Sunday, August 3, 2008

My Dinner Party

I so wanted to have pictures to post with this but nature played a part in not getting that done.

Let me start in the beginning...
John asked me about 2 weeks ago if I was up to having a party for Staff here at the apartments.
It is quite a small staff (5)but we had never gotten together after work since the property was bought a year ago. I felt my knee is well enough and I have been able to stand up cooking for a morning(it's been years since I could do that) so I agreed. I asked John to chose the menu. As usual he did a good job with it and I added. This is it...

Antipasto Dip served in Belgium Endive along with crackers
Mexican Chip Dip and chips
Meat and cheese tray with crackers
Grapes

That for the Dinner:

7 Layer Salad
Seafood Newburg in Puff Pastry
Beef Tenderloin cook on the George Foreman (John does this)
Green beans
Saffron Rice
Baked Potatoes with all the toppings
2 kinds of bread from Trader Joe's

Banana Pudding
Fruit Pizza

I did the antipasto dip, banana pudding, and 7 layer salad Friday plus shopping in 3 stores which I have not been able to do for 2 years and it felt good!

I set the table Sat. morning with a beautiful gold tablecloth. I used my antique Wedgwood white service for the plates we needed and antique wine glasses and I used my moms damask napkins.(They were her wedding gift 65 years ago) I used one of John's plats as a simple centerpiece

By 6:30 all was made and we were ready. We knew several would be late and so that was fine.
By the time they came I had the shrimp cooked and a good start on the sauce just having put in the bay scallops.....a storm was coming and the lights flickered. I put the Pastry Shells in the oven and the lights were gone with all the electricity......John had put the tenderloins on whole and they had cooked pretty good.....That threw the guests in a tizzy because they were hungry....of course the elevators quit and it was a mess. So the men went out to make the emergency measures they needed to make while I sat and chatted with the ladies. I refused to get upset knowing we could pull it off!......an hour later John and I felt we could serve....the heat had cooked the scallops....the beef was medium rare and well done...we would just serve the Newburg and they could put it on the bread slices or rice. We brought in the lanterns we use on the balcony and had great light. They all were pleased and we were just less than half through when the lights came back on. The food was a hit and it really was good.....They all wanted the recipes and I am preparing them a small cookbook for the 3 ladies. I made enough for a crowd and they all took some home and we had some today and will have enough for tomorrow. They left about 11:30...I was tired but so pleased I was almost back to my old self. I have missed having guests. John helped me too and he is a great cook so we have fun doing this.

I thought I would share the recipes. I used all of these when I catered and have altered them all. I do not have the original or know the source anymore.

This is good with meat also.
Antipasto Dip
1-14 ounce can artichoke hears, drained and chopped
2-4 ounce cans sliced mushrooms drained and finely chopped
1-4 ounce diced pimento, drained
1 cup pimento stuffed green olives, chopped
1/2 cup green pepper, chopped finely
1/2 cup celery, shopped finely
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
2/3 cup white vinegar
2-1/2 teaspoons dried Italian Seasoning
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Combine first 6 ingredients and set aside.
Heat oil in pan over medium heat and add onions and garlic, cook stirring constantly until tender. Add vinegar and nest 4 ingredients and bring to a boil. Pour over vegetables, cover and refrigerate 8 hours but best overnight. To serve place Belgium Endive leaves on platter and fill with a nice amount of the dip. I also place crackers there because it is good on them.

I have added fresh mozzarella cheese finely chopped
pepperoncini salad peppers
salami finely cubed
Dash of hot pepper or red pepper flakes.
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7 Layer Salad
This makes 2 large glass bowls
Layer in this order.

2 bags fresh spinach torn
2 or 3 heads of Romaine lettuce torn
thinly sliced purple onion
1 pound cubed turkey or ham or salad shrimps
bag of thawed and drained frozen green peas
2 cups grated carrots
sliced water chestnuts

DRESSING
3 cups mayonnaise
2 cups sour cream
3 packs Dry Ranch Dressing
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, fresh
2 Tablespoons sugar
Mix and frost each salad making sure the whole top is covered with the dressing. Seal Good with plastic wrap.
When you serve it decorate it with halved cherry tomatoes and 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese and topped with crumbled bacon.

You can add other vegetables but tomatoes and cucumbers in the salad do not work good at all.
a layer of fresh mushrooms is great!
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This doubles great!
Seafood Newburg
6- servings

1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup all purpose flour
2 cups half and half
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg...NOT an option
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 cup freshly ground Parmesan cheese
1 good tablespoon Italian herbs
Garlic powder or minced garlic to taste
1 pound medium sized shrimp
1 pound sea scallops..I use bay because they are smaller and cook tender
2 tablespoons dry sherry...I use white wine

Melt butter in large saucepan over medium high heat. Stir in flour and cook 1 minute. Slowly add half and half, stirring constantly. Add salt, nutmeg,pepper, Italian seasonings.Parmesan cheese and garlic, cook over medium heat stirring constantly until thick enough to coat the back of the spoon. Add shrimp, scallops, sherry or wine until shrimp are pink and sauce is barely simmering...about 6 minutes. Serve over puff pastry shells.

**I often cook my shrimp in boiling water and drain and than add them. If you use large scallops you need to cut them in half horizontally before cooking them.

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I make my Saffron Rice in a rice cooker using Balsamic rice. I add a good pinch of saffron to a bit of boiling water in a custard cup and let it set 10 minutes and add that to the water you add.
You can add green stuffed olives, 2 tablespoons the olive juice, a can of washed black beans and some garlic. Last night I made it plain.
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I think this comes from Eagle Brand Condensed Milk in the 70's
CREAMY BANANA PUDDING
1-14 ounce can of Eagle Brand condensed Milk
1-1/2 cups cold water
1- 4 serving size packaged instant pudding and jello mix
2 cups-(1 pint) whipping cream, whipped
Vanilla Wafers
3-4 bananas sliced and dipped in lemon juice

In large bowl combine can of condensed milk and water. Add pudding mix and beat well. Chill 5 minutes. Fold in whipped cream. Spoon 1 cup pudding mix in a 2-1/2 quart dish. Top with layer of wafers, bananas and pudding and do it 2 more times, ending with pudding mix. Cover and chill several hours. Remember to refrigerate if you have leftovers!

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