"A good party is 25 percent inspiration, 10 percent perspiration and 65 percent organization," says Kate Hays, who runs Global Bite Catering (with partner Sandy Morris) in Burlington, Vt.
But Hays knows that ease of preparation and proper planning are equally important to a smooth event.
Here is a sampling of her diverse signature recipes.
Smoked salmon and spinach roulade
Makes 24 slices
1 10-ounce package frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/3 cup flour
1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream
dash of Tabasco
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 large egg yolks
6 large egg whites
6 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese
3/4 cup low-fat (1 percent) cottage cheese
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
8 ounces best-quality smoked salmon fillet
1/4 cup snipped fresh chives
3 tablespoons drained capers, rinsed, or 2 tablespoons prepared horseradish
fresh black pepper to taste
For the cake, heat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly oil an 11-by-17-inch baking sheet with sides or coat it with nonstick cooking spray. Line the bottom of the baking sheet with parchment paper or wax paper and liberally oil or spray it as well. Set aside.
In a food processor, puree spinach, parsley, flour, sour cream and Tabasco until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Add egg yolks and pulse to mix. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
In a mixing bowl, beat egg whites with an electric mixer until stiff, but not dry, peaks form. With a rubber spatula, fold 1/3 of the beaten whites into the spinach puree to lighten it. Fold the spinach mixture into the remaining whites just until blended, and spread in the prepared pan. Bake 8 to 10 minutes, or until the top springs back when lightly touched. Cool in the pan on a rack for 5 minutes.
Cover the work surface with a clean kitchen towel with the long edge toward you. Invert the spinach cake onto the towel. Peel off the parchment or wax paper and cover the spinach cake with another towel.
To make filling and assemble roulade, puree cream cheese and cottage cheese in a food processor until smooth. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.
Uncover the spinach cake and sprinkle the surface with lemon juice. Leaving a little border to accommodate the filling, spread half the cheese mixture on the spinach cake and distribute smoked salmon evenly on top. Spread the remaining cheese mixture over the salmon. Sprinkle with chives and capers or horseradish. Season with pepper.
Starting at the long edge, gently roll the cake and filling as you would roll a jelly roll, using the towel to lift and assist in the rolling. Wrap roulade in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 4 hours.
To serve, cut the roulade into 24 slices with a serrated knife.
Per slice: 55 calories; 5 g protein, 2 g fat (1.2 g saturated fat), 3 g carbohydrate; 210 mg sodium; 24 mg cholesterol
Makes 16 slices
2 1/2 cups all-purpose white flour
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1 1/2 packages quick-rising yeast (3 1/2 teaspoons)
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 eggplant (1 pound), cut into 1/2 -inch slices
2 onions, sliced
1 large summer squash, sliced
1 cup sun-dried tomatoes, not packed in oil
3 tablespoons olivada (black olive paste) or 1/4 cup minced imported black olives
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
10 ounces fresh spinach, stemmed and washed (8 cups)
3 ounces part-skim mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
2 7-ounce jars roasted red peppers, drained
1 14-ounce can artichoke hearts, drained and sliced
1 ounce pepperoni, cut into julienne strips
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
To make dough: In a large bowl, whisk 1 1/2 cups of white flour, whole-wheat flour, yeast, salt and sugar. With a wooden spoon, gradually stir in 1 1/4 cups hot water (120 to 130 degrees); beat until well-mixed. Gradually add enough white flour to make a firm, soft dough. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead 8 to 10 minutes, or until smooth and elastic. Cover dough with plastic wrap and let rest 10 minutes.
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly oil 3 large baking sheets or coat them with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.
Place a pan of water on the lowest oven rack. (This will help steam and soften vegetables as they cook. Be careful when opening the oven door to prevent burns from the steam.) Spread eggplant, onions and squash on 2 of the baking sheets and bake 12 to 15 minutes, or until softened; set aside. Remove water from oven and raise temperature to 450.
Meanwhile, put sun-dried tomatoes in a saucepan, add water to cover and simmer over medium-low heat until soft, 5 to 10 minutes. Drain and puree in food processor until smooth. In a small bowl, combine the puree with olive paste or olives; set aside.
In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic and saute until fragrant, about 10 seconds. Add spinach and cook, stirring until wilted, 3 to 4 minutes. Let cool and squeeze out any extra moisture. Set aside.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to a 14-by-20-inch rectangle. Working with a long edge toward you, spread the tomato-olive puree on the dough, leaving a 3-inch-wide border all the way around.
Distribute the eggplant slices over the puree and scatter mozzarella on top. Layer onions, squash, spinach, red peppers, artichoke hearts and pepperoni on top. Sprinkle with Parmesan.
Fold the 2 short edges of dough in partway over the filling. Then, starting with the long edge of dough closest to you, roll up as you would a jelly roll. Place the torta, seam-side down, on the prepared baking sheet. Bake about 30 minutes, until golden brown. Transfer to wire rack to cool. Slice and serve at room temperature.
Per slice: 190 calories; 8 g protein; 4 g fat (1.3 g saturated fat); 31 g carbohydrate; 485 mg sodium; 6 mg cholesterol
Chicken and smoked shrimp saffron rice
Makes 10 cups
4 cups defatted reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 8-ounce bottle clam juice
1 teaspoon saffron threads, crumbled
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 onions, chopped (2 cups)
3 cloves garlic, minced (1 tablespoon)
2 1/2 cups converted long-grain white rice
1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2 -inch-thick strips
2 7-ounce jars roasted red peppers, drained and cut into strips
1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
4 ounces smoked shrimp
1 1/2 cups frozen peas
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
fresh black pepper to taste
Heat oven to 400 degrees. In a saucepan, combine chicken broth, clam juice and saffron. Bring to a simmer; remove from the heat and set aside.
In a 6- to 8-quart Dutch oven, heat oil over medium-low heat. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft but not brown, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, about 1 minute. Add rice and stir to coat. Add chicken, red peppers and 1 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring, until the chicken no longer looks raw, about 2 minutes. Stir in 4 cups of reserved saffron broth and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat.
Cover and bake for 10 minutes. Refrigerate the partially cooked rice in its pot and the remaining 1 cup saffron broth.
About 1 hour before serving, heat oven to 400 degrees. In a saucepan, bring reserved saffron broth to a simmer over low heat. Stir 1/2 cup of hot broth into cold rice and bake, covered, 30 minutes, or until rice is tender. Stir in shrimp, peas, parsley, lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. Bake, uncovered, 10 minutes more or until the rice is piping hot. Stir in remaining 1/2 cup warmed saffron broth for a creamy finish.
Per serving: 440 calories; 31 g protein; 3 g fat (0.7 g saturated fat); 68 g carbohydrate; 750 mg sodium; 78 mg cholesterol
Pub Date: 12/18/96