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Thursday, December 22, 2011

Neil's Birthday

In my continuing attempts to knock Ina off her Hamptons hostess perch...the boys let me be in charge of the food for Neil's birthday party.
Nate and Neil invited some friends over to celebrate with cocktails and hors d'oeuvres. Here's a look at some of the spread...
This Hot Caramelized Onion Dip with Gruyere and Bacon was a big hit. We served it with kettle chips. Definitely a keeper! Note that it yields only two cups, so you'd want to double it for a larger crowd. 
To go with the veggies, Jason made a yummy tzatziki sauce, loosely based on an Ina Garten recipe, with some improvisation.
My friend Dee suggested I make these ham sandwiches, which she said her husband loves...these are a true Southern party classic!
My favorite were the roast beef and asparagus bundles. They were a bit tricky to make but totally worth the effort.
Take a piece of bibb lettuce and pipe some Boursin cheese down the middle. Add a slice of red bell pepper, an asparagus spear, and half a piece of thinly-sliced roast beef.
Tie the bundle with a chive...or a couple of chives, as I finally figured out. I had to knot two chives together to make it work, but I was quite delighted with the result!
Finally, tiny tomato tarts. I modified the recipe a bit and just mixed all of the filling together for simplicity. 

Jason did a fantastic job with the mixed drinks. The big jar was full of a citrusy gin cocktail, and the small pitcher was a whiskey and apple concoction. Thumbs up for both!
I forgot to mention Neil got the morning off to a great start by making us pancakes.

Sunday morning, I amused myself by turning all of our weekend leftovers in to a tasty quiche. First, I caramelized some shallots. Then I added some of the raw veggies and sauteed those a bit to soften them.
I'd rolled out the pastry scraps from the tomato tarts and made another pie crust, which I filled with the veggie mix, leftover roasted chicken from Friday night, and leftover cheese from the tomato tarts.
The filling was about 3/4 of a cup of sour cream, four eggs and a little fresh basil.

Together with Ben's chocolate orange loaf, it was a perfect morning-after brunch. 

1 comment:

sherry said...

Ina may have the prestige - but your crew and combined recipes - have the gourmet blue ribbon in my book. What an awesome celebration. The only thing missing was crepe paper streamers and balloons! Fabulous food and friends - and a celebration - makes a great weekend and interesting post.