I hope you all are enjoying this incomparable week of killer entertainment, provided by the Discovery Channel's Shark Week! I know we certainly are! What has been your favorite so far? I love the Alien Sharks! So creepy!
Well, as promised, I've got some great recipes and ideas to help you throw your own Shark Week bash. Fun themed food, a killer cocktail, and some free printables, will all come together to make one end of summer party that's sure to leave a mark!
Let's start with Jaws; the star of this party and centerpiece of your table! I saw this idea several times, and just had to make on for myself. It's too cute! I found an awesome tutorial on Watermelon, showing you how to bring this guy to life. I left the pieces of watermelon looking rough, so they would look more like carnage. You could even throw in some doll parts and make it extra gruesome! But, if you wanted to make it a little prettier, you could use a melon baller to hallow out the inside, and keep it a little more PG.
There had to be an element of fish in this mix, so I thought Tuna Ceviche would be the perfect "Chum" to throw in. For serving it, I found these cute little buckets in the dollar bins at Target, and couldn't pass them up. They were just too perfect! Make sure you clean your serving dish thoroughly before serving your ceviche, which you will also want to keep chilled. I put ice in the bottom of the bucket, then covered it with a layer of lettuce leaves, before topping it with the ceviche. I also used tuna to mix it up a bit. If you've never made ceviche before, and are nervous about raw fish, I recommend using whitefish, or shrimp. Also make sure that whatever seafood you choose is absolutely fresh.
1 lb fresh sashimi grade tuna
1 medium white onion
2 cloves garlic minced
1-2 jalapenos cored, seeded, and finely chopped
8 limes juiced
2 Tbs cilantro chopped
How to make it:
Dice your onion and tomatoes into even sized pieces and place in a medium sized bowl. Add garlic, jalapeno, lime juice, and cilantro. Cut tuna into roughly 1/2 in cubes and stir into mix. Make sure the lime juice covers the fish, as this is the element that will "cook" the fish, and you want it evenly cooked. Cover and refrigerate anywhere from 20 minutes, to 2 hours before serving. If you like your tuna more rare, go for less. If you and your guests like it a little more done, go for longer. Serve with tortilla chips.
Spicy Chicken and Cheese Empanadas
Empanadas are a nice match for the ceviche. Great little bite sized pockets of yumminess, that make for a perfect party snack. There are about a million ways to make empanadas; with meat, veggies, and even fruit. I usually make them filled with apple, pumpkin, or sweet potato, once the weather starts getting cooler, and even give them a little sprinkle of cinnamon and sugar. I also usually make my own dough, but for time saving purposes, this recipe uses puff pastry. These little guys are savory and delicious, with a touch of spice. If you want to kick them up a notch, add a few jalapenos to the recipe.
2 cups shredded cooked chicken
1 medium onion chopped
2 cloves garlic minced
1 tsp cumin
2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp chili powder
4 Tbs tomato paste
1/8 cup water or chicken stock
Salt and pepper
2 packages puff pastry
Large round cookie cutter
How to make them:
Drizzle a large skillet with vegetable oil, and saute garlic and onions on medium-high heat until they appear translucent, about 2-4 minutes. Stir in spices and cook for another minute. Add chicken, tomato paste, and water, mixing until well combined, then adding salt and pepper to taste. Cook a few more minutes, until water is absorbed and mixture begins to thicken just slightly. You don't want it runny, or it will soak through the pasty dough, but you don't want to dry it out either. Set mixture aside and allow to cool completely.
Preheat oven to 375F.
On a floured surface, lay out a sheet of puff pastry. Lightly flour the top and roll out dough until it is about 1/8 inch thick. Use the cookie cutter to cut out circles of dough. You should be able to get 6 circles out of each sheet. Make sure they are well floured, then stack to the side.
Fill a small dish with water and set at work station. Spoon roughly 1-2 tablespoons of cooled chicken mixture onto the bottom half of a dough circle. Careful not to over fill them. Top with a small amount of shredded cheese. Dip your finger into the water, and run it along the edge of the dough. Fold the top half of the circle over to form a half circle, then use a fork to crimp the edges of the dough together. Lay on a non stick baking sheet and repeat until finished. Lightly Brush each empanada with vegetable oil before baking for 12-14 minutes, or until puffed and golden brown. Serve with salsa.
Peach Raspberry "Shark Attack" Cupcakes
There has to be cupcakes. I mean, what's a party without cupcakes? Now, you have the option of doing whatever flavor you like here, and throwing on some blue icing, but if you want the full effect, you've got to go a little over the top. I wanted the insides of these bad boys to look like...well... a bloody shark attack. So, I started thinking filling. Raspberry spread. I could have gone all out and made a raspberry compote, but for time saving purposes, I went with store bought. The option is yours. I went with peach for the cupcake, because it sounded nice, and I had a few laying around, so Peach Raspberry it is! I kept the frosting simple with a basic buttercream, and a little bit of blue food coloring. The shark fins were simply cut out of craft paper. No need to get too fancy with it. These turned out so good! My husband is not big on sweets, but I know he ate at least two!
1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter room temperature
2 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup greek yogurt
1 3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3 peaches pureed
1/8 cup of peach liqeur
Makes about 20 cupcakes
How to make them:
Preheat oven to 350 F.
In the bowl of a mixer (or with a hand mixer), cream together butter and sugar until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating until well combined. Beat in vanilla. Set mixer to slow speed, slowly add peach liqeur, milk and yogurt, then beat to combine. You can skip the liqeur, but if you do, substitute extra milk.
In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients in three batches, mixing until just combined each time. Then, fold in peach puree.
Line two muffin tins with liners, and fill each about 2/3 full with batter. Bake for 15-17, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to rest in muffin tin for 5 minutes, before removing and allowing to cool completely on a wire rack.
Once the cupcakes have cooled, hallow out a small space in the middle of each cupcake, and spoon in a small amount of raspberry preserves. I use an apple corer to cut out the centers of mine.
1/2 cup butter room temperature
4 cups confectioners sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
2 Tbs milk
Blue food coloring
In a large bowl or mixer, beat 1/2 cup of butter on low until fluffy. Slowly add sugar, one cup at a time. Beat in vanilla, and milk. Scrape down sides, and beat on high until it begins to get fluffy and have desired consistency. If the mixture is too thick, add more milk 1 Tbs at a time. Add food coloring as need to achieve blue color.
Spoon frosting into a piping bag fitted with a frosting tip, and makes some gorgeous blue waves on those yummy cupcakes! I usually do a quick practice run of piping frosting onto a plate to figure out what pattern I want ahead of time.
You can make the empanadas and cupcakes the day before, to make your day of much easier. For a few extra fun goodies, I grabbed a bag of gold fish, as well as some gummy fish and sharks. The gummy fish are actually the garnish for the Ocean Water cocktail I'll be sharing with you tomorrow. As for the table set up, there really is no magic to it. A colorful table cloth or piece of fabric makes a great base. Use serving dishes in colors that match the theme, or go with a simple white. I usually use different sized wooden boxes when setting up a table for a party. It helps break up the space visually by creating different levels and adds interest. You can grab inexpensive ones like these at your local crafts store. Pull items from around your house that coincide with your theme or colors. Throw some sea shells and starfish you've collected from the beach into the mix. Grab your kid's sand bucket and shovel. If you've got one, use a surfboard propped up behind the table as a back drop. It's easy! You just have to get creative and have fun with it!
Come back tomorrow for my cocktail recipe, free printables, and more tips on how to throw your own killer bash!