Dec 13, 2012

Party Food for Real Food Lovers

My husband was slated to bring "a salad" type of hor d'ourve to his daytime office party.  Being that I am GREAT with child and don't wanna be standing in the kitchen, I made a super easy appetizer for him to take: olives.

They're red and green, festive right?  Those colors are for the season...right?

And because I was feeling all Martha Stewart-ish, I decided to arrange them all fancy and in a spiffy Pyrex dish.  Just kidding.
 These would have been cuter but a bit more time consuming.

If you're going to a more intimate party and are willing to spend a bit more for appetizers, or just want to impress, salmon roe is a tasty nutritious treat.  Below we ate Ikura from Vital Choice on a cracker with cream cheese and green onions.
Other types of caviar can be found at Whole Foods (Call ahead to check for availability; I wouldn't make a special trip because it is not always in stock.  Ask about it at the deli.)


Other ideas posted here before:

share facebook tweet

Dec 7, 2012

Warm Winter Salad with Arugula, Beets, and Sweet Potatoes

I wanna slap myself.  This salad was so good.  It was a combination of this recipe and this one.  Most of the ingredients are in season and can be found locally.

This is how I made it for 2 dinner sized portions.  Yes, it is a bit time consuming but oh-so-delicious and worth it, if it is the main course.  Grocery list is at the bottom of my tutorial recipe.

Preheat oven to 400*.

Remove greens from one bunch of beets, saving greens - they are a powerhouse of nutrition!  Use vegetable peeler to remove rough outer skin from beets.  You could also use a paring knife.  Chop beets into equal sizes, mine were roughly 3/4 inches, cubed.  Put beet cubes in a bowl and pour 2-3 tablespoons olive oil over them, sprinkling some kosher salt on them.

Sweet Potatoes
Peel 2 small sweet potatoes or one large one then chop into equal sized cubes.  It helps if they are the same size as the beets so that everything roasts at the same rate.  Add the sweet potatoes to the bowl of beets and stir them around in the olive oil, add more oil if necessary to coat the potatoes.  I had 2 small sweet potatoes that I'd previously roasted in the fridge so I just re-heated them the last 10 minutes with the beets.

Roast beets and sweet potatoes 20-30 minutes in 400* oven, stirring once or twice.  I used parchment paper on my cookie sheet so that clean up would be faster.  If you don't have green onions (see below) you could also roast some onions during this step - red or sweet onions would be my preference.

In the last 5-10 minutes of roasting, make room for toasting some nuts to sprinkle on the salad.  I used a generous 1/2 cup of walnuts, but pecans or hazelnuts would be yum.  Just scoot the veggies enough the side to make enough room for the nuts to get toasty brown.  Watch them - they will burn quickly!

[You could roast veggies and toast nuts a day or so in advance, just reheat the veggies before serving.]

When everything is roasted, pull it out of the oven to cool.  After 5-10 minutes, shred some parmesan cheese on the veggies.  My portion of cheese was quite small (there's a cheese eating mouse in the family!)  At least 2 ounces of cheese would be nice and of course you can omit it completely.  If you omit the cheese, you will probably want to add salt to the dressing.

While things are getting roasted, turn your attention to the greens from the beets you saved.  Start a pot of water boiling on the stove.  Rinse the dirt from the greens and remove woody stems (I fold the leaf and cut the stem out with a knife).  Give it a rough chop.  When the water has come to a boil, toss in a bit of salt (1/2 teaspoon?) then your greens.  Set the timer for one minute then pour greens into a strainer.  Once the majority of the water has drained off the greens, transfer wilted greens to a bowl and pour a bit of dressing over them, recipe below.

In a measuring cup, whisk the dressing together:
1/2 orange, squeezed (or 2+ ounces orange juice or omit completely and just add more vinegar)
2-3 ounces of balsamic vinegar - or other tasty vinegar
1-2 T honey, depending on your sweet tooth
1 T mustard, I used spicy
3+ ounces olive oil

In a large serving bowl, rough chop giant handful or more of arugula.  Add 2-3 green onions, chopped.  Then add your warm beets, sweet potatoes, and walnuts.  Toss the remaining salad dressing on top.  Add more parmesan cheese if you'd like.

On the dinner table, I kept the warm greens separately and served them on the bottom of the salad plate.  Don't ask why, it just seemed to make sense at the time.  I suppose you could toss everything all together in one big bowl.  

Grocery List
One bunch of beets, with greens
1-2 sweet potatoes
1/2 cup nuts (walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, etc.)
onions: 2-3 green (raw) or 1/2 red or sweet onion for roasting
parmesan cheese or other hard cheese, 2 ounces
arugula, giant handful or more
1/2 orange or 2 ounces juice
balsamic vinegar or red wine vinegar
1-2 T honey
1 T spicy mustard
5 T olive oil
salt and pepper to taste


share facebook tweet


Related Posts with Thumbnails