Planning your own soiree takes effort, easier if you do a little every day: ordering rental glasses or tables or a small tent, getting some help for serving and cleaning up, figuring out the drinks and picking up alcohol (and a lot of ice), pulling out platters for serving, and, of course, making food (see recipes on the next nine pages). Better yet, hire someone who can do it all for you, while you sit back and enjoy your friends.
We invited the best of the Island caterers to our annual Best of the Vineyard bash, held on the lawn of the Martha’s Vineyard 
Historical Society in Edgartown, in late June. Each caterer made and served just one favorite hors d’oeurves, enough for a 150 guests. Then we ate them! They came in all sizes and shapes: tomato and lobster shooters in shotglasses, a Thai shrimp served in individual wonton spoons, tuna tartare in mini cones, and lobster and chicken 
in a phyllo strudel. There were no leftovers.

V. Jaime Hamlin
V Jaime Hamlin 
& Party Design
Vineyard Haven

Tomato-Melon Gazpacho Shooters with Fresh Lobster

• 1 ripe cantaloupe
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 16-ounce can peeled tomatoes
• 1 tablespoon sugar
• 1 1/2 cups water
• 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
• Juice of 1 lemon
• Salt and pepper to taste
• Cooked lobster, diced

Peel and seed melon. Cut into chunks.

Place 1 tablespoon olive oil in each of 2 skillets and heat. Add drained tomatoes 
to one skillet and break them up with the back of a spoon. Add the 1 tablespoon of sugar and salt and pepper to taste. Cook approximately 3 minutes.

Add melon chunks to second skillet and cook, stirring, about 3 minutes. Blend together the melon, tomato, water, cilantro, and lemon juice in a food processor. 
Adjust seasoning and chill.

Pour into 1 1/2–ounce clear shot glasses and garnish with fresh chopped lobster meat and a piece of cilantro.

Dede Rabaioli

Wild Mushroom Tarts
• 2 ounces each dried porcini and shiitake mushrooms
• 3 cups warm water
• 1 sheet frozen puff pastry
• 12 ounces ricotta cheese
• 2 cloves minced garlic
• 2 cups chopped scallions
• 3 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
• Salt and pepper to taste
Soak mushrooms in warm water for 20 minutes. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place one sheet frozen puff pastry on a cookie sheet. Punch holes all over with fork. Bake for 15 minutes. Using the back of a spatula, flatten pastry.

Mix ricotta, garlic; salt and pepper to taste. Spread over blanched puff pastry.

Drain mushrooms and chop coarsely. Spread mushrooms and scallions evenly over pastry. Top with cheddar cheese.

Return to oven and bake for another 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Cut into bite-sized pieces.

Patricia Harrison
Vineyard Haute Cuisine

Mini Crabcakes

25 pieces

• 1 pound Maine crab meat, drained, cartilage removed
• 1/3–1/2 cup Hellmann’s mayonnaise
• 1 egg, beaten
• 1 or 2 tablespoons of fresh bread crumbs
• 1/3 cup chopped scallions
• 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
• Salt and pepper to taste
• 2 teaspoons lemon juice

Mix all of the above in a bowl. Form miniature cakes. If they don’t stick together, add more bread crumbs.
Sauté in two tablespoons each of butter and vegetable oil over moderate heat until golden brown on each side.

Sauce remoulade

• 1 cup Hellmann’s mayonnaise
• 1/3 cup chopped dill pickles
• 1 heaping tablespoon chopped capers
• 1 heaping tablespoon chopped scallions
• 1 hard-boiled egg, chopped (optional)
• 2 teaspoons lemon juice or dill pickle juice

Mix all of the above and serve with crabcakes.

