07 July 2008

Patriotic Dinner Parties

Or not.

I love dinner parties. I decided, at mostly the last minute, to throw a dinner party for the 4th of July. It's not normally one of those holidays that I celebrate, but I mostly didn't have anything better to do and I hadn't had a dinner party at the apartment yet, so I was itching to host one again. My friend Chris is in from EL to visit us and so between the two of us, we put together quite a feast. Yay food.

It began with the impulse buying of a baguette to match with the tiniest bit of brie I had left from a previous impulse shopping trip. I kind of forgot about it, so it was good and crusty and so I cut it up into cubes and made croutons.

The Impetus:

most of a baguette, cubed
1/2 c EVOO
1/3 c grated parm cheese
2 tbs dried parsley flakes
2 cloves garlic, finely minced

mix the EVOO, cheese, parsley, garlic. toss the bread cubes in EVOO mixture. bake in an oven at 350 for awhile and turn half way. (I'd check after 5 minutes)

Austin is home to the world's largest urban population of bats. They mostly reside under the Congress St. bridge, so we went to watch one night. It was okay, but the real highlight was a trip to Six Flags over Whole Foods (which is apparently the flagship Whole Foods store for the brand.) which was just down the road. I sort of impulse shopped my way through, getting amazing tomatoes and some mozzarella. This led directly to bruschetta.

The Impulse

1 large salmonella-free tomato, seeded and diced
1/3 c finely chopped basil
3-4 tbs olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
1 clove garlic, pan-toasted, minced
1/3 c fresh mozzarella diced

toast the garlic with the skin on in a pan until it softens and the flavor mellows. mince. combine everything and toss it. let it sit for awhile so the flavors all combine.

The initial dinner party was at Kyle's and was mostly devoted to deep fried foods. Whilst completely delicious, it was, alas, quickly approaching one of the Seven Deadly Sins. To repent, we planned a "healthy" party themed "Atonement"; I suppose this was it:

The Penance

2 chicken breasts
some amount of italian-like dressing

marinate the chicken for like a day. pan sear.

lemon-shallot vinaigrette
(combine everything below, shake){
3/4 c extra virgin olive oil
3 tbs lemon juice
1 shallot, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp dried thyme
2 tbs Dijon mustard

some amount of spring greens
impetus croutons
Parmesan cheese

toss everything. eat.

In the day leading up to the party, I was browsing the good old inter-mo-tron and The Minimalist put out a list of 101 quick'n'inspired picnic dishes. This, of course, meant that there was more food blog reading to transpire, so after salivating over tastespotting for awhile, I found a pasta-salad recipe that included items that my guests wouldn't eat (broccoli) and I couldn't afford (pine nuts)... so that sort of morphed into a cous-cous dish with items that my guests would eat (asparagus) and I could purchase without signing away the rights to my first born child (pumpkin seed). This mostly involved some amount of asparagus being pan fried with garlic, shallots, and olive oil until it was just barely tender, toasting the pumpkin seeds and then adding all of that to plain cous cous (that I must admit was made from one of those instant box things.) We also oven roasted corn from Whole Foods because I have yet to see it in any capacity at the farmer's market.

The event concluded with dessert, which chris made, which was mostly the following:

1 bag frozen berry fruits
1/2 c water
2 tbs sugar, more to taste
splash lime juice

boil h2o, berries, sugar in a pot and let it thicken. taste. when it's like oh-holy-crap too sweet, add in a bit of lime juice and then when you add too much, add in a bit of sugar and let it thicken still. Serve over some cake like thing (I used my corn bread recipe) with home made whipped cream.

1 c heavy cream
2 tbs sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

mix until soft peaks form.

nom. nom. nom.

1 comment:

sarah said...

glad that tastespotting was a source of inspiration!