Usually we are all about finger food – spinach focaccia, seven-layer dip, salt ‘n vinegar potato chips, chocolate. That hits all the major food groups, right? But last year, inspired by her Scrapbook Retreat’s system, Noel suggested we each cook one meal for everyone. What a brainchild! We all pitched in to help, of course, singing and chopping and cleaning together in the kitchen. We ate like queens. You can too.
Tricks for a Perfect Panini:
- Start with dense bread
- Use unusual combinations: mayo and pesto with four cheeses, pears and nutella, asparagus with turkey
- Pile on the caramelized onions
- Coat your bread with olive oil instead of butter
- Press the Panini flat with a spatula (or a brick wrapped in tinfoil)
- Cut them on an angle so you always have a point to dip
- Trader Joe’s makes the best marinara sauce for dipping
- Make a ton; Panini leftovers rock!
Saute carrots, mushrooms, and hearts of palm until tender. Toast almonds and pine nuts. Boil package of frozen cheese tortellini until done. Pour cream sauce (1/2 stick butter, 1 c Parmesan, 1 c cream, melted together) over vegetables and tortellini. Also good with sausage.
Mock Mint Julep
Combine 2 c cold water, 1 ½ c sugar, ¾ c lemon juice and 6 mint sprigs. Let stand for at least 45 minutes. Discard the mint. Place 5 c ice cubes and 2 ½ c ginger ale into 2 small pitchers or 1 very large pitcher. Add lemon mixture and serve.
Dinner at Noel's 2011
(Hey, girls, if you have any recipes to add, send them my way and I'll update).