Friday, February 13, 2009

A dinner party in four days. Day One: cocktails and apps

So you want to have a dinner party, do you? And let me need inspiration? I thought so. That's why we read these food blogs isn't it? I mean besides the obvious "killing time at work" reason. Well, since you have a need (and mouths) to fill, let me help you out, because last Sunday I had a kick ass post-holiday dinner party for those who work at the wine shack. Everyone was left full, happy, and drunk, so I guess it was a success. Here's what's going to happen: each day for the next four days I'm going to lay this out for you with apps/cocktails, first course of soup, entrée, and dessert. By Monday you'll be fully ready to wow your friends and earn much love from those who are fortunate enough to be graced with an invite to your table!

I know my friends well enough to know that when they walk in the door, and after the hugs are spread around, they want something in their hands. Hopefully liquid and with a little kick. Here's a list of cocktails and links to the recipes that will give everyone the proper pre-dinner glow:
- Hendrick's Gimlets
- Campari Aranciata Cocktail
- Negroni
- Manhattan Cocktail
- Margarita
- Sidecar Cocktail

You might also want to stash a bottle or two of prosecco and white in the fridge, too, just in case anyone pulls the unexpected and decides on a grape based drink. w tends to roll this way, so it's best to be a good Boy Scout and be prepared. Of course with alcohol beginning to course through their systems, it's incumbent on you, the responsible host, to have something for your guests to eat. Do yourself a favor...make it easy and have them ready when you pour the drinks. You'll be too busy with the greetings and tending to dinner prep to be whipping up last minute apps. You can take the easy way and do the cheese thing, which isn't ever a bad idea. But with a bare minimum of extra effort, you can make the two starters I laid down that absolutely nail it, are delicious, can be made a couple of hours ahead, plus they look pretty damn good on the serving platter.....
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Piquillos con Atun
A classic Spanish tapas, these are fabulous. Use good canned tuna in olive oil. I love the Ortiz brand from Spain.

1 Jar (7.6oz) Piquillo peppers
1 tin Bonito tuna in olive oil
Extra Virgin olive oil
1⁄4 cup Capers
Lettuce, washed and drained (optional)

1. Combine tuna in a bowl, draining off about half of the oil. Replace about half of the drained oil with extra virgin olive oil.
2. Break the tuna up into large chunks and add the capers.
3. Hold the peppers so that they form a cone in your hand and stuff with the tuna mixture.
4. Place each stuffed pepper onto the bed of lettuce (if using) or platter. Sprinkle the whole platter with capers and drizzle with olive oil.
Chorizo Deviled Eggs w/ Chorizo Chips
Who doesn't love deviled eggs? Throwback food at its best. And very open to imaginative interpretation! I wanted to stick with a Spanish theme for our apps, so chorizo was the natural choice. Figure at least 2 egg halves per person.

8 eggs
1/4 cup Spanish chorizo, finely chopped
16 thin slices chorizo for chips.
Smoked Spanish paprika to taste

1- Put eggs in saucepan, cover with cold water, bring to a boil. When water comes to a boil, remove pan from heat and cover. After 15 minutes carefully place eggs into ice water bath to cool. Let cool for 20 minutes or so.
2- While eggs cook, crisp the chopped chorizo in a small non-stick skillet. Set aside on a paper towel to drain. Add chorizo slices to skillet and cook to crisp, turning once or twice. Set aside on a separate paper towel to drain. (oh, you may want to make more chorizo chips than you need, because they're really fucking good and once you nibble one, you'll want more. FYI, ya know?)
3- Slice eggs in half lengthwise (a really sharp knife is very helpful here) and place yolks in small mixing bowl. Set egg white halves aside. Add mayonnaise to yolks and mash to desired consistency (I like my egg yolks a little stiff). Add paprika to taste; add chopped chorizo, and mix together. Salt to taste. Carefully fill each egg white half with yolk mixture and add chorizo chip on top. Arrange on platter and serve.
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one year ago today @ E.D.T.: Pernil is the pork shoulder that dreams are made of!


Anonymous said...

I love Ortiz tuna, and that tuna stuffed in piquillos sounds great! Great quick party food.

bb said...

Ortiz makes kick ass tuna sandos, too. You'll love the app Lisa. thanks for your comment!

HereBeDragons said...

Sounds delicious. I'm in the beginning stages of planning. Need to get a menu together!