Wednesday, July 07, 2004

July 4th Catered Affair

Ok, well we survived our first catering job, and even picked up another one from the party. The July 4th party was a family reunion for about 25 people and the day was to be fairly casual. I came up with a menu of hot and cold starters, then a course of mussels and steamers, then lobster and filet mignon. The host made tequila and limeade drinks and everyone was happy!
We had a ton of food left over and so I made a seafood chowder with the leftover potato salad, mussels and clams. It was a big hit with the host of the party.

I made savory sausage puffs which appear in the archives somewhere on this site already.
The cumin spiced cheese sticks served with a parmesan marinara sauce were also a great hit.
We made a kick-butt salsa and added fresh mint for a bit of a change...Got comments both ways on that, but when someone said it was the best they had ever tasted, that cheered me up.
I also made pounds and pounds of Roasted 3-potato salad with asparagus tips in a red wine thyme vineigarette dressing. By the time this came around people were stuffed! It became the base of my seafood chowder and added quite a twist to the recipe.

Cumin Spiced Cheese Straws
4 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded fine (about 1 1/4 cups)
same amount Parmesan
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne, or to taste
1 sheet (about 1/2 pound) frozen puff pastry, thawed
an egg wash made by beating 1 large egg with 2 teaspoons water
coarse sea salt to taste
garlic powder to taste

In a small bowl toss together all cheddar, 1/2 parmesan cheese, 1/2 of the ground cumin, garlic powder, and 1/2 of the cayenne.

On a lightly floured surface roll out pastry into a 14- by 12-inch rectangle and brush with some egg wash. Cut pastry in half crosswise, forming two 12- by 7-inch rectangles. Sprinkle cheese over 1 rectangle and top with other rectangle, egg-wash side down, pressing it firmly to force out any air pockets. Roll pastry out slightly to make layers adhere (rectangle should be about 12 1/2 by 7 1/2 inches). Brush pastry with some remaining egg wash and sprinkle evenly with remaining parm, garlic, cumin, cayanne, and sea salt.

With a pastry wheel, pizza cutter, or sharp knife cut pastry into strips about 7 1/2 inches long and 1/2 inch wide. Twist strips and arrange on buttered baking sheets, pressing ends onto sheet to keep strips twisted. Cheese straws may be prepared up to this point 2 weeks ahead. Freeze cheese straws on baking sheets 1 hour, or until frozen, and transfer to a resealable freezer bag. Do not thaw cheese straws before proceeding.

Serve with a simple marinara sauce
I made:
2-3 fresh tomatoes chopped
1-2 cloves of garlic
pinch of sugar
splash of marsalla wine
salt / pepper to taste
1 tblspoon parmesan

Sautee first five ingredients until broken down and thick and add parmesan. Serve hot with just baked cheese straws