On Monday, I spent my day making cold and room temperature appetizers to deliver for an all-women cocktail party. The menu was:
Cubed watermelon skewers with cucumber, mint, plum tomatoes, feta and a lemon mint vinaigrette
For dressing, combine first four ingredients in the food processor until smooth. Slowly drizzle in olive oil until desired consistency is reached. Drizzle skewers with vinaigrette and cool.
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (seasoned with salt, pepper, olive oil and herbs de provence)
salt and pepper to taste
First, roast your chicken at 350 degrees until just cooked through- do not overcook or your chicken salad will be at the point of no return! Set chicken aside and let cool.
When cooled, cut into bite-sized chunks and combine with mayonnaise, pecans, tarragon, apples, celery, honey and lemon. Taste before seasoning because the chicken will already add saltiness. Serve with toasted baguette.
Asparagus and white bean hummus tarts (courtesy of Vegan YumYum)
I got inspiration for this dish from Vegan Yum Yum on-line.
1 sheet defrosted puff pastry
Make white bean hummus. Combine white beans, garlic, basil, lemon juice, salt, pepper and olive oil in food processor. Combine until smooth. Spread on puff pastry leaving an inch border all around. Arrange asparagus side-by-side on top rotating tops and bottoms. Brush pastry edges with olive oil and sprinkle tart with salt. Bake at 350 for about 15 minutes until asparagus is tender and puff pastry is golden brown. Let cool, garnish with basil leaves and slice into squares (my tart is shown at right).
Vegetable spring rolls with a wasabi aioli
I've made these guys more times than I can count. You can find the recipe in older posts.
Later that evening, I had a fabulous dinner at the newly-reopened Piola for some Italian fare. We started with the antipasto platter complete with fried green olives, ricotta-stuffed fried artichokes, capicola, Italian sausage, herbs de provence coated goat cheese, fontina, manchego, red grapes and pears. I piled the pears atop the goat cheese and herbs de provence...great sweet/tangy/salty combination.
Next course was soups- lobster bisque with grilled shrimp and scallop and the leek, beef and potato soup with truffle oil. Although both were well balanced, the lobster bisque was my favorite- smooth, intense and full of cream I'm sure:)
For my entree, I tried the special of the night- grilled sea bass with a putanesca sauce, shrimp and an herbed polenta. I really enjoyed the mild fish, spicy sauce and firm polenta but I could have gone without the shrimp (underseasoned and seemed like an afterthought).
Pureed roasted carrot and parsnip soup with curry, turmeric and saffron garnished with grilled shrimp and mint
For the filling, I roasted then pulled my chicken and added a touch of sesame oil, chopped scallions, honey and salt then filled the wonton wrappers and pan-fried them. I liked the savory wontons with the fresh slaw.
"Steak & frites"- an open-faced grilled sirloin sandwich with toasted baquette, smoked gouda, wasabi key lime mustard and mini-fried purple potato chips
Asian "nacho" with sesame-crusted cod, fried wonton, grilled asparagus and a cucumber salad
Braised pork tenderloin with a quinoa, herb and mango salad
Vegetarian taco with fried white beans, thyme and a braised red grape salsa
After the final, the rest of my weekend was spent moving into my new downtown apartment, fufilling my curry craving at Bombay Grill, catching up with friends and having brews at the Ginger Man and most importantly, a delicious and event-filled evening at the Taste of Fort Worth at the Hilton downtown.
Benefiting Big Brothers and Big Sisters, the event celebrated 30 years of "fine wine and culinary excellence" with a plethora of local wineries, restaurants, a silent auction and great company. After tasting wines and falling in love with honey flavored vodka from 42 Below Vodka, we tried to sample as much food as possible.
My favorites were:
Buttons- Seafood gumbo
Eddie V's- Halibut with microgreens and saffron tomatoes
Fort Worth Boat Club- Lamb "lollipops" with a mint jelly and peppercorn gravy
Grace- Corn panna cotta with lump crab
Lambert's- Chili grits with braised lamb shoulder and radish slaw
The Culinary School of Fort Worth- delish chocolate chip cookies
The evening was lovely, the food was incredible and the company kept me smiling all night!