I had a small dinner party at my house Saturday and we had a fabulous time. But, of course, the main highlights (for me anyway) were all the amazing flavors in the food. I thought I’d take a few minutes to share with you, my faithful readers.
If you don’t want to try all of them, there are two you MUST try: Tomato Olive Butter and the Strawberry Spinach Salad with Goat Cheese. Don’t ask questions. Just do it! (I even moved them to the top of the post so you could get to them easier.)
This tomato olive butter served with sourdough bread was gobbled down in no time. Everyone loved it – even those people who hate both olives and tomatoes! When they asked me what was in it, I responded with “Will you still eat it???” and they said yes. So, I told. And they still ate it because they were too addicted to stop at that point.
Tomato Olive Butter
From Bluephie’s in Madison WisconsinCajun Spices:
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ¾ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¾ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/3 teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
- ¼ teaspoon minced fresh garlic
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon Cajun Spices (from above)
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- 4-5 halves sun-dried tomatoes
- 6-7 kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
Mix together Cajun spices and set aside.
Bring about 1 ½ cups water to a boil in a small sauce pan. Add sun dried tomatoes and remove from heat. Let sit in the water for about 10-15 minutes. Drain and chop.
Combine the butter and cream cheese in a mixing bowl and blend until smooth (works best in an upright mixer such as a kitchen aid). Add the remaining ingredients all at once with the mixer still running. Mix until evenly distributed. If you don’t have a mixer, mash with a fork until blended.
The butter is read to eat, but keep the remaining butter refrigerated. Before serving, it’s best to let the butter soften at room temperature. Don’t put the compound butter in the microwave or stove-top to speed softening. The ingredients will separate.
Serve with fresh sourdough bread.
Makes about 2 ½ cups.
Serves: Approx. 20 people
My sister made this amazing salad. I could almost have made my meal out of this recipe. She originally found it at allrecipes. She made the dressing exactly per their directions, but did her own thing with adding the goat cheese. Also, she prefers either regular olive oil or vegetable oil rather than extra virgin olive oil. Extra Virgin seems to overpower on the flavor a bit. So, here’s how we make the recipe.
Strawberry Spinach Salad with Goat Cheese
- 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
- 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce (get vegetarian Worcestershire here)
- 1 tablespoon minced onion
- 10 ounces fresh spinach – rinsed, dried
- 1 quart strawberries – cleaned, hulled and sliced
- 1/4 cup almonds, blanched and slivered
- 2/3 cup crumbled goat cheese
In a medium bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients. Cover, and chill for one hour.
In a large bowl, combine the spinach, strawberries, goat cheese, and almonds. Pour dressing over salad, and toss. Refrigerate 10 to 15 minutes before serving.
Tomato & Fresh Mozzarella Appetizers
- Fresh Mozzarella balls
- Cherry Tomatoes
- Fresh Basil, finely chopped
- Balsamic Vinegar
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Course ground pepper and sea salt
Place mozzarella balls and tomatoes on party toothpicks. Mix half balsamic and half olive oil with basil, salt and pepper. Drizzle over the toothpicks and let it sit for 4-5 hours or overnight.
Serve as a side to sweeten and flavor iced tea or lemonade.
- 1 bunch fresh mint
- 2 cups water
- 2 cups sugar
Wash the mint and pull leaves off the stems. Place medium sized sauce pan. Add water and sugar. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat until sugar is completely dissolved. Let cool slightly and strain syrup to remove leaves. Let cool completely and serve with tea or lemonade.
In the craziness of trying to serve everything, I forgot to take a picture of the actual dish, so I grabbed the one off the Vegetarian Times website where I found the recipe. I would definitely make this dish again. The flavors with the mint pesto gave it a bit more of an exotic flavor from maybe India or Thailand. It also says to serve warm or at room temperature. I prefer it warm.
Green Beans and New Potatoes with Mint Pesto
- 2 Tbs. chopped walnuts
- 1 cup packed fresh mint leaves
- 1/2 cup packed fresh parsley leaves
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1 Tbs. chopped fresh ginger
- 1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
- 1 clove garlic, minced (about 1 tsp.)
- 1/4 tsp. sugar
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 1/4 lb. new potatoes, scrubbed and halved
- 1 lb. green beans, or 1/2 lb. green beans and 1/2 lb. wax beans, trimmed
Toast walnuts in small skillet 4 to 5 minutes over medium heat, or until nuts are fragrant, shaking pan frequently. Cool.
Purée walnuts, mint, parsley, oil, ginger, lemon juice, garlic, sugar and salt in food processor or blender until smooth, stopping to scrape down sides of bowl once or twice. Transfer to bowl. Press plastic wrap onto surface of pesto to keep from turning brown, and let stand at room temperature for 1/2 hour, or up to 3 hours.
Bring large pot of salted water to a boil. Add potatoes and cook 8 minutes. Add beans, and simmer 4 to 5 minutes more, or until vegetables are tender. Drain.
Transfer vegetables to large bowl, and toss with pesto. Serve warm or at room temperature.