Annie Foley
Annie Foley Catering
Vineyard Haven

Thai Shrimp Curry Spoons

Yields approximately 20

• 1 pound small- to medium-sized shrimp, peeled, de-veined and chopped into 1/4-inch pieces
• 1 tablespoon vegetable or peanut oil
• 2–3 cloves garlic, minced
• 1 tablespoon grated ginger
• 1 tablespoon shallot, minced
• 2 stalks lemongrass, tender inside, minced
• 1 tablespoon cilantro roots, finely chopped
• 1 can unsweetened coconut milk
• 1 cup water
• 1 vegetarian-stock cube
• 1 tablespoon Thai green curry paste
• Asian fish sauce, to taste
• Sugar, to taste
• Toasted cashews, shredded coconut, and chopped cilantro, to garnish
• Wonton spoons

Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add garlic, ginger, shallots, lemongrass, cilantro roots, and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes, being careful not to burn garlic.

Add coconut milk, water, stock cube, and curry paste, and stir over medium heat until combined. Simmer a few minutes and add a little fish sauce and sugar to taste. Strain the sauce, add it back to the pan, add the shrimp, and simmer a few minutes until cooked. Place a spoonful of the shrimp and curry sauce into each wonton spoon. Garnish with coconut, chopped toasted cashews, and chopped cilantro.

Maria Rizzo
Slice of Life
Oak Bluffs

Sesame Chicken Salad Spring Rolls

• 8 boneless and skinless chicken breasts
• 1 cup soy sauce
• 5 garlic cloves, minced
• 1/2 pound sugar snap peas, cut in thirds
• 1 carrot, peeled and sliced thin
• 1 red bell pepper, cored, and sliced thin
• 3 tablespoons canola oil
• 2 tablespoons ginger, minced
• 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
• 1/2 cup roasted cashews, chopped
• 1/4 cup toasted sesame oil
• 1/4 cup sesame seeds
• 1 cup sesame chicken salad dressing (recipe follows)
• Salt and pepper to taste
• Package of spring roll skins (rice paper)

Marinate chicken breasts in soy sauce and garlic for several hours, refrigerated. Sear chicken in sauté pan and finish cooking in oven. When chicken is cool, shred and put in large bowl. While chicken is cooking, sauté sugar snap peas, carrots, and bell pepper in pan with canola oil, ginger, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. Vegetables should only be sautéed for a short time and be brightly colored and retain the crispness. When vegetables are cooled, add them to bowl with chicken. Toss salad with dressing, sesame oil, cashews, sesame seeds, salt, and pepper.

To make spring rolls: soak rice paper in tepid water until pliable and blot on clean dish towel. Fill with chicken salad and roll, tucking in the sides as you roll.

Sesame chicken salad dressing

• 2 tablespoons canola oil
• 2 scallions, thinly sliced rings
• 2 teaspoons garlic, chopped
• 2 teaspoons ginger, minced
• 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
• 1/2 cup light brown sugar
• 1 cup water
• 2 cups peanut butter
• 1/4 cup chile garlic sauce
• 1/4 cup soy sauce
• 1/4 cup rice vinegar

Sauté scallions, garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes in oil until fragrant. Whisk in brown sugar and water. When sugar is dissolved, whisk in peanut butter, chile garlic sauce, soy sauce, and rice vinegar.

Dee Geiger
Tea Lane Caterers

Galette of Goat Cheese

Yields 32 pieces

• 2 sheets frozen puff pastry
• 6 ounces of creamy goat cheese (your favorite), room temperature
• 8 Italian plum tomatoes, cut into 1/4-inch slices
• 1 bunch fresh basil, leaves separated
• Egg wash (1 egg, 2 tablespoons cream, beaten)
• Dried basil to garnish

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place the puff pastry on a work surface and cut in half the long way. You will use one half for the bottom and one half for the top.

Transfer the bottoms to a sheet pan covered with parchment paper. Working from the sheet pan, spread the goat cheese down the middle of the pastry, leaving a half-inch border around the edges. Place two rows of tomatoes down the middle of the pastry on top of the cheese. Garnish with fresh basil leaves throughout the rows of tomatoes.

Brush some egg wash around the edges of the bottom. Split the top layer of puff pastry down the middle, leaving one inch from the top and bottom. This will allow you to pull it open to expose the tomato and the basil.

Place the split top on bottom piece; open the split. Brush egg wash on top piece. Sprinkle with dried basil as a garnish.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until puffy and golden brown. If using a convection oven, decrease temperature to 350 and bake for 15 to 20 minutes.

