Wednesday, April 22, 2015

New Recipe Dinner Club

For over a year now, 6 of us have been enjoying monthly New Recipe Dinner gatherings.  I can't even begin to tell you how much fun it has been.  It's so easy to get into the habit of making "safe" recipes--especially when having people over--so this is a way to shake that up.  Every month, one couple hosts and picks an entree to try, then the other two couples pick recipes to go with it--dessert, side, appetizer, whatever.

On Friday, our lovely host made Spanish Paella, toned down from the usual seafood version as I really don't like anything in shells, so I got out our Spanish cookbook to find an appetizer, and decided to try the only recipe that didn't involve squid or anchovies.  (This cookbook may not be long for our shelves).

The recipe actually had 3 recipes: olives, cheese, and almonds.  Originally, I was just going to make the cheese, but when I couldn't find the correct cheese at the grocery store and had to add a substitute, I decided to try the almond one as well. 

The cheese (now using Asiago instead of Manchego), was supposed to be cut into bite-sized pieces, then marinated in olive oil, white wine vinegar, peppercorns, and fresh tarragon (which is already going crazy in the garden).  What they don't explain is that when one chills the marinating cheese as instructed,

 is that the oil will solidify and one will have cheese stuck in solid oil and does this still flavor the cheese or is it just really gross?  I ended up taking it out of the refrigerator for about 2 hours a day and stirring it once the oil had liquified again, and it ended up tasting okay if you like your cheese oily, but it may not be seen again around here. 

The day OF the party, I toasted the almonds in olive oil AND butter,
just to make sure we had all types of fat covered.  Had I remembered that I bought half the amount of almonds and reduced the butter and oil to half, this would have been a lot less disgusting.  It also called for sea salt (which probably meant finer sea salt than I had, because mine stayed a big soggy, crystallized mess at the bottom of the bowl) and cayenne pepper, which I also forgot to halve.  Oops.

Surprisingly, they both tasted fine, and the point is to try making new things--even if I'm never willing to make them again.

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