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Dinner Party Photos!

December 7, 2010

Alright, so I no longer feel like I’ve got the plague (Remember how I called it an inevitable cold a few entries ago? I knew one would be coming. And it was just in time, too! My friend Chris sent me all the photos from the night I hosted a dinner party.

I made the following, but not all are depicted in photos… just my favorites πŸ™‚ :

  • White wine and garlic roasted chicken
  • Cranberry pear cornbread stuffing
  • Green bean souffle
  • Pumpkin cream cheese tart

The chicken came out well, though someone kind of mangled it during carving! The stuffing was to-die-for, I was so excited that my souffles came out well (They rose! Hooray!), and the pumpkin cream cheese tart… well… needs some work.

The carving disaster. Just kidding, Mike. πŸ˜€

The stuffing, got put together in a large stockpot, then transferred into a casserole dish for some crisping in the oven.

And then the souffles! I’ve never made a souffle before– all I knew was how difficult it was to get them just right. They either puff up and deflate once they’re out of the oven, or they never puff up to begin with.

So I tried my hand, and hoped for the best.

And they’re growing…

Well looky there. No deflating involved.

After the chicken “carving,” the souffle ooh-ing and ahh-ing, and getting stuffed with stuffing, there was a lot of drinking this…

And then a brief naptime…

The pumpkin cream cheese tart didn’t set for the most part. That recipe definitely needs some tweaking. I think next time I’ll make individual portion sizes, rather than one large tart. The smaller surface area should help it set. But in the meantime, I think I’ll withold that recipe.

But for the others… here they are!

White Wine Roasted Chicken

  • small roasting chicken– mine was between 2 and 3 lbs
  • dry white wine
  • chicken broth
  • 6-7 cloves of garlic
  • poultry seasoning
  • salt
  • pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Smash cloves of garlic. Clean chicken thoroughly. Rub the cloves of garlic all over the outside of the chicken, leaving some on the skin. Season the chicken inside and out with the salt, pepper, and poultry seasoning. In a 9×13 glass casserole dish, fill with one part white wine and 3 parts chicken broth so that it’s about 1/4″ deep in the casserole dish. Place chicken in the casserole dish and baste the liquid inside and on top of the chicken. Bake in oven for 45 minutes, or until done (varies based on oven and size of chicken), basting every 15 minutes.

Cranberry Pear Cornbread Stuffing

  • 2 loaves of cornbread, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup leeks, chopped
  • 3/4 stick of butter (probably could be reduced)
  • 2 c cranberries
  • 1/4 c sugar
  • 1 pear, de-skinned and chopped
  • 1 carrot, shredded
  • 2 c chicken broth
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon sage

Preheat oven to 425. Spread out cornbread on a large baking sheet and place in oven to slightly brown– about 15 minutes. Remove and set aside. In a saucepan, bring 1 c water to a boil and pour in cranberries. Reduce heat, stir in sugar, cover, and allow to simmer for 10-15 minutes (the cranberries should burst). Stir well and set aside.

In a large stockpot, melt the butter and pour in the shallots and leeks. Sautee over medium heat until shallot are clear. Stir in chicken broth, carrot, pear, cranberry mixture, and sage and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and gradually add the pieces of cornbread. Mix well. Once mixed, pour stuffing into a greased 8×8 casserole dish. Bake in oven for 20 minutes or until top is golden brown.

Green Bean Souffle

  • 2 c green beans, steamed and chopped
  • 3/4 c skim milk
  • 6 eggs, separated (you’ll need 6 egg whites and 5 egg yolks)
  • 6 oz light shredded cheese (I used a three-cheese blend from Trader Joe’s)
  • 2-3 tablespoons fine bread crumbs
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • dash of salt
  • dash of pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 6 small ramekins and coat with bread crumbs, turning ramekins to coat the sides of the ramekins. In a food processor, combine the green beans, skim milk, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper. Pour the puree into a saucepan over medium-low heat and stir in cheese. Stir well and allow cheese to melt.

Put egg yolks in a bowl and scramble together. Pour about 1/3 cup of the green bean puree/cheese mixture into the bowl of scrambled yolks and mix well. Pour the mixture back into the pot and stir well.

Beat the egg whites in another bowl until soft peaks form (aka it gets completely foamy), and fold gradually into the saucepan. Stir well.

Pour into ramekins, leaving about 1/4″ inch room at the top. Place ramekins on a baking sheet and Place into the oven.

Now here’s the tricky part. I didn’t keep them in there for a specific amount of time. I just watched them. I think that was the trick to getting them puffed up and not deflated. So check on them at least every 5 minutes, and then remove them from the oven when they’re puffy and no longer runny in the middle. It’s tricky, I know. But if you pull it off… you’ll be squealing with joy like I did.

Coming Up Later

My life, under the weather. You get to share in my adventures of being sick. I know, you’re really excited. But hey, I beat my cold with barely any medicine– I caved and took 2 Advil when I couldn’t bare the sinus headache.

‘Til then… it’s good to be back!

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Tio Michael permalink
    December 8, 2010 7:01 am

    Good to hear you are feeling better. It was really great to see you over the Thanksgiving Holiday and I am looking forward to you coming home for Christmas as well. The dinner party photos look great and it seems as though it was a huge success. I am so happy to know that someone other than me in this family has a passion for cooking. I learned so much in the kitchen growing up from our relatives and had such great experiences. They took the time to explain and show me how to do so many cool things in the kitchen at such an early age that it stuck for life. Those memories are like gold. I think with your passion and desire to eat and live healthy that you could re-create all those wonderful family recipes into new healthier versions without loosing that old home cooked feel. Love You, Lets Cook!

    • December 8, 2010 6:44 pm

      Thanks, Tio! Maybe if you aren’t super busy while I’m home over the holidays, you can teach me a trick or two!

  2. December 10, 2010 3:56 pm

    Whoa, what an amazing spread! Love that photo of you in the kitchen and the face plant into the dish πŸ™‚ Glad you’re better.

    • December 21, 2010 10:57 am

      Haha I was a little tired after all that cooking. In retrospect, I probably should have done myself up a little if someone was coming to take pictures. Live and learn?

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