Friday, October 1, 2010

A few recipes and lessons learned from the dinner party

As I am enjoying leftover crust-less pumpkin pie over lunch, I thought I would share a few recipes and some leassons learned.

My last minute add on to the appetizers--goat cheese empanadas and roasted red pepper sauce- ended up being awesome! I am always a little leery of Real Simple's recipes because of some previous bad experiences but this was easy and impressive.

Refridgerated Pie Crust (feeling a little less dirty about using them in this recipe than I have in the past)
Goat cheese 2 oz per pie crust

Spread out the pie crust. Cut small circles (approx. 3 inch diameter). I used a glass to do this. Put a LITTLE bit of goat cheese in center. Wet the outer edge of the circle and fold over. Then use a fork to press it together and give the edges a nice crimped look.

*You really only need a little goat cheese. I had a terrible experience making ricotta and jam pockets (shudder, cringe) and I put in too much filling. It was a mess! And it was disgusting so it was a lose-lose.

Bake at 375 for 20-25 minutes.

Real Simple said to pair this with corn salsa. You could, but I think it's much better with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce. The sweetness of the sauce goes well with the goat cheese.

The other big hit of the party were the crust-less individual pumpkin pies. Essentially use your favorite pumpkin pie filling recipe (I have an awesome WW one that is fairly healthy) and put the filling in little ramekins and bake until the center is firm.

Two things I added that I would never do without: spiced whipped cream and ginger snaps.

For the spiced whip cream, whip heavy cream with:
2 parts cinnamon
2 parts ground ginger
1 part ground cloves
1 part allspice

Last night, I did 1/2 tsp of cinnamon and ground ginger, and 1/4 tsp of cloves and allspices. As I eat my leftover individual pie, I am still debating whether I would increase that or not. It's pretty subtle now and I can't decide if I want to risk the spices overtaking the dessert or if it would just enhance it.

Lessons Learned

1. If you want to actually enjoy the night: 1) Serve an appetizer so people don't get too hungry 2)Have a schedule! My biggest slip up was that I forgot to put something on the schedule and had to rush it so it didn't turn out quite as I planned.
2. People don't know if you screw up and are forgiving. I always have to remember that. Did people know the sauce was supposed to be thicker? Well not until I just admitted it now but oh well.

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