The Ultimate Cocktail & Appetizer Party with Chef Mark Obois

Infused Liqueurs

All infused liqueurs are created using the same basic principle. A flavor is steeped in an alcohol base for a time.

Sugar Syrup is used to sweeten the infusion, if desired. Use distilled water as it is pure, as opposed to tap water that may have chlorine added. Use a healthy sugar, such as sugar in the raw.

Sugar Syrup

1 cup water

2 cups sugar

Method: Heat water in a saucepan, add the sugar, and dissolve the sugar.

Cranberry or Cherry Bounce

1 bottle, 32 oz of vodka, mid range or higher in quality

4 cups whole fresh or frozen cranberries or cherries

3/4 cup of sugar syrup

Method: Heat up vodka and simple syrup to slightly higher than body temperature, around 120 degrees. Place berries into a bottle or canning jar, cover with the vodka syrup mixture. Let sit for 3 months. Consume with lots of ice or mix with fruit juice of your choice. Can garnish drinks with sundried cherries or craisins.

Mango Vanilla Ginger Rum

1 bottle, 32 oz of good quality blonde rum such as Bacardi Anejo

3 vanilla beans

4 cups fresh or frozen chunks of mango

1/4 cup peeled, sliced fresh ginger

1/2 cup of sugar syrup

Method: Heat up Rum and simple syrup to slightly higher than body temperature, around 120 degrees. Place beans, mango and ginger into a bottle or canning jar, cover with the rum syrup mixture. Let sit for 3 months. Consume with lots of ice or mix with a small amount of cola, a splash of seltzer and a wedge of freshly mashed orange.

Luau / Caribbean Party

Outside, Party tent/shade is good. Tiki torches, flowers, theme tablecloths with a grass skirt, napkins, plates, string lights.

Have all men in Hawaiian shirts

Women in dresses with floral patterns

Buys leis for everyone and give to each guest as they arrive. Buy comfortable leis as the plastic leis are scratchy and people will not wear them for long.

Any Don Ho albums around? Pull them out and use for décor and music.

Food: Menu can mix your favorites with Polynesian/Hawaiian cuisine. Some Ideas are: Pineapple chicken salad, sweet potato salad, pineapple coconut rice, luau ham, ham chutney asparagus roll ups, sweet and sour meatballs, pineapple upside down cake.

Sweet and Sour Sauce

5 parts white vinegar

4 parts sugar

3 parts ketchup

1 part water

Or

2 1/2 cups white vinegar

2 cups sugar

1 1/4 cup ketchup

1 cup water

Method: Bring above ingredients to a boil, stirring occasionally. Add cornstarch water mixture to thicken and simmer for 1 minute. Use within 3 weeks.

Pineapple Chicken Salad

2 cups cooked chicken. May use chicken breast, or boil a whole chicken, let cool in water/stock, then peel meat when ready to use

2 cups fresh pineapple chunks

1/4 miracle whip

1/ cup sour cream

1/2 cup diced onions

1/2 cup diced celery

1/2 cup roasted slice almonds

2 teaspoon curry powder

1 tablespoon fresh tarragon, use less if dried

Salt and pepper to taste

Can cook chicken 1 day ahead. Mix all ingredients 3 hours or so before serving. Garnish with paprika and chopped parsley.

Carmen Greens Simple Fruit Salad

This sweetened salad is a big hit with kids.

Pineapple, oranges, mango, papaya, apples, grapes, cantaloupe, honeydew

Peel, cube and mix fresh fruits into a bowl. Separately mix vanilla instant pudding with pineapple juice, following manufactures ratio of milk to dry mix but using pineapple juice instead of milk. Fold the two together. Garnish with toasted coconut, cashews, maraschino cherries, craisins etc… Depending on the fruit used, peel and cube what you can 1 day ahead.

Deviled Eggs

Can be prepped 1 day ahead of time

Boil eggs for 9 minutes, shock by draining the water and adding ice water to pan. Peel and cuts eggs in half. Place the following ingredients into a food processor. Eggs yolks, miracle whip, fresh lemon juice, salt, cayenne pepper=be careful, salt, curry powder optional. Adjust seasonings. Place cooked egg whites into bowl with water to wash off any cooked yolks. Drain and lay upside on a cookie sheet lined with paper towel to dry. Using a piping bag with a star tip, fill a few hours before serving, garnish with black olive wedge, cherry tomato wedge, or a sprig of parsley.

Ham, Asparagus & Chutney Roll Ups

Blanch asparagus and shock. Do this buy bringing salted water to a rapid boil. Add fresh asparagus and cook for 90 seconds or so. Do not overcook. Immediately place asparagus into an ice bath. This stops the cooking process. After 2 minutes drain and reserve. Do not leave in ice water as over time this will make asparagus soggy.

Soften butter in the microwave, maybe 25 seconds. Lay out sliced ham, lightly spread butter over ham, add pureed chutney, then asparagus. Roll up tightly and place in cooler. As then butter cools it will harden and make the roll ups firm. May be sliced and tooth picked, or left whole and used in a salad. May prepare 1 day ahead of time.

Grand Marnier Lobster Mashed Potatoes

Keys to making them excellent

Boil potatoes with salted water. Salt adds flavor. Drain potatoes completely. Place back on stove for 1 minute to release the steam while stirring. In mixer whip the potatoes completely, scraping bottom of mixing bowl. Add butter chunks, do not substitute margarine, and hot milk. Add enough hot milk because as the mixture cools potatoes will lose steam and harden slightly, so add enough milk now. Season with salt, white pepper= be careful and nutmeg. Can peel and quarter potatoes 1 day ahead. Mashed potatoes do not hold well. Prepare 1 hour or so before serving. May hold in 200 degree oven.
Gently sauté cubed lobster in butter unit 3/4 done, add fresh lemon and small amount of Grand Marnier. Saute until about 90% done. Shut heat off. Do not over cook lobster. Fold into mashed potatoes. Garnish with chopped scallions.

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