Happy Tuesday! This weekend was a perfect weekend, full of friends, wine, and food. On Saturday I hosted a small get together for a belated housewarming party. I felt like George Costanza as “worlds collided,” but even with people from multiple sectors of both of our lives converging in our little Manhattan abode, it all went smoothly.
Despite only serving appetizers, food preparation still took over five hours. That probably had something to do with the fact that we made two different dips with 12 servings each in our mini-3-cup-food-processor. Cue mental images of beans not fitting, oil practically overflowing, and three bowls of hummus in various stages spread about the counter.
The crudité and two homemade dips.
Roasted eggplant and pepper dip, and a white bean hummus. I’m not a fan of the chickpea, as much as I would like to be.
A childhood classic, Ants on a Log. With tastier craisin ants.
When my friend Fran asked me, “So, what should I eat?” I gave her a quick tour of the spread, explaining ingredients of each dish. She clarified with, “I mean, what would be an appropriate amount of beige.” Another friend popped in with a “YES! I wanted to tell you, that is so true about the colors of food!” I was so honored that they were referring to my last post! My thoughts weren’t world-changing new information, but I’m happy to know people found it useful!
The Ants on a Log are a great choice, combining all natural peanut butter (one ingredient: peanuts) which has a good amount of protein with a small bit of fruit and fibrous, mineral- and vitamin-packed celery. It’s less calorie-dense than a peanut butter sandwich because there isn’t a bread component, but peanut butter is definitely not a light food and should be eaten mindfully.
The hummus, while beige, was also a good choice. We loosely followed a recipe from a vegetarian cookbook, but wound up using only 2/3 the lemon that was called for and less than half the oil. I couldn’t tell if all of my party guests liked it as much as I did, but I did need to refill the plate twice during the evening. A 66 gram serving (roughly a quarter cup) was one twentieth of the recipe and just under 100 calories, better than every storebought hummus I’ve seen. With a little over 5 grams of fat (mostly from extra virgin olive oil and sesame paste) and 3.5 grams of protein, it surpasses any sour cream-based dip in terms of benefits and, in my opinion, taste.
The darker dip is a roasted eggplant dip that was a cinch to make, though I definitely preferred it on bread rather than the veggies. I used two eggplants from my mom’s garden cut right off the plant earlier that day, a red pepper, two cloves of garlic, and an onion, all cubed into 1″ chunks, tossed in a little bit of oil and popped in the oven to roast. All of it went into a food processor (again in small batches) and then stirred together. It went into the fridge a couple hours before serving time, but I liked it better when it was warm.
Pitas, crackers, and chips and salsa were also part of the spread. I didn’t want anyone accusing me to be overly veggie, so I had to have some non-vegetable options out there! Unfortunately the pitas were untoasted, as I nearly started a fire in the broiler trying to toast some at 8:05… oops. I was definitely running around with Febreeze, a pumpkin candle, and a small fan trying to reclaim my favorable aromas. It’s a sight I’m glad nobody witnessed.
I loved putting out a fresh and simple dessert: grapes and strawberries with homemade chocolate whipped cream. Put heavy cream in a container and shake until it thickens, which takes a few minutes. Melt some chocolate chips, fold gently into the cream, and that’s it. Don’t overshake or you’ll end up with butter! You can feel the differences even from the outside, but take a peek to check your progress if needed. A teaspoon of sugar and vanilla (optional) can add to the flavor, too.
Removed from the menu: I made a few “snakes in a blanket” (asparagus instead of hot dogs in crescent rolls) but the heat of the oven made the apartment much too warm, so they were pulled from the table. A lucky few people spotted them in the kitchen.
For this party, craisin “ants” were just fine being the only animals served!