Friday, August 8, 2008

And the story (party) continues...

Preparing food to bring to a party in the park is not always easy. At least not for me. First you have to decide, are you going to cook on the grills there? Or go with food that can be eaten cold? Then there is the factor of things that can withstand the warm weather and all the prep and transportation. Really for me to have a party at a park, is harder than at home.

Since the party was at 3:00 in the afternoon, I decided I didn't need to have a full meal. But wanted appetizers. But what? Dip? Well my sister made some dip for me and brought that. It is easy and always pleases but I wanted something more impressive. An antipasto platter seemed just the thing. I do an Italian style platter that is a huge hit with spicy marinated mozzarella and tomatoes and basil etc... But I wanted to do something new this time. I decided it should be somewhat Greek or generally Mediterranean in nature.

My platter above has cucumbers, bell peppers, tomatoes and basil, feta, salami, kalmata olives and drizzling of an olive oil mixed with lemon and fresh oregano.

I also wanted to serve more salamis, some Manchego cheese and more olives and roasted peppers.
I served a bowl of fruit with berries, grapes and pineapple. It looked prettier with out the plastic but the flies this year... The' flies!! So over them.

I digress. I placed a bowl of pita chips and pita bread on the table along with a purchased cilantro jalapeno hummus and my own basic hummus.

2 cans of garbanzo beans (drain and reserve liquid)
1/3 cup tahini
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
5 garlic cloves (use more or less based on personal taste)
olive oil

In a food processor, combine the first 4 ingredients using olive oil and/or reserve bean liquid to thin to the desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper.

As an experiment, I took 1/3 of the hummus and put it back in the processor and tried to add roasted tomatoes and basil. It had a good flavor but was a little too thin and runny. I think it would be best to do this before adding the oil and reserved liquids.

The other sauce/dipper I chose was this Skordalia recipe I read about on Peter's site Kalofagas. I was immediately intrigued. I had never heard of skordalia before but it turns out it is more or less a Greek version of aioli! How perfect given the name of my blog. I do not have a good photo of this (or the hummuses) but let me tell you, it was GOOD!!!! If you don't like garlic, it may not be for you. It really packs a punch and is very very garlicy but that was fine by me and based on how much was eaten, my guests as well! It was great with the pita but I think it would also be wonderful on grilled white fish or chicken. Frankly I could probably put it on anything and love it. Thanks for the referral and recipe, Peter! This is definitely a keeper that I will make again and again.

Our guests seemed to like everything as it was mostly gone by the end of the party. Nothing makes me more pleased that to see everyone eating my food.

I did do one thing to make life easier on myself. I ordered pizza for the kids to be delivered to the park. Some also took fruit and veggies but pizza is always a kid pleaser.

We had a great day. And since most of the food was eaten, clean up and take home wasn't too too bad. Except for all the princess paraphernalia! (Don't you just love that word? So fun.)

Oh wait! You didn't think I would serve all this food without offering a special libation do you? I made a white wine sangria. I didn't really use much of a recipe but threw in some wine, brandy, simple syrup and my secret ingredient tea! I use lemon zinger herbal tea for white wine sangrias and cranberry or some other berry herbal tea for red sangrias. Of course there was a lot of fruit too-- Peaches, green apples, lemons, oranges, limes....

Drink up and enjoy your weekend! Cheers!


That Girl said...

I think the food choices you made were perfect! Very elegant for a kids party and tons of fun finger foods!

Emily said...

The spread of food you chose sounds delicious. I think I will have to do something Greek for lunch! I never thought of ordering Pizza to a park. What a good idea. Even now as a teenager pizza is always the fall back food at parties because everyone seems to like it.

julia said...

Beautiful pictures what a great job you are doing with your blog. We had exchanged visits in Feb. I am listing your blog as a link on mine. would appreciate it if you would visit and link if you enjoy. Keep up the strong work

Lori Lynn said...

I could go for a glass of the sangria right now! Great idea, that tea addition.

And what a beautiful and flavorful party platter.

Lina said...

holy guacamolie! what great party dishes!

Darius T. Williams said...

Looking pretty good there! And that white wine sangria...even better!

Great job!


Gloria (Canela) said...

Nicole I think was a Really lovely party!!! and all enjoy!! Look so nice all!! Oh dear I remember the birthday's twins I loved them!! Now (14 ) they dont wants celebrated, I make the cakes always and come some cousins and family but is not how this!!Love your girl is so cute!! Gloria

MamaGeek said...

Man what I wouldn't do to sample that! You really do have a talent, I wish you could cater a birthday party for me next weeekend!

Send the sangria!

A World in a PAN said...

maybe it wasn't easy, as you say, but you surley did a great job!

Nicole said...

Kate- Thank you. I like to step it up a notch even for kids parties.

Emily- Yeah. I didn't think of having pizza delivered to a park until I saw it one other time. You can usually have it delivered anywhere.

Julia- Welcome back! I will visit and link soon.

Lori- Thank you. Doesn't sangria just hit the spot in the summer!

Lina- Welcome! and Thank you!

Darius- Thanks so much!

Gloria- Thanks, it was such a nice day. I know I have to cherish these young years.

Mamageek- I would if I were close to you! Actually I will be in Vermont for my husband's annual family reunion!

Laura- Yes. I never usually choose an easy route but I like the outcome better when I go all out!

taste memory said...

delicious ~ party platter looks beautiful/must hav been a great time! we put so much into our kids parties ~ glad you had a swell time too !

Michelle said...

Such a fun party. And I loved the food. I am going to borrow some of your ideas, especially the Greek platter with Feta and the tea in the sangria. So pretty!

Proud Italian Cook said...

Nicole, Thats a beautiful spread of food you have there, right down to the sangria!! It looks like it was enjoyed by all, I know I would loved it.

Nicole said...

Taste Memory- Welcome back! I know... we DO put so much into kids parties. Back when I was young all the moms did was get a cake and have the pin the tail on the donkey game!

Michelle- Borrow away! :-) Tell me how it turns out.

Proud Italian- I wish you could have been here! It was a fun day.

Anonymous said...

Looks like an AWESOME party and OMGOSH! Can you hook me with that awesome looking sangria recipe??!?! :::begging:::

Nicole said...

Katie- I seriously am not entirely sure what I put in the sangria. But here is a guess.

2 bottles chardonnay or dry white wine
1 cup brandy
1 cup simple syrup (heat water and dissolve sugar until clear. cool before adding)
3 cups tea (I used Lemon Zinger and actually froze it in cups beforehand to keep my sangria cool.

The above can be done up to 1 day in advance.

When ready to serve, add fruit. I used lemon, lime, orange, green apple, and peaches.

Add about 1/2 liter of soda water, sparkling water or tonic water. Whatever you choose. Add more to taste.

I hope this does it for you! Let me know if you make it.