess Vixen is a collection of recipes, tips for hosting and step-by-step guides for throwing easy, elegant, affordable and fun parties including a chapter on themes, games and much more. Besides my mother, we have sought the party wisdom of many other women we admire including friends and family such as Eliza Glaister, Nicky Stiffle, and my grandmother as well as well-known queens of entertaining such as Ina Garten from Barefoot Contessa and Real Housewife, Lisa Vanderpump.
Below is an except of the book that is written by my mother, including several of my favorite reciepes of hers that we include in the book.
Tips straight from the Experts: The Orginal Kitchen Vixen, Mrs. Eident
“To get the full value of a joy, you must have somebody to divide it with.” Mark Twain
General Hostess Tips:
- Be sure everyone is properly introduced. Early arrivals are invited into the kitchen to help.
- Garnish your hors d’oeuvre plates with fresh flowers or herbs
- Invest in some beautiful glasses – they make the drink and the person holding it look better.
- Collect mismatched antique plates – you don’t having to worry about matching – and they look beautiful. Mismatched teacups are also beautiful.
- Schedule some time for yourself to relax before the guests arrive, have a quiet drink and catch your breath. Once the party starts, restrict yourself to sipping.
- Make sure you have sparkling water and diet soda on hand for non-drinkers.
- Always have popping corn and truffle oil on hand for surprise visitors. Pop the popcorn in a heavy saucepan over medium high heat. Sprinkle with coarse salt and some truffle oil – outrageously delicious
- Have a do it yourself appetizer party on a week night. Put out French bread, different types of mustard, smoked salmon, cream cheese, roasted garlic, onion slices, celery sticks, sun dried tomatoes, thin slices of red onion, thin slices of rare steak, sliced apples, and a variety of cheeses.
- If you are having a dinner party, don’t serve filling appetizers. Instead, have a bowl of spiced nuts, a bowl of grapes, perhaps a bowl of olives and or a beautiful bowl of crisp cold radishes. Salty and crunchy always works with drinks.
Sample Recipes from iBook:
Shrimp Canapés with Dill Butter-These are gorgeous and delicious!
Makes about 50.
For the shrimp:
- 1 lb large shrimp
- ¼ c olive oil
- 1 tbsp. white wine vinegar
- ½ tbsp. fresh lemon juice
- 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
- 1 garlic clove, halved
- ½ tsp. salt
- ¼ tsp. pepper
- ½ chopped dill
For the dill butter:
- ½ cup chopped dill – save some dill for garnish
- 1 stick soft butter
- ½ tbsp. lemon juice
- ½ tsp. salt
- 12 slices firm white sandwich bread
- Bring a large saucepan of water to boil, add shrimp and boil for about 2 minutes or until they turn pink. Run under cold water in colander to stop cooking and drain. Remove shells and black veins. Carefully slice each shrimp in half length wise.
- In small bowl, stir together oil, vinegar, lemon juice, mustard, garlic, salt and better until blended. Pour over shrimp and chill at least 2 hours over up to 8 hours turning once.
- Mix all the butter ingredients together either by hand or in a food processor.
- Using a 1.5 inch round biscuit cutter cut 4 rounds from each slice of bread. If you don’t have a small biscuit cutter, just remove crusts and cut each slice of bread into 4 squares. Spread each bread slice with the dill butter. Place a shrimp half, pink side up, on each canapé, cover loosely with plastic wrap and chill at least 20 minutes to firm up butter.
- To serve, garnish each canapé with a tiny sprig of dill.
White Bean and Roasted Garlic Dip
- ½ lb dried white beans
- ½ c olive oil
- 1 whole garlic bulb, rubbed with olive oil and roasted on small baking sheet for 1 hour
- 1 large sprig rosemary, chopped
- 2 sprigs oregano chopped
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- Salt and fresh pepper
- French bread
- Rinse beans and discard any imperfect ones. Soak in water to cover for 6 hours or up to 24 hours. Drain.
- In heavy bottomed pot, heat the olive oil over medium high. Add the onions and sauté until transparent about 2 minutes. Add the rosemary and oregano and cook 1 minute more. Add the beans, stir and cook 2 minutes. Pour in 1 quart of water and bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat and simmer on low about 40 minutes or until the beans are tender but not mushy. Drain them in a colander. Transfer to a blender or food processor. Cut the roasted garlic bulb in half and squeeze the cloves over the beans. Add the lemon juice and puree to dip consistency.
- Warm dip in microwave before serving. Serve with hot crusty bread slices.
