Caftans & Cocktails

The Menu

The Cocktails:
Shochu Sunset & The Sweet Dream

The Food:
Spicy Shrimp Deviled Eggs
Lemongrass Sausage Meatballs with Sambal Glaze
Vegetable Cutlet with Tomato Chutney
Thai Chicken and Glass Noodle Salad in Lettuce Cups
Grilled Pineapple with Banana Kaya

When summer beckons us poolside, what better way to enjoy the late afternoon than with a cocktail party? Suggested attire — caftan. Caftans evoke exotic glamour, or Bohemian chic, bringing to mind Elizabeth Taylor in her heyday in the 1970s, and of course the sultry places in faraway countries on the other side of the world. Regal comfort meets beautiful color ripe for visual impact by accessorizing with statement jewelry and beautiful sandals — more is more. Thus attired, you and your guests become part of the festive atmosphere.

What better summer entertianing inspiration is there than a poolside retreat with a group of self-proclaimed “girl bosses,” entrepreneurs and businesswomen, and most importantly friends, at the Uptown home of interior designer Nomita Joshi.

It was a perfect opportunity for Joshi to use the textiles she has been collecting from her native country of India. The restaurant MoPho was called in to do the honors of providing its unique and delicious blend of Southeast Asian and Creole food, and also contribute to the libations portion of the caftans and cocktails.

Chef Paul Chell of MoPho put together a perfect collection of cocktail party food that complements the overall happy elegance and casual atmosphere.

 

 

Food and cocktails: MoPho, 514 City Park Ave., 482-6845, mophonola.com; Flowers: Hazelnut, 5525 Magazine St., 891-2424, hazelnutneworleans.com; Caftans: Amanda Stone Talley, 1382 Magazine St., 595-3136, amandatalley.com; Pool and outdoor space design and decoration: Nomita Joshi Interior Design, 2043 Magazine St., 616-7073, nomitajoshi.com

 


 


The Sweet Dream

1 ounce sugarcane rum
1 ounce pineapple juice
½ ounce Ramazzotti Rosato
¼ ounce Pimento Dram
¼ ounce simple syrup
1 egg white

Shake and serve in a coupe; top with Peychaud’s Bitters.

 


 

Shochu Sunset

1 ounce Lemongrass Shochu
½ ounce lemon juice
½ ounce hibiscus ginger syrup

Shake and strain into a champagne flute and top with sparkling sake; garnish with a lemon peel.

 


 


Spicy Shrimp Deviled Eggs

12 hard boiled eggs
1 tablespoon shrimp paste (found in Asian markets)
½ cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon minced lemongrass
1 teaspoon minced ginger
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 teaspoons Creole mustard
1 teaspoon white pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
pinch of cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon salt
optional – 12 poached, number 90 shrimp cut lengthwise for garnish
fresh dill

Peel eggs. Cut in half. Separate yolks and whites. Push yolks through a sieve into a medium bowl. Fold in all other ingredients except for optional shrimp garnish. Put the mixture into a piping bag, and pipe it into the white halves of the eggs. Garnish with shrimp if using or a sprig of dill.

 


 

Vegetable Cutlet with Tomato Chutney

2 medium potatoes, preferably Idaho
1 zucchini, grated, excess moisture squeezed out
1 squash, grated, excess moisture squeezed out
1 carrot, grated
1 cup green peas, fresh or frozen
1 teaspoon whole cumin
1 teaspoon whole fennel seed
1 teaspoon whole fenugreek (found in Indian markets)
1 teaspoon black mustard seed
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon paprika
2 teaspoons cumin powder
2 teaspoons coriander powder
1 teaspoon amchur (optional – found in Indian markets)
1 teaspoon asafoetida (optional – found in Indian markets)
¼ cup mint, chopped
¼ cup cilantro, chopped

Boil potatoes whole in salted water until tender. Remove from water and cool. When able to handle, remove skins. Put in medium bowl and mash slightly with a fork. Fold in other vegetables. Heat a medium size pan over medium heat. Add oil, and when oil is hot carefully add all spices and fry for 30 seconds. Be careful of mustard seeds, as they will pop. Add spices and oil to potato mixture. Add powders and fresh herbs and fully combine. Using a 10-ounce scoop, form the mixture into balls. Then flatten on both sides to make a disc. Chill discs for 30 minutes until firm.

