This past Friday we broke from our new tradition of Shabbat date night and hosted our first dinner party in our Brooklyn apartment. Two lovely new found couple friends came over to enjoy a vegetarian Shabbos feast! In keeping with the Friday night tradition, a very large spread of food was served!
To start, I made my world famous vegetarian wontons and Bonnie Stern’s roasted garlic white bean dip.
1 package veggie ground round
handful of mushrooms, finely chopped
1/4 red pepper, finely chopped
1-2 green onions, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
ginger (to taste), minced
soy sauce, hoisin sauce, red pepper flakes to taste
Mix all these ingredients together and then place in the middle of wonton wrappers. Seal the edges by using some water. Spray with cooking spray and bake in oven at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes or until browned on top. I serve them with a really easy and tasty dipping sauce of soy sauce and honey (2:1 ratio). Always a party favorite!
Roasted Garlic White Bean Dip (Adapted from Bonnie Stern’s Best of Heart Smart)
1 can of white beans, drained and rinsed
1 head of garlic
1/2 tsp cumin
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp hot sauce
salt and pepper to taste
Roast head of garlic in oven by cutting off top half of garlic, wrap in foil, and bake at 400 degrees for about 45 minutes-hour or until soft and brown and your whole kitchen smells of roasted garlic. Let cool and then squeeze into food processor with rest of ingredients and process until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. I served them with pita chips which I’ve posted about before…just cut into triangles, season to your taste, drizzle with a little oil and bake until nice and crisp
No Shabbos table is complete without a challah…and we’ve had everything from a homemade whole wheat challah to pretzel bites challah at this shabbat table. But this week we had quite the treat. One of my dinner guests made the most delicious homemade round challah I’ve ever tasted….it was still warm from the oven and was slightly sweet with the most amazing soft texture. Maybe if we’re lucky she’ll post the recipe in the comments?
As you should all know by now, the next course in our shabbos meal is always soup. And this soup was a cauliflower soup topped with sour cream…a mish mash of a variety of recipes from Bonnie Stern, Lucy Waverman, and my favorite foodie, Erin Macgregor.
2 onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 heads of cauliflower, chopped
2 tsp fresh thyme
10 cups veggie stock (or chicken)
salt and pepper (you need LOTS of salt!)
sour cream (optional but trust me…opt in!)
Heat olive oil in a large pot and saute onion, garlic, and cauliflower until brown. Add thyme, stock and bring to a boil and simmer, covered for about 15 minutes until cauliflower is tender. Puree soup and season very generously with salt and pepper. Top with sour cream.
The challah went so well with the soup… we were all taking extra pieces to soak up every last drop. Now, you would think everyone would be full by now, but not in this household!
This was the star of the show. I adapted a recipe from Giada DeLaurentis found here: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/butternut-squash-lasagna-recipe/index.html I did make a couple changes: To cook the squash, I cut it in half and roasted it in the oven with olive oil, s & p, a little cinnamon and brown sugar and left out the amaretti cookies. I also used sage instead of basil and used skim milk and part-skim mozzarella to lighten the dish up a bit. It was absolutely delicious! Served at many dinner parties in the past, it is a great option for a vegetarian dinner.
To serve with the squash I went with this Cooking Light recipe: http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/roasted-root-vegetables-with-walnut-pesto-10000001673043/ The pesto really complimented the butternut squash. I also made a simple spinach salad topped with apples, dried cranberries, and toasted pecans in a maple mustard dressing. I wanted something sweet to go with the squash and offset the pesto. Needless to say, we were all quite stuffed at the end and every guest went home with quite the loot bag fool of food!
But there’s always room for dessert right? My challah baking dinner guest was obviously knows me well and when she asked if she could bring dessert, she somehow knew I had vanilla ice cream in my freezer that would go smashingly well with her homemade, fresh from the oven apple pie. How beautiful is that lattice work?
All in all, it was a very successful first dinner party. Fantastic company, good food and wine, and many leftovers for all to boot! One lesson learned from this first dinner party experience is that we max out at 6 dinner guests…we have 6 chairs, 6 plates, 6 glasses, and 5 mugs…good thing no one wanted tea!
Speaking of dinner parties, here’s a good segue…last year that favorite foodie of mine I’ve mentioned many times before, Erin, and I filmed an episode of the hit Canadian Food Network Show, Dinner Party Wars. Well guess what? The episode is FINALLY airing on November 9th! Get excited to watch us battle it out with two other couples over who can throw the best dinner party. So set your PVRs, VCRs, DVRs, and Tivo…10pm November 9th, FoodTv Canada.