Stalking the Waiter

Riffing on foods, flavors and methods, that would be telling.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Blog Party #6 Retro Party

Blog Party - This sounded like a fun one - a retro cocktail party with munchies, drinks and snacks from the 40s through the 60s, prime cocktail party time. As usual, I didn't read the fine print. The entries are due today. I can write this up and hope I'll get it put together for the pics in time for the roundup, which is what I'm going to have to do. Early to bed tonight, for early to rise tomorrow.

I thought I'd do three beverages, each with an appropriate munchie. Being born and raised in California, my take on this may be different from those who grew up or whose parents entertained in different parts of the country. I've raided my mother's and my aunts personal cookbooks for these, so I know they're authentic. :G:

First we have the Mediterranean represented by Retsina with Gyros meatballs and Tzatziki dipping sauce.

Then we have the East, serving either Sake or Sapporo with Rumaki marinated in garlic chili sauce and brown sugar.

And last, going probably back to my grandmother's era, the classic Martini with Art Deco Caviar Canapes, not that my grandmother was in the least a Martini kind of lady.

Something for everyone.


Gyros Meatballs

Preheat oven to 350 F.
  • 1/2 pound each ground lamb and ground beef
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onions
  • 1 tsp. oregano, crumbled
  • 1/4 tsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. hot paprika or half that of cayenne
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. olive or peanut oil
  1. Put everything into a large bowl and smoosh it around, with your scrupulously clean hands, until it is well mixed.
  2. Form into bite-size meatballs, keeping in mind that they will shrink some as they cook.
  3. Put a wire rack onto a jellyroll pan, and put the meatballs onto the rack.
  4. Cook in the oven for approximately 20 minutes.
  5. Using a tongs turn them about half way through.
  6. Check one at about 15 minutes, by cutting into it and seeing if it's still pink, or use a pen thermometer - it should be 160 degrees. They will continue cooking after they are out of the oven.

Tzatziki Sauce

  • 1 pint sour cream
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • Salt, to taste.
Put everything in a bowl and whisk together until well incorporated.

Serve the meatballs on a platter with toothpicks and have the bowl of Tzatziki nearby.


Preheat broiler
  • 1 pound chicken livers
  • Water chestnuts (1-2 cans)
  • 1 tbsp. Chili Paste with Garlic
  • 2 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 lb. bacon, not thick sliced.
  • Toothpicks, soaked in water to keep them from burning under the broiler.
  1. Trim any bits of fat or stringy stuff from the chicken livers and cut into bize-size pieces, keeping in mind the size of the water chestnuts, so not too small.
  2. Mix chili sauce, brown sugar and soy sauce and pour over chicken livers. Marinate for at least half an hour but not more than an hour.
  3. Drain water chestnuts and pat dry.
  4. Drain chicken livers and pat dry.
  5. Cut bacon slices in half.
  6. Assemble by taking one piece of liver and a water chestnut, wrap a half slice of bacon around them and secure with a toothpick.
  7. Same setup as for the meatballs: Put a wire rack onto a jellyroll pan, and put the Rumaki onto the rack.
  8. With the overn rack at about four inches from the heat source, broil the rumaki for approximately 5 minutes on a side, turning with tongs.
  9. When the bacon is done, the liver should be cooked through,too, but cut one open to be sure.

Caviar Art Deco Canapes

  • Two colors of caviar
  • 1-2 hardboiled eggs, pressed through a sieve for a very fine grain
  • Crustless, thin sliced white bread
  • Room temperature unsalted butter
  • Very finely chopped onion
  • sour cream
  1. Butter the bread lightly before cutting into 2 inch squares.
  2. Using a straight edge, lay it diagonally across the squares.
  3. Carefully spread a single layer of one color of caviar onto one of the resulting triangles.
  4. Do the same with the other color on the opposite side of the straight edge. Carefully remove the divider to keep the line between them as straight as possible.
If you have the patience or the inspiration, you can make checkerboards of alternating colors of caviar, or concentric circles, etc. You can either garnish the sandwiches with the onion and/or sieved egg, for example, running a narrow strip down the dividing line between the caviars, or putting a small dollop on either section, or serve them and the sour cream, alongside, with a small spoon or fork for guests to garnish their own.

Cheers and bon appetit!


At 8:05 AM, Blogger Stephanie said...

Hi b'gina!!!

Techinically, entries are due the Thursday before the party. But I've found that there are 'stragglers' every month, so you are absolutely fine.

Besides, how could I pass on those fabulous-sounding goodies??

Thanks so much for coming to the party!

At 11:56 AM, Blogger cookiecrumb said...

I did rumaki too!
We shoulda had an actual party.

At 12:04 AM, Blogger b'gina said...

Hi, Stephanie. I hope I can get this finished by tomorrow. It's been really crazy around here, appointments almost every day. But this is a fun one, so I have incentive. If I can just find the time.

Cookie, you know, I've never actually eaten Rumaki. Someone I went to college with used to wrap canned tamales (IIRC) in bacon and broil them and called that Rumaki?!?!?!? But I love chicken livers, so why not.

At 6:11 AM, Blogger Kristi said...

Hi B'gina! Thanks for visiting my blog the other day. I love the idea of a retro cocktail party. Your recipes are nothing like these, of course, but have you ever seen this:
It's great for a laugh!

At 12:11 PM, Blogger b'gina said...

Hi, Kristi,

Yep, the stuff on that site is pretty scary. :G: It was a different world, wasn't it? Thanks for dropping by.

At 3:18 PM, Blogger Kalyn said...

I love the sound of your meatballs with the Tzatziki sauce. I love Gyro meat so I'm guessing I would love them. I'm bookmarking this recipe.


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