Culinary Architect: A game plan for a Super Bowl and Chinese New Year party

Alexandra Troy

Whenever I entertain, at home, I put together a “game plan.”

This consists of easy to prepare, make-ahead hors d’oeuvres, combined with a few store-bought items to round out the meal. Whenever possible, I also try to make the same menu a few times, but inviting different guests.

Why reinvent to wheel every time you entertain?

The following menu works great for the Super Bowl, which is Sunday, Feb. 4 and the Chinese New Year, which begins on Friday, Feb. 16.

Why not combine Super Bowl foods with Chinese foods?Give nuts a twist of curry, your crudites a Chinese inspired dipping sauce, and, wontons, the Chinese symbol of wealth. round out the meal with Asian Chicken Wings, available at many supermarket deli counters, or in the freezer section of most supermarket, and sold at many Chinese restaurants.

Spare ribs and sesame noodles represent happiness and longevity. (Both ordered from your favorite local Chinese restaurant).

A bowl of Tangerines, closes out the meal with ease and great health! Who knows, maybe the great karma of all these Chinese inspired foods will help your favorite team win The Super Bowl!

(Serves 10-12)

Curried Nuts
Broccoli with Soy Dipping Sauce
Steamed Dumplings
Asian Chicken Wings*
Spare Ribs*
Sesame Noodles*

*Recipe Not Included, but available from your favorite Chinese Restaurant

Curried Nuts

1 lb. unsalted peanuts, almonds, I love to use cashews
1 tblsp. curry powder
3 tblsp. butter, melted
salt to taste

1. In a skillet, saute the nuts over moderate heat for 2 minutes, then add curry and melted butter, stirring often, until lightly browned and very fragrant.

2. Drain on paper towels and season with salt.

NOTE: Keeps 2-3 weeks; may be frozen.

Broccoli with Soy Dipping Sauce

2 bunches broccoli, cut into flowerets
1 tblsp. salt
1 tblsp. peanut oil

3 tblsp. white sesame seeds, and/or black toasted and crushed
1 cup mayonnaise
2 tblsp soy sauce
3 tblsp rice vinegar

1. Over high heat, bring 2 quarts of water to a boil. Add salt and oil. Add broccoli and bring water back to a boil. Cook for 2 minutes, without a cover. Remove broccoli with a strainer and immediately plunge into cold water to shock.. Drain well.

2. Heat an 8-inch skillet over medium low heat. Add sesame seeds. Toast while stirring constantly. Do not overtoast or they will turn bitter.

3. Place mayonnaise into a bowl and stir in soy sauce and vinegar. Blend with a wire whisk. Add sesame seeds and blend well. Serve with the broccoli, at room temperature.

Steamed Dumplings

1 pkg. of round wonton skins, available in Asian markets and the produce section of most supermarkets

2 cups finely chopped Chinese cabbage
1 tsp. salt
1 cup ground pork or beef
3 tblsp. water with 1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup raw shrimp, shelled, deveined, minced
1 egg slightly beaten
1 1/2 tblsp soy sauce
1 tblsp sesame seed oil

1. To make the filling, place chopped Chinese cabbage in a bowl and sprinkle with salt. Mix and set aside for 10 minutes. Transfer cabbage to a salad spinner, and remove as much water as possible.

2. Combine the pork (or meat) and salted water in a bowl. Mix well.

3. Add the cabbage and the rest of the filling ingredients. Again, mix until the ingredients are combined. Cover and refrigerate for about 1 hour.

4. To make the dumplings, put a teaspoon of filling in the center of a disk. Wet the inside rim of the disk with a finger that has been dipped in water.

5. Fold the disk in half, and starting from one end, pinch the edge of the dough, in an overlapping fashion, or alternatively, use a dumpling press. Place on a cookie sheet, sprinkled with cornstarch. The dumplings should stand with the pinched edge upright.

6. Place dumplings in a Chinese Steamer (you will probably need 2 tiers). Steam over boiling water for 12 minutes and serve.

Alexandra Troy is owner of Culinary Architect Catering, a 35 year-old Greenvale-based company, specializing in private, corporate and promotional parties.

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