I can’t believe this is my JOB!
When I was asked if I’d be interested in cooking for her husbands surprise 60th birthday party at her home in New Jersey for about 30 - 40 people. You can imagine my response like, “hellz yeah!!!!!” I love a party!
I mean, what’s better than family and friends gathering around having fun, and the birthday boy can enjoy the company of all his friends instead of being at a restaurant where you cant talk to everyone while stuck at the table.
I was given the 'warning', were Italians and my family and friends love to eat. I said "don't we all".
It was a tricky event to plan. How do you keep this a secret? Well we did, I won't bore you the details on how.
Overall the party was a success, everyone was fed and full. The hit of the evening was the sliders (Ill make another blog about those - but move over White Castle), Orzo salad and the tiramisu (Hubby's favorite dessert - used the wife's recipe )
I learned on how to make homemade limoncello (hint use Tito's vodka) from a couple that makes it all the time. It was soo good.
Beef and Turkey Sliders
Garlic Herb Roasted Salmon
Italian Sausages with Onion and Peppers
Tortellini Pesto Salad
Antipasto & Cheese Platter
Marinated Mozzarella Balls Cherry Tomatoes& Basil on Skewers
Chicken Salad on Cucumbers
Mozzarella Sticks with homemade marinara sauce
Orzo Tomato Artichoke Salad
Adapted from Proud Italian Cook
1. Roast sliced tomatoes at 400 degrees on parchment drizzled with olive oil, salt, pepper and a little oregano until moisture is mostly gone and the sides look wrinkled.
2. Cook orzo al ' dente and before draining reserve a cup of the pasta water.
3. While pasta is boiling take a large saute pan with sides, drizzle the bottom with olive oil.
4. Saute the onion and garlic then add the artichoke hearts, breaking some apart
5. Add half of the pasta water and cheese into the veggie mix, mixing well with a whisking motion to create a sauce.
6. Toss in the cooked orzo pasta and If you need more pasta water add it.
7. Pull pan off the heat and fold in the roasted tomatoes.
8. Toss on chopped herbs, parsley, basil or both and zest.
9. Adjust to your liking adding a drizzle more of olive oil, cheese, salt and pepper or pasta water.
10. Recipe can easily be doubled!
For the crust:
For the quiche:
1. Preheat oven to 350F and lightly grease a round 10-inch tart pan. Alternatively, you can use a 9-inch glass pie dish if desired.
2. For the crust: Whisk together flax and water mixture in a small bowl and set aside so it can gel up.
3. In a large bowl, stir together the almond meal, oat flour (or buckwheat flour), parsley, oregano, and salt.
4. Add in the flax mixture and oil. Stir until mostly combined, adding the remaining water until the dough is sticky (about the consistency of cookie dough). The dough should stick together when you press it between your fingers.
5. Crumble the dough evenly over the base of the tart pan (or pie dish). Starting from the center of the pan, press the mixture evenly into the pan, working your way outward and up the sides of the pan. Poke a few fork holes in the dough so air can escape.
6. Bake the crust at 350F for 13-16 minutes, or until lightly golden and firm to touch. Set aside to cool while you finish preparing the filling. Increase oven temperature to 375F.
7. For the filling: Place the walnuts in a food processor. Pulse into crumbs, so that no whole walnuts are left.
8. In a skillet, add oil and saute the leek (or onion) and garlic over medium heat for a few minutes. Stir in the mushrooms, season with salt, and cook on medium-high heat until most of the water cooks off the mushrooms, about 10-12 minutes. Stir in the herbs, sun-dried tomatoes, spinach, nutritional yeast, oregano, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes until combined. Cook until the spinach is wilted. Remove from heat and adjust seasoning to taste if desired.
9. When the vegetables have stopped steaming, add a 1/2 cup of the mixtureto the food processor. Pulse a few times and scrape down the sides. Add the beans and puree until relatively smooth, although the walnuts will still be grainy. Add the cornstarch ( sift first, if very clumpy ) and pulse until thoroughly combined. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and mix in the rest of the vegetables. Spoon mixture into baked crust and smooth out with a spoon until even.
