Friday, February 27, 2009

To Do: Dinner Party

One nice thing about this recession: it is much easier to find party guests. Now that no one goes out, my RSVP rate is way up.

Which is how I found myself plotting to cook 4 chickens for a low-key dinner on Saturday night. I may even have to buy another chair...how fun! Gathering around a crowded candlelit table with friends sounds so appealing.

I've barely started planning. The menu might include the famous Zuni roast chicken with bread salad. And maybe this creamed broccoli that the latest Gourmet promises is divine. Appetizers and dessert are still up in the air. Any easy suggestions?

12 comments:

mamacita said...

cherry pie! It's homey and yummy. You could decorate with cherry branches, too. It will bring the happiness of spring to your house. Have fun.

kt said...

Cheddar Dill scones are one of my favorites and could be a great appetizer or bread to serve with the main dish.

Even if you don't make them for this party, I recommend you make them sometime. May family has them every Christmas Eve with Mushroom Leek soup and my friends constantly request them.

Cheddar and Dill Scones

Ingredients:
2 large eggs
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon buttermilk
1/3 cup minced fresh dill
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup unbleached all purpose flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon pepper
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 3/4 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese (about 6 ounces)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly butter two 9-inch pie pans.

Beat eggs, buttermilk and minced fresh dill in medium bowl to blend. Combine flours, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, pepper and salt in large bowl. Add butter to flour mixture and cut in until mixture is crumbly. Add grated cheddar cheese. Stir to mix well. (Dough will be stiff and crumbly.) Knead gently until dough just holds together.

Divide dough in half. Pat each half into prepared pans to 1-inch thickness. Using long knife or pizza wheel, score each round into 6 wedges. Bake until toothpick inserted into each center comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Transfer pans to rack and cool scones slightly. Cut into wedges.

I've also made smaller versions for tea parties / brunches by using mini pie tins.

Meg said...

It's definitly a good time for community these days... there are always small good things that come out of big bad things.

Ms. M said...

Zuni chicken is a great idea, but you have to brine it a day or two in advance, which might not work out so well if your party is tomorrow!

Olivia said...

I have a new favorite easy appetizer. I put out Parrano cheese, a little bowl of chutney, and water crackers. Spread the cracker with chutney and top with a little hunk of the cheese. Yummy! I buy the chutney at Whole Foods...cranberry mango is my favorite.

lissa lou said...

A bowl of pistachios (and a discard pile) always is a hit at our house!

Alicia said...

Zuni Chicken is one of my all-time favorites...yum! Another good chicken dish that's easy to make & good for a large number of people is Chicken Marbella from one of the Silver Palate cookbooks...it actually tastes best the 2nd day but that's another favorite in my house. Enjoy!

faith said...

Favorite appetizers:
- Crackers spread with goat cheese and topped with a slice of pickled beet
- Ditto above, except topped with a slowcooked tomato jam instead of the beet.
- Also, Chez Panisse's roasted almonds with herbs... great finger food!

Here are links:
http://www.thekitchn.com/thekitchn/hors-doeuvres/easy-appetizer-recipe-beets-on-crostini-with-goat-cheese-071528
http://www.thekitchn.com/thekitchn/hors-doeuvres/recipe-ovenroasted-tomato-jam-073536
http://www.thekitchn.com/thekitchn/restaurant-reproductions/gift-recipe-chez-panisse-herbed-almonds-072591

Easy dessert:
- This Laurie Colwin cake
http://cooking-books.blogspot.com/2009/02/nantucket-cranberry-pie.html

Also, last week I adapted this apple cake with a homemade yellow cake, split into layers, with chunky cooked apples between the layers and buttercream poured over the whole thing. Very homey, and not too sweet.
http://thebittenword.typepad.com/thebittenword/2008/11/apple-stack-cake.html

faith said...

Oh, and yes - the Zuni birds are the best! But they would need to be rubbed with salt tonight at the latest. That bread salad is so good.

Good luck! Your parties always sound amazing.

Jen said...

Spiced Nuts,
you can make them before hand and heat them up a little or not. I have gotten rave reviews of these and they are so easy.

Recipe from Williams & Sonoma Gifts From the Kitchen Cookbook

Ingredients
2 1/2 c mixed nuts (whatever you want, I used pecans, cashews, almonds, and walnuts)
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
2 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 300. Place the nuts in a bowl. Pour the oil into a small, heavy saucepan and place over medium-low heat until warm. Add the cumin and cayenne and stir until the mixture is aromatic, about 15 seconds. Pour the flavored oil over the nuts. Add the sugar and slat and stir to coat evenly. Transfer the nuts to a baking pan.

Bake, stirring occasionally, until the nuts are toasted, about 20 minutes.

Store in an airtight container for up to two weeks.

Makes about 2 1/2 cups

These are best served hot so spread on a baking sheet and reheat in a 300 over for about 5 minutes.

Clare said...

Key Lime Pie!

1 14oz can sweetened condensed milk
1 6oz can frozen limeade concentrate (not thawed)
1 cup heavy cream
1 6oz graham cracker piecrust
zest of one lime

Place the condensed milk , limeade concentrate, and cream in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment
Beat until fluffy and soft peaks form
pour into the piecrust and smooth the top
Refridgerate until chilled and losely set, at least 4 hours or overnight.

Sprinkle with zest before serving

good luck. I like your blog. I am collecting followers if anyone would be so kind :)

Smiling Mama said...

I love that more entertaining at home will be a consequence of these tough times.