Saturday, February 25, 2012

Neighborhood party food

Nearly 3 months after moving in, we finally had our neighbors over for an open house to meet everyone over snacks and wine. In addition to cheese and crackers, black and white cookies, and dinosaur-shaped nuggets for the kids (which were surprisingly pretty decent--P and I totally had them for lunch the next day), I made eggplant compote (a Joel Robuchon recipe!), tiki snack mix, and peppered garlic confit with prosciutto (at P's request).

The compote I made as described, although I sauteed it for a bit longer. Served room temperature with pita chips, and the next night we had this with baguette slices and topped with a fried egg for dinner. Dicing that much eggplant is not really my idea of fun, but it came out deliciously, and it was nice to have a veg-heavy dish in what was otherwise a pretty carby/caloric "meal" (because, yeah, apps were totally dinner for us that night).

The tiki snack mix went over really well, I thought it tasted kind of like grown-up Cracker Jacks. As you surely know by now, I'm like the only person on earth who's not enamored with bacon, so I actually left this part out (and threw in some roasted pepitas to replace some of the smokiness). Sweet, salty, and crunchy--we snacked on it for the rest of the week!

Lastly, the garlic confit. This was hands-down the winning dish--everyone raved and several people asked for the recipe on their way out. Despite my efforts to not repeat recipes, I have a sneaking suspicion this will be requested sometime in the future. Thank goodness it was the easiest one in the bunch! Needless to say, though, not much in the way of leftovers for this one.

Oh yes. And the party itself: resounding success!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Dinner Tonight: Roasted Sweet Potato Salad with Cranberry-Chipotle Dressing

Yes, it has been a while since I posted...and this trend will probably continue in the near future, since it's crunch time for the wedding! However, it's a federal holiday and I just spent the last 20 minutes trying to learn how to Dougie for the wedding (I can safely say that I am, 100%, a white girl), so it's time for a break to tell you about some of the deliciousness in my life!

I had been wanting to make this roasted sweet potato salad with cranberry-chipotle dressing for some time, and finally found an opportunity when P's friend was visiting. It's amazingly easy (assuming you can find cranberries--check the frozen fruit section) but so freaking addictive! We paired this with some pan-seared, oven-finished filets, wheat baguette, and simple sauteed spinach. I think I modified the recipe to serve 6 instead of 8, but you better believe we pretty much demolished it between the three of us.

You might want to go a bit easy on the chipotle, since these canned kind are pretty spicy, almost to the point where it detracted from the other flavors. Make sure not to skip the pepitas--I think the crunch and the smokiness they add really complete the dish.