Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Welcome to Open House Night!

Welcome to the Open House Night! This is a sort of belated blogoversary celebration for me. It has been just over a year since beginning the blog. And what a fun ride it has been. I have learned so much from the new dishes I created and from all of you. Mostly, I am grateful for the new friends I have made and finding such a warm and generous community of fellow foodies!

A big thank you to those who participated in the party and brought something to share. I really appreciate the time and effort. Not to mention the delicious recipes! YUMMY!

As with any party, real or virtual, I would like to start by offering you a drink! Here is a Greek Skinos on the rocks with a slice of lemon.

This beverage is brought by my good friend Peter at Kalofagas. If you you aren't familiar with Peter and his cooking, you are missing out! I highly recommend heading over and sampling some great Greek cuisine. It is all to die for! Today Peter brought the Greek liquer, Skinos which is made from mastic gum. He grabbed a tumbler, threw in some ice and poured us a good shot which is garnished with a slice of lemon. Let's sip and savour this one slowly! It is a sweeter drink, perfect for after dinner. For more on the drink or Peter head here.

How about a cookie to go with your drink? Check out these adorable Butterfly Sugar Cookies.

These were brought over from Kathy at Cooking on the Side. Not only are they delicious looking and cute but I love that they fit in with my stationery style at Miss 'N Nick Designs! How fun is that! Kathy is one ambitious and talented young mother. Not only does she stay at home with her toddler but she manages to now have two fabulous food blogs with a ton of followers. Panini Happy is Kathy's first blog and is devoted to panini sandwiches. Cooking on the Side is her newest. It explores the recipes which are printed on packages we all have at home. How creative is that! Read the recipe and more about these darling butterfly cookies here!

Are you more in the mood for chocolate? Try some of these Walnut & Chocolate Mini Balls!

Coming all the way from Canela's Kitchen in Santiago, Chile, these little spheres of goodness should tame even the fiercest of sweet tooths. I know they are fantastic as Canela certainly knows her way around a kitchen especially in the baked goods department. Note: She is as sweet as her sweets too! Check out her blog for a healthy dose of yum and some beautiful music to listen to as you read. For the how to and ingredients for the Chocolate balls, click here.

Still not rich and chocolatey enough for you? Dive on into this Chocolate Covered Oreo Cookie Cake! Talk about sinful! With this around you KNOW it is a special occasion.

This amazing tower of goodness is brought over from Kristen at Dine & Dish. Kristen is a multi-talented, multi-tasking mom of three wows me with all she can accomplish. Imagine pulling off this cake with three young ones! Oh but wait, she is also in her third trimester and expecting a fourth soon! How she manages to maintain such an amazing site, writing and cooking while raising these kids is beyond me. It must be the organizational skills coupled with an amazing attitude. At present she is even organizing the third round of Adopt a Blogger! Check it out on her site. Click here for the recipe on this chocolate masterpiece.

Had your fill of sweets? Would you prefer to start with the savory? Step on over here and try some of this amazing White Bean Dip with Pita Chips.

This white bean hummus is a perfect appetizer for just about any occasion. Melissa at Alosha's Kitchen pitched this one in and I couldn't be happier with how well it complimented all the other dishes. Now if you haven't sat down over at Melissa's blog yet, you must. Melissa claims she only started cooking a few years ago but you wouldn't know it when you look at the dishes this witty writer pulls out from her oven! Wow! She looks like a pro to me. Go check it out and see what you think. For the recipe on the white bean dip made with cannellini beans pop over here.

I made a few made a couple dishes myself too. The first is a Spanish Tortilla (often called tortilla de patatas or tortilla española). I have really been wanting to make one of these for a while. It is basically just potatoes and eggs cooked in a pan until browned. Who wouldn't love that? I read about them in many blogs and magazines and for some reason had never tried it. Even when I was in Spain one time. I thought this party was the perfect occasion to give it a go.

I based my recipe on a very simple one I found at the Food Network site. But I combined ideas and techniques from a few other recipes I read as well.

Spanish Tortilla

  • 4-6 medium-small yukon gold potatoes, sliced thin
  • 1 medium onion, sliced thin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus 2 tablespoons
  • 4 extra large eggs
  • a few splashes of half and half or milk (about 1/8 cup)

Slice the potatoes evenly and fairly thin. I used a mandolin set at 1/8". Slice the onion in the same fashion.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large non-stick frying pan. Cook the potatoes and onions on medium to low heat until they begin to soften. Some may begin to color or turn golden. Continue cooking and turning until the potatoes are cooked through but not falling apart or breaking. Remove the potatoes from the pan and drain in a collindar.

Meanwhile break the eggs into a medium bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste. Whisk in milk. Add the potatoes and onions to the eggs mixture and toss until coated and evenly mixed.

Wipe out the frying pan and return to stove.

Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil on a high heat and pour in the mixture, moving it around in the pan to make it lie evenly. Fry until golden brown on the bottom side. Turn down the heat and allow to cook for a couple minutes more to set the inside. The top may still be a bit runny. Continue to cook until the bottom is browned.

Slide the tortilla onto a large plate. Place the pan onto the plate and using oven mitts, flip the tortilla so the top side is now on the botttom. Return the pan to the stove and fry the other side until golden brown.

Slice into wedges and serve. DELISH!

Now I needed something to go with the Spanish tortilla. I opted for my famous (in my family) antipasto platter. The star of this platter is Spicy Marinated Mozzarella with Oregano and Capers from Bon Appetit. The first time I made it, I knew it was a keeper. And now it is one of my favorite go-to recipes for parties. EVERYONE loves it! I mean EVERYONE!

Spicy Marinated Mozzarella with Oregano and Capers

  • 12 ounces fresh water-packed mozzarella cheese, drained, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons capers, chopped

Overlap cheese slices on medium platter.

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in small skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and crushed pepper and stir just until garlic begins to color, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in oregano, salt, and pepper. Cool. Stir in capers and remaining 4 tablespoons oil. Spoon over cheese slices.

I like to make a pretty platter with a variety of tasty items that all go together. I often vary what I put on the platter but I almost always place roasted red and yellow bell peppers, a mixture of tomatoes, basil, olive oil and garlic, salamis, prociutto, and olives. Other options are different meats, marinated mushrooms, artichokes, or different cheeses. Be creative. Use what is on hand and play with the color to make an attractive arrangement.

Serve with fresh bread. In this instance I once again made Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day.

But wait! Don't forget! There is a giveaway too! The winner can be found at this post on the
Miss 'N Nick Design Blog! Or leave a comment here asking me and I will reply posthaste!


Elra said...

What a delicious round ups Nicole.

Peter M said...

I think the offerings actually go well. I brought a few bottles of red to help with the chocolate and the tortilla and antipasto...who needs a topping up?

Emily said...

Happy Blog anniversary Nicole! I have really enjoyed reading about all the yummy thing you have cooked over the past year and look forwards to your future equally delicious posts. This was a fantastic idea!

melissa said...

Thanks for the kindness and for accepting my submission a bit late. What a great collection of recipes! I LOVE your Spanish tortilla. That sounds fantastic. And I would be aaalll over that antipasto platter. Thanks for the recipe for the mozzarella. Yum.

Happy one year!

MamaGeek @ Works For Us said...

I LOVE the new look (I feel like I should take my shoes off) and I LURVE that recipe!

Bunny said...

Happy Blog Anniversary, all the food is just divine!

Laurie said...

Congratulations on your Blogoversary!!
My son and I were just enjoying all the wonderful recipes as well as your web site "Miss'N Nick Designs"! Very lovely!

Nicole said...

Elra- Thank you!

Peter- Thanks for bringing some wine! I thought everything paired very well myself!

Emily- Much appreciated!

Melissa- No worries on being late... it was fashionbly so! I just appreciate your submission. You HAVE to try the mozzarella recipe. It is awesome!

Mamageek- Thanks! Please do take your shoes off and make yourself at home.

Bunny- Thanks! So glad you could enjoy it.

Laurie- Welcome to you and your son! So glad you enjoyed yourself.

A World in a PAN said...

I'm with you, I have a glass of Macon Villages and a piece of my salmon quiche which I am eating cold .. Cheers!

chefectomy said...

Hi Nick,

Happy Blogiversary! Blogging is such a great outlet, I enjoy it as much as you appear to. I have to say that cake wins hands down!


Lo said...

Fantastic round-up, with a well-rounded collection of offerings! Happy Blogiversary... and nice work with the tortilla! One of my favorites.

I'm lifting my glass in a toast -- here's to many more!

Kristen said...

You, my dear, are too kind. I wonder the same thing about you - how you do all that you do! You are amazing :)
Wonderful roundup and congrats on the anniversary! Hope to see you around for many more to come.

Darius T. Williams said...

A GREAT round up!!!

Robin Sue said...

What a great party you threw! Love that Oreo cake- WOW! Your anti pasti looks wonderful and I think you always do such a great job with menu planning as many of your party foods on previous posts looks so delicious!

Nicole said...

Laura- Thanks for joining in spirit! Cheers!

Marc- Isn't that cake a work of art!

Lo- Thanks for the toast! Back at you!

Kristen- You deserve it. Thank you so much! I do what I do by maintaining a VERY messy house! ;) I can cook but I am a horrible housekeeper!

Darius- Thanks for comin' by!

Robin Sue- Thank you. It was fun. Virtually and really as I had to have some friends over to eat the food I made! Love to entertain!

Anonymous said...

Wonderful dishes! Everything looks delicious! Happy blogoversary!

mikky said...

everything looks great!!! :)

Nicole said...

5 Star Foodie- Thank you so much for coming by!

Mikky- It was all delicious!

waylan c said...

now this Antipasta.. THIS looks good. excited to try it -- capers!

Nicole said...

Waylan- It IS a good one. Tell me how you like it!