Saturday, April 16, 2011

The pictures are coming! The pictures are coming!

I always have a backlog of pictures that could be uploaded and used for blog posts. But right now, I have a backache from how much it is weighing on my mind to get these out to you- before I have another party and generate more photos! yes, this spring is turning out to be a domestic social explosion.
I orchestrated a welcome home party for a friend coming back from a tour of duty with the State Department. It was 14 months of hard, hard work, and we were all glad to see her back and in the thick of DC culture and foodways. I invited a ton of people and combed all my starred blog posts in search of the perfect appetizers to wow everyone. I picked appetizers because with the amount of people coming, I figured grazing food would be easier than trying to do a dinner for that many people, not to mention less expensive.

That's what I thought.
Sweet potato laughing in its jacket
Pretty Knotty Pine Pattern
An aerodynamic space-mobile or alternatively, battering ram-o'-war
And yes, this is me playing with my food. It was too tempting!

I decided on 4 or 5 dishes needing 'creation,' and a couple things that just needed buying and plating. In this post, I am highlighting two of the former: Baked Sweet Potato Falafel Balls from never-fail 101 Cookbooks, and Marinated Feta & Olive Skewers from Fine Cooking's Appetizers issue- a great gift from my sister 2 Christmases ago.
Here's a quick sketch of the first one with running commentary:

 Done with baking, added cilantro, ready to smoosh

...I was brutally let down by Whole Foods at the last moment (no chickpea flour), I substituted a mix of whole wheat flour + mashed garbanzo beans to make a sort of paste

mixing it all together would require a little muscle...
which is good because I often don't have the discipline for push-ups, but for cooking, I'll do it!

Featuring the amazing potato masher from Michelle, still going strong :-)
  And the final product! Verdict: texture was not exactly falafel because no fried outer crust, and not exactly bread-like, which left it in a bit of a limbo-land. Also, I think there was too much cumin for me, and they could have done with more garlic flavor...they were interesting but not my favorite.
Dish Number Two: Marinated Feta + Cucumber + Mint on a Stick
now doesn't that sound classy?

 Fresh orange juice, zest, fennel seeds-- made the apartment smell great!
 Things got a little bit ... pulpy.
 Being a good cook with my mise-en-place and assembly line skewering operation

 The cuteness! It's like they're in little hats!
 Believe it or not, they didn't all disappear.

This is because I went completely overboard! But that's ok; it meant lots of leftovers for the week after.
 Verdict: a nice combination of refreshing, zesty, and briny. I could definitely make these again, but would pair them with something meaty instead.
Next post: the Onion Tart with Mustard & Fennel, and Baked Brie with Mango-Ginger Chutney (bought at Trader Joe's!)

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