Summer Dinner Party

9 Jun

So last Saturday night I catered a dinner party in Orlando. Back in April, I had donated a dinner party for 8 at a fundraiser for my Mom’s school and Saturday was the big night. I was thrilled to have had donated a prize that raised so much money for the school, but I was nervous that I had to live up to the donation.

The night started off as usual. I had my timeline prepped and my ingredients ready to go. All I had to do was show up and start cooking. I even had help. My Mom and her 2 friends were the “celebrity” guests that would be helping with dinner. I was ready. Here was the menu:

Watermelon Tomato Salad
Watermelon, tomatoes, feta cheese, red onion and white balsamic vinaigrette

Salmon with Raw Sugar Green Chili Glaze and Summer Succotash
Seared salmon with raw sugar green chili glaze and a succotash with corn, tomatoes, bacon and edamame

Cornbread with Lime Butter

Toasted Pound Cake
Toasted pound cake with topped with a cannoli cream and fresh berries

I started the night out by making the cornbread and the cannoli cream. I assigned things to my Mom and her friends as the night went on. I had my Mom make a surprise appetizers. As you can see the menu did not include nibbles to have out while the guest were arriving. We made brie stuffed dates with sliced almonds and balsamic glaze. I borrowed the recipe from Wegmans. It’s very simple…

Brie Stuffed Dates

12 dates, sliced down the center and pits removed
6 oz ripe brie (I use fromage d’affinios)
1 oz sliced almonds
3 oz balsamic vinegar, reduced by half

Stuff each date with a 1/2 oz of cheese and sprinkle with the almonds. Drizzle with balsamic and serve.

The night before the party I decided that the salmon really needed a sauce. Usually I fell like a glaze serves the purpose of a sauce, but this glaze was different. It was light, and almost caramelized on top of the salmon. It enhanced the crispiness of sear, but didn’t add that flavorful moisture to the entrée that the salmon really needed. I decided to make an aji sauce. Strangely enough, aji is pepper, but this sauce did not have any aji peppers in it. It did have anehiem and jalepeño peppers, but no aji. The sauce went perfectly with the salmon and the spicy sweet glaze.

One of the unexpected hits of the party was the cornbread. I was frantic to find a recipe that hit a happy medium between the traditional corn bread of the South and the sweet, pudding-y, corn bread of the North. I had success with this recipe:

3 cups white cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 can creamed corn
2/3 cup sugar
3 cups well-shaken buttermilk
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, melted

Special equipment: 9×13 in pan

Preheating oven to 375°F.

Whisk together cornmeal, flour, baking powder and soda, and salt. Add eggs, corn, buttermilk, and 1 cup melted butter, then quickly stir together.

Bake for 50 minutes

Dessert was simple. I felt like I was cheating by using store bought pound cake, but since I made the corn bread, I thought it was a fair trade off. The cannoli cream was inspired by cannoli filling and a cake called a cassatta. The sweetened cheese tasted light and melted slightly over the warmed pound cake.

I had so much fun at this party. I can’t wait for my next one… next week!

Always thinking of the next meal



3 Responses to “Summer Dinner Party”

  1. Billy June 30, 2010 at 7:52 pm #

    Holy Brie Stuffed Dates….can those be freeze packed and mailed to me? Now?

  2. mrsmarquiss June 30, 2010 at 10:12 pm #

    on the list for next time I see you 🙂

  3. KELLY September 25, 2010 at 4:40 am #

    I will try this one.

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