Guacamole with Roasted Poblano Pepper
- 3 ripe avocados
- 1 large ripe tomato, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves chopped
- ¼ c chopped cilantro
- Juice of 1 lime
- 1 poblano pepper
- 3 scallions white and half of green parts chopped
- ½ tsp. coarse salt
- ½ tsp. freshly ground pepper
- Tortilla chips
- Preheat boiler. Cut pepper in half lengthwise, discard seeds and membrane. Place pepper halves skin sides up on foil lined baking sheet; flatten with your hand. Broil about 12 minutes or until blackened, turning frequently. Place in zip lock bag and seal. Let stand 10 minutes, then peel and finely chop.
- Halve the avocados and remove pits. Scoop flesh into a bowl. Mash 2 with a fork and chop the 3rd. Mix in with garlic, cilantro, scallions, poblano, and salt and pepper. Add lime juice to taste (1 – 2 tablespoons).
- Use immediately or cover with plastic wrap pressed onto surface to prevent discoloration and refrigerate up to 6 hours.
Stuffed Cherry Tomatoes
Makes about 20
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, tops sliced off
- 8 oz. package of cream cheese
- 6 slices of bacon, crisply cooked and drained on paper towels
- 2 scallions, sliced (white parts and a bit of the green)
- 2 tbsp. minced parsley
- ¼ tsp. Worcestershire sauce
- Hollow out the cherry tomatoes with a small spoon or melon baller. Beat together the remaining ingredients and stuff the mixture into the tomatoes. YUM!
Spicy Nuts – warning, these are addictive.
- ½ cup raw cashews
- ½ cup almonds with skins
- ½ tbsp. olive oil
- 1 tsp. chili powder
- ½ tsp. coarse salt
- ½ tsp. oregano
- ½ tsp. paprika
- ¼ tsp. onion powder
- ¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat oven to 375. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and toss until blended.
- Place the coated nuts on a baking sheet and back for 8-10 minutes turning nuts once about halfway through.
- Cool and store in airtight container until ready to serve.
Hummus served in Endive Leaves – So healthy!
- 1 cup canned chickpeas, drained, liquid reserved
- 1 tsp. coarse salt
- 2 garlic cloves finely chopped
- ¼ cup tahini
- Juice of 1 lemon
- A few dashes hot sauce
- Two heads of endive
- Put all of the ingredients except endive into a blender or food processor including the liquid from the chickpeas and process coarsely.
- To serve, cut off the bottom of the endive heads and separate the leaves.
- Spoon about 2 tablespoons of hummus into the bottom of each leaf and sprinkle with paprika. Serve chilled or at room temperature.
Cumin Cheese Straws – place these in pretty glasses and put one in each room your guests will be mingling.
Makes about 24
- 4 oz. extra sharp cheddar cheese grated
- ½ tsp. cumin
- ¼ tsp. cayenne(red) pepper
- 1 sheet ( ½ pound) frozen puff pastry thawed.
- Egg wash made by beating 1 egg with 2 tsp. water
- Coarse salt
- In small bowl, toss together cheese, cumin and cayenne.
- On a lightly floured counter, roll out pastry into a 14 by 12 inch rectangle and brush with some egg wash. Cut pastry in half lengthwise so you have two 12 by 7 rectangles. Sprinkle cheese over 1 rectangle and top with the other rectangle egg wash down, pressing firmly to force out any air pockets. Roll pastry out a bit to make the layers stick together. Brush with some remaining egg wash and sprinkle with the salt. With sharp knife, cut the pastry into strips about 7.5 inches long and ½ inch wide. Twist the strips and arrange on parchment lined baking sheets about 1 inch apart, pressing ends onto sheet to keep the strips twisted.
- Preheat oven to 425 and bake in middle of oven 10-12 minutes or until pale golden.
- Serve warm or at room temperature.
Vegetarian stuffed Mushrooms – healthy and delicious!
- ½ cup chopped roasted peppers from a jar
- ½ cup freshly grated parmesan
- 2 scallions, finely chopped (white parts)
- ½ c Kalamata pitted olives, chopped
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- ½ tsp. coarse salt
- ¼ tsp. pepper
- 1 lb white mushrooms, cleaned, stems removed
- ¼ c chopped basil.
- Preheat oven to 400. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Mix together all ingredients except mushrooms and basil. Spoon the filling into the mushrooms mounding. Bake about 20 minutes. Sprinkle with the basil and serve.
- 3 cups vodka
- 2 cups pomegranate juice
- 1 cup fresh lime juice (about 7 limes)
- 1 cup Cointreau
Combine all ingredients into a pitcher then pour about 1.5 cups into a shaker filled with ice. Shake for about a minute and strain into martini glasses. Repeat with remaining mixture
Be sure to check out our Hostess iBook available at the end of February in the iPad app store.
p.s. I love you mom!