I did something fun and rad and I've been keeping it a secret! Picture this: a bunch of your favorite people, a sunny warm spring evening, twinkly candles, and vases full of colorful flowers. A record playing lightly in the background, a well-rounded cocktail in one hand, a crostini in the other, and an enormous cheese plate in front of you. This is basically the PERFECT evening for me. You guys, I am SO almost 30. And I love it.
As you may remember, one of my goals for this year was to do more entertaining (and keep my house clean…because I’m almost 30. It’s about time). I had the perfect opportunity (for both) recently when I collaborated with DRY Soda on a spring dinner party! DRY is a local Seattle-based company that makes sparkling beverages worthy of gourmet food pairing and premium mixology. They have ten crisp, fun, unique flavors, “inspired by art, fashion & foodies.” I like art, I wish I had fashion sense, and I love food! Perfect match! So, I invited a bunch of my friends over to help ring in spring! Some folks from DRY joined (including their CEO and founder! AH!), to teach us how to make amazing DRY cocktails (like this one and this one), the talented Brittany Wright captured the event on camera, and I made a menu paired with DRY's fizzy flavors.
First: For starters, we had a cheese plate and a crostini. For cheese plates, a good rule of thumb is to have at least one aged, one soft, and one firm cheese. And then I like to throw in one blue (Humboldt Fog is my favorite). I really, really like cheese. You can go two routes with a cheese plate: charcuterie, or not charcuterie. I decided to pair this cheese plate with DRY's light floral lavender flavor, so I went the not charcuterie route, which includes fruits (in this case, blackberries and figs), honey, nuts (candied walnuts and marcona almonds), and something herbaceous or floral (Lavender DRY and, fresh rosemary, and rosemary crackers). I could live off that cheese plate. I’m still dreaming about it.
For the crostini, I wanted something bright and springy, so I made a minty pea pesto, similar to this one, and served it with ricotta on little toasty bread rounds. We paired these little bites with Cucumber DRY. Cucumber and mint are such a classic, refreshing combo! This is also a good make ahead option: the pesto keeps in the fridge overnight and you can top the crostini just before serving. Just note that it is the brightest green when it’s fresh.
Second: Next up, I made a salad with butter lettuce, avocado, red onion, pistachios, chevre, and a citrusy-mustard vinaigrette, which I paired with Blood Orange DRY. I love this type of salad with orange segments mixed in, so this time I just put the oranges in your glass instead of your plate!
Main: For the entrée, I made lemony roasted chicken thighs with garlic and rosemary, served with roasted thyme fingerling potatoes and fennel, and paired with my favorite DRY flavor: Juniper Berry! You guys. This chicken! If you can find the full thigh-leg pieces, get those, because they’re super impressive looking. If not, go with thighs and legs/drumsticks. This chicken is so tender and flavorful. My secret is to over-cook it. I’m not even lying. Everyone talks about overcooked, dried out chicken all the time, but I think the biggest mistakes people make with chicken is undercooking (I think it gets weirdly rubbery at that stage) and under-seasoning. This sauce is so juicy that it keeps the chicken moist even at a higher temp for a longer time. Just check often, as my oven might not run as hot as yours! It’s so good!
Dessert: To round out the night, we had the easiest (and most appropriately soda-themed) dinner party dessert ever: an ice cream float bar! I put out vanilla, ginger, coffee and coconut ice cream, to be mixed and matched with Rhubarb and Vanilla DRY. My favorite combo was ginger ice cream + Rhubarb DRY! Tart, sweet, and a little spicy!
Read more about our dinner party over at DRY, and get some of their fun sparkles for your next shin dig… you can do such cool cocktails and food pairings with them, or just sip ‘em straight up!
Lemony Roasted Chicken Legs with Garlic and Rosemary
Inspired by this recipe and this recipe
4 full bone-in chicken legs (thigh and drumstick) OR 8 bone-in chicken thighs (or a combo of both)
Salt & Fresh ground pepper
1/3 cup olive oil
2 lemons (one juiced, one not)
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary, removed from stem and chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1.5 large shallot, sliced
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
If the chicken has skin on, I like to remove it, but it’s up to you. Pat the chicken DRY, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Arrange chicken in a baking dish so that the pieces are touching.
Stir together olive oil, juice from one of the lemons, rosemary, garlic, shallot, and about 1.5 teaspoons of salt. Pour over chicken.
Slice 1/2 of the remaining lemon in thin slices (keep the peel on), then cut those into small wedges, and arrange over the top of the chicken. Set the remaining 1/2 aside.
Roast for 25-30 minutes, baste with the juices, then roast another 25-30 minutes, checking every once in a while. Once your chicken is fully cooked through, but not quite falling-off-the-bone tender, baste it one more time (you can even just flip the pieces), and then crank the heat to 425. Roast another 10 to 15 minutes (checking to make sure you’re not burning it). You want the chicken to be crispy on the outside, but tender enough that it practically falls of the bone when you try to lift it out of the dish.
Just before serving, while chicken is hot, douse with juice from remaining lemon half, a sprinkle of flaked sea salt, and fresh black pepper. Serve with a rosemary spring for cuteness.
Note: Beverages and ingredients for this dinner party were provided by DRY, but all opinions are my own. Photos in this post by Brittany Wright, provided by DRY.