Rolling up party fare

December 18, 1996|By EATING WELL MAGAZINE

"A good party is 25 percent inspiration, 10 percent perspiration and 65 percent organization," says Kate Hays, who runs Global Bite Catering (with partner Sandy Morris) in Burlington, Vt.

But Hays knows that ease of preparation and proper planning are equally important to a smooth event.

Here is a sampling of her diverse signature recipes.

Smoked salmon and spinach roulade

Makes 24 slices

1 10-ounce package frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry

1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

1/3 cup flour

1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream

dash of Tabasco

salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

2 large egg yolks

6 large egg whites

FILLING

6 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese

3/4 cup low-fat (1 percent) cottage cheese

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

8 ounces best-quality smoked salmon fillet

1/4 cup snipped fresh chives

3 tablespoons drained capers, rinsed, or 2 tablespoons prepared horseradish

fresh black pepper to taste

For the cake, heat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly oil an 11-by-17-inch baking sheet with sides or coat it with nonstick cooking spray. Line the bottom of the baking sheet with parchment paper or wax paper and liberally oil or spray it as well. Set aside.

In a food processor, puree spinach, parsley, flour, sour cream and Tabasco until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Add egg yolks and pulse to mix. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

In a mixing bowl, beat egg whites with an electric mixer until stiff, but not dry, peaks form. With a rubber spatula, fold 1/3 of the beaten whites into the spinach puree to lighten it. Fold the spinach mixture into the remaining whites just until blended, and spread in the prepared pan. Bake 8 to 10 minutes, or until the top springs back when lightly touched. Cool in the pan on a rack for 5 minutes.

Cover the work surface with a clean kitchen towel with the long edge toward you. Invert the spinach cake onto the towel. Peel off the parchment or wax paper and cover the spinach cake with another towel.

To make filling and assemble roulade, puree cream cheese and cottage cheese in a food processor until smooth. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.

Uncover the spinach cake and sprinkle the surface with lemon juice. Leaving a little border to accommodate the filling, spread half the cheese mixture on the spinach cake and distribute smoked salmon evenly on top. Spread the remaining cheese mixture over the salmon. Sprinkle with chives and capers or horseradish. Season with pepper.

Starting at the long edge, gently roll the cake and filling as you would roll a jelly roll, using the towel to lift and assist in the rolling. Wrap roulade in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 4 hours.

To serve, cut the roulade into 24 slices with a serrated knife.

Per slice: 55 calories; 5 g protein, 2 g fat (1.2 g saturated fat), 3 g carbohydrate; 210 mg sodium; 24 mg cholesterol

Torta rustica

Makes 16 slices

DOUGH

2 1/2 cups all-purpose white flour

1 cup whole-wheat flour

1 1/2 packages quick-rising yeast (3 1/2 teaspoons)

2 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon sugar

FILLING

1 eggplant (1 pound), cut into 1/2 -inch slices

2 onions, sliced

1 large summer squash, sliced

1 cup sun-dried tomatoes, not packed in oil

3 tablespoons olivada (black olive paste) or 1/4 cup minced imported black olives

1 teaspoon olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

10 ounces fresh spinach, stemmed and washed (8 cups)

3 ounces part-skim mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced

2 7-ounce jars roasted red peppers, drained

1 14-ounce can artichoke hearts, drained and sliced

1 ounce pepperoni, cut into julienne strips

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

To make dough: In a large bowl, whisk 1 1/2 cups of white flour, whole-wheat flour, yeast, salt and sugar. With a wooden spoon, gradually stir in 1 1/4 cups hot water (120 to 130 degrees); beat until well-mixed. Gradually add enough white flour to make a firm, soft dough. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead 8 to 10 minutes, or until smooth and elastic. Cover dough with plastic wrap and let rest 10 minutes.

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly oil 3 large baking sheets or coat them with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.

Place a pan of water on the lowest oven rack. (This will help steam and soften vegetables as they cook. Be careful when opening the oven door to prevent burns from the steam.) Spread eggplant, onions and squash on 2 of the baking sheets and bake 12 to 15 minutes, or until softened; set aside. Remove water from oven and raise temperature to 450.

Meanwhile, put sun-dried tomatoes in a saucepan, add water to cover and simmer over medium-low heat until soft, 5 to 10 minutes. Drain and puree in food processor until smooth. In a small bowl, combine the puree with olive paste or olives; set aside.

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic and saute until fragrant, about 10 seconds. Add spinach and cook, stirring until wilted, 3 to 4 minutes. Let cool and squeeze out any extra moisture. Set aside.

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