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Cucumber & Herb Cream Cheese Tea Sandwiches

28 Mar

1 – 8 oz. brick full-fat cream cheese, room temperature

2 TBSP mayonnaise

1 1/2 TBSP fresh dill, minced

1 TBSP fresh parsley, minced

1 TBSP scallions, minced

1/4 tsp kosher salt

1/8 tsp black pepper

English cucumbers (seedless), thinly sliced

8 slices white bread (I prefer Grandma’s Perfect White Bread from Heartland Bread Co.)


  1. Mix together first 7 ingredients in stand mixer on low speed, or by hand.  Do not whip.  Chill cream cheese mixture for several hours.
  2. Spread 4 slices of bread with a generous layer of cream cheese mixture.  Top with cucumbers and another slice of bread.  Cover sandwiches with damp paper towel and wrap in cling wrap or place in air-tight container.  Chill sandwiches for two hours until firm.  Cut off the crust of each sandwich and slice into 4 tea sandwiches.

Makes 16 tea sandwiches.

Make ahead: Prepared tea sandwiches can be made up to 6 hours ahead.  Cover with damp paper towels and store in refrigerator in air-tight container.


Fresh Limeade

28 Aug

I am completely addicted to this stuff.  We’ve made it several times this summer, thanks to the kids’ help.  They have graciously juiced bagfuls of limes from our local Mexican grocer.  This recipe is based on Mark Bittman’s suggested ratios; however, you should obviously adjust it to suit your taste.  I think it’s perfect as-is, but Sam likes his a little less tart.

Fresh Limeade

1 cup freshly-squeezed lime juice
1 1/3 cups simple syrup*
4 cups water or sparkling water (it’s the best!)

Combine ingredients in pitcher and serve over lots of ice.

This recipe can be adjusted to make any quantity, simply use the ratio 1:1.3:4.

*To make simple syrup, just combine equal parts water and granulated sugar in a saucepan.  Boil gently until sugar is dissolved.  Refrigerate until ready to use.  It will keep for weeks.

Turkey Tea Sandwiches

18 Dec

I threw a baby shower for a friend recently and these babies were on the menu.   They were divine.  The basil really makes them superior, so don’t skip it.  I used about 4 leaves per whole sandwich (1 leaf per tea sandwich).

The recipe calls for Raisin Nut bread, but I couldn’t find any without cinnamon, so I substituted Cranberry-Orange bread with great success.  Any non-cinnamon fruit bread should do the trick.



Scallion cream cheese:

  • 3/4 pound (12 ounces) cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup minced scallions (white and green parts)
  • Pinch kosher salt
  • Pinch freshly ground black pepper


  • 16 thin slices of dense raisin-nut bread (or any fruit bread without cinnamon)
  • 8 thin slices fresh or smoked turkey breast
  • Fresh basil leaves


For the scallion cream cheese, combine the cream cheese, scallions and the salt and pepper in an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Do not whip.

Lay out 16 slices of bread and spread them all with a thin layer of scallion cream cheese. Place a single layer of turkey on half the slices, cutting the edges to fit the bread. Place the basil leaves randomly on top of the turkey. Top with the other 8 slices of bread, cream cheese side down. Lay the sandwiches on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper, cover with damp paper towels and wrap the sheet with plastic. Refrigerate until the cream cheese is cold and firm. Place the sandwiches on a cutting board and, with a very sharp knife, cut off the crusts. Cut each large sandwich in half diagonally, twice, to make a total of 4 small triangles. Serve chilled.

Adapted from The Barefoot Contessa cookbook.

Ginger Pineapple Sparkling Punch

28 Apr

This is one of the best punches I’ve had lately.  I made it for a friend’s baby shower, and it was thankfully a bit hit.  The ginger syrup and fresh citrus juices really make it special.

Ginger Pineapple Sparkling Punch


For ginger syrup

  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup thinly sliced unpeeled fresh ginger (1/4 lb; from two 5-inch-long pieces)

For punch

  • 3 cups unsweetened pineapple juice, chilled
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (3 to 5 lemons)
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice (4 to 6 limes)
  • 3 cups sparkling water, chilled
  • 4 cups ice cubes

Make ginger syrup:
Bring water, sugar, and ginger to a boil in a 1- to 1 1/2-quart saucepan, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes, then remove from heat and steep, uncovered, 15 minutes. Pour syrup through a sieve into a bowl, discarding ginger. Chill, covered, until cold, about 2 hours.

Make punch:
Stir together ginger syrup and fruit juices in a punch bowl or pitcher. Stir in sparkling water and ice.

Cooks’ note: Ginger syrup keeps, covered and chilled, 2 weeks.

Serves 10

Source: Gourmet, December 2004

Three Cheese Scalloped Potatoes

30 Aug

Three cheese scalloped potatoes edit3

Wow, oh wow!  These potatoes are unbelievable.  I first made them as part of our Easter dinner this year, and they did not disappoint.  Even my friend Timm, who doesn’t care for blue cheese, had a second helping.  The recipe is perfect as written, so I didn’t make any modifications — a rare thing these days.

Scalloped Potatoes with Three Cheeses

  • 3/4 cup (packed) grated extra-sharp cheddar cheese (about 4 ounces)
  • 3/4 cup crumbled Danish blue cheese (about 4 ounces)
  • 1/3 cup (packed) freshly grated Parmesan (about 1 1/4 ounces)
  • 4 pounds russet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 3 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
  • 3 cups whole milk

Preheat oven to 400°F. Lightly butter 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish. Mix cheddar cheese, blue cheese and Parmesan in small bowl.

Arrange half of potatoes in prepared baking dish, overlapping slightly. Sprinkle with teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Sprinkle onion over, then flour. Dot with 2 tablespoons butter. Sprinkle half of cheese mixture over. Top with remaining potatoes, 3/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper and 2 tablespoons butter. Reserve remaining cheese.

Bring milk to simmer in medium saucepan. Pour milk over potatoes (milk will not cover potatoes completely). Cover baking dish tightly with foil. Bake 45 minutes. Uncover dish (liquids in dish may look curdled); sprinkle potatoes with reserved cheese mixture. Bake uncovered until potatoes are tender and cheese is deep golden brown, 30-45 minutes longer. (Can be prepared 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature. Cover and rewarm in 375°F oven about 20 minutes.) Remove from oven; let stand 15 minutes before serving.

Makes 12 servings (only 8 at my house)
Source: Rick Rodgers – Bon Appetit, November 1999

Mulled Apple Cider

15 Dec

Mulled cider 009

I love unpasteurized, unfiltered apple cider.  There is a great apple orchard/stand in Utah where we used to buy it, but unfortunately we haven’t found anything like that where we live now.  We managed to get some decent cider at Trader Joe’s and used this recipe to help ring in the holidays.  It was the best mulled cider I’ve had yet!

Mulled Apple Cider with Orange and Ginger

  • 8 cups unpasteurized apple cider
  • A 3-inch cinnamon stick
  • 10 whole cloves
  • 1 navel orange, peeled and sliced crosswise
  • A 2-inch piece of peeled fresh ginger, cut into 6 slices

In a large saucepan combine the cider, the cinnamon stick, the cloves, the orange and the ginger and simmer the mixture for 20 minutes. Strain the mixture through a fine sieve into a heat-proof pitcher and serve the mulled cider warm.

Source:  Gourmet, Oct. 1991

Cranberry Relish

7 Dec

My sister-in-law introduