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A bright & light holiday buffet.

One of the glories of Christmas we all look forward to is the burst of beautiful colors. The tree, the decorations, the giftwrappings--all so merry and bright. Here is my contribution to the brilliant palette of Christmas dining--light and delicious hors d'oeuvres, appetizers and a soup resplendent with the greens and reds and snowy whites of yuletide. And to toast the season--one of my favorites, Old English Mulled Punch.

All are light and nutritious, and best of all, they won't fill you up as most starters do--so you can enjoy the rest of your meal. Double the recipes if your home is overflowing with friends and family. Merry Christmas and good, healthful, colorful eating to all!

Lime-Chicken Tidbits (Makes 10-12 servings) 2 whole chicken breasts, skinned and boned 1 package (9 oz.) frozen artichoke hearts, thawed 1/4 cup each lime juice and oil 1 tablespoon parsley, chopped 1/2 teaspoon each basil and oregano leaves, crushed 1/4 teaspoon thyme, crushed 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt 2 tablespoons pimiento, chopped Lime wedges

Cut chicken into 1-inch cubes; mix with cut artichoke hearts. Combine lime juice, oil, parsley, herbs and salt. Pour over chicken and artichokes; turn to coat thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour. Cook in skilled 4 to 5 minutes or until chicken is thoroughly cooked. Add pimiento. Garnish with lime wedges; serve with picks and high-fiber wheat crisps.

Variation: Scallops or shrimp may be substituted for the chicken.

Lime-Marinated Vegetables (Makes 12 servings) 2 cups each cherry tomatoes, cauliflowerets and sliced cerely 1/2 cup lime marinade (above)

Combine vegetables and marinade. Cover and refrigerate several hours or overnight.

Creamy Broccoli Bisque (Serves 4-5) 2 tablespoons corn oil 1/3 cup shallots, minced, or combination minced shallots and onions 4 cups fresh broccoli florets (1 large bunch) 1 tablespoon apple-cider vinegar 2-1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth, preferably homemade 1/2 cup unsweetened apple juice 1 tablespoon regular cream of wheat 1 tablespoon curry powder 1/2 teaspoon mutmeg, freshly grated Salt to taste, if desired SEveral sprigs parsley tied into bundle with white thread 3 tablespoons evaporated milk 2 tablespoons carrot, grated for garnish

Heat oil in heavy-bottomed kettle until hot. Saute shallots until wilted but not brown and stir often. Add broccoli and saute for 1 minute. Add vinegar and cook for 1 minute. Then add chicken broth and apple juice. Bring to boil.

Sprinkle with cream of wheat. Stir in curry powder, half of nutmeg and salt, if desired. Drop in parsley bundle. Reduce heat to simmering. Cover and simmer for 12 minutes and stir once midway. Uncover and partially cool. Discard parsley bundle.

Pour mixture into blender (half at a time), add remaining 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg and puree until smooth. Return to kettle. Whisk in milk. Reheat to just under boiling point. Pour into serving dishes, sprinkle with carrot and serve.

Rainbow Fish on a Skewer (Serves 8) 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice 1 tablespoon frozen orange-juice concentrate 3 tablespoons evaporated skim milk 1 teaspoon dried tarragon leaves, crumbled 4 dashes ground red (cayenne) pepper 1 pound halibut (1 slice), boned and skinned 8 large, sweet red peppers 8 large, sweet green peppers 8 large, firm mushroom caps, wiped clean 3 tablespoons shallots, minced 1 tablespoon sweet butter/margarine blend, cut into small pieces 3 tablespoons grated Danish Havarti or Swiss cheese.

Combine first 5 ingredients in bowl, stirring to blend. Cut fish into 16 1-1/2" chunks. Marinate in orange juice mixture for 30 minutes. Preheat broiler. On each of 8 small trussing skewers, alternate fish, peppers and 1 mushroom cap. Lay in shallow broiling pan. Pour any remaining marinade over skewers. Sprinkle equal amounts of shallots onto each skewer. Dot with butter-margarine blend. Broil 6 inches from heat for 8 minutes and turn once midway. Sprinkle with cheese. Baste with pan juices and return to broiler for 6 minutes. Spoon with pan juices and serve immediately.

Variation: Substitute 1 pound sea scallops (each scallop cut in half) for halibut.

