Dinner party anyone?

We had a small dinner party the other night for out of towners who were attending Union Square Sessions.  I really enjoy putting on dinner parties.  I not only enjoy the process of cooking, getting ready, planning the menu, setting the table, etc, I really like the intimacy of having people in your home. 

The menu was good.  There are few recipes I’ll share. 

Before dinner drinks…cheese sticks, spicy nuts and olives. 

We began dinner with a salad that I concocted.  It was really yum.  Mache greens, roasted slices of acorn squash, pomegranite seeds, sugar roasted walnuts, crumbled gorgonzola cheese and a mustard vinegarette.  The combination of all these worked.  Autumn salad.  The key to roasting the acorn squash was slathering olive oil and kosher salt on the pieces and laying them out on parchment paper separately and roasting at 400 for about 20-30 minutes until crisp. 

RiceDinner was an orzo salad with dried apricots, pistachios and a ginger sauce.  I got this from the November Bon Appetit.  Excellent. 

1 cup of sliced ginger with 1 cup of canola oil.  Boil and then cool.  Strain out the ginger and store in a glass container in the refrigerator until you want to use it.  It must be glass or the oil gets hard. 

1 box of orzo (12 ounces)
3 T. fresh lemon juice
1 1/4 t. ground coriander
1 cup chopped scallions
2/3 cup chopped pistachios
Italian parlsey chopped – 1/2 c.

Cook the orzo, drain and cool.  Mix together the lemon juice with 6 Tablespoon of the ginger oil and the coriander to make the sauce.  Mix the rest of the ingredients together with the dressing.  Toss and serve at room temperature. 

I served on top of the orzo small roasted poussins.  I had actually made them in advance and reheated them right before dinner.  I took the rest of the ginger oil and one stick of unsalted butter in a pan and created a sauce.  Right before serving I drizzled this on top of the chickens which dribbled down into the orzo.

Unfortunately I let the desserts rewarm up for a bit too long but it is a great recipe and I learned myBreadpud lesson.  Individual challah bread puddings with a creme anglaise.  I also sauteed a bunch of apples with cider, butter and brown sugar that I placed underneath the bread puddings before dousing them in the creme. 

Sliced challah – layer in each individual casserole until it covers the surface

You could also make this in one large casserole.  One challah should do the trick.

1 1/2 cups whole milk
2/3 cup sugar
2 large eggs
3 large egg yokes
1/4 c. brandy
pinch of cinnamon
pinch of nutmet
1/4 cup raisins (optional – i didn’t use them)
1/4 cup chopped nuts (optional – i didn’t use them either)

Mix this up and pour over the individual casseroles, sprinkle sugar over the top and bake for 30 minutes or until done at 350.

The creme anglaise is always good.

1 cup whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup sugar
6 large egg yokes
1 T. brandy
1 t. vanilla extract

Warm the milk, cream and sugar in a small saucepan and bring to simmer.  Make sure the sugar is completely dissolved. 

Whisk the eggs until pale yellow.  I use a beater, much easier and quicker. 

When the milk mixture is warmed, pour some of this into the eggs, continue whisking until the eggs warm.  Then slowly whisk in the rest of the milk mixture into the eggs.  Put back in the saucepan and stir constantly with a wooden stick on a low heat until it thickens.  About 8 minutes.  The mixture gets thick but not like pudding but like a smoothie.  Strain and cool.  Mix the creme while cooling once in a while so a surface doesn’t form.  Cover with plastic wrap, pushed down on the creme and put in the refrigerator and until ready to serve.  Drizzle over the bread pudding.  Yum..