10. Bake for 45 minutes until quiche is firm.. Let cool for about 20 minutes before serving. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Something simple to satisfy my plantain craving without feeling guilty.
Serves 2 - 3 people
2-3 ripe plantains
2 -3 tablespoon canola oil
1⁄2 small onion chopped
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 medium tomatoes chopped
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1⁄4 cup chopped red or green pepper
1 15 oz can black beans
Salt and pepper to taste
1 14-ounce (396 g) can light coconut milk
1 cup (170 g) white quinoa, rinsed in a fine mesh strainer*
for the plantains:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray. Take a plantain and slice 1/4 inch off the bottom so it will lay flat on the baking sheet. Next, take a knife and make a slit down the plantain. Place plantain on baking sheet. Repeat process with remaining plantains. Sprinkle tops of the plantain with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Bake for 35 minutes, or until golden and bubbly remove from oven, and let cool slightly.
for the beans:
While the plantains are baking, add 2 tablespoon of oil to a saucepan, followed by onions, green onion , garlic and tomatoes. Let it simmer for about 5-7 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent burning, add about 2 tablespoons or more of water if needed. Then, add beans and continue cooking for about 5-7 or more minutes.
Finally add pepper and parsley, adjust for seasoning
for coconut quinoa:
If serving with coconut quinoa, begin by washing thoroughly in a fine mesh strainer. Add to a medium saucepan over medium heat and toast for 3 minutes. Add 1 can light coconut milk, and 1/2 cup water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes, or until the quinoa is light, fluffy and the liquid is absorbed. Set aside until serving.
Stuff with equal amounts of beans mixture. Serve warm with coconut quinoa.
* An alternative to quinoa would be millet, white or brown rice.
*Plantains adapted from Immaculatebites
* Coconut Quinoa adapted from Minimalist Baker
Hiring a personal chef can be a life saver. Yesterday, we delivered a set of meals to a consultant that travels weekly to NYC for work. She contacted us after eating hotel food for the past year and it was taking a toll on her body and she wanted a healthier meal solution.
She loved the aspect that were able to meet the demands of her busy schedule and meet her at various locations to drop off her meals. "I send you my travel arrangements and poof your here!"
Here's some of the delicious meals she has received:
Thai Ginger Lemongrass Soup
Kale and Quinoa Power Salad with Avocado Sauce
Roasted Root Vegetables with Green Olive Vinaigrette
Roasted Cauliflower and lentil tacos with Chipolte Sauce
A Latin American Themed Brunch
About Year Up:
Year Up’s mission is to close the Opportunity Divide by providing urban young adults with the skills, experience, and support that will empower them to reach their potential through professional careers and higher education.
We achieve this mission through a high support, high expectation model that combines marketable job skills, stipends, internships and college credits. Our holistic approach focuses on students’ professional and personal development to place these young adults on a viable path to economic self-sufficiency.
Refreshments Provided By Gourmet Diva:
Chicken and Sundried Tomato Bruschetta
Strawberry Champange Cupcakes
Knowledgecrush.com is a group of professionals that is bringing the best minds in the areas of leadership development into one place and providing access to them in an affordable way.
Each week Angela McKeller brings you an exciting show from the lighter world of cooking. With interviews from top rated chefs, recipe makeovers and recipe challenges, Angela makes cooking both fun and easy.
Join me and Chef Keesha O'Galdez as we discuss "The Gourmet Diva" and her recipe for Roasted Salmon with Mustard Crust and yes, it's easy on the pocket book while still being impressive, hence the reason it's called a "Recession Date Dinner"!
This is a joint venture of O. Ross Enterprises (http://www.orossenterprises.com) & The Factory of Dreams (http://www.thefactoryofdreams.com). Business Builders Radio (BBR) is an exciting, intellectually stimulating, knowledge sharing motivational internet radio show. BBR is an interactive show where we talk about everything for today’s entrepreneur, aspiring entrepreneur, and CEO.