Tag labor day party

Savor the Summer with Parties That Cook’s Labor Day Lettuce Cups of Minced Gingered Chicken

Just because summer may be coming to a close, doesn’t mean the warm weather immediately disappears. In fact, for some, (like those in SF) the real summer warmth has yet to begin. Cool down as we transition into fall with this deliciously refreshing recipe for lettuce cups filled with gingery chicken! Try them out for your Labor Day bash, or whip them up for a weeknight family dinner — we all know your time is precious now that the kids are back in school! With the cooking done quickly in a wok or skillet, you’ll have plenty of time to enjoy the summer sun or savor your free time in the evening.

Lettuce Cups Filled with Minced Gingered Chicken, Peanuts and Hoisin Sauce
Try this recipe with Pork or check out more tasty appetizers in our Appetizer Recipe Library!

Lettuce Cups:
2 heads butter lettuce

Minced Gingered Chicken:
3/4 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, finely minced
1 Tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon cornstarch
2 Tablespoons Lap Chang Chinese sausage, finely diced*
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh ginger, finely minced
1/2 cup (6 small caps) fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, finely chopped
3/4 cup minced water chestnuts, drained and minced
3 scallions, finely sliced
2 Tablespoon cilantro, finely chopped
3 Tablespoons roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped
1 Tablespoon oyster sauce
1 1/2 Tablespoons canola oil
Pinch of ground pepper
1/4 cup chicken broth or water
1 Tablespoon toasted sesame oil

1/4 cup hoisin sauce
Cilantro leaves and chopped peanuts for garnish

Grind Chicken: Grind the chicken thighs in a food processor until coarsely ground or minced. Combine the ground chicken, soy sauce and cornstarch in a large bowl. Set aside.

Chop Ingredients: Mince the garlic and the ginger. Set aside. Remove and discard the mushroom stems. Finely chop the mushrooms and set aside. Drain and mince the water chestnuts, slice the scallions and cilantro. Roughly chop the peanuts. Set all ingredients aside until ready to stir fry.

Stir Fry: In a wok or large skillet over high heat, heat 1/2 of the canola oil. Add the Chinese sausage and cook until sausage has rendered, about 1 minute. Remove from pan (or if using a wok, push to the side). Add remaining oil. Add the garlic and ginger and sauté for 1 minute. Add the ground chicken mixture and cook until the chicken is brown, about 3 minutes. Reduce heat to medium. Add chopped shiitakes, oyster sauce, pepper and chicken broth. Cook until sauce thickens and coats the chicken. Toss in water chestnuts and the reserved sausage. Remove from heat and add the chopped scallion and cilantro. Drizzle with sesame oil. Toss to combine.

Assemble and Serve: Brush each lettuce cup lightly with hoisin sauce. Spoon warm chicken mixture into chilled lettuce cups. Sprinkle with peanuts and garnish with a sprig of cilantro. Serve immediately. Put extra hoisin sauce on table if desired.

Recipe adapted by Parties That Cook® www.PartiesThatCook.com from The San Francisco Chronicle.

*Lap Chang-A dried, hard sausage usually made from pork and a high content of fat. It is normally smoked, sweetened, and seasoned with Rose water, rice wine and soy sauce. It can be found in Asian markets and sometimes in the Asian section of better grocery stores.

Labor Day Holiday Party Ideas

As a student, I feel like my summers last about as long as a three-day weekend. With that in mind, it surprised me how many people are making plans for their Labor Day weekend. Trips to the mountains or the lake may not be in everyone’s budget but a “stay-cation” party right in your own home probably is! Take advantage of your last few warm summer nights and enjoy an intimate gathering or a big bash to end your summer and start your fall on the right foot.

Labor day was originally created in the 1800’s to celebrate the hard work of laborers, so why not honor your friends (and yourself!) for a summer well done, and toast to a successful autumn. Your Labor Day holiday party could have a tinge of patriotism, but should be more concentrated on an Indian Summer fall theme. To accomplish this, use warmearth tones for your party. For an evening party, dark red table cloths and soft lighting would be perfect for the relaxing mood of a Labor Day holiday party. For a daytime party, organize games for the active, and set up hammocks and loungers for guests relishing the original theme of the holiday.

Some great starting ideas for your Labor Day holiday party could be back to school, neighborhood block party, or a beach party. Take a trip back to the golden years with music that you listened to in high school. Also, no need to splurge on fancy food, just have finger food and Chex mix for guests to munch on while reliving the good old days. A neighborhood block party would be a great opportunity for everyone to get together before the busy schedules of work and school kick back in. Grilling out and having a potluck style party will make everyone feel a part of the group. Or better yet, host a Labor Day cooking party and get your guests cooking together. A beach party doesn’t necessarily have to take place on a beach! Lay out big beach towels and throw your drinks in a cooler for a relaxed end of the summer fiesta.

Here are some great recipes you can use to wow your guests:

Salad of Heirloom Tomatoes, Corn, Ricotta Salata & Herbs Recipe
Salad of Watercress, Watermelon, Ricotta Salata, and Pine Nuts Recipe
Cinnamon and Coriander Spiced Skirt Steak Recipe
Blueberry Buckle with Aunt Polly’s Hot Cream Sauce Recipe

Contributed by Leigh Hermansen