Tuesday, December 28

Part II: The Holiday Pot Luck Dinner Party

"Turn of the Century"La Belle Jardiniere – Décembre 1896 by Eugene Grassetthank 
I chose this photograph because it conjures up feelings of
"over the river and through the woods"
and seems a glimpse of someone on their way to a friend's 
home for a Holiday gathering!
Part 2:
A Holiday party collaboration
and all the details... 

Pot Luck Dinner 
shared by friends -- 
come on over to this fun, collaborative dinner 
eight of us planned together 
after our tour & shopping trip to
Arthur Avenue 
 What a fabulous idea! During the Holidays,
we are all quite busy, and although the concept of hosting a neighborhood Pot Luck Supper where everyone brings a dish isn't new at all, and feels reminiscent of the 1950s, it is such a great idea. Here we are in New York City adding our own signature twist by using mostly fresh ingredients we hunted for on our Arthur Avenue venture -- fresh homemade mozzarella, proscuitto, salami, Veal and parmigiana cheese cut straight from the wheel.  We learned something along the way about Italian cuisine in the process -- and it certainly doesn't hurt to have some amazing chefs in the bunch. 
Mangia -- the decoration:
I headed down to the NYC flower market with friend
Lydia Kutko of Art Style Guide.
We had fun finding all these flowers and goodies.
I combined (in my vintage McCoy pottery pot)
green edged roses, candy cane amaryllis
and redish-pink sprays of an pretty leafy flower

twelve days of Christmas plates
I wrapped my painted tole chandelier with funky faux snow-covered garland - inspired by last year's decorations at the Bergdorf Goodman store!

 the company:
The guests arrive

the food:
antipasto plate --
fresh meats, cheeses and vegetables, bruschetta w/tomato, capers, garlic and basil, foccaccia
salad --
arugula, with shaved parmigiana, toasted pine nuts and fresh lemon juice/olive oil dressing & cracked black pepper
spaghetti primavera
braised short ribs
zucchini and eggplant rollatini
veal parmigiana
chocolate mousse with a hint of orange, whipped cream and rasberrries
four different cookies  
plus, decorated snowmen and snowflake cookies donated by
Hey Cookie!
from Kathryn Collins
a sampling of recipes --
tomato,basil,caper bruschetta

 Veal Parmigiana
 Spagetti Primavera
arugula salad with shaved parmigiana and pinenuts
Eggplant and Zucchini Rollatini
braised beef short ribs
chocolate orange mousse

Irene and Rob's 

Braised Beef Short Ribs 
3 lbs beef short ribs (bone in)
4 T flour
2 t salt
1 t pepper
2 T olive oil
4 carrots, coarsely chopped
2 medium onion, coarsely chopped
2 stalks celery, coarsely chopped
375 ml red wine (1/2 a bottle)
375 ml tomatoes (1/2 a Pomi container)
2 T tomato paste
3 cloves garlic, crushed.
Bay leaf
Zest from 4 lemons, finely minced
½ cup chopped parsley
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
½ T butter
1. Pre heat oven to 225°F
2. Combine flour, salt and pepper. Toss short ribs in flour mixture to lightly coat, shaking off excess.
3. In a frying pan over medium high heat, heat the oil until smoking.
4. Working in batches, sear the ribs on 5 sides (excluding the bone) for 2 min per side. Move ribs around to make sure no hot spots develop in dutch oven. Place ribs in dutch oven, bone side down. .
5. Saute carrots, onion and celery in frying pan for 5 minutes. Transfer sautéed vegetables to dutch oven, pushing them into the gaps around the ribs. Add the crushed garlic and bay leaf.
6. Add wine to frying pan, deglazing the pan. Bring to a boil for 1 minute. Add tomatoes and tomato paste, and stir to blend.
7. Transfer liquid to dutch oven. Liquid should come at least half way up the ribs. Add water if necessary.
8. Cover dutch oven with foil and dutch oven lid.
9. Cook at 225°F for 2 hours. Raise oven temperature to 275°F and cook for a further hour.
10. Check meat for doneness -- a fork easily gets through the meat. Recheck every 30 minutes until done.
11. Allow meat to cool in liquid, refrigerate overnight.
12. Combine zest, parsley and minced garlic, set aside.
13. Remove congealed fat from the meat/liquid/vegetable mixture. Return to a 275°F oven and reheat for 30 minutes.
14. Move ribs to a warm plate.
15. Strain cooking liquid into a sauce pan. Boil to reduce by half. Finish with butter
16. Pour reduced liquid over ribs. Top ribs with zest/parsley/garlic mixture and serve.
If necessary, step 11 can be omitted. Defat the cooking liquid before reducing.
note - In checking for doneness, don't worry if the meat looks pink. This is a good sign, as it indicates that the meat was cooked slowly.
Diana and Enrique's
eggplant and zucchini rollatini
Serves 4 to 6 depending on whether appetizer or main course.
3 zucchinis
1 large eggplant (a few baby eggplants would be great too!)
1 egg
Olive oil
1 cup of ricotta (part skim or full blast, fresh from Arthur Avenue!!)
1 cup mozarrella (" ")
1/4 cup of freshly grated parmesan
2 boxes frozen chopped spinach (thawed and strained of all water)
1 jar of delicate tomato sauce.

