I love to open up my home and invite friends and family over for celebrations. And the holiday season provides irresistible opportunities to throw great parties that people will remember. My first priority is always my guests, and I ensure that they are well fed, entertained, and delighted.
Good food is vital to any party. Hungry guests are not happy guests, so I have a wide variety of food available for the duration of the party. During the holidays, a time when people tend to overeat and overindulge, I offer some healthful party fare in addition to seasonal favorites.
Give your appetizer trays a boost by adding nuts, mushrooms, cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, radish), and edamame (soy beans). You can make your own party favorites more healthful by adding foods, herbs, and spices that increase energy and vitality, help prevent the diseases of aging, and taste great. For example, add curry powder to a rice dish, garlic and ginger to a stir-fry, or citrus to a sauce for poultry. Here’s one of my favorite dishes to add to a party buffet.
Tofu and Vegetable Stir-Fry
Tofu is an excellent alternative to meat, and this stir-fry will provide you with plenty of health-boosting vegetables. Broccoli is a good source of lutein, a hedge against macular degeneration. Cauliflower and kale have phytonutrients that protect against cancer. I use a wok to prepare this dish, but a large skillet will work, too. The tofu doesn’t have to be fried first, but frying gives it a nice texture.
1 package (8 oz.) firm tofu
6 Tbs. peanut oil
1 Tbs. grated gingerroot
2 Tbs. minced garlic
1 cup baby carrots
1 cup snow peas
1 cup broccoli florets, cut or separated into bite-size pieces
1 cup cauliflower florets, cut or separated into bite-size pieces
3 cups chopped kale
2 chopped scallions
2 Tbs. oyster sauce combined with 2 Tbs. water
2 Tbs. cornstarch dissolved in ¼ cup cold water
1. Drain the tofu and press between paper towels to remove excess water. Cut tofu into 1- to 11⁄4-inch cubes.
2. Heat 4 Tbs. of the peanut oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the tofu and fry until golden brown, about 2–3 minutes. Remove tofu from pan and keep warm.
3. Add the remaining 2 Tbs. peanut oil to the pan and sauté the ginger and garlic over medium-high heat until lightly browned, about 2 minutes.
4. Add the carrots, snow peas, broccoli, and cauliflower and cook until just tender but still crunchy, about 7–10 minutes.
5. Add the kale and scallions and continue cooking until kale softens, about 4–5 minutes.
6. Stir in the oyster sauce mixture and cornstarch mixture and cook until a thick sauce forms, about 2 minutes. (If using unfried tofu, add now and cook until heated through, about 2–3 minutes.)
7. Remove vegetables from heat. Fold in tofu.