Friday, October 7, 2011
Halloween Dinner Night
I hosted Gourmet Dinner Night at my house last night. As you know, when it is at my house, it is simply called "dinner night." I can't guarantee gourmet but I can guarantee a dinner of some sort. I have darling friends...see photo above. Lisa wasn't there yet and Liz couldn't come but there are nine of us in the group.
Since it is October, I decided to do soup, salad and bread sticks, since that seems like Halloween food to me. I have to admit, I am not wild about this soup and that should have been my first red flag in making it. But I pressed on. The soup was not good. It was Pasta Fagioli's from Olive Garden and it just did not turn out right. This always seems to happen to me on at least one item...unfortunately for my guests, last night it was the main course...
At least the table looked cute. I borrowed the candelabra from my mom (who has the world's cutest decorations and tableware.)
I put out the bubbly cauldron which is just a mist maker put into water that you can actually buy at Harmon's. It is one of the best Halloween purchases I have ever made.
We started with a Halloween punch (that I pulled from a Country Living magazine at Harmon's the night before). It kind of tasted like a apple cider with a kick. I liked it but it was nothing to write home about. I threw some plastic spiders in for good measure.
When I got home from Harmon's (our local grocery store) with the ingredients, I pulled out the Martinelli's and they had put it in its own brown bag...like I had just been to the liquor store and was going to be swigging it from the bottle in a park next to my shopping cart full of everything I own.
We had bruschetta from Harmon's (I love that place!)
and apples and caramel dip to start:
Then had a knock-off of the house salad at Smokey Mountain Pizza. My family loves this salad and we always eat it with pizza and Italian food.
I also served garlic Parmesan bread twists that I got from the cookbook "When Life Gives you Friends" that Ashley recently gave away on her blog. The bread twists were yummy and I will make those again. Here they are pre-cooked and before they had risen:
My piece de resistance was a made from scratch peach pie with ice cream...I got the pie crust recipe from my sis-in-law Sarah. She got it from a Lion House cookbook. I love that you can mix it in a Kitchen Aid Mixer. Most pie crusts require a pie cutter and they take forever but not this one.
I am totally relieved that it is over. I love this group of friends so much and love doing this every month because it forces us to get together but just don't love when it is my turn to host. Cooking stresses me out. With this group, the conversation is always a bit racy and I laugh really hard. We have been through a lot and I am so glad these girls are in my life.
I am sparing you from the soup.
Parmesan Garlic Bread Twists:
2 loaves frozen bread dough, thawed
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 t. garlic salt
Thaw bread dough in the refrigerator overnight. Remove from frige 2 hours before you want to serve hot. Roll each loaf into 12x20" rectangle. Melt butter in a microwave safe bowl and add garlic salt. Cut dough into 1 inch strips (the short way). Dip each breadstick in buter and lay on large cookie sheet. Take two strips and twist together. Arrange on cookie sheet. Sprinkle with garlic salt and parmesan cheese. Let rise for one hour. Backe at 400 degrees 12-15 minutes, or until lightly browned on top.
Smoky Mountain Salad
lettuce (any kind will do)
Buy dressing at Smokey Mountain Pizza and Pasta--the one in SLC is on 9400 South and Highland Dr.
Pie Crust (makes two crusts)
1/4 c butter
1/4 c margarine
1/3 cup shortening
1/3 cup lard (I don't go anywhere near lard...I just do 1/2 cup butter and 1/2 cup shortning)
1 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp nonfat dried milk (I never have this and it's fine)
3 cups flour
1/2 cup cold water
In mixer cream together fats and sugar, baking powder, salt and dried milk. Add half of flour and mix well. Add water and remaining flour. Mix. Roll thin. Put bottom crust in plate. Put peach filling in and put top crust on. Back at 400 for 30 minutes. Cover in foil after about 15 minutes.
Peach Pie filling
3/4 to 1 cup sugar
3 Tbsp flour
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
about 7 ripe peaches
Apple Cider punch
1 gallon apple cider
1/2 gallon white grape fruit juioe chilled
1 bottle sparkling apple cider chilled
8 oz orange juice
apple slices to float