To serve, place warm – not hot – galette on a cutting board. Cut down the middle and then into small pieces. You can instead cut into larger pieces to serve with a salad for a light lunch.

Jill Amado
Long Point Cuisine
West Tisbury

Thai Spring Rolls with Spicy Chile-dipping Sauce

Makes 45–50

You should be able to find the Asian ingredients needed in this recipe at Cronig’s Market in Tisbury.

• 1/2 pound fresh ground pork
• 1/4 pound raw shrimp, chopped
• 10 dried black Chinese mushrooms
• 1 ounce bean threads
• 1 bunch scallions, finely chopped
• 1 bunch cilantro, finely chopped
• 1 carrot, shredded
• 1/4 pound bean sprouts
• 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
• 2 teaspoons fish sauce
• 1 teaspoon sugar
• 1 cup lukewarm water
• 12 rice papers, quartered
• 6 cups oil for deep frying
• 48 Bibb lettuce leaves
• 1 bunch fresh mint

In a medium bowl combine pork and shrimp. Soak mushrooms in warm water for 20 minutes; remove stems and chop caps. Soak bean threads in warm water for 20 minutes, then cut into 1-inch lengths. Add mushrooms, bean threads, scallions, cilantro, carrots, bean sprouts, black pepper, and fish sauce to pork mixture; mix well. Set aside for 15 minutes to allow
flavors to blend.

Dilute sugar in lukewarm water. Place rice paper on a flat surface and brush with water until pliable. Slice into quarters. Place 2 teaspoons of filling near the edge of the rice paper, then fold rice paper over the filling. Fold the right side over to enclose filling, then fold over left side. Continue to roll, then seal. Heat oil for deep-frying to 375 degrees.
Deep-fry a few rolls at a time until crisp and golden brown, about 10 minutes. Fry the remaining rolls. Serve by placing a spring roll in a lettuce leaf and top with mint. Serve with chile-dipping sauce.

Spicy chile-dipping sauce

• 1 cup Asian sweet chile sauce
• 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
• 1 tablespoon fish sauce
• 1 teaspoon garlic, finely chopped
• 1 teaspoon sugar, packed brown
• 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated, peeled
• 1 teaspoon cilantro, finely chopped fresh
• 1/4 teaspoon chopped fresh hot chile

Stir together sauce ingredients in a bowl until combined. Chill covered.

Jan Buhrman
Jan Buhrman Catering

Cornets of Tuna Tartare

Makes 24 Cornets


• Silpat oven mats
• 4 1/2 inch cornet molds*
• 1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
• 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon sugar
• 1 teaspoon kosher salt
• 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened but still cool to the touch
• 2 large egg whites, cold
• 2 tablespoons black sesame seeds
• Rock salt or peppercorns may be used

*Cornets (mini cone-shaped mold), can be purchased at LeRoux in Vineyard Haven or Sur La Table on-line.

Tuna tartare

Makes about 3/4 cup

• 6 ounces fresh tuna, very finely minced
• 3/4 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
• Dash of lemon oil
• Chives, finely minced
• Shallots, finely minced
• Kosher salt to taste
• Small pinch freshly ground white pepper

Sweet red onion crème fraîche

• Red onions, finely minced
• 1/2 cup crème fraîche
• Kosher salt to taste
• Freshly ground white pepper to taste
• 24 chive tips (about 1 inch long)

For the cornets: in a medium bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk the softened butter until it is completely smooth and mayonnaise-like in texture. Using a stiff spatula or spoon, beat the egg whites into the dry ingredients until completely incorporated and smooth. Whisk in the softened butter by thirds, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary, and whisking until the batter is creamy and without any lumps.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Make a 4-inch hollow circular stencil. Place the Silpat on a baking sheet and the stencil in one corner of the sheet. Holding the stencil flat against the Silpat, scoop some of the batter onto the back of an offset spatula and spread it in an even layer over the stencil. Then run the spatula over the entire stencil to remove any excess batter. You may need a little more or less batter to adjust the thickness of the cornets.

