Friday, November 06, 2009

Dinner Party!

For the big 2-8 (and my sister's 2-4), we opened up the house to a bunch of wonderful Indian girls, one of whom is a master chef. Although the night ran on Indian Standard Time (we ate the last course around midnight), I think it is safe to say that everyone had a blast. I drank for the first time since December (I know!) and (barely) made it til 2am. Lots of gossiping, laughing, shouting, and eating was done by all.

The recipes Pallavi chose were simple, yet elegant. For our eclectic group, which included a med student, a single girl on a budget, and a new mom, these recipes were perfect for a weekly or biweekly rotation. They are also very versatile, if you wanted to add your own spin to the dishes.

Below are some photos from the evening, with recipes from Pallavi. You can find a complete set of pictures here. I can't take credit for all of these; Parul and Sarika took some really good ones.

The recipe says it all:)
Tuna salad with grilled vegetables

Tuna salad:

  • two cans tuna (I like dark tuna in oil, but you can substitute dark tuna in water or regular tuna in water. Dark tuna in oil has a slightly different texture than tuna in water.)
  • approximately 4 – 6 large green olives, chopped
  • ¼ C golden or regular raisens (can substitute almost any dry fruit, but a tart dry fruit would be best – so dried cranberries, cherries, currants preferable over dry mango, pineapple, apricots, etc.)
  • ¼ C pine nuts (toasted if you would like – toasting nuts makes them a little crispier, but don’t let toasting them be a deterrent for making this salad. Better to have un-toasted pine nuts than no pine nuts at all, or worse, no salad.)
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Black pepper to taste
  • Optional: ¼ C fresh parsley, chopped; ½ C cherry tomatoes, sliced in half

Grilled Vegetables:

  • as much zucchini, summer squash, eggplant, bell peppers as you would like

To make tuna salad:

  1. Drain tuna of all water / oil. Place in mixing bowl.
  2. Add everything else in tuna salad section and toss together.

To grill vegetables:

  1. Preheat oven to 400.
  2. Slice vegetables and place in large mixing bowl. Toss with a little bit of olive oil (enough to lightly coat veges), and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  3. Place on aluminum foil lined cookie sheet, and cook in over for about 20 minutes.
  4. Eat!! JAlternative:
Instead of serving with grilled vegetables, you can serve with any kind of green salad. Also, when I made this, I added rinsed capers to the tuna salad. Feel free to do that as well, just watch the salt of the capers and olives (capers are tricky little guys – you need to soak them in water to get rid of a lot of the salt; otherwise they leak out salt, and end up ruining you food. Trust me. Its no bueno.)

This was a shot of the sage, which we used in a few dishes, but it was most prominent in the white beans and tomato dish. She said you can serve this dish with just about anything, or simply eat it as is. This dish really couldn't be easier and is much better than a box of mac and cheese or pasta and jar sauce.

White beans with a tomato sage sauce

  • 1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cloves garlic (or two cubes Dorot yummy garlic!), chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Tomatoes of some sort – think anything tomato; 1 can chopped or diced tomatoes, or 1 can tomato sauce, or even 1 cup pasta sauce; could also use 1 cup chopped fresh tomatoes. Don’t go as far as to think of using ketchup. That would be gross.
  • A few leaves of fresh sage, or a few sprigs fresh thyme or rosemary, OR 1 tbsp dry thyme, sage or rosemary
  1. Heat oil in small pot, add garlic. Cook until garlic is starting to brown.
  2. Add other ingredients, bring to boil, reduce heat and let simmer for about 15 minutes. Eat!
  3. This dish goes very well with any kind of spice – hot sauce, red pepper flake, chopped jalapenos, etc.

Divya butterflied her first chicken! Yay! I'll get to the chicken later...

This picture really doesn't do this dish justice. Pallavi sautéed shrimp with some bold spices and served it over white beans and artichokes.

Spicy shrimp with white bean salad

Spicy shrimp:

  • ½ lb uncooked shrimp, peeled
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cubes Dorot brand frozen garlic, OR 3 cloves fresh garlic, chopped
  • Red pepper flakes, cayenne powder, siracha or other source of spice, to taste
  • Salt to taste

White bean salad:

  • 1 can cannellini beans (can also make with butter beans, lima beans or fava beans)
  • ¼ C canned red peppers, chopped
  • ¼ C cherry tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 tbsp either dry thyme, parsley or basil
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp any kind of vinegar (sherry is really good, or apple, balsamic, etc. I would use a flavored vinegar over plain white vinegar.)
  • Optional: 3 green onions / scallions, sliced OR ¼ C small diced red onion
To make shrimp:
  1. Heat olive oil in frying pan. Add garlic. When garlic barely starts turning brown, add shrimp. Cook shrimp until they have curled and turned completely pink (about 5 minutes).
  2. Season with hot sauce and salt.
To make salad:
  1. Drain and rinse beans, and place in large mixing bowl.
  2. Add all other ingredients and toss together.
  3. Enjoy!
These scallops were AMAZING. I think this was my favorite dish that night. Since we ate this dish around 11 that night, Josh gave up his serving and went to bed. So I had about 4 scallops. It doesn't sound like a lot, but after the 4 or so courses that came before this one, food coma was just around the corner.

Seared scallops with sauteed sweet corn

Sweet corn:
1 can corn
1 small red onion, chopped
1 carton pre-sliced shitake mushrooms
1 sprig fresh rosemary
2 cloves garlic (or, you guessed it, 2 cubes Dorot garlic)
1 tbsp olive oil.

To make sweet corn:

Saute garlic, add onion and cook until translucent, add mushrooms and cook on medium high heat until they are soft and have absorbed any liquid that they let out, add corn and cook over medium heat for about 6 minutes. Add salt to taste.

Sear scallops, seasoned with salt and pepper and enjoy!

And last, but not least, we roasted this chicken with a bunch of veggies and a lot of lemon halves. It was amazing, but we were all so stuffed, we were unable to enjoy it as much as we should have. Later that week, I sauteed some celery, carrots, onions, and potatoes with the leftover rosemary and sage and added the shredded chicken for a hash that smelled just like Thanksgiving.
Happy birthday to us!
The post dinner party morning meal. I was at baby class for a few hours that morning. If it weren't the first class, I would have stayed in a heartbeat - everyone was having fun with the Rohan and leaving the house full of friends in their PJs was not the top of my list. I was so glad they stayed.

We are planning on doing this again the day after Thanksgiving (Italian night!). More pictures to come!


Blogger Kiwi said...

That looks FAB. Great pics too!

I can't eat more than a few scallops without breaking into a rash but that picture of yours made me craaave them... damn you! hehe...

Looking forward to the Italian night pics too, yum!

10:37 AM  

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