Tuesday, December 20, 2005
Holiday Open House
Rather than an evening get-together, this year J. and I decided to host a holiday brunch/open house. We liked the idea of friends popping in and out all day, while we sat on the couch, nibbled yummy treats, drank wine, and enjoyed our Christmas tree. We served a mix of typical brunch fare--quiche, frittata, coffeecake, holiday fare--cookies and spiced nuts, and J and E's favorite fare--cheese, olives, cornichons and a homemade terrine (more on that project in a later post). As a savory foods person, I'm always surprised when most people go for sweet foods--the coffeecake was the hit of the party. It was a recipe out of the LA Times Food section (say what you will about the rest of the Times, this section always rocks)--you make the base dough the night before and let it rise, then fill with a meringue in the morning, full of whatever flavoring you want (I went with chocolate) then bake. Drizzled in a powdered sugar-Kahlua-vanilla glaze, it looked and tasted quite decadent.
The best part of the event (other than having quality time with our friends of course) was the leftovers--I packed an amazing meal for my plane ride to WI the next day, inspiring jealous looks across the aisles!
E & J's 2005 Holiday Open House Menu
Mixed Greens Quiche (adapted from LA Times recipe)
Potato and Wild Mushroom Frittata (E's recipe, with a little inspiration from Moosewood)
Overnight Coffeecake (LA Times)
Country Terrine (Gourmet Dec. 05)
Cheddar and Brie (from Say Cheese, Silverlake)
Olives and cornichons (Trader Joe's finest)
Cinnamon Orange Almonds (E's adaption of recipe found on Chocolate and Zucchini forums)
Gobs of cookies
• 1 orange, grated rind only
• ½ teaspoon cinnamon
• nutmeg, freshly grated
• 1/3 cup water
• ¾ cup sugar
• 2 cups almonds
Combine the orange peel, sugar, cinnamon and water in a deep sauce pan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring regularly until it boils. Add the nuts and reduce the heat to medium-low so the liquid is simmering. Stir constantly while the water evaporates. At first, the glaze will be shiny. As the water boils off, the sugar will form brown, crusty crystals on the nuts. When the nuts are completely coated and all the liquid has evaporated, remove from the heat. Make sure to stir constantly to prevent the nuts from burning. Spread the nuts on a cookie sheet to cool and crisp. Store in an airtight continer for up to two weeks.
Makes 2 cups