Monday, December 16, 2013

Notes from my Cookie Exchange

I hosted a Cookie Exchange for 25-30 ladies this past Friday. It was so fun! With the help of a very dear friend, we decorated the house with white lights, burlap, white poinsettia and stuck to the natural monochromatic tone. Guests were instructed to bake 2-3 dozen cookies and prepackage their cookies in 8-10 bags. I set up my dining table with platters, baskets, pedestal trays to create height. Guests proudly filled the table with their creations. Blank placecards were put out so guests could label their platter with name and kind of cookie. I provided these brown bags with a stamped tag so people could write their name on it after they have filled their bags with others cookies. I would love to do this every year. 

I served a very easy Crostini Bar that I wanted to share with you. 
I had toasted crostinis that I purchased at Fresh Market and freshly sliced baguette as well.

Ricotta Honey Lemon Zest:
Bought Imported Ricotta from Whole Foods. Served in a ramekin.
Drizzled Extra Virgil Olive Oil and Honey
Grated Lemon Zest
Sprinkled Salt and Pepper

Chicken Liver Mousse + Onion Jam:
Bought Stonewall Kitchen Onion Jam from Sur La Table
Sautee 1/2 onion, diced, 1 garlic clove, minced, 1 bay leaf, 1/4 t. thyme and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Saute 1 lb chicken livers until barely pink inside, about 3 minutes. Add 2 t. Cognac. Remove from the heat and let stand, covered, for 5 minutes. Discard the bay leaf. Transfer the liver mixture to a food processor; process until coarsely pureed. With the machine on, add the 1 1/2 c. room temp. butter, 2 tablespoons at a time, until incorporated. Add salt and pepper and process until completely smooth. Scrape the pâté into 3-4 large ramekins. Press a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the pâté and refrigerate until firm. Serve chilled. The pâté can be covered with a thin layer of melted butter, then wrapped in plastic and refrigerated for up to 1 week or frozen for up to 2 months.

Shrimp Avocado Grapefruit Cilantro Pistachio
Bought Shrimp Cocktail, removed tails and sliced each shrimp longways
Segmented one pink grapefruit and squeezed juice into shrimp bowl
Chopped 1 avocado
Diced cilantro
Pinch of Salt
(forgot to chop roasted pistachios and sprinkle on top)

Wild Mushroom and Fontina:
Saute 1/3c. chopped shallots
Add 1 lb of mixed fancy mushrooms (oyster, chanterelles, shitake), stems removed, sliced
Add 1 garlic clove, minced
Add 1 t. thyme & 1 t. rosemary
Add salt and pepper
Cool. Store up to 2 days before party
Grate 1 c. fontina
Reheat and serve with fontina cheese on top. 

My friend made an amazing Rick Bayless Slow Cooker Pulled Pork with Pickled Red Cabbage Slaw. The vinegary slaw was what made it extra special. When I get the recipe, I will post it.

I also got to make it to the Art & Food exhibit at the Art Institute of Chicago with some friends. We then took a field trip to Eataly which just opened here. Amazing! I bought some of Salumi's Finocchiona (Cath, Thank you for introducing Salumi to me in Seattle) and served thin slices that evening as well.

I made a "Blood Orange" Cocktail
Mixed 1 Gallon of Pink Grapefruit + 1 Gallon of OJ ( I couldn't find Blood Orange Juice)
Froze the juice in ice trays.
3 Bottles of Whole Food's Blood Orange Italian Soda
8 limes, juiced
Served as non-alcoholic
Added Champagne, Prosecco, or Vodka

Hope you all have a wonderful holiday


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