house warming party

IMG_6367

We made so much food and half of it isn’t even photographed. I made an antipasto grilling each veggie and marinating them over night.  I roasted peppers right on the gas burner charing the skin off.  I then roasted red onions, portabella mushrooms, zucchini and egg plant in the oven with a big generous amount of olive oil.  After cooling all the veggies I put them in a zip lock bag and marinated them with 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, fresh thyme and oregano, pepper, salt and 3 tablespoons high quality balsamic vinegar.  I then added already marinated artichoke hearts, big capers and I stuffed sweet round chili peppers with goat cheese.

IMG_6368

Italian meats are always a hit and easy to display- Salami, prosciutto, copa, and mortadella with pistachios was the choice of the day.

IMG_6369

Below you see a mediterranean quinoa salad, endives with blue cheese and walnuts and veggies with a tahini, lemon, yogurt dip.

Quinoa salad:  Make Quinoa as directed.

3 persian cucumbers sliced in 4 mini pie shapes

Box of cherry tomatoes halved

Good feta cheese- I love the feta from Trader Joes-it’s in a soft pack that is green and yellow.  I can’t remember the name, maybe Eden Farms.

Dressing:  1/2 cup olive oil, 1 juice of lemon, salt and pepper.  This salad can be prepped a day before, just seal the cucumbers in zip locks as well as the tomatoes.  Just before the party add all the ingredients together.

IMG_6370

Veggies with tahini yogurt dip.  Put dip in a carved out pepper, it looks prettier and for fall parties, do it in a gourd or pumpkin.

Tahini dip:  3 big spoons of tahini in about 1 cup of full fat European style yogurt and one juice of a lemon.  Salt and pepper to taste.  This dip goes well with many veggies and is also a good accompaniment to lamb.

Tomato basil, mozzarella, avocado, cucumber salad, assorted tea sandwiches and bacon deviled eggs.  IMG_6371

The salad ingredients are in the title:  1 pack halved cherry tomatoes, a bunch of Basil, one log of fresh mozzarella cubed, 3 cubed avocados, 4 cut up persian or English cucumbers.  If you use English cucumber-2 will do.  Dressing- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.

Bacon Deviled Eggs:  Make a day in advance:  Boil the eggs- I have a tray that holds a dozen, but I always make a few extra because sometimes when peeling the eggs I break them.  While the eggs are getting hard boiled, cook 6 bacon slices.  Drain bacon and place to the side.  When the hard boiled eggs are cool enough, peel and separate the yolks from the whites.

Take a Tupperware and start smashing the yolks into 1 cup mayonnaise.  If you aren’t using bacon, a great recipe is using wasabi mayo also from Trader Joe’s.  Chop up the bacon into small pieces.  Mix in egg mixture.  Place egg mixture in fridge over night.  Place halved egg whites in a tuperware carefully layering with plastic wrap in between layers.  An hour before the party place egg yolks in a zip lock, cut the tip and start pipping your eggs.  Add chopped parsley, paprika and scallions if you wish.  Get creative with the design.

Tea Sandwiches.  Take two slices of bread and use cream cheese on both sides so that the cucumbers will stay in place.  There is nothing worse than watching a guest pick up these delicate little sandwiches and seeing it fall apart on them.  Salt and pepper the cream cheese.  On one slice of cream cheese place cucumber rounds.  Put slices together.  Cut of crusts and cut in diamond shapes-4 per sandwich.  I also made little projuitto provolone sandwiches…

For desert: Salted Caramel brownies, chocolate covered strawberries and blondies

IMG_6372

A close up of the avocado, tomato, mozz, cucumber salad.

IMG_6373

A close up of the endive with walnut and blue cheese—this is the easiest little appetizer.  Break apart your endive, place a dollop of blue cheese- I like the Dolce Gorgonzola, and place a walnut.  Have fun with the design.  I cut up starfruit to make it pretty.

IMG_6376

Feta and sundried tomato spread—again, using my favorite Feta cheese from Trader Joe’s.  Mash up feta cheese with 1/2 cup sundried tomatoes.  Add salt and pepper and voila!  You can also add chopped Kalamata olives.  This works well with pita chips.

IMG_6377

Just a few olives and bread with an rosemary, pepper and garlic infused virgin olive oil- I love making my own olive oil infusions.  I put 3 cloves of garlic, 2 sprigs of rosemary and a bunch of tri colored peppercorns.  I’ve also made a hot spicy oil by adding tons of red pepper flakes.  The oil is hot, red and spicy!

IMG_6378 IMG_6379

On a hot day my watermelon rosemary water was a hit as well as the cucumber, lime and mint water.  This is a nice beautiful touch and a reminder to hydrate while drinking alcohol.  Make this well in advance, in the morning, but don’t add ice till right about 1/2 hour prior to guests arriving.  For the water mellon water, cut up a bunch of pie shaped slices with rind on, toss in the water, but add a bunch of strained water mellon, to quickly infuse flavor.  I also made ice cubes that had lemon slices, lime slices, rosemary and mint…. makes it a little extra special and takes no time.  Cantaloupe water and mint is also good.  Explore… have fun.  I would like to try a thyme and watermelon water next time or even cranberry orange for the holiday.

IMG_6381

A few of the guests enjoying even more.  We made 3 homemade margarita pizzas, 2  black olive mushroom and ham pizzas, one anchovy onion pizza- pissadiere and a tarte flambé. We made so much more but for now… those are the recipes I’m sharing with you.  The party started at 3 and ended at 1AM!!!! It was a rockin’ party ending with pole dancing…. Fun night!

IMG_6383 IMG_6385 IMG_6388 IMG_6389 IMG_6392 IMG_6393 IMG_6394

A funny moment where Anne and I try to pry my delicious pizza of the pan.  I forgot to put oil!!!!!

IMG_6395 IMG_6396 IMG_6397 IMG_6399 IMG_6400 IMG_6402 IMG_6403

Me serving my cheddar olive cheese balls right out of the oven!

IMG_6406 IMG_6407 IMG_6408 IMG_6409

Individual recipes to come on my blog.