Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Party Food - skewer salads, mini-muffins, cookies and tidbits

I've spent some years setting up food for the Duluth Art Institute's exhibition openings. Every so often the DAI holds special events that require fancy food and dress and I always jump at the chance to help out! I remember a fancy tea party, art auctions, and in more recent years the Collector's Club. Four times I've had the opportunity to cook for the Collector's Club. This evening their event was held at the DAI in the Depot in Duluth.

This small gathering included only ten guests. I decided on two sweet and two savory plates and planned for two bites of each item per person. Through experience I've learned to stick with cold finger foods. The amount was perfect and the dishes were simple yet suitable for an upscale event.

Loaded Corn Muffin with Savory Cream Cheese Frosting
Provolone with Hard Salami, Roasted Tomato and Gherkin
Buffalo Chicken with Heart of Celery and Blue Brie
Clementine Cookie and Chocolate Cream
Dried Cherry, Roasted Almond, Milk Chocolate
(for drinks we served red and white wine and san pellegrino natural and limonata)

Here's my favorite dish and the one that disappeared the fastest:

This sort-of-salad on a skewer was really tasty. All I did was slide gherkins (sold as "cornichon"), low-fat hard salami, roasted tomato (seasoned with oregano and olive oil) and provolone onto skewers. The gherkin was super sour and made the sweet tomato taste amazing. The texture was so nice. I LOVED it! If you're in need of a fancy party food I would highly recommend.

And here's the recipe I'll share today...I'll say now, I was all set to make these corn muffins from scratch. But my test batch was a disaster! So I did myself a favor and bought the Jiffy mix that I always use at home. Because I figured they would turn out perfect - and luckily they did!

Loaded Corn Muffin with Savory Cream Cheese Frosting

One box Jiffy cornbread mix, prepared according to instructions on box.
One handful chopped jalapeno, some seeds removed.
One handful crumbled crispy bacon.
One tablespoon minced pimento.
Two garlic cloves, grated fine.
Two handfuls finely shredded cheddar cheese.

Fold all ingredients gently into prepared muffin batter. Grease your pan well and bake at 400F until browned on the edges. Mine were mini-muffins and baked for 15 minutes.
Use any size muffin pan or cast iron pan and adjust baking time.

One block softened cream cheese
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup crumbled bacon with some grease
One tablespoon lime juice
One tablespoon chopped chives
1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro leaves
Pinch of salt and pepper

Beat together with a mixer until light. Pipe onto cooled muffins. Garnish with chive and cilantro.

Enjoy! And support your local art scene! Check out the Duluth Art Institute's website here.


  1. Wow, those sound utterly amazing! What a fancy twist on cornbread muffins. I'm sure they'd dazzle and amaze the elite crowd and the kids at home!

  2. I am planning to organize a corporate party in Brooklyn . I was really confused for the party food. But this blog post really helped me.


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