For the breading
2 cups chickpea flour
5 cups water, approximately (or enough to make a slurry)
Panko bread crumbs

Dredge cutlets in slurry, then coat in breadcrumbs. Heat fryer to 350 F and fry until golden brown (3 minutes).

Tomato Chutney
2 cups whole cherry tomatoes
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cup rice wine vinegar
1 cup sugar
1 cinnamon stick
1 Thai chili minced with ¼ cup minced ginger
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon whole cumin seed
1 teaspoon black mustard seed
1 teaspoon whole fennel seed
1 teaspoon fenugreek (found in Indian markets)
1 tablespoon Korean chili flakes

Put whole cherry tomatoes in a medium, non-reactive pot with the cinnamon stick and rice wine vinegar and simmer over medium heat until tomatoes burst and vinegar has reduced. It will resemble a slightly loose marmalade. Put this mixture into a medium bowl. Add chili, ginger, halved tomatoes, and combine. Heat a small pan over medium high heat; add oil. When oil is hot, add all seeds. Fry for thirty seconds. Add oil and seeds to tomato mixture. Add Korean chili flakes.

Spoon chutney on vegetable cutlets.

 


 

Lemongrass Sausage Meatballs with Sambal Glaze

1 pound ground pork
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon chopped lemongrass
2 tablespoons chopped ginger
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
1 teaspoon white pepper
3 teaspoons fish sauce
(found in Asian markets)
2 tablespoons sugar

Put ground pork in medium bowl. Add other ingredients, and combine with gloved hands. Form into two-ounce meatballs. Bake at 350 F for 15 minutes. To serve, let cool and place two meatballs on the end of bamboo skewers. Makes 8 meatballs.

Sambal Glaze
1 cup of Sambal Oelek (Sambal and shrimp paste found in Asian markets)
1 cup of sugar
2 teaspoons shrimp paste

Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth. Brush glaze on meatballs.

 


 

Tips:

1. Use textiles as table coverings. Mix color and pattern within a specific palette.

2. Go faux for flowers! These are not your granny’s plastic flowers, but botanically-specific and beautifully-crafted stems that won’t wilt in summer heat. These beauties came from Hazelnut on Magazine Street. Mix in cuttings of real greens (cut from the yard) to further fool the eye.

3. Elevate a basic outdoor umbrella by adding fringe.

4. Drape outdoor furniture with pretty throws or large pieces of fabric.

5. Bring toss pillows from inside the house outside for the event.

6. Gather your pretty stemware and dishes. “Shop” your house for pieces to use that, tell your color story. In this case it was a collection of turquoise platters, pink glassware and mix and match plates.

7. Limit your menu to a few special things that will stand out.

8. Do use the services of a chef or restaurant you love so you can be a guest at your own party.

 


 

Grilled Pineapple with Banana Kaya

3 bananas
1 pineapple
1 jar Kaya (from Asian markets)
chili flakes

Heat oven to 350 F. Roast bananas in skins for 20 minutes. Let cool. Peel bananas and put in food processor. Add one jar of Kaya. Remove skin from pineapple and cut into large dice. Place on skewers. Season it with salt and sugar. Grill on prepared charcoal grill, medium-high heat until caramelized. Sprinkle on chili flakes. Serve Banana Kaya as a dipping sauce. Garnish with a sprinkle of your favorite granola.

 


 

Thai Chicken and Glass Noodle Salad in Lettuce Cups

2 bone-in chicken quarters
equal parts of salt and sugar

Pre-heat oven to 375 F.
Season the chicken with salt and sugar. Roast for 20 minutes. Let cool to room temperature. Pick the meat; discard skin, bones and cartilage. Slightly shred the meat.

½ grated carrot
½ grated daikon radish
½ cup blanched sliced snow peas
½ cup mung bean sprouts
½ cup mango (not too ripe), julienned
2 bundles of cooked glass noodles

Lime dressing
2 cups freshly-squeezed lime juice
1 cup Golden Mountain seasoning sauce (from Asian markets)
3 Thai chilies, minced
1 cup granulated sugar
pinch of salt
1 head of Bibb lettuce, separated into individual leaves

In a medium bowl combine vegetables, mango, noodles, chicken and dressing. Using gloved hands, thoroughly combine. Adjust salt and Golden Mountain seasoning if necessary. Arrange lettuce leaves on a platter; fill each leaf with the salad.

 


 

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