Chop of ends of zucchini. Using a carrot peeler, peel Zucchini into long ribbon-like slices. You may use a food processor, but you do want them very, very thin. Next is the hard part, do the same for the eggplant. It is virtually impossible to peel very thin slices because the eggplant falls apart--and if you try to do it by hand, the slices are not thin enough to roll up! So use a food processor and cut the sides off the eggplants so they are rectangular shapes to feed into the food processor, so you can get long thin slices. OR just make this with zucchini, so you don't have to struggle with the difficult eggplant!

Preheat oven to 375. On cookie sheet (pan can also be used), pour some olive oil and coat the above strips in olive oil. Hand mix the spinach and three cheeses and egg in a large bowl. Using a combination of 3 zucchini and eggplant strips, arranged in such a way that they are slightly overlapping, roll a tablespoon of cheese spinach mixture up making a little roll. It is ok if cheese comes out the sides. Lay these little rolls side by side (no spacing needed) in pan. Drizzle with olive oil. I don't add salt as the cheese has plenty. Add a little extra parm on top if you like, though texture may be nice without. Cook for about 30 to 40 minutes. Heat tomato sauce separately, and pour on top without smothering prior to serving. (Alternative--put goat cheese inside! Serve as appetizer only.)

Frannie and Ron's Veal Parmigiana
Rinse and pat dry:
4 veal cutlets (pounded thin)
Place 1 at a time between sheets of wax paper and gently pound with a mallet or the side of an empty bottle to flatten. Combine in a wide, shallow bowl:
1 cup dry unseasoned breadcrumbs
¼ cup Parmesean cheese (optional)
1 tablespoon minced parsley or basil or 1 teaspoon dried rosemary, thyme, or oregano crumbled (optional)
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
Whisk together in a shallow bowl:
1 large egg
1 teaspoon water
Spread on a plate:
¼ cup all purpose flour
Coat the veal with the flour and shack off the excess. Dip in the egg mixture and then coat with the breadcrumbs, patting with your fingers to make the crumbs adhere. Heat in a heavy 10 to 12 inch skillet over medium-high heat until shimmery and fragrant:
1/3 cup olive oil
Add the veal and cool until lightly browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Using tongs, turn the cutlets and cook, 2 to 3 minutes more, adding a little more oil if the pan looks dry. Quickly blot the veal with paper towels.
Position a rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil a 13x9 baking pan or shallow baking dish. Spoon into the pan:
½ cup tomato sauce
Arrange the veal cutlets over the sauce, slightly overlapping them. Sprinkle with:
3 to 4 tablespoons grated Parmean cheese
Spoon over:
1 cup tomato sauce
Top with:
6 ounces mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake until heated through, 20 to 30 minutes. If you wish to brown the top, remove the foil and run the dish briefly under a hot broiler. Serve hot, sprinkled with:
Chopped fresh parsley (optional)

Tamara made Chocoloate Orange Mousse
taken from Ina Garten's Barefoot in Paris cookbook page 204.  Here is the recipe - http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/chocolate-orange-mousse-recipe/index.html
note:  I substituted the Grand Marnier for Bourbon (simply because I didn't have Grand Marnier in the house) and I added a whole juice of a clementine with the Bourbon.  I added fresh rasberries on top rather than the orange peel to add another flavor.

The icing on the cake (no pun intended)
We nibbled on these delicious cookies from
Hey Cookie!
Kathryn Collins generously donated cookies to our party --
I've featured Kathryn's cookies before on Nest and now I have had the privilege of tasting them as well -- delicious! 

 Take a look at
what Kathryn sent over:

snowflakes and snowmen!
I tucked them inside the placecard boxes I made with felt poinsetta flowers on top - a nice little gift to take home.
(thank you Martha Stewart via TJ MAXX -- I picked up a craft kit for only 1.99 to make 8 boxes).
In just under 15 minutes, I glued the flowers together and compiled the boxes to make as place holders -- it was a festive touch!
to order cookies
in time for the holidays 


Art Style said...

The only thing I can say is "wow" and, well, "harumph" that I couldn't be a fly on the wall. You throw a fine affair, and I have to wonder if our trip to the Flower District didn't get your spirits on high?

Just perfect entertaining! Will be sharing!

My Dog-Eared Pages said...

T, this is so wonderful... the entire post - I loved it. How do you slice the zucchini so thinly? I'm craving all of it. Lovely flowers and cookies, too!

Renae said...

Tamara, this all looks divine. I am drooling over my keyboard......such good yummies elegantly displayed!
I am going to start some marathon work in the kitchen in the mext few days!

Shorely Chic said...

I'm drooling! and I just ate a big ol' plate of baked ziti, I could go for a forkful of all these recipes. Thanks for sharing, what a great post!

bbrunophotography said...

Tamara, your blog is dessert. I'm nibbling slowly away at each post. Can't wait to return for the next round!