Buttermilk Peppercorn Dip

My sister-in-law paired this dip with homemade root chips once and I was hooked. Honestly, I don’t have her patience to make root chips, but I can do this dip! It’s really easy, especially paired with Trader Joe’s Vegetable Root Chips and simple crudités.  Thank you, Martha Stewart!

1 c. sour cream
2 T. nonfat buttermilk
1 t. coarsely ground mixed peppercorns (black, pink, green)
2 t. minced chives
1/2 t. finely chopped fresh thyme
1 large shallot, minced
1/2 t. salt

To make dip, combine sour cream, buttermilk, pepper, chives, thyme, shallot, and salt in a medium bowl, and stir well to combine. Set aside.

Hawaiian Dinner Party

Time flies – whether you’re having fun or not – so we might as well party! Ten years after I threw a luau to celebrate my husband’s 50th, it was time to celebrate another decade. What with kids and the economy, we haven’t gotten back to Paradise as often as we would like, so it seemed natural to try to rekindle some great memories right here at home. And so I planned another Hawaiian-themed party for my husband’s 60th; this time it was a smaller-scaled Hawaiian dinner party for just very close friends and family. But like the luau, it was delicious, and we all had a really lovely time.

My kids were too busy with school to help with invitations, and our guest list only required 14 invitations, so I did them myself:

Then I planned the menu, with a little (well, a lot of) inspiration from Roy Yamaguchi.  I used his book, Roy’s fish and seafood for the entree; and I used his Banana-Macadamia Nut Bread recipe for party favors, from Roy’s Feasts from Hawaii.   

A few days before the party day, I raided my old supplies of luau stuff to set up for the party. Beach sheets (subbed in for tablecloths), Hawaiian-inspired tumblers, umbrella picks, coconut candles, and of course, fresh tropical flowers from Island Florals, and we were ready.

E komo mai, aloha!

Hawaiian Dinner Party Menu

Mauna Kea Shrimp with Peanut Sauce
Buttermilk Peppercorn Dip with root chips and cruditées
Kalua Pork Sliders

Mesclun salad mix with macadamia-encrusted goat cheese, grilled skewered tropical fruits, and coconut balsamic vinaigrette, sprinkled with dried toasted coconut flakes

Crab and potato-crusted Ono with creamed spinach and carrot ribbons, and bacon
     (Potato-crusted chicken for non-fish eaters)
Taro bread

Carrot Cake
Coconut milk ice cream
Pineapple- and palm tree-shaped Shortbread Cookies

Pineapple Fizz Punch (with a pineapple juice ring)
Hawaiian Sun beverages
Iced tea
Tedeschi Vineyards wine
Kona coffee
Rejuvenation tea

Mauna Kea Shrimp with Peanut Sauce

Colorful, refreshing, and always a hit; this recipe comes from one of my stand-by Hawaiian cookbooks, Maui Cooks Again (by Gini Baldwin, Judy Bisgard, Judy Furtado, Zelie Harders, Carol Hartley, and Penny James).

1 lb. (about 20) medium shrimp, cleaned, deveined, and tail removed
1 t. salt
10 Chinese snow peas, blanched and split
1 small bunch mint
1 small bunch basil
1 small bunch cilantro
20 toothpicks

Cook shrimp in 1 qt. boiling water with 1 t. salt added until shrimp turn pink.
Immediately plunge shrimp into ice water. Drain and pat dry. On each shrimp, lay a mint leaf, cilantro sprig, and small basil leaf. Wrap each shrimp around the middle with a split snow pea pod and skewer with a toothpick. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Serve with Peanut dip below.

Peanut Dip:
2 T. chunky peanut butter (use Jif or Skippy)
3 T. rice vinegar
¼ c. low-sodium soy sauce
1 T. sugar
2 t. lime juice
Few drops Tabasco sauce, to taste
1 clove garlic, finely minced

Place all ingredients in a blender or processor, blend until smooth. Adjust flavors as you like.

Makes almost 1 c. dip; I usually double or triple the recipe.