My First Dinner Party

Last week I spent an incredible evening with some of my closest friends at my new apartment. It was my first time hosting, but after years of watching my mother and my God Mother do it, I figured it would be simple. It was for the most part, but it was also slightly stressful, attempting to make everything to my liking. I am lucky enough to have a great partner in crime, an incredible chef by my side to help make things come together, and make delicious food.

I wanted to share some of my recipes, as well as Chef’s recipes (with his permission) because they were such a hit.

I lost the natural light by the time I got to shoot the guac, but that doesn’t take away from the fresh, bright flavors he incorporates into it!

Guacamole: serves 6 or 7

6 avocados

½ of a red onion

2 cloves garlic

2 medium tomatoes

5 cups cilantro

2 limes

Dice onions and tomatoes, and put into bowl. Mince the garlic, cilantro and avocados and add to bowl. Squeeze limes on top (if they aren’t juicy, then roll them on the counter with your palm and apply pressure). Add salt and pepper. Fold together as to not squish anything!

Next on the list was a simple, do-ahead, salad. I’m a huge fan of raw veggies and crudité, so I suppose this could be my crudité salad. I used beautiful red and orange peppers Persian cucumbers (their skin isn’t as tough, and they are more delicate than others), English breakfast radishes, Haas avocados, lightly steamed skinny asparagus, I also added, mint from my family’s garden. I’m so in love with mint now, I suppose this isn’t anything new, but cucumber and mint water is always in my refrigerator. Side note; if I had pitted Castlevetrano olives I certainly would have added them. They add a beautiful color, but also a mild olive flavor.

3 medium sized bell peppers

4 Persian cucumbers

6 small radishes

1 avocado

2 sprigs of mint

1 bunch of skinny asparagus

I don’t exactly have a preference on how I cut my vegetables. Some people like a uniform cut, but I don’t care, so I will only tell you how I do it with the assumption that you will do it your way!

Cut peppers in half, take off stem and deseed. Cut into ½ inch slivers length wise. Cut each sliver into 5 “chunks”, place in a bowl. Cut cucumbers in half, then into quarters, cut so that they are the same size pieces as the peppers, salt the cucumbers and leave for a minute, then toss into the same bowl. Lightly steam the asparagus, only for a minute or so to ensure the crunch still remains, when cool, chop into pieces and place in the bowl. The radishes I cut a little different. I ended up with skinny long slivers, so cut them lengthwise so you have 4 or 5 flat disks. Place the disks on the cutting board and slice thin, lengthwise. Depending on when you intend to serve this, I would hold off on adding the avocado, mint and dressing. Cover the top and place in the fridge. I suggest that 10-20 minutes before you serve, you chop the mint and avocado into the salad, salt and pepper it and toss it. Then add your dressing, to your desired amount. Toss together and enjoy.

Salad dressing:

1 teaspoon mustard (I use Whole Foods brand Dijon)

½ teaspoon apple cider vinegar

juice of a half an orange

½ cup extra virgin olive oil

salt and pepper

I like putting everything in a cup and whisk it together with a fork. You can also put it into a container and shake everything together.

For dinner we had roasted chicken and mashed sweet potatoes. Hopefully I can get Chef to share his mash recipe with me!

Dessert was extra sweet and experimental. Who better to use as guinea pigs than friends? Honesty is the best policy. I love orange and chocolate, so I made a chocolate orange zest cake with a meringue frosting, dusted with chocolate and zest. As well as a classic brownie with a raw fudge frosting.

I hope you enjoy these recipes as much as we did!

Please join me in celebrating a healthy and delicious life.