Wednesday, May 31, 2006

A Plethora of Appetizers

These are what I made for my friend Jenny's party......

oops... took photo before grnishing with snipped chives.......

and a last minute addition that was fabulous and so easy, was this killer dip made with Gorgonzola, port, and hazelnuts.....

I had fun making all of these. It was a huge learning experience too, and now I know that I don't want to cater as a job. I know that I do enjoy it on a slightly smaller scale, and only if it is for a friend. It took far more time than I had anticipated, but I still really enjoyed doing it. The morning of the party, my friend Jamie stopped by and commented how 'at peace' I seemed to be, seemingly in the face of stress, but I was really in my element, so felt peaceful, and obviously exuded that somehow.
In any case, people seemed to enjoy what I made, which was my intention, and made me happy.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Hors D'oeuvres galore....

Avocado and Feta Salsa
This was probably the biggest hit at Jenny's Party. It was the biggest catering job I have done to date. A huge learning experience, and I loved doing it!

Avocado and Feta Salsa
Have a fork on hand to get the last of it- you won’t want any to go to waste!!

2 cloves of garlic – minced
2 Tbs (or more) of fresh parsley – chopped
1/2 tsp of oregano
1 Tbs of olive oil
2 Tbs red wine vinegar

2 plum tomatoes - chopped
1/4 cup of red onion – chopped (or more if using Vidalia)
4 oz crumbled feta
2 avocados – cut in chunks (put in last, right before serving, to avoid browning)

mix and serve with nacho chips and/or quartered, toasted pita pockets

Friday, May 19, 2006

Pizza Cookies

I made these cookies yesterday for an event at Eli's school. I thought they looked so cute! They were little sugar cookies. I spread strawberry jam on them when they were still warm, and then sprinkled them with shredded coconut. The toppings were little bits of dried apples and pieces of green fruit roll-ups. I thought they looked so cute! The whole plate of them together looked great. But...... when I brought them and put them down on the table, the school kids just kind of looked at them and moved toward other things. I asked one little girl what they were- she said little pizzas. I told her they were cookies, and she looked at me like I was nuts. I guess I made them look too real, as there were about 6 left and I had only brought about 20. Oh well. I liked them anyway.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

grilling cheese

I have been having huge cravings for cheese lately. I am willing to try most cheeses, and I saw one at the store that intrigued me, as it was touted as the "grilling cheese of Cyprus". Halloumi was the name of it, made of sheep and goats milk. I brought it home, and got right to the business of preparing to indulge in my new cheese, eager to taste it. I tried a bit when I was cutting it- quite salty. The cheese was really firm, almost like cutting into a block of mozzarella.

I warmed a small iron frying pan with a touch of butter in it. The butter sizzled and I put in the slices of halloumi. While that was going on, I toasted some bread, and sliced some plum tomatoes. The cheese was holding together and not oozing and 'melting' but simply warming and starting to get a bit golden. With some patience (I was really eager), it took on a slight grilled look.

When it was finally looking a touch browned and hot, I lifted it from the pan and carefully placed the hot cheese ontop of the bread and tomatoes. I scattered some freshly chopped mint on top. It was gorgeous. As I bit into it, I knew I had found something so new and scrumptious, that I would need to have it again and again. The mint was just the right accent and the flavors worked so well together. Of course I made another one as soon as I finished the first. Yum. Great little lunch!

Monday, May 08, 2006

the violet yard

I have always loved violets and the way they blanket the lawn in the spring. I had no idea that violets would be my backyard one day, as they are now. Our yard apparently is completely unwilling to grow much grass, due to years of being exposed to the towering pines on our property. We tried liming the hell out of the yard. The ground merely swallowed that and smiled, promising to do nothing more. The smile from it, was our yard knowing that I have a way with letting things be what they are and appreciating them for what they are, and not always trying to put up a fight. It is what it is. I have a yard, that is happily green and growing, and blesses me with a mist of purple every spring. Following this cheerful show, it gets mowed, grows more and continues on this way until fall. We have a wonderful green backyard that feels good under happy bare feet. It just isn't grass. It is wild and free and happy to be violet.

I grew up in a large white house set far back from the road. We had an expansive front lawn, wonderfully grassy, that was perfect for all sorts of running around and games that I would play with my siblings. Every spring one special area of the lawn in the front of the house would take on a violet hue. A hue that is only known to those lawns lucky enough to have such a beautiful weed. This occaision would be later followed by the dreaded first pass of the lawnmower, the little blossoms not to be enjoyed again for an entire year.

One spring, my friend Sophie and I spent one entire morning carefully picking violets and tying them into little bunches. After lunch, we proceeded to work our way around the neighborhood, knocking on doors and innocently offering our little nosegays for $1 each. That being about 30 years ago, it was complete and utter highway robbery, which some of our surprised neighbors paid. I think we really only sold a few, and those few were to women who must have just felt obligated to support our industrious effort I think.

Now, somehow compulsively, I find myself every year picking a large bunch of the wonderfully hued violets and putting them obediently into a little vase to be a little splash of spring inside the house.