Monday, December 21, 2009

Leave the Gun, Take the Cannolis

One of my favorite things about the holiday season… other than the decorations, giving gifts, receiving gifts, Santa, the reindeer, the tree, the lights, the days off work, the Christmas Eve crab legs and Christmas day prime rib dinner, snowmen, poinsettias, candy canes, joy, peace, happiness, carolers, mistletoe, cookies, fruitcake, Christmas movie classics, roast beast for the Whos in Whoville, stockings hung with care, eggnog, jingle bells, elves, and the family time… is the abundance of parties!

I’ve had parties coming out my ears this December. Brian’s housewarming, Robb and Amanda’s post-Thanks-pre-Christmas, my company holiday party, a few birthday parties, and a Christmas white-elephant party. So that’s what have I been sooooo busy with that I haven’t had time to write, you ask? Well, sort of. Here it comes. Are you ready for it?? I haven’t just been attending parties this holiday season… I CATERED A PARTY!

Amanda’s coworker Cory (the mastermind responsible for getting us hooked on the Godfather) hosted a Holiday Purse Party, and was awesome enough to ask me to cater it! Now, I’ve prepared food for parties, but this is the first time I was recognized as the ‘caterer,’ and served food to a bunch of gals and I had never met with a fancy sign that said “Food by Loves Food, Loves to Eat.” I feel like this could be the start of something big. Obviously this is all unofficial and under the table...and, well, I don’t have a business license or certified kitchen, so technically it could even be illegal… but if you have friends that are having parties or anything… and aren’t afraid of getting in with a little organized food crime (c’mon, Godfather looked pretty glamorous to me, especially if you add some crostinis to the mix…) then… let's talk.

Anyway, what to make for a house full of mommies that are fully focused on a house full of purses!? What is good enough to keep the attention on the hors d'oeuvres instead of the Kate Spades? Two words. Oreo Bonbons. Chocolaty, creamy, rich, and small enough to make you yearn for more, Oreo Bonbons have been a go-to holiday goodie for my family for years. Oh, and did I mention that they’re the easiest thing to make…ever? 8 oz of cream cheese. 1 package of pulverized Oreos. Combine. Roll into little balls. Done. It’s the stuff dreams are made of.

Sometimes we drizzle them with melted white chocolate. Sometimes we fully envelop them in dark chocolate and put them in little foil candy cups to give away in gift baskets. This time I dipped the base in melted bittersweet chocolate, rolled them in crushed candy cane, and served them on a pick. While the ladies OOOooh’d and AAahhhh’d around the bonbons, I took my pick of the purses!

While the bonbons were definitely the show stopper, my other treats were also quickly devoured. Keeping with the holiday theme, and complimenting Cory’s delicious cranberry-champagne punch, I made goat cheese crostinis and mini chickpea cakes. The crostinis were made up of buttery and delicious homemade goat cheese crackers, with just a hint of cheesiness.

I put a generous smear of goat cheese on top to bring out the full flavor, before layering it with a crispy apple slice, tupelo honey infused with fresh rosemary and cracked black pepper, and a few deep ruby pomegranate gems to make the flavor and appearance pop.

The mini chickpea cakes were adorable and zesty—a mixture of mashed chickpeas (garbanzo beans), grated carrots, bread crumbs, egg, herbs and spices, and sour cream, formed into bite-sized patties, baked, and topped with a dollop of citrusy avocado mousse and fresh red pepper. Delish!

Everyone at the party loved the food, and wanted my business card…which I didn’t have. I mean, did Don Vito Corleone have a business card? Or Tony Montana? Or even Tony Soprano? Nope. You’ll just have to have your people talk to my people, and we’ll see what we can come up, maybe you’ll make me an offer I can’t refuse.

Or you can send me a message via blog comments and I’ll probably jump up and down with giddy school girl excitement, as I work frantically to make a business card.

Goat Cheese Crisps

10-12 ounces fresh goat cheese
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 1/3 cups flour
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
Coarsely ground fresh pepper
Egg whites from 1-2 eggs

In a food processor or electric mixer beat the goat cheese and butter together until smooth. Add the flour and salt and beat until well blended. Divide the dough in half and roll back and forth to create two logs (your desired thickness, I liked them pretty skinny). Sprinkle the pepper in a baking sheet, and roll the logs in it to coat. Wrap each log in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, or freeze for 30 minutes to an hour. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Cut log into 1/3-inch thick diagonal slices. Brush the top of each slice with egg white, and place on an ungreased baking sheet (eggwash side up). Repeat with the second log. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Flip and continue baking until the crackers are a golden, 15 to 20 more minutes. Enjoy hot out of the oven, or let cool and top with whatever your heart desires.
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