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Come Party With Me: Ugly Sweater — Menu (Savory)

Although the Ugly Sweater party starts at 8 p.m., it's important to offer guests a few snacks to nibble on throughout the night. The last thing you want is a drunken guest raiding your fridge or pantry. To avoid this sloppy situation, set out a variety of small appetizers that require virtually no work throughout the night.

A vegetarian garlic, eggplant, and tomato spread is delicious on crusty bread. A homemade chex-style party mix is an excellent absorber of alcohol. Since this is a tacky-chic party, make three different kinds of cheese balls. Serve with an assortment of crackers and flatbreads. If desired, supplement the menu with store bought goods like olives, dips, and vegetables.

For the recipes,

Garlicky Eggplant and Tomato Crostini
From Food and Wine magazine

2 pounds small eggplants—peeled, quartered lengthwise, then halved crosswise
6 medium garlic cloves, halved
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
One 28-ounce can peeled Italian plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped, juices reserved
1/2 cup coarsely chopped cilantro
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
toasted croutons, crostini, or crackers for serving

  1. In a large saucepan fitted with a large steamer basket, bring 1/2 inch of water to a simmer. Add the eggplant and garlic to the steamer. Cover the saucepan and steam the eggplant over moderate heat until tender, about 20 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large, deep skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the chopped tomatoes and their juices along with the cilantro, cumin, paprika and crushed red pepper and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 15 minutes.
  3. Drain the steamed eggplant and garlic in a colander, pressing gently to extract any excess water.
  4. Transfer to a bowl and finely mash the garlic and coarsely mash the eggplant with a fork, then scrape them both into the tomato sauce.
  5. Add the fresh lemon juice and simmer over moderate heat for 5 minutes, stirring a few times. Season the eggplant with salt and pepper and transfer to a serving bowl.
  6. Serve the eggplant salad at room temperature or lightly chilled with croutons, crostini, or crackers for spreading.

Serves 6.

Homemade Party Mix
From Emeril Lagasse

1/2 pound cashews
1/2 pound hot roasted peanuts
2 cups pretzel nuggets
8 cups waffle cereal (such as Chex)
1 cup butter
1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons Creole spice

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl combine nuts, pretzels and cereal.
  3. Melt butter with Worcestershire sauce and drizzle over nut mixture; sprinkle with Creole spice.
  4. Toss to coat completely, pour onto a cookie sheet and bake until crisp and tasty, about 25 minutes.

Makes about 12 cups.

Cheese Balls Three Ways
From Martha Stewart

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened (1 stick)
3 packages (8-ounce) cream cheese
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
5 dashes hot sauce, preferable Tabasco
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
8 ounces sharp orange cheddar cheese, finely shredded
2 tablespoons store-bought chutney
3/4 cup dried cranberries, finely chopped
Water crackers, for serving
6 ounces Roquefort cheese
1 shallot, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
2 teaspoons brandy, optional
1 cup toasted walnuts, coarsely chopped
Vegetable chips, such as Terra Chips Sweets & Beets, for serving
8 ounces goat cheese
2 tablespoons finely chopped scallions
1/3 cup finely chopped fresh curly-leaf parsley
1 English cucumber, cut into 1/8-inch slices, for serving

  1. Prepare the Base Mixture: in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine butter, cream cheese, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, salt, and pepper; mix on medium speed until combined. Divide equally among 3 medium bowls.
  2. Prepare the Cheddar and Cranberry Cheese Ball: stir cheddar and chutney with base mixture in the first bowl. Form into a ball. If not using immediately, refrigerate up to 3 days or freeze up to 1 month. Roll cheese balls in cranberries to coat before serving. Serve with crackers.
  3. Prepare the Roquefort and Walnut Cheese Ball: stir blue cheese and shallot with base mixture in second bowl; add brandy, if desired. Form into a ball. If not using immediately, refrigerate up to 3 days; freeze up to 1 month. Roll in walnuts to coat before serving. Serve with chips.
  4. Prepare the Goat Cheese and Scallion Cheese Ball: stir goat cheese and scallions with base mixture in remaining bowl. Form into a ball. If not using immediately, refrigerate up to 3 days to freeze up to 1 month. Roll in parsley to coat before serving. Serve with cucumber slices.

Makes three 4-inch cheese balls and serves 8 to 10.

FashionKid FashionKid 9 years
hmmmm i lvoe eggplant i will make this recipe today at home....fro family and friends.
FashionKid FashionKid 9 years
yumm thtas look sso good.
onesong onesong 9 years
yum, EXCELLENT call on leaving out snacks no matter when the party starts. i made the mistake (at my first party) of only throwing out a bowl of chips and some salsa because i thought, "well, people are coming at 9, and we're playing tons of games, so everyone will have eaten and they'll drink slowly." LOL, yeah RIGHT! i had drunken guests sprawled all over my house the next morning, my fridge was pretty much empty of all my healthy yogurts as well as sour cream, cream cheese, and salad dressing, along with salad, bagels, and the rest of the chips. it was insane! now i always start a party with seriously hearty dips (usually a hot spinach artichoke, a homemade french onion, and creamy chili cheese dip), as well as standard chips and salsa and bread with garlic and hot pepper olive oils. it takes a bit more time, but people always love coming over because of the "drunk snacks" and i never (well, usually :)) have to wake up to hungover smelly people on the floor of my bathroom (yes, that is seriously where i found one the next morning after the first party!). these sound delicious and i am TOTALLY making them for the next soiree...holy long post!!! :) haha
The eggplant spread sounds awesome.
partysugar partysugar 9 years
Vegan musician, I think either way would work. If you have time to sweat the eggplant it couldn't hurt.
terryt18 terryt18 9 years
cheeseballs rock !
issarocks issarocks 9 years
vegan-musician vegan-musician 9 years
Yum, do you recommend sweating the eggplant w/ salt beforehand to pull some of the bitterness, or is it ok as is?
mamaseacat mamaseacat 9 years
I love eggplant! I've never seen a green cheese ball before. Interesting.
I love cheese balls, but have never made my own. I've had a homemade one with pineapple in it and it was delish!
citizenkane citizenkane 9 years
I wish one of my friends would have an ugly sweater party. Great fun.... I've heard of a Cosby sweater party
aimeeb aimeeb 9 years
Everytime I hear cheesebals I think of the Top Chef holiday special!
nancita nancita 9 years
I love the idea of making cheeseballs for a cheesy party!
Marci Marci 9 years
I couldn't eat one of these things. I'm allergic to eggplant, nuts and cheese, which is why I usually eat before a party. :D :D
emalove emalove 9 years
I want to have an Ugly Sweater Party...I think it would be hilarious.
HonestMuffin HonestMuffin 9 years
oh! and for easier cutting, pop the balls in the freezer for a minute.... that didn't sound right, did it.
HonestMuffin HonestMuffin 9 years
Tip for serving the cheese balls: Try carefully slicing the cheese balls in half and arrange creatively on a cutting board... it will look pretty AND it'll be easier for people to scoop the cheese
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