Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Grad and Post #100

I have been terribly lax with my posts as of late. Mostly it has to do with the planning and executing of a graduation party for this one:

Offspring 2 received her high school diploma one year ahead of schedule, and we commemorated the occasion with a summer back yard get together for a few friends and family members. And there, of course was food. Lots and lots of food.

I was thankful to have a few friends volunteer to bring food as well, and we had some amazing veggie and fruit offerings as well as some Vietnamese Chicken Spring Rolls that Carley brought. Yum.

There was a kids table full of various kid friendly snacks, as well as the obligatory penguins, which even donned graduation caps for the occasion (and which I neglected to get any photos of).

Along with various vehicles for the transportation of dip-like substances from plate to mouth and other small munchies, there were the following:

Jalapeno Popper Dip
7 Layer Taco Dip

Pigs in a Blanket (Li’l Smokies baked in puff pastry with a bit of Dijon)
BBQ Chicken Quesadillas (BBQ sauce, chicken, Cheddar and green onion)
Mini pizzas with pesto and shrimp or sun-dried tomato tapenade and shrimp

Moroccan Spiced Chickpeas (ok, just go with me here…)

Moroccan Spiced Chickpeas

1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained thoroughly
1 Tbs olive oil
½ tsp salt
½ tsp curry powder
½ tsp ground cloves
¼ tsp cayenne
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp ginger
½ tsp pumpkin pie spice
½ tsp allspice

Heat oven to 400º. Line a cookie sheet with foil and spread drained chickpeas evenly out on pan. Drizzle with olive oil.

In a small bowl, combine remaining ingredients and mix well. Sprinkle evenly over chickpeas. Using a spoon, move the chickpeas around on the pan until they are evenly coated with the spice mixture. Place in oven and bake for about 40 minutes.

* * *

I also made a quick bunch of Quinoa Filled Lettuce Cups. All this really amounted to was cooking the quinoa with a little bit of garlic and lemon zest, cooling it, and then adding chopped dried apricots, Kalamata olives and Pepitas (pumpkin seeds). I used just enough store-bought balsamic vinegar dressing to get it to clump together a bit and then spooned it into lettuce leaves. Easy peasy.

For the dessert spread I included a batch of caramel corn, some mini key lime tarts, which never got dressed with their pretty little lime toppers,

and this cookie ‘cake’, which seemed to be the biggest hit of the party (thank you, Martha Stewart):

Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake

1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
8 Tbs (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
2 Tbs light corn syrup
1 large egg yolk
2 Tbs milk
1 Tbs vanilla
3/4 cup semisweet mini chocolate chips

1 8 oz tub mascarpone cheese
3 cups whipping cream
3 Tbs sugar
1 Tbs liqueur (I used Frangelico)

1 cup chocolate shavings

Preheat oven to 375º. Cream butter with sugars and corn syrup in a large mixing bowl. Add egg, milk and vanilla and stir until thoroughly combined. Add flour, baking soda and salt and mix thoroughly. Stir in mini chocolate chips.

Drop onto cookie sheet, keeping the dough about the size of a rounded teaspoon. Bake for 8 minutes, or until golden and cooked through. Cool on wire rack.

When cookies are completely cool to the touch, make filling.

Add mascarpone to the bowl of a stand mixer and beat for about a minute on medium-high. Add the whipping cream and beat until soft peaks form. Slowly add sugar and liqueur. Continue beating just until stiff peaks form.

Place one layer of cookies on a serving platter in a circle. Place a couple of the cookies in the center. Spoon about 1 cup of the mascarpone mixture over the top and spread evenly over cookies, almost to the edge. Add another layer of cookies and continue, ending with a layer of the mascarpone. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Add chocolate shavings before serving.

The cookies will soften overnight, and you can cut just like a cake.

* * *

I’d like to give you a report on how the ‘cake’ tasted, but I never got any of it. Maybe I was too busy playing hostess, or maybe I was too traumatized at the idea of my youngest being college bound. Either way, I guess I’ll take the emptied and scraped dish as a good sign…

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