Crunchy Shrimp with Piquant Sauce (Makes 4-6 servings) 1 pound medium shrimp, unshelled 1 bay leaf 1 tablespoon apple-cider vinegar 2 sprigs parsley 3 sweet red peppers 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil 1/3 cup onion, minced 1 tablespoon garlic, minced 3 tablespoons fresh parsley or dill, minced 5 teaspoons each fresh lemon juice and red-wine vinegar 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard 2 tablespoons low-fat plain yogurt Salt to taste, if desired

To prepare shrimp: Fill deep sauce-pan with water, bay leaf, vinegar and parsley. Bring to rolling boil. Add shrimp. Bring to slow boil. Partially cover and cook for 6 minutes. Drain immediately. Shell and devein. Chill. To prepare dip: Preheat broiler. Place peppers on rack on broiling pan and char on all sides. Turn often. Transfer to plastic bag and seal. Let stand for 15 minutes. Cut peppers in half. Seed and peel (skin will peel off easily). Coarsely chop. Place in bowl. Heat oil in nonstick skillet. Lightly saute onion and garlic until translucent. Combine with peppers. Add parsley or dill. In cup, blend lemon juice, vinegar and mustard with fork. Stir into pepper mixture. Then stir in yogurt and salt, if desired. Chill. Arrange shrimp on decorative plate with cup of piquant sauce in center.

Pineapple-Nut Cheese Spread (Serves 8) 1/4 chopped walnuts 1 tablespoon minced parsley 1/2 cup low-fat cottage cheese u/3 cup crushed pineapple, packed in unsweetened pineapple juice, drained 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice 1/2 teaspoon lemon rind, grated 1 tablespoon chopped orange peel

Combine all ingredients except orange peel in blender or food processor. Blend until smooth. Transfer to jar and chill several hours or overnight. Spread on whole-grain flatbread crackers or thinsliced pumpernickel and sprinkle with orange peel.

Three-way Eggplant Caviar (Makes 6-8 servings) 1 pound eggplant 3/j pound ripe tomatoes 1 tablespoon minced garlic 1/2 cup onion or shallot, minced 2 tablespoons fresh dill or parsley, minced 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice 1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar 2 teaspoons tomato paste 1/2 teaspoon curry powder 1/8 teaspoon ground red (cayenne) pepper 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce Salt to taste, if desired

Prick eggplant with sharp-pronged fork. Place on baking sheet and bake in preheated 400 deg. F. oven for 45 minutes. Let cool. Peel and dice. Drop tomatoes into boiling water for 1 minute. Core and peel. Let cool. Dice. In bowl, combine diced eggplant and tomato. Add balance of ingredients, one at a time, and stir gently after each addition (do not mash). For fully ripened flavor, store overnight in tightly sealed container. As an hors d'oeuvre, spread on thin, whole-grain crackers; as a first course, serve on bed of crisp lettuce leaves; as a relish, serve along with main course.

Old English Mulled Punch (Serves 8) 2 sweet apples, cored and coarsley chopped 2/3 cup pineapple tidbits, packed in unsweetened pineapple juice 1-1/2 cups unsweetened pineapple juice 2 cups unsweetened apple juice teaspoon cardamon seeds, lightly crushed 2 cinnamon sticks 8 whole cloves 4 cups strong mint herb tea 3 tablespoons unfiltered honey Combine first 8 ingredients in sauce-pan. Heat to simmering. Cover and simmer for 12 minutes. Stir in honey. Let stand 5 minutes. Strain and serve hot with cinnamon sticks. afreshly grated nutmeg a6 dashes ground red (cayenne) pepper a2 tablespoons plain toasted awheat germ a1 small egg a1 teaspoon Oriental sesame oil, aor dry sherry a1-1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard a2 tablespoons low-fat plain yogurt a2 teaspoons corn oil a1/2 lemon

Coarsely grind first 5 ingredients in food grinder. Turn into bowl and add spices and wheat germ. Blend well. Set aside. In cup combine egg, sesame oil or sherry, and mustard. Beat lightly with fork. Stir into chicken mixture. Fold in yogurt. Cover and chill in freezer for 10 minutes. With moistened hands, shape into 26 balls. Oil large nonstick skillet, and heat. Saute balls until lightly browned. Sprinkle with lemon juice and arrange on warm serving dish. Pierce with cocktail picks and serve at once.

Savory Cheese Dip (Makes 1/2 cup) 1 cup dry-curd cottage cheese 1/3 cup low-fat plain yogurt 1 shallot, minced 1 small onion, minced 1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon leaves, crushed 3 dashes cayenne pepper 1 teaspoon parsley and dill, freshly chopped 1 teaspoon garlic powder 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard dissolved in 1/2 teaspoon water 1 tablespoon tomato juice

Combine all ingredients in blender and puree until smooth.
COPYRIGHT 1984 Saturday Evening Post Society
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1984 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:includes recipes
Author:Prince, Francine
Publication:Saturday Evening Post
Date:Dec 1, 1984
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