Monday, August 16, 2010

Housewarming Party

We just moved into our new home about a month ago and we hosted a housewarming party this last weekend. I was excited to make some new appetizers I had found and I knew that it was going to take quite a lot of time to get them all baked and put together. My plan was to work on them Friday afternoon and evening and then get it all finished up Saturday morning before the party. However, early Friday morning, a Tornado hit our neighborhood! There was no major damage to our house but it took out a few of our trees and I spent most of the day cleaning all of it up.

That meant I only had a few hours Saturday morning to get it all put together. It came down to the line but it all came out great. We had over 60 people come through and people seemed to enjoy the food. We loved getting to know some more of our neighbors and spending time with old and new friends.

I ended up making five different appetizers and we also had a chocolate fountain with fresh fruit and other dipping items. Most of these seemed much more gourmet and difficult than they really are to make, especially if you are only making one of them at a time! The flavor combination's came together so well and I think people really enjoyed having something a little different than your regular fare.

My favorite was definitely the Roasted Tomato Bruschetta. The flavor of the roasted tomatoes with the rosemary and prosciutto was so amazing. These ran out very quickly and I even made a second batch on Sunday for Breanne and myself.

Bruschetta with Rosemary, Roasted Tomatoes, Ricotta and Prosciutto


6 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 large garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 large plum tomatoes (about 1 1/2 pounds), quartered lengthwise
12 1/2-inch-thick diagonally cut baguette slices (each 3 to 4 inches long)
12 tablespoons ricotta cheese, divided
6 thin prosciutto slices, cut in half crosswise
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 cup microgreens or baby arugula


Preheat oven to 425°F. Stir 6 tablespoons oil, garlic, rosemary, 1 teaspoon coarse salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper in large bowl to blend. Add tomato quarters and stir to coat. Let stand 5 minutes. Line rimmed baking sheet with foil. Lift tomatoes from marinade and arrange, cut side down, on prepared baking sheet (reserve marinade for toasts).

Roast tomatoes until skin is browned and blistered and tomatoes are very tender, about 35 minutes. Cool tomatoes on sheet. Maintain oven temperature.

Meanwhile, arrange bread slices on another rimmed baking sheet. Brush top of each with reserved marinade (including garlic and rosemary bits).

Roast bread until top is golden, 10 to 12 minutes. Cool toasts on sheet.

Spread 1 tablespoon ricotta cheese on each toast; sprinkle with pepper. Fold prosciutto halves over and place on ricotta. Arrange 2 tomato quarters atop prosciutto. Whisk lemon juice and remaining 1 teaspoon oil in medium bowl to blend; season with salt and pepper. Add microgreens and toss to coat. Top bruschetta with microgreens. Arrange on platter and serve.
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Mini Zucchini and Goat Cheese Tarts

These tarts were really fun to make and look really good too. I used a yellow zucchini and I think the color looked great. The baked goat cheese and flaky crust go so well together and make a great one bite treat. I also made a homemade crust and would definitely recommend it, but you can use a store bought if you're desperate.


1 refrigerated pie crust (half of 15-ounce package)
2 1/2 pounds 1-inch-diameter zucchini, cut into 1/16- to 1/8-inch-thick rounds
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil plus additional for drizzling
2 teaspoons chopped fresh lemon thyme or regular thyme
3 ounces soft fresh goat cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese


Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Place pie crust on floured work surface. Using 1 1/2- to 1 3/4-inch cookie cutter or biscuit cutter dipped in flour, cut out 24 rounds; transfer to prepared sheet, spacing 1/2 inch apart. Place in freezer until dough is firm, about 30 minutes. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover; keep frozen.

Toss zucchini with 1 teaspoon salt in medium bowl. Let stand 15 minutes. Drain and pat dry. Place zucchini in another medium bowl; toss with 2 tablespoons olive oil and thyme. Sprinkle zucchini with pepper.

