Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Party Eats

Cookie Monster and I recently hosted a party. This was the first time I'd cooked for several of my friends, so I wanted to impress. I also wanted to use the flavors of the season.

Here's what I made:
Hazelnut brown sugar cookies
(recipe from my Better Homes & Gardens cookbook)

Cranberry sauce over cream cheese, served with crackers

Bacon-wrapped dates

Homemade pumpkin bread

Caramelized onion and blue cheese flatbread (L) and pumpkin ricotta phyllo turnovers (R)

Ginger molasses cookies

(Both cookies were served in my Snowman cookie jar, 
which plays "Jingle Bells" when you lift his head off)

And, the pièce de résistance, Cookie Monster's famous eggnog.

Also, I mulled hot cider in my Crock pot and served that, too.

So, things turned out pretty much awesome. There was very little food left at the end of the party. Yay!

Here are the "recipes" of some of the dishes. I made these all up, so there are no exact measurements.

Bacon-Wrapped Dates
Be sure to make a lot of these babies. They go fast!
I feel silly even typing a recipe for these. It's just combining two delicious things and making them into one uber-delicious thing. Simply cut strips of bacon into thirds, wrap each slice around a dried date, and bake at 350 until the bacon is crisp. They are salty, sweet and amazing. Highly recommended.

Caramelized Onion and Blue Cheese Flatbread
Yellow onions 
Blue cheese (I used  a tub of blue cheese from Trader Joe's)
Flatbread (also from Trader Joe's)

Heat a large skillet to medium-high heat. Melt few tablespoons of butter and add onions, salt and pepper. When they begin to turn brown, reduce the heat to very low. Continue to stir until they break down and turn very brown and caramely. This usually takes a while--about 30-40 minutes.
Brush flatbread lightly with olive oil. Spread a thin layer of caramelized onions over bread, then sprinkle with chunks of blue cheese. Bake at 350 until cheese is melted and edges of bread are crisp, about 10-15 minutes.

Pumpkin Ricotta Phyllo Turnovers
Sheets of phyllo dough
Canned pure pumpkin
Part-skim ricotta cheese
Grated Asiago cheese
Freshly grated nutmeg
Hot sauce

Prepare filling: Stir together pumpkin, cheeses and spices.
Prepare phyllo: Take one piece of dough and brush lightly with olive oil. (Be sure to cover unused phyllo with a damp kitchen towel; this will prevent it from drying out.) Add another layer and brush with oil. Repeat until there are four layers of phyllo. Place layers of dough lengthwise on a cutting board like a flag. Cut horizontally into four even strips. Working with one strip at a time, spoon ricotta mixture onto bottom and fold up corner to form a triangle shape. Continue folding until you have one large triangle, and tuck the last end under the bottom. Continue with remaining strips. Cut three air slits into top of each triangle, and brush tops with olive oil. Bake until golden brown in a 350 oven, about 25-30 minutes.

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