Okay, the ultimate pressure in hosting a party at home is when the big boss is coming. I've been on edge the whole week dreaming of elaborate menus and party settings that I been squeezing my intestines in knots. It's been years since I've had a non-family party at home. Hubby was so exasperated that he said, "just make your cheesecake and be done with it. Let's just have something delivered". Instant food for a party in my home? Heaven forbid!!! I finally decided to just make stuff that I do best. Simple, homey yet special in their own way. Hubby and I hosted a small party for ten. Not too big, not too intimate, either.
Fortunately hubby's boss and peers were all down to earth and simple, geeky IT guys. I mean it in the most loving way :-) I'm also friends with their spouses so there's a lot less pressure in that aspect.
Anyway, for appetizers, I made bruschetta with cream cheese and mozarella. Of course, it was a hit. People often mistake it for something special and hard to do but really, it's the simplest appetizer. I usually serve this at home when people suddenly decide to drop by. I have a newly planted basil bush in my garden that willingly gives up a few of its leaves for such purpose. I accidentally ran over my previous bush while backing while parking the car, he he he.
I also made a grilled prawn salad with cilantro garlic dressing. I was inspired by a salad dish that hubby and I had during our anniversary dinner at Bubba Gump that I decided to try to duplicate the dressing at home. I just made it in the fly and hope against hope that I make it right. I had no recipe anywhere, no time to research it. Well, in case you're wondering, it turned out great and just in case you're interested, here's the recipe:
Grilled Prawn Salad with Cilantro Garlic Dressing
For the salad, you will need:
2 Packs slad greens (with arugula)
1 Cucumber, seeded and sliced in crescents
2-3 tomatoes, cut in wedges
1 handful of pine nuts
1/2 kilo of prawns
Salt and pepper to taste
Cilantro leaves (optional)
For the dressing:
1 cup of sour cream
1 bunch of fresh cilantro leaves and stalks
1 to 2 teaspoons of lemon juice
Freshly cracked pepper (I used a combination of red, black, white and green)
1. Clean and devein prawns, season with salt and pepper. Grill two minutes on each side. Set aside.
2. In a salad bowl, combine greens, cucumber and tomatoes and cilantro leaves. Sprinkle with pine nuts.
For the dressing, combine everything in a blender.
For our main courses, I made baked chicken with about a ton of garlic, vegetable oil, liquid seasoning, salt and pepper and baked completely covered in foil for about 4 hours hours. Yes, four hours. Remove foil at the last ten minutes of cooking.
I also made fish with lime, cilantro, olive oil and butter.
Grilled liempo marinated in about a hundred cloves of garlic, soy sauce, catsup and lots of calamansi juice.
And the most requested recipe of the night, my caldereta. It doesn't look much but it was good.
Not pictured here is the frozen fruit salad. So, I replaced that photo with Lapid's chicharon instead :-)
And of course, the reason why people drove all the way to my house..... my special blueberry cheesecake.
You know when you've had a successful party when:
1. People ask for your recipes.
2. People are shameless to ask to take home all the left overs.
3. People invite themselves again next time.
Yup, it was a success :-)
I feel happy when people like my food.