Friday, June 12, 2009

Party Food!

So it turns out I'm not much of a blogger. This post is sooo way overdue!

We had a housewarming party! It was fabulous and festive, and did the trick of filling our home with cheer. It was 3-7pm on a Saturday in May. It was a beautiful day, during a heat wave. We had all of the doors open and the fan on high, and it stayed nice inside.

I planned the menu for weeks. OK, maybe just one week. I wanted food that I could make ahead, that could sit out all afternoon, that would be super yummy, relatively healthy, and would go well together.

Here's what I came up with:

- Toasted baguette with artichoke antipasto; fresh baguette sliced into small pieces, drizzled with olive oil & toasted in the oven, plus artichoke dip from Trader Joe's.
- Pita crackers with white bean hummus; Trader Joe's all the way. I love the pita crackers; they're a round cracker out of pita bread, super light.
- Crudites with roasted eggplant-garlic yogurt sauce; carrots, celery, radishes, with a sauce made from Trader Joe's roasted eggplant-garlic dip with greek yogurt mixed in.
- Feta-stuffed olives from Berkeley Bowl.
- Rosemary-cayenne walnuts; from a Chow recipe, except that I used maple syrup instead of sugar and added cayenne pepper. Super yummy!

- Lamb meatballs w/ lemon-cumin yogurt; recipe from chow. These were a super big hit and gone almost instantly. I wish I had made more!
- Lentils in endive leaves; I used the pre-cooked lentils from Trader Joe's, spooned into individual endive leaves, garnished with a leaf of fresh oregano.
- "Caprese bites", using pre-marinated mozzarella balls from Genova Deli, fresh basil, and sugar plum tomatoes, on toothpicks for easy munching. Yum!
- Paprika-roasted cauliflower; inspired by another Chow recipe, except I followed some of the commenters' suggestions to make it with balsamic & olive oil with salt, and I added paprika for a "Mediterranean" theme.

- Dates with chevre & pistachios drizzled with honey; my mom used to make dates with goat cheese for parties. I added the pistachios & honey. Big hit, even from a former pastry chef.
- Fresh fruit; grapes, on the stem, snipped into party-sized bites & strawberries.
- Almond cookies from Trader Joe's; light, just sweet enough.

Rosemary-ginger lemonade, both a hard version (with Vodka) and a juice-only version. I used frozen lemonade concentrate (a good organic kind from Berkeley Bowl), and with one of the cans I put it in a saucepan with ginger & fresh rosemary to simmer for about 10 minutes before adding the water and the two other cans of concentrate. I also added some fresh squeezed lemons to add more tart (I find lemonade from concentrate to be too sweet!). I used three cans of concentrate, maybe six lemons (?) . About a third of it I reserved as unmixed, and mixed 1.75ml vodka into the rest.

People stayed well past 7pm, and all of the food was gone! I had expected leftovers! The only things left were a small amount of lemonade (virgin), some of the walnuts, and a few radishes with some eggplant dip.

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