Preheat oven to 400°F. Spread goat cheese generously over each frozen dough round. Fold 3 to 4 zucchini slices in half and place in concentric circle atop 1 dough round, creating flower-like pattern. Repeat with remaining zucchini and dough (reserve any remaining zucchini for another use). Sprinkle with Parmesan. Bake until crusts are light golden, about 20 minutes. Transfer to platter. Drizzle lightly with additional olive oil. Serve warm or at room temperature.

 Curried Chicken Salad
 I absolutely love the curry flavor in this chicken salad and I put them inside a cream puff shell (next recipe). I didn't get to try any during the party but I ate about six of them later that night. 


4 cups diced poached chicken breast, recipe follows
1/2 cup minced red onion, soaked in cold water for 10 minutes, drained
1 tablespoon minced fresh coriander (cilantro)
1 heaping tablespoon golden raisins
1 tablespoon vegetable oil, like soy, peanut, or corn
1 tablespoon Madras-style curry powder
1 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tablespoon Major Grey's mango chutney, chopped
1/4 cup chopped cashew nuts or slivered almonds, toasted (optional)


In a medium bowl, toss together the chicken, onion, coriander, and raisins.
In a small saute pan, heat the oil over medium heat, add the curry powder, and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Remove pan from the heat and set oil aside to cool.
In a small bowl mix together the curry oil, mayonnaise, lime juice and chutney. Gently fold the chicken mixture into the flavored mayonnaise. Add the nuts, if desired. Serve on a bed of lettuce or in a pita sandwich.

10 sprigs parsley
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 small onion, halved
1 small carrot, halved
1 stalk celery, halved
3 pounds split chicken breasts, on the bone and fat trimmed
5 to 6 cups chicken broth, homemade or low-sodium canned

Put the parsley, thyme, onion, carrot, celery, and chicken breasts in a medium saucepan. Cover with the broth, and bring just to a boil. Lower the heat to very low and cover. Poach the chicken for 20 minutes or until firm to the touch. Remove the pan from the heat, uncover, cool the chicken in the stock for 30 minutes.
Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and reserve the liquid. Bone and skin the chicken and cut the meat into 1 inch cubes. Discard the bones and skin.
Strain the broth and store, covered, in the refrigerator for 3 days or freeze for later use. Remove any fat from the surface of the broth before using.

Cream Puffs

I used these shells for the Curried Chicken Salad recipe above and then I also filled some with Pistachio pudding and sprinkled with powdered sugar. This was definitely the easiest but was still a fun dessert item.


3/4 cup water
3/4 cup whole milk
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, diced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sifted all purpose flour (sifted, then measured)
6 large eggs, divided


Position 1 rack in top third and 1 rack in bottom third of oven and preheat to 425°F. Line 2 large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Bring first 4 ingredients to boil in heavy large saucepan over medium heat, stirring with wooden spoon until butter melts. Add flour all at once and stir vigorously until dough forms and pulls away from sides of pan. Continue to stir until film forms on pan bottom, 1 to 2 minutes longer. Transfer dough to large bowl. Cool 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add 1 egg and, still using wooden spoon, beat until blended. Add remaining 5 eggs, 1 at a time, beating until blended after each, then beat until dough is smooth and shiny, 2 to 3 minutes.

Working in batches, transfer dough to pastry bag fitted with 1/2-inch plain round tip. Pipe 1- to 1 1/4-inch mounds, spaced about 2 inches apart, onto prepared baking sheets. Using wet finger, smooth tops of mounds.

Bake puffs 15 minutes. Reverse baking sheets. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F. Continue to bake until puffs are dry, firm, and deep golden brown, 30 to 35 minutes longer. Cool puffs on baking sheets.

Lemon Cookies

Of course, a party hosted by me wouldn't be complete without my lemon cookies!

Enjoy the recipes and let me know what you think!


  1. yummy!!!!I just loved all those.Cant wait to try it.My mouth already stated salivating.puffs is my favorite.Basically I'm a writer but my love towards puffs made me a cook too.I bake a lot whenever I get free time.Will definitely let u know about this after trying.keep sharing more simple recipes.

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