Faculty Open House December 2010

The Faculty Open House 2010 menu was  little simpler than last year’s, but we still tried to have a hot dish, various cold dishes, sweets and snacks.   Our Wow item this year was Make Your Own Paninis, with a variety of toppings.  Here are some photos from that event.  Look above, in the tab marked Find the Recipes, to –um– find the recipes.

The dining room table had (from lower left, going clockwise):

Shrimp with Dill Dip
Chips and Hummus
Biscotti (large white round platter at upper right)
Pesto Ring (purchased from Costco–see last year for the real thing)
Trio of Goat Cheese
Outrageous Brownies
Blanched Raw Vegetables


Candlelit version

I blanched many of the vegetables:carrots, pea pods, green beans, broccoli, and boiled up some small white rose potatoes. I then added heirloom and regular grape tomatoes to give variety and color to the platter.

The Tortellini Soup pot is on the left, and the Make Your Own Panini grill and fixings are on the right.  In the background you can see the checkered tablecloth where we had our sodas all line up for people to try.  Yes, we are an alcohol-free party.

I’d prepared (boiled, then grilled) some chicken-apple sausage, then cut it up into “nickel-slices.”  We also had some crisp bacon (from Trader Joe’s–the best!), buffalo mozzarella, sugared walnuts, fresh basil leaves, sliced tomatoes, grilled red peppers, and lightly sauteed apples.  On the left we’d brushed olive oil on one side of a pair of slices of La Brea breads (Costco), placing the oiled sides in.  The idea was to build your own, then grill it.

Desserts (Barefoot Contessa’s Outrageous Brownies and Biscotti) were in the other room.  I learned that if you cut the brownies smaller, they go faster (last year they were big chunks and no one took any–this year I cut them smaller and a lot were gone by the end of the evening).

It was lovely evening of people enjoying each other’s company.

Memorial Day Barbecue, 2010

The morning of Memorial Day found us out on the median of a major street, waving flags and cheering on the riders in West Coast Thunder 2010 as they rode up to our local VA cemetery.  We’ve tried to do this every since experiencing the rush of East Coast Rolling Thunder while we lived in DC.

Some of our neighbors were there, and on the spur of the moment, I invited them to a barbecue later that afternoon.  This was a good thing: I had to actually prepare a dinner, and we had to sweep the patio and wash off the outside furniture–items that we’d always been more than happy to put off for later.

The menu was:
Grilled Chicken Breasts in Spiced Yogurt
Lemony Potato Salad
Tossed Green Salad
Fennel Salad with Mint Vinaigrette
Corn on the Cob

and for dessert our friends brought Texas Sheet Cake.

Click on the links to head to the recipes.  To make corn on the cob, buy fresh corn.  Shuck it, rinsing off the silks.  Bring a pot of water to boil, drop in the corn and TURN IT OFF.  Set the timer for 4 minutes, take out the corn and slick it down with butter.  Pass salt and pepper at the table.  My dad bought me these nifty corn holders.  They nest into each other in the drawer so you aren’t stabbing yourself when you rummage around in there.  Yes, I retired the old holders.

There are a billion recipes for Texas Sheet Cake on the web, as it’s been around for upteem years.  That’s why it made me laugh when Pioneer Woman claimed if for her own.  Yeah, right.  Like you can claim this one. Follow her recipe, but instead of *milk* in the frosting, use *buttermilk.*  Then it’s correct.  We’re also a walnut-loving  family–so we use those instead of pecans.