There shouldn’t be any holes in the batter. Lift the stencil and repeat the process to make as many rounds as you have molds or to fill the Silpat, leaving about 1 1/2 inches between the cornets. Sprinkle each cornet with a pinch of black sesame seeds.

Put the baking sheet in the oven. Bake for 4 to 6 minutes, or until the batter is set and you see it rippling from the heat. The cornets may have browned in areas, but they won’t be evenly browned at this point.

Open the oven door and place the baking sheet on the door. This will help keep the cornets warm as you roll them and prevent them from becoming too stiff. Flip over a cornet on the sheet pan, sesame seed side down, and place the cornet mold at the bottom of the round. (If you are right-handed, you will want the pointed end on your left, and the open end on your right.) The tip of the mold should touch the lower left edge (at about 7 o’clock) of the cornet.

Fold the bottom of the cornet around the mold; it should remain on the sheet pan as you roll. Leave the cornet wrapped around the mold and continue to roll the other cornets around the other molds;
as you proceed, arrange the rolled cornets, seams-side down, on the sheet pan so they lean against each other and do not roll.

When all the cornets are rolled, return them to the oven shelf, close the door, and bake for an additional 3 to 4 minutes to set the seams and color the cornets a golden brown. If the color is uneven, stand the cornets on end for a minute or so more, until the color is even. Remove
the cornets from the oven and allow to cool just slightly, 30 seconds or so.

Gently remove the cornets from the molds and cool for several minutes on paper towels. Remove the Silpat from the baking sheet, wipe the excess butter from it, and allow it to cool before spreading the next batch. Store the cornets for up to 2 days (for maximum flavor) in an airtight container.

Tuna Tartare: with a sharp knife, finely mince the tuna fillet and put it in a small bowl. Stir in remaining ingredients and taste for seasoning. Cover the bowl and refrigerate the tartare for at least 30 minutes, or up to 12 hours.

Sweet Red Onion Crème Fraîche: place the red onions in a small strainer and rinse them under cold water for several seconds. Dry them on paper towels. In a small metal bowl, whisk the crème fraîche for about 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until it holds soft peaks when you lift the whisk. Fold in chopped onions and season to taste with the salt and white pepper. Transfer the onion cream to a container, cover, and refrigerate until ready to serve, for up to 6 hours.

To complete: fill just the top 1/2-inch of each cornet with onion cream, leaving the bottom of the cornet empty. (This is easily done using a pastry bag fitted with a 1/4-inch plain tip or with the tip of a small knife.) Spoon about 1 1/2 teaspoons of the tartare over the onion cream and mold it into a dome resembling a scoop of ice cream. Lay a chive tip against one side of the tartare to garnish.

Mac Cook
Bill Smith’s Martha’s Vineyard Clambake Company

Coconut Shrimp with Marmalade Dipping Sauce

Makes one dozen

• 1 cup flat beer
• 1 cup self-rising flour
• 2 cups sweetened coconut flakes, divided
• 2 tablespoons sugar
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 12 large fresh shrimp
• 1/4 teaspoon paprika
• 4 cups vegetable oil for frying

In a large bowl, combine beer, flour, 1/2 cup coconut, sugar, and salt. Beat with an electric mixer until blended. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Peel and de-vein shrimp, leaving the last segment of the shell and tail fins intact to serve as a handle when dipping and eating. Dry shrimp with paper towels and sprinkle lightly with paprika.

In a deep saucepan, preheat oil to 350 degrees (measure with a deep-fat thermometer).

Place remaining 1 1/2 cups coconut in a shallow bowl. Dip shrimp, one at a time, into batter, coating generously. Drop battered shrimp into coconut and roll until well-coated.

Fry shrimp, four at a time, about 2 to 3 minutes, until golden brown, flipping shrimp halfway through cooking time.

Remove from hot oil with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Hold cooked shrimp in a preheated 325-degree oven until remaining shrimp are cooked.

Serve hot with marmalade dipping sauce on the side.

