If you missed the post about the Sex and the City party and décor, click here.
One of the great things about co-hosting a party is splitting up the work! Emily and I were able to provide a nice variety of appetizers at this party without killing ourselves in the kitchen. And the best part is that most of the food was prepared a day in advance, so on the evening of the party we could focus on plating the dishes and getting ourselves fabulous for the event!
I apologize for not having pictures for each of the recipes, but it was very hard to hold a camera and a cocktail at the same time. One item kept getting sacrificed, and after a while I got tired of putting my drink down. It WAS a party after all!!
I am a huge sucker for tzatziki, but I was always afraid to make it at home because I just knew it would never be restaurant quality. Well, I found this recipe (and the roasted chickpeas recipe) at Kaylyn’s Kitchen and after reading through the method I knew I had found a winner. It was so good that Craig and I practically fought over who would get to lick the spatula when I was finished. I’m pretty sure we can all guess who won that battle!
2 medium cucumbers, peeled and seeded
1 tablespoon sea salt
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh dill, roughly chopped
juice of 1 lemon
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3 cups plain Greek yogurt
Slice your peeled and seeded cucumbers, place in a colander, and sprinkle on the salt. Let stand for at least 30 minutes to allow the water to drain from the cucumbers. Pour drained cucumber on a thick paper towel and pat off any extra water.
In a food processor, add the cucumber, garlic, dill, lemon juice, and black pepper. Pulse until ingredients are well chopped and blended. Pour yogurt and cucumber mixture into a medium bowl and stir with a spatula until well combined. Place in the refrigerator for two hours for the flavors to blend. Before serving, drain any extra water that has pooled at the surface and stir well.
Red Pepper & Bulgur Wheat Salad
I’ve become a little obsessed with bulgur wheat lately. It’s so easy to make and tastes wonderful mixed with all types of veggies. This recipe is very similar to how I normally make it; a little citrus dressing and nice cool cucumber. Although this is the first time I’ve added feta cheese to the salad and now I’m a little afraid because I could eat this every day. Hmm…that’s probably a really good idea because it’s way healthier than the other foods I manage to consume.
1 red pepper
1 cup bulgur wheat
4 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons lemon juice (or juice from one large lemon)
2 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped
3 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup green onions, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cucumber, peeled, seeded, and diced
4-5 ounces feta cheese
salt & pepper
On a grill pan or griddle, cook the red pepper on medium-high heat, slowly rotating, until charred on all sides. Let cool slightly on a cutting board, paper towel or in a paper bag. Remove and discard the skin and seeds. Dice remaining pepper. In a medium pot, bring two cups of water to boil. Add bulgur to boiling water and immediately remove from heat. Cover pot with a lid and allow bulgur to absorb remaining water, approximately 15 minutes.
In a mixing bowl or measuring cup, whisk together oil, lemon juice, and a few dashes of salt and pepper. Pour dressing over the bulgur, add the mint and cilantro, and mix well. Add in the red pepper, onion, garlic, cucumber, and feta, and stir until combined. Cover dish and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Like kale chips, roasted chickpeas are becoming a popular healthy snack. And if you soak your own beans this is a really inexpensive treat. On my first bite I felt the taste was sort of just okay, but then I found myself grabbing a few more and then a few more out of the bowl. The crunchy spiciness kept calling me back. Yes, roasted chickpeas are one of those addicting little snacks. Oh, and if you store them in a plastic bag and find that they have gone a little soft by the next day, just pop them back in the oven for a few minutes to crisp up.
2-3 cups cooked or canned chickpeas
1 tablespoon olive oil
1-2 tablespoons spice mix
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Heat oven to 350 degrees. If using canned chickpeas, make sure to rinse thoroughly in water, allow to drain, and pat dry with a paper towel.
Mix all spices together in a small bowl. In a medium bowl, toss chickpeas with olive oil. Add spices and stir to fully coat. Reserve remaining spices in a glass jar to use again. Arrange chickpeas in a single layer on a baking sheet, give them a light salting, and roast for 40-50 minutes. The chickpeas will be browned and crispy. Happy snacking!
I always feel it’s important to serve a little protein at a party. Your guests are enjoying nice strong cocktails and probably need a little something substantial in their bellies. These meatballs definitely did the trick for us. The red chili pepper gave them a great kick and once dipped in the tzatziki, the cool cumber added a another layer to the flavors.
1 pound ground lamb
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 red chili pepper, deseeded & finely chopped (or jalapeño)
1 teaspoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon fresh mint, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped
Add all ingredients together in a large bowl, and using your hands, mix until fully incorporated. Using a cookie scoop or spoon, scoop out and roll mixture into balls. Place each meatball on a baking sheet and bake at 375 degrees for about 15 minutes.
Mascarpone Stuffed Dates
Food & Wine, August 2008
Okay, we all love cupcakes. I can’t deny it. I could eat them every day. BUT, Em and I felt like we needed something different for dessert. You just can’t serve cupcakes at a Middle Eastern inspired party. McDonald’s maybe (that’s for you Greg), but not cupcakes! I was actually a little leery of serving these at the party. You never know who is going to try new foods and who is going to turn up their nose. Well, no one was afraid of this dessert! Every time I looked back at the table another one had disappeared. I’m sorry I didn’t get pictures of the dates because they turned out very pretty…well, once we dusted on the cocoa. If you’ve never deliberately eaten dates or mascarpone, don’t be afraid. Give this recipe a try and you will not be disappointed. Cross my heart.
16 Medjool dates
1/2 mascarpone cheese
2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
Make a lengthwise slit in each date and carefully remove the pit. In a small mixing bowl, stir together the mascarpone cheese and sugar until creamy. Spoon the mascarpone into the dates, place them on a plate or serving dish, and dust with cocoa powder.
Stay tuned for tomorrow because Emily is going to post her fabulous recipes from the party!!