Monday, July 18, 2011

Bragging Rights

This weekend I did major cooking. And I loved it. I had a little get together on Saturday night for screenprinting but if I'm honest my motivation for having people over was more so I could cook food.

I wanted everything to be very snack-able and finger food-y so we could art project and eat at the same time. And I wanted it to be really summery fare. I decided on mini burgers and then as a substitute for french fries (which are a pain to make if you do it right) I wanted to do baby twice baked potatoes. I also made individual caprese salads, fruit skewers, salad skewers, and pasta salad.

I made these skewers using blackberries, kiwi, nectarine, and plum. I am pretty sure I could have eaten the entire plate. I originally intended to use watermelon as well but I think they turned out beautifully this way.

Javier and Tiger are always my favorites but they can be crazy face sometimes. When I cook they both just calm down and lay in the kitchen with me. It makes me happy.

I wanted to make a pasta salad but my goal was also to make everything edible sans utensils. I finally realized I could make it work by mixing together all my pasta salad ingredients minus the pasta and stuffing it in shells. It actually worked brilliantly and tasted wonderful. I made a mixtures of cheddar cheese, celery, carrots, black olives, and mayo seasoned with salt and pepper. Super simple.

I made these tiny individual caprese salads by coring grape and cherry tomatoes and then stuffing them with fresh mozzarella and basil. Before serving I drizzled basil infused olive oil (the same one I use in spaghetti sauce) and topped with fresh cracked pepper and salt.

There's this fantastic hidden little restaurant in Portland in the Pearl called Via Delizia. They used to just be a gelato and coffee shop but they started serving food and it's delicious. They have a salad there that consists of greens topped with pear, beets, and roasted carrots. And it's divine. I decided to use that as my inspiration for these skewers. I roasted the carrots in a bit of olive oil, salt, pepper, and rosemary then let them chill in the fridge. Later I skewered them with pears and beets, drizzled them with a blush wine vinaigrette, and topped them with crumbled gorgonzola.

I made these twice baked potatoes by roasting red potatoes. I then cut them in half and used a melon baller to scoop out the insides (worked a thousand times better than a spoon). I threw all the inner potato into my Kitchen Aid mixer with carmelized onions I had made earlier, a bunch of grated smoked gruyere, some butter, sour cream, salt, and pepper and mixed it up with the whisk attachment on low. Then I scooped the filling into a ziploc bag, cut the corner off, and used it to pipe the filling back in. I baked them for a second time and topped them with diced chives. Everyone was a fan. The smoked cheese made it taste like there was bacon in there as well but kept them vegetarian.

I made the burgers using a Le Creuset grill pan I have for indoor grilling. I made tiny patties with a small pat of butter inside and seasoned them with salt and pepper. I'd actually never made real hamburgers before but apparently I'm good at it. I used dinner rolls from a local bakery as hamburger buns and made my secret delicious hamburger topping made from pimento stuffed green olives and mayo.

(Super Secret Editor's Note: I use those little bowls for dips and condiments all the time. Everyone thinks they're super gorgeous but they're actually candle holders I bought on sale at Anthropologie.)

This wasn't a part of the party but I was craving something sweet last night and since I tend to have nothing sweet but maybe some sprinkles for decorating in my home I had to make due with what I had. Also Craig had eaten all my popsicles. I decided to make a s'more in a jar by doing a graham cracker crust topped with mini chocolate chips then topped with marshmallows. I baked it in the oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for about 10 minutes and it was perfect and amazing and delicious.


  1. mmmmm that all looks so good!

  2. I'm loving that pasta salad idea! Perfect for summer!