Marmalade dipping sauce

• 1/2 cup orange marmalade
• 2 teaspoons stone-ground mustard
• 1 teaspoon horseradish
• Dash salt
Place ingredients in a medium bowl. Mix well, cover, and refrigerate at least 1 hour.

Jim O’Connor
West Tisbury

Lobster-Chicken Strudel with Asian Dipping Sauce

• 1–1 1/4 pound lobster    
• 1 pound boneless and skinless chicken breast
• 1 egg yoke
• 10 ounces heavy cream
• 2 scallions, thinly sliced
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 package phyllo dough
• 1/2 teaspoon pepper
• 1 stick melted butter

For the lobster: bring a large pot of water to a boil, add a handful of salt. Plunge lobster into the boiling water and cover; when the pot returns to boil, remove from the heat and let stand for 5 minutes. Remove lobster and allow to cool. After the lobster cools, break down to remove tail, claw, and knuckle meat. Dice the tail and claws into 1/4-inch strips.

For the lobster-chicken mousse: cut the chicken breast into 1-inch cubes. In food processor, process for 1 minute. Add egg yoke along with salt and pepper and process until well combined. Put chicken mixture into refrigerator for 20 minutes. Remove from refrigerator and place in a medium-sized bowl. Slowly incorporate the heavy cream, in two separate additions, using a rubber spatula. Fold in scallions.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place the mixture in a pastry bag fitted with a large tip. Lay out a sheet of phyllo pastry and brush with melted butter. Repeat process twice. With the pastry bag, pipe the mousse mixture onto the phyllo dough, starting 1 inch above the lower edge and stopping 1 inch from top edge. Lay lobster strips gently on top and pipe a little more mousse on top of them. Tuck the two sides of the dough over the mixture and roll the dough away from you, starting from the bottom. Brush strudel with the melted butter. Continue, using the remaining mixture and same process.

Place rolls onto a baking sheet and bake for 12 to 15 minutes. To serve, slice the strudel on the bias and arrange around a small bowl filled with the dipping sauce.

Dipping sauce

• 1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
• 1/2 cup sugar
• 2 teaspoons Asian fish sauce
• 1 Thai chile pepper, seeds removed, thinly diced

Place the rice wine vinegar and sugar into a medium-sized pot and place on medium-high heat. Once it comes to a boil, reduce the heat and cook until reduced by half. Remove from heat, add fish sauce, and chile pepper.

Wendy Jenkinson
Periwinkle Catering
West Tisbury

Mediterranean Tuna Tapenade in Artichoke Leaves

Serves 6

• 2 whole artichokes, using 30 leaves and the hearts
• 1/2 pound sushi-grade tuna, chopped*
• 1/4 cup oven-dried tomatoes, chopped
• 2 tablespoons capers
• 1/4 cup pitted Kalamata olives, chopped
• 2 tablespoons basil leaves, finely chopped
• 2 tablespoons lemon juice (more or less to taste)
• 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
• Salt and pepper to taste
• To finish: lemon oil, whole basil leaves, and lemon slices

*All chopped ingredients should be the size of the capers.

Trim and steam artichokes in 2 inches of water until tender, about 40 minutes. Pull the best leaves off and set aside. Remove the remaining leaves down to the choke. Carefully scoop out the choke from the heart. Dice the hearts and set aside.

While the artichokes are cooking, prepare the tuna. Using a very sharp knife, dice the tuna. Season with salt and pepper and toss with a teaspoon of oil to coat. Place in a bowl, cover, and set aside. Keep the tuna well chilled, either on ice or in the refrigerator.

In a bowl, combine the artichoke hearts, tomatoes, capers, olives, and basil. Mix in the lemon juice and remaining oil. Season with salt and pepper and set aside. Can be prepared up to this point, 8 hours in advance.

Combine the tuna and the artichoke mixture about 15 minutes before serving. Lay artichoke leaves in a circle on platters for passing, or divide among six small plates. Place a generous teaspoon of the tuna tapenade on the edge of each leaf. Drizzle leaves with lemon oil and garnish with lemon slices and basil leaves.