Two weekends ago, I had my girlfriends over for my 'annual' girlfriend party. I have really only done it 3 times, and I missed a year between the 2nd and the 3rd. I know that it's hard to get everyone together during the summer, but when it happens, I love it. It's a great opportunity for me (it's all about me - just kidding) to meet up with my great friends, catch up, allow everyone to meet each other (if there are newbies), eat, drink and be merry (not necessarily in that order).
I am crying - but only b/c I was laughing so much. I won't share the story that made me laugh so much - it's a little unladylike.
I took about a week or so to plan what I was going to make for dinner. I wanted to try and make things that my GFs maybe hadn't had before, things that I hadn't made before and some things that I know have been tried and tested.
I made sure that the deck was all 'decked' out. Chris helped me hang more little white lights, I got a lot of candles, some new chairs, and tried to have everything match. I am just that way. I LOVE setting a table, having all the dishes, napkins, linens, flowers match. I can't help it.
My friend Tracy took a bunch of photos - which was a total treat for me. They turned out fabulously.
All in all, for me, it was a wonderful night.
On the menu:
Gazpacho with feta stuffed olives
Stuffed Cucumber cups
Fig and Goat Cheese Pizza with Pesto
Grilled Zucchini Salad with Goat Cheese
Pork Tenderloin with Italian Salsa Verde
Baked Fruit with Vanilla Ice Cream
*I want to share all of the recipes but will have to do it over a couple of days - or I will be typing way past my bedtime.
I have wanted to make this for a long time. I found a recipe online a couple of weeks ago, and thought that I would give it a try. But, my wee nephew Callum who knows that I love cooking magazines, gave me one for my birthday, and in it was a delicious recipe. I altered it slightly - and it turned out very refreshing and tasty.
2.5 lbs of fresh tomatoes (about 8 or so tomatoes) - cored and seeded
4 cloves of garlic
1 tbsp of fresh oregano
1/4 cup of olive oil
1 1/4 cup of tomato juice
Kosher salt and ground pepper
In a blender, pulse a few tomatoes at a time, to ensure that they are all completely blended. Once they are done, add them to a big bowl or soup pot. Continue with the rest of the tomatoes until they are all pureed completely. Add them all to the bowl or pot. Stir in the garlic and oregano, the olive oil and the tomato juice and season with kosher salt and pepper. Stir it well, cover and let it sit in the fridge. I would recommend making this at least 6 hours in advance to give the soup time to absorb the all of the flavours.
Olives Stuffed with Feta
I used very small skewers and 3 olives per skewer. I had 8 people so made 24.
1 can of pitted olives - 24 from the can - drained
1/2 cup of feta
So simple, so delicious. I gently took a small piece of feta and stuffed the hole of the olive. Then put them on the skewers in the middle, so they would fit nicely on the glass that I served the Gazpacho in.
I loved the electric colour of the soup with the green olives on top. They complimented each other very nicely.
Stuffed Cucumber Cups
This recipe is enough to make 16 cups
2 long english cucumbers - cut into 8 pieces each - washed but not peeled
1 pack of Boursin light cheese
1/2 cup of finely chopped arugala
1/2 cup of finely chopped red peppers
1/4 cup of fresh chives
10 chopped basil leaves
Kosher salt and pepper
In a bowl, mix the cheese, arugla, half of the chopped red pepper, chives and basil and season with kosher salt and pepper.
With a melon baller or a small spoon, carefully, scoop out the insides of the cucumber pieces, ensuring that you leave the bottoms so that the filling stays in.
Scoop a healthy amount of the cheese mixture into each cup. Top with more of the fresh red peppers. If you are like me, and have never tried Boursin cheese before - be warned. This stuff is incredibly delicious.
I served both the Gazpacho and the Cucumber Cups on the same plate. I loved how these appetizers turned out. They were easy, not very complex, and something that I will definitely make again.
Alright friends - I hope that Monday was kind to you. You deserve it.