Sunday, December 09, 2007

Christmas Party!

Tonight I attended a Christmas party at my dear friend and office mate Lee Ann's house. A lovely time was had by all, and there was a TON of great food there! Lee Ann's husband Steve did this amazing pork loin stuffed with feta, spinach and cranberries (can't you just picture the festive holiday colors?), homemade mac-and-cheese, and even a gorgeous loaf of stollen. (I wish I had taken some pics.) Lee Ann's sweet little mom from Ohio was also there, and she baked many wonderful goodies for the party, including some scrumptious little pecan tassies. Guests were encouraged to bring appetizers and/or desserts, and boy, did they come through! My vote for the most wonderful thing on the buffet was this completely addictive hot artichoke dip, and as is my way, I managed to track down the chef and browbeat the recipe out of her. She said it was the sort of thing that she has a basic outline for in her head but that she's not too precise about (my kind of gal). She also said that she takes the dip to parties wherever she's invited and always takes a clean dish home! I don't doubt it. It was DEE-lish!

Basically, you chop up marinated artichoke hearts until fine--she does it in the food processor--about a cup (many recipes say two cans, but I have the warehouse-size jar from Sam's). Then you mix them with a brick of softened cream cheese, a cup of mayonnaise, a teaspoon or two of dill weed, a teaspoon or so of granulated garlic, and shredded parmesan (she said a 5 oz. bag?--I would probably throw in about a cup myself). You bake it at 350 until bubbly and brown around the edges (I'm going to guess around a half hour), and serve with bread or crackers. An easy and delicious holiday go-to appetizer! In fact, I might have to make some for Cyd's birthday dinner tomorrow night (her actually birthday was today--HAPPY BIRTHDAY, CYD!).

So what did I bring to the party, you ask? Well, always the culinary over-achiever, I brought an hors d'oeuvre AND a dessert. For the sweet, I brought the ever-popular Trashy Toffee, and for the savory, I made the most fabulous antipasto platter, featuring my homemade mozzarella, salami, and many of the pickled veggies that I put up this summer (baby carrots, dilly beans, dill pickles, and cherry tomatoes). The only things on this tray that I did not make were the salami--no, I haven't got my charcuterie on yet--and the banana peppers (the tray needed another color, and I had a huge jar of them in the fridge, because I love them on everything). Doesn't it look fancy? Cyd assembled it, and I think it came out looking quite professional! Maybe we should cater some of these holiday parties? ;-)

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