Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Coco Penny Launch Party

As long as I'm posting about parties, here is a menu I did last spring for my friends Mary and Marianne. They started a business called Coco Penny and needed some food for their launch party.

These Caprese Skewers were a hit. Mostly because I've recently discovered high end balsamic vinegar. It will transform your dish and (I don't want to be dramatic but...) your life. I get mine at a culinary boutique in Old Town, Alexandria, but I'm sure there are a million places you can find the good stuff. Just make sure the only ingredient listed is grape must.
Ignore my hand here. What am I doing? The top two platters are Herb Gruyere Thumbprints and the bottom platter has Caramelized Onion, Mushroom and Gruyere Tartlets.
And for the sweet tooth, we had Bittersweet Chocolate Truffles rolled in pistachios.

And mini lemon cheesecakes. I substituted lemon for the orange in this recipe, put some lemon curd on top, and then used an animal cracker crust recipe I found on

And there you go. All these parties, maybe that's why I haven't gotten around to blogging over the past year. I think I'll use that as my excuse anyway :)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Lite Fall Bites

This past weekend I was in charge of the food for a church event. We were supposed to provide "Lite Bites" for 350 women. I had the greatest committee on earth and here's what we came up with...

We set up tables with different breads and spreads. Pumpkin Bread and butter, Challah bread and Cinnamon Honey Butter, Whole Grain Bread and Herb Butter, and French Bread with Goat Cheese rolled in Craisins and Toasted Hazelnuts.

Then we had servers (single men we bribed with leftovers and a chance to meet women) walking around with trays of Cucumber Salami Bites, Apple Slices with Toffee Dip, and Soup Shooters.

The soups may have been the biggest hit. We served Curried Apple Butternut Squash Soup, Fall Harvest Tomato Soup, Black Bean Soup with Lime Crema, and Potato Soup with Bacon Crumbles.

To drink, there was apple cider and for dessert we had bags of caramel popcorn. I'm getting hungry all over again writing about it. I had so much fun doing this with my amigas. I'm so lucky to have friends who love food as much as I do!

Trays ready to be taken out

Black Bean Soup Shooters

Bread and Baskets on the prep table

Goat Cheese rolled in Craisins and Toasted Hazelnuts

Compound Butter (with herbs straight from Kirsten's garden)

Caramel Popcorn

Jessica's amazing pompoms. We hung this on the wall right behind the caramel popcorn table. I wish I had pictures of the awesome centerpieces too. They were mums in carved out pumpkins and then the same thing in miniature with apples and mums. We labeled the spreads by writing their names on little pumpkins. Like I said, best comittee ever.

Fall Harvest Tomato Soup

I can't stop craving this soup. I got it from my friend Jessica, who got it from our friend Hollie, who got it from some girl, who got it from the mom of some guy named Brandon. It looks like everyone has tweaked it, so I doubt Brandon's mom would even recognize it. But I'm not scared to give her a shout out anyway. Good work lady.

Yum. Make this today and put Parmesan cheese curls on top. You won't regret it.

1/4 cup butter
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 lb. carrots, pealed and chopped
1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
4 cup chicken broth
1 16 oz. can pumpkin
1 1/2 t salt
1/4 t pepper
2 T fresh basil or 1 T dried basil
1/4 cup half and half

In a large pot, saute onion in butter 4-5 minutes. Add carrots and saute until carrots are soft and onion is translucent. Add tomatoes, chicken broth, and pumpkin. Puree in blender. Return mixture to the pot and add salt, pepper, and basil. Add more broth if you want the soup thinner. Heat soup to desired temperature and add half and half. Garnish with Parmesan cheese curls and enjoy!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Compound Herb Butter

Kirsten, my gardening goddess, made this compound herb butter. Spread over a fresh slice of whole grain bread... delicious.

1 lb. butter, softened
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 bunch of green onions, chopped (mostly green portion)
2-3 T fresh thyme
1/2 bunch of fresh parsley, stems removed, chopped
kosher salt and pepper to taste

Let butter set at room temperature for 2 hours. Mix in herbs. Form into a roll on wax paper. Refrigerate until firm.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Lemon Orzo

We're supposed to have weather in the 60s by the end of the week! Spring, I love you. So since I'm in a spring kind of mood I will share a recipe I was shocked to realize I had never recommended. It's Melanie's Creamy Orzo with Chicken, Mushrooms and Peppers. You'll noticed I switched the name up. It's shorter this way. Also, I substitute Asparagus for the Chicken in an effort to get one more meatless dish on the dinner rotation.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Warm Winter Salad

This recipe from The Curvy Carrot is delicious. I can't stop making it. We've had it for dinner a few times, I've had it as a snack, and I've even served it with breakfast (think substitute for hash browns).

Quick! Make it before Spring is here!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Cheddar and Jalapeno Spirals

I'm not having a Superbowl party, but if I were, these Cheddar and Jalapeno Spirals, from Kayotic Kitchen, would definitely be on the menu.

What's that? You want to know what else would be on the menu? Well, since you asked, I would serve Superbowl Chili in little miniature bowls, garnished with sour cream and avocado. I'd have chips out and eat it more as a dip, than a full bowl of chili.

I'd also make Frank's Buffalo Chicken Dip (use blue cheese dressing instead of ranch, and use your own shredded chicken instead of the canned chicken the recipe calls for) and serve it with celery sticks.

And then to lighten up the menu a little bit (a little, I said), I'd make Toffee Dip served with granny smith apple slices.

Mmm, maybe it's not too late...

Oh, I almost forgot! In case my guests felt like they had not consumed enough calories after all that dip, I would serve Chocolate Coconut Toffee Delights for dessert.