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Thursday, February 17, 2011

showered with food

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So this post relates to my previous post, detailing all my monkey-themed baby shower craftiness. This is where you come for the menu.


The baby shower was at 11 am on a Sunday, so I went with a brunch theme. Dietary restrictions of the crowd included one vegetarian and one with a moderate intolerance to wheat (i.e., not celiac, but not piles and piles of flour everywhere either).

The Menu (recipes, or links to recipes, all below)

spinach cheese souffle (or not so souffle)
potato fennel hash
buckwheat oatmeal scones with preserves
fresh fruit skewers with chocolate drizzle
BLT skewers with dijon aioli

chocolate cupcakes with chocolate mint swiss meringue buttercream

non-alcoholic mojito punch
OJ, coffee, tea

Spinach-cheese soufflé
These were delicious little yummy ramekins of goodness. I took this recipe from epicurious and modified it to be crust-free mini-dishes.

1 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, chopped
1 1b-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed, squeezed dry
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 15-ounce container ricotta cheese
8 ounce jarlsberg cheese, grated (or other cheese - mozza, cheddar, gruyere)
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
6 large eggs, beaten to blend

1. Melt butter in skillet. Add onion and sauté until tender. Mix in spinach, salt pepper and nutmeg. Sauté until all liquid is gone.

2. Combine ricotta, jarlsberg, parmesan. Mix in eggs. Add (cooled) spinach mixture. Blend well.

3. Spoon into 12 ramekins (mine are small). You can make them up the day before.

To BAKE: preheat oven to 350F. Bake about 30-40 minutes, until filling is set in center and brown on top.


Potato-fennel hash
(hash is at the bottom left of the picture. Scones are midway up the right side of the picture)
No creativity here - it's straight from epicurious. Get the recipe here:

It's a nice change from regular breakfast potatoes and because of the fennel, it's a bit lower in calories. I put mine together the night before and just heated it up with the souffles.

Buckwheat Oatmeal Scones with preserves
These are based on this epicurious recipe, which I've made before, with great success. I wanted to try them with light buckwheat flour (not dark!). The result was surprisingly wonderful! If you can source gluten-free oats and buckwheat, this recipe can be suitable for celiac sufferers. Using the food processor will make your life easier, but it isn't crucial. You just need to otherwise use oat flour and a pastry blender.

1 2/3 cups buckwheat flour
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar plus additional for sprinkling (I used organic palm sugar)
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/3 cups old-fashioned oats (I used large flake oats)
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon pieces
Finely grated zest from 1 large navel orange
2/3 cup well-shaken buttermilk plus additional for brushing

1. Preheat oven to 425F. Put flour, sugar, baking powder, soda, salt and oats in a food processor. Pulse 15 times. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. Transfer to a bowl.

2. Stir together zest and buttermilk. Pour onto oat mixture, and stir just until you can get it to stick together in a ball. Divide dough into two balls.

3. Form each ball into a circle, about 1 inch thick. I don't use a rolling pin for this. Just my hands. Cut the circle into 8 pieces (like a pizza) and put them on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Do the same with the other half of the dough. So you now have 16 cute little scone triangles.

4. Brush the top of each triangle with more buttermilk, and sprinkle with sugar. Bake in the oven until golden brown (15-18 minutes) and transfer to a rack.

These are rich but light. Yum. Totally recommend.

Fruit Skewers

Pretty self explanatory. Put fruit that won't brown on a skewer. I used starfruit, canteloupe, strawberry, kiwi, pineapple and dragon fruit. Just avoid things like apples and pear, which go brown. For the drizzle, I tried to be fancy and mix mine with sour cream. Don't do it. Just melt your chocolate and drizzle using a zip loc with a teeny bit of the corner snipped off. My drizzle was a little awkward and not nearly as fine as I wanted. Ah well. It tasted good.

BLT skewers with dijon aioli
Another easy one. Cook bacon (I candied it in the oven like this recipe). Cut into pieces. Thread onto skewers with some romaine and a grape tomato. The sauce is simply 1/2 c mayonnaise, 1/4 dijon mustard, 1 minced clove garlic, pepper. Add a spoon of grainy mustard if you have some). Voila!

Chocolate cupcakes with chocolate-mint swiss meringue buttercream

OMFG I was proud of these. Don't they look amazing!!!!! Now, before you're too impressed with me, I absolutely did NOT make the monkey toppers. Those were made by my friend, who runs the amazing Sophie Bifield Cake Company. She is so super talented. If you're crafty and know how to do these sorts of things, there are great instructions for the monkeys on the Frosted Cake n Cookie. This is well outside my comfort zone, so HUGE thanks to Sophie for the help.

The cake part of the cupcake was from this epicurious recipe that I've used before with great success. It makes great cupcakes, just adjust the baking time to 18ish-20ish minutes. 1 cake recipe makes 36 decent sized-cupcakes.

The cake is good, but holy crap...the frosting has opened up my entire cupcake world to new possibilities.

I'd never made swiss meringue buttercream before...but it's so bloody wonderful. It's an enormous pain in the ass to make (it took an HOUR), but it's fabulous. Don't make it if you don't have a stand mixer. I used Martha Stewart's icing recipe. and beat in 4 oz of melted, cooled 70% cocoa chocolate, and 1 t of peppermint extract. The recipe makes enough to generously frost 24 cupcakes.

To ice the cupcakes, I used the Wilton 1C icing tip. I love the ruffly deep swirls it made. And if I can do it, so can you, because I suck at this kind of thing. I bought it at Bulk Barn and used a disposable piping bag. My bag was only 12 inches. Buy a bigger one. Mine was irritatingly small.

lime-mint mojito punch
I wasn't sure how this punch would go the point that I yelled at hubs for stealing a glass of OJ the morning of the shower...but it was a HUGE hit! I'd make it again. It was refreshing and yummy and totally doesn't need the rum. Although rum wouldn't be a bad long as half of your guests aren't pregnant or nursing. ;)

1 cup sugar
1 cup water
zest of 3 limes

1 cup lime juice
1.5 cups mint leaves, whole (give or take)
4-5 cans club soda

1. On the stove top, combine the sugar, water and lime zest. Heat until the sugar is totally dissolved. Cool.

2. To make punch, combine lime juice, sugar syrup and mint leaves. Add club soda. Taste - add more club soda, juice, sugar, mint depending on what you think.


And voila. That's what we ate. It was super yummy and everything disappeared off the table. So I'd recommend all of the recipes here.


Corrine said...

Wow, everything looks amazing, especially the cupcakes! Swiss meringue buttercream is my favourite, I've never added chocolate though. Your looks delicious :)

Rymistri@la vie en fuchsia said...

OMG.. I'm in awe!!

You knocked it out of the park!

Cindy said...

holy...i bow before your greatness...all that food looks amazing!

Melanie said...

I am in awe too - now I want to host a shower so I can get creative/copy your ideas! Nice work!

Janny A. said...

OK, now I wish you could cater my shower in a few weeks! Everything looks SOOOO great and yummy!!!!! :) You rock dude!!

Sammie said...

The souffle looks amazing! The fruit kabobs look fresh and delicious and all together I've never seen more perfect baby shower food.

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