As promised, here are some of the recipes from the Mediterranean Party from last weekend. Here is a quick overview:
I am not a huge fan of sangria in general, because I like wine and prefer other sweet drinks. This one however is so fun! How can you go wrong with champagne? I will absolutely use this again, especially on a hot summer day…or for a bridal shower perhaps? I have to say, the favorite had to be the dates. They are rich and sweet and salty and a little spicy and just perfect. The gazpacho tastes like a garden in a glass. Such a great way to add a healthy element and would also be a wonderful first course, especially in the summer. Paella is something you can find a basic recipe for and add your own flare. Use the seafood and veggies you like and it will be lovely. The one thing I do recommend is to use something as your focal point if you are looking to impress. We used a fan of asparagus and scallops in ours, but muscles or lobster on top create a lovely effect as well. The ice cream is like nothing else you have had. It has a wonderful texture and the nuts give it a toasty richness. With the ginger cookies (my staple), a few berries, and a sprinkling of toasted nuts, it was a lovely finish. I can’t wait to hear what you think!
Citrus Champagne Sangria
Combine grapefruit juice, ginger ale, simple syrup (if you like sweetness) with thinly sliced blood oranges, tangerines, and apples overnight. Add half a glass of champagne or white wine to fancy glassware and top with the citrus mixture for fabulous presentation. Make sure some of the fruit makes it to the glass. J
2 cans (11.5 ounces each) tomato juice
Juice from 1 lemon
1 cup fennel, fine dice
1 cup cucumber (1 medium), seeded and peeled, fine dice
2 large carrots, fine dice
1/2 cup red onion (1 small), fine dice
1/2 cup celery (2 stalks), fine dice
1/2 orange bell pepper, fine dice
1 pint sweet 100 or other small cherry tomatoes, stemmed and quartered
2 tablespoons italian parsley, fine chop
3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
2-3 tablespoons jalapeño pepper, seeded, fine mince
1/2 cup dry white wine
salt and pepper to taste
splash of tequila
In a bowl, combine tomato juice, lemon juice, fennel, cucumber, red onion, celery, tomatoes, parsley, basil and sherry vinegar. Add olive oil to a small sauté pan along with minced garlic over medium heat, stirring until lightly browned. Add minced jalapeño and cook, stirring for 15 seconds. Add wine and cook until reduced by half. Stir mixture into the gazpacho and chill for 1-2 hours or overnight. Add a splash of tequila. Spoon mixture into shot glasses or small martini glasses.
Note: If you are serving them as shooters, you can use a hand held blender to smooth out the texture a bit, but if you use a fine enough dice, it will work anyway.
Yield: Makes 12 dates
4 ounces fresh Mexican chorizo, coarsely crumbled
Salt and Pepper
1 tablespoon chopped Italian parsley
12 large Medjool dates
6 slices applewood-smoked bacon, cut crosswise in half
Cook chorizo in heavy small skillet over medium heat until browned and cooked through, stirring frequently and breaking up lumps with spoon, about 5 minutes. Drain off fat; transfer sausage to small bowl. Add parsley; stir to combine. Cool.
Working with one date at a time, cut slit along top of date. Gently pry open date and remove pit, leaving pocket. Stuff pocket with 1 scant tablespoon chorizo mixture. Wrap 1 bacon piece around each date, overlapping ends slightly; fasten ends with toothpick. Place wrapped dates on a baking sheet and place in a preheated 375° oven. Bake the dates for about 20 minutes or until bacon is brown. Remove toothpicks. Serve warm.
Note: I have also made these stuffed with a chunk of parmesan cheese in place of the chorizo and they were also amazing. A combination of the two might be gracing my next party.
Dulce de Leche Ice Cream – Gourmet, May 2007
Yield: Makes about 1 1/2 quarts
2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 pound dulce de leche (about 1 2/3 cups; preferably La Salamandra brand)
1/8 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (2 1/2 to 3 oz), toasted
Bring milk and cream just to a boil in a 3-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, then remove from heat and whisk in dulce de leche until dissolved. Whisk in vanilla and transfer to a metal bowl. Quick-chill by putting bowl in a larger bowl of ice and cold water and stirring occasionally until cold, 15 to 20 minutes. Freeze mixture in ice cream maker until almost firm, then fold in pecans. Transfer ice cream to an airtight container and put in freezer to harden, at least 1 hour.
Note: We found that it works best if all the ingredients are cold when you add them, so freeze the nuts for a while before adding them.
Courtesy of ‘The SONO Baking Company Cookbook’ by John Barricelli
**Makes about 60 cookies
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 t. baking soda
¼ t. coarse salt
1 t. ground cinnamon
1 t. ground cloves
1 t. ground ginger
1 cup sugar, plus ¾ cup for rolling
¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 large egg, at room temperature
¼ cup unsulfured molasses
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves, and ginger; set aside. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the sugar and butter on medium speed until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl halfway through. Beat in the egg and molasses until combined. Reduce the mixer speed to low and gradually add the flour mixture beating until combined. Transfer the dough to a clean bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until well chilled, about an hour (and up to 24 hours).
Arrange the oven rack in the middle position. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or nonstick silicone baking mats; set aside. Place the extra sugar for rolling on a plate; set aside. Use a 1 ½-inch ice cream scoop to scoop out the dough, and roll balls in the sugar to coat, and place about 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Bake one sheet at a time, rotating the sheet two-thirds of the way through the baking time, until the cookies are deep golden brown and the centers are firm, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer the sheet to a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes. Use a spatula to transfer the cookies to the rack and let cool completely. Continue to roll and bake the remaining cookies in the same way.
Note: I like to keep these in the freezer. To do so, scoop into balls and roll in sugar then place on a baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap and freeze for several hours. Once the dough is frozen, place the dough in a freezer bag. Bake as usual using the frozen dough, no need to defrost. These will keep for several months in the freezer and are a great thing to have on hand for unexpected guests or late night cravings! Also, if you want to get really fancy make them into ice cream sandwiches…yum!