Organic Spinach Ribbons Topped With Smoked Mozzarella

Organic Spinach Ribbons Topped With Smoked Mozzarella

Friday, January 28, 2011

The Life Of The Dinner Party - Appetizers, My Mom & Me

Life Of The Party: a lively amusing person who is the center of attention at a social gathering
Dinner Party: a party of people assembled to have dinner together
Appetizer: food or drink to stimulate the appetite that is usually served before a meal

I grew up with a Mom who loved nothing more than to host a dinner party.  I grew up with a Mom who would spend weeks designing dinner party invitations.  I grew up with  a Mom who hosted "theme" dinner parties - her most colorful theme dinner party was, hands down "Casino Night" when we lived in Suriname, South America.

The woman made her own potato chips and used a stationery stamp to emboss the chips so they resembled casino chips.  You might be thinking, "Wow, how cool!"  Ummmm, not so much.   For 48 hours you couldn't see our kitchen counter tops because they were covered with mounds of potatoes.  They were covered with mounds of half peeled potatoes.  They were covered with mounds of peeled potatoes. They were covered with mounds of sliced potatoes.

My Mom was frantically instructing our maid, Tomenam, how to properly scrub a potato.  Like Tomenam didn't know how to scrub a potato? My Mom almost severed her thumb with the mandolin she was using to slice the mounds of potatoes ....and my Dad had to rush home from work to take her to the emergency room ....but not before she had a martini because, as she explained to my Dad....the alcohol would act as a disinfectant once in her blood stream.   Seriously Mom?

My Mom made incredible appetizers.  My Mom was, hands down, always the life of the party.  My Mom could work a room like a presidential candidate at a campaign fundraiser.  My Mom had an innate talent of making people laugh and have a good time...even if they weren't really sure they wanted to.  My Mom could turn an ordinary backyard into a beach - yes, she had truckloads of sand delivered one day because she decided she was bringing Hawaii to Suriname, South America.  Oh, and did I mention no one knew anything about this until the dump trucks (yes, plural) arrived?   I woke up late that Summer morning to the sounds of  dump trucks unloading sand in our backyard and my Mom yelling, in Dutch, "We need some sand! We need more sand!"  The look on my Dad's face when he came home that afternoon and was greeted by a sand pile the size of Mount Vesuvius was, well, it was pretty darn priceless.  I remember my Dad going to the bar and making a gin and tonic, downing it, and walking out to the backyard where he stood, shaking his head back and forth, staring at the sand pile the size of Mount Vesuvius for what seemed like an eternity.

I've been described as the life of the party.  I have hands down, had some "excting!" moments as the hostess of fun and fabulous dinner parties.  Yes, I am my Mother's daughter. I have created my own invitations. I have ordered hundreds of Chinese lanterns to suspend from trees....just to ensure the "right glow" is being given off.  I have special ordered out of season flowers because, frankly, I just couldn't imagine NOT having white tulips in antique silver pitchers at my Winter dinner party.  I have not, however, embossed sliced potatoes with a stationery stamp to resemble casino chips.  I have also not almost severed my thumb with a mandolin.  I have, however, accumulated a large number of cooking scars due to my inability to master the art of using sharp knives and talking on the phone at the same time.

My Mom made rockin' appetizers.  My Mom made black olive appetizers that resembled penguins with orange carrot feet.  My Mom made these beef and cream cheese appetizers that I'd make myself sick  because I ate so many of them. I ate so many of these beef and cream cheese appetizers because they were just THAT good!  My Mom made meatballs the size of Barbie doll heads with cocktail drink umbrellas stuck in them because she was making "meatball people" and the umbrellas were the hats for these "meatball people."  My Mom's "meatball people" had capers pressed into them for eyes.  No, I'm not kidding.  My Mom made "meatball people."  Present date, I have to wonder if my Mom's "meatball people" were not brought to life after a pitcher of martinis.  Present date, I do not think  Mom's creation of "meatball people" was her finest hour.  Present date, my Dad will not eat meatballs.  I think the poor man is scared he's eating someone.

I make rockin' appetizers.  I make a fresh vine ripened tomato Bruschetta so full of fresh herb flavor your stomach sings!  I make miniature meatballs with a Teriyaki glaze that will knock your socks off. And, no, these are not Teriyaki "meatball people" with cocktail umbrellas as hats and capers as eyes.  Thankfully, I did not inherit the "meatball people" gene.  I make Feta cheese cheese balls that are a party in your mouth!  I make  individual miniature turkey lasagnas that leave you wanting more.  I make chicken skewers with a peanut sauce that will make ya feel "nutty!" with glee when you eat them!  Oh, and I make my Mom's "famous" beef  and cream cheese appetizers.  Present date, I can still make myself sick by eating too many of them because, frankly, they are just THAT good!  The funny thing is, it's one of THE easiest appetizers to make!!!  Below is the recipe!


1 jar of dried beef
1 brick of cream cheese (you can use fat free or reduced fat if you'd like)
1 block of Feta cheese (crumbled)
2 fresh garic cloves (minced)
1 bunch of scallions (diced)
6-7 turns of cracked pepper
1 tbsp of dry Italian dressing mix

Blend all ingredients (except the beef) in a bowl until they are blended evenly.
Unroll each piece of  dried beef and spread the amount of creamy mixture you desire on each piece of beef.  Roll up and spear with a fancy toothpick!  

P.S.  My Mom "stuffed" each piece of beef with the cream mixture and, present date, that's how I make mine.

Always "Push The Parsley!"
 ~ A Girl Cook

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