Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Balsamic Braised Brussels - Update

When I posted this recipe in April, I noted that I had an inkling that the recipe was intended for whole Brussels.  So, I kept an eye out for some baby-sized to medium Brussels and tried the recipe a second time.  It was, again, quite delicious.  The whole Brussels were a fun, new twist and made for a slightly more polished dish.

This time I used pre-chopped pancetta from Trader Joe's, which was a lovely, quick trick.

My recommendation: keep an eye out for baby Brussels, pick yourself up some pre-chopped Italian bacon and give this recipe a whirl.
I served it on top of mashed cauliflower this time.  It really is reminiscent of a rich, Italian stew - a totally satisfying meal.  See my P.S. at the end of this post for a super quick preparation of mashed cauliflower.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Tapas Party

The key to hosting a party is to not over-commit yourself.  I have a very hard time with this.  I imagine a glorious menu that seems doable and then when it comes down to it, even after cooking for three days, I'm still behind schedule and spend much of the event cooking and cleaning instead of enjoying myself.  Hosting a tapas party is a great way to avoid these pitfalls.  The trick is to buy a number of yummy and delicious store-bought items and mix in a few dishes of your own.  It's best to have dishes that can be served at room temperature.
Recently, we hosted a new friend at our home with a simple tapas party.  I bought some cheese, olives, nuts and charcuterie to complement two homemade dishes - yummy meatballs and roasted cauliflower.

Another dish you could serve is Tortilla Espanola - a staple dish at Tapas restaurants which is basically a frittata.  I often see it made with Spanish chorizo and potatoes, but you could easily swap out the potatoes for cauliflower or zucchini or make any variety of frittata you like (see some recipes here, here and here). Cut into bite sized pieces to serve.
At our little party, we complimented the tapas with the Layer Cake Shiraz - a really delicious, dense, fruity wine that you can find for $15 at Trader Joe's - a total steal!