Sunday, February 17, 2008

The Dinner Party

So instead of having all our friends over at one time, we've decided to try and have grown-up, sit down, dinner parties. Our first attempt was last weekend, four couples (counting us) -- and, for the most part, I'd say it was a success.

Among our guests were two reknown neighborhood pastry chefs, and for some strange reason I thought I'd try to make a dessert I'd never made before -- some would say gutsy, some would say insane... so I made my own dough and everything, and created a raspberry chocolate tart (YUMMY).

I've also been sort of obsessed with the idea of banana cream pie, and found a recipe for sour cream bananna cream pie in the New York Times cookbook. I had the extra dough, all the ingredients, I figured, what the heck -- I'll throw that together too. Well I'm not sure what went wrong, perhaps it was the fat free sour cream, but to make a long story short, the pie never set and I served runny banana pudding on dough. My guests were very gracious, and said it was delicious, but it was quite unsightly.

BTW -- I made another banana cream pie today -- from good old Good Housekeeping Cookbook -- it's looking WAY better. I'll post more about that later...

Our menu:
Appetizers were Olive Tapenade and Parmesan Salsa
Grilled Tenderloin Steaks topped with blue cheese and scallions
Green Beans with shallots, garlic and lemon
Roasted potatoes
Dessert was raspberry chocolate tart and a failed banana cream pie experiment

The recipes:
Parmesan Salsa
1/3 lb. parmesan cheese
1/3 lb. asiago cheese
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 t. dried oregano
1 t. freshly ground pepper
1/2 t. red pepper flakes
3/4 c. extra virgin olive oil

1. Chop the cheeses into small chunks and place in a food processor. Pulse until they are the size of peas.
2. Transfer the cheeses to a medium-sized bowl and add the garlic, oregano, black and red peppers and oil, stirring to blend.

Cover and let stand at room temperature for at least 4 hours or refrigerate for up to 1 week. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Olive Tapenade
1 c. green olives (pimento-stuffed)
1 c. pitted kalamata olives
1/2 c. capers, drained
1 T. anchovy paste
2 cloves garlic, peeled
grated zest of lemon
1/2 c. extra virgin olive oil
2 t. red wine vinegar
1/4 c. packed chopped fresh Italian parsley

Put the olives, capers, anchovy paste and garlic in the food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Tranfer to a bowl and add the remaining ingredients. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Serve at room temperature.

Chocolate-Raspberry Tart (from Perfect Party Food by Diane Phillips)
1/2 c. seedless raspberry jam
1/4 c. Grand Marnier
One 9-in. pie shell, prebaked and cooled
1 1/2 c. heavy cream
One 12 oz. bag semisweet chocolate chips
Whipped cream and fresh raspberries for garnish

1. In a small bowl, blend together the jam and 2 T. of the liqueur. Spread over the bottom of the pie shell.
2. In a small saucepan, heat the cream and chocolate chips, stirring, over medium-low heat until the chocolate is melted. Reduce the heat to low and stir until the mixture thickens a bit. Remove from the heat and let cool completely, about 1 hour.
3. Add the remaining 2 T. of liqueur to the chocolate mixture. With an electric mixer, beat until smooth and creamy. Spread over the jam in the pie shell and smooth the top.
** At this point cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours and up to 2 days, or freeze for up to 1 month.
4. Garnish each slice of the tart with a dollop of whipped cream and arrange a few berries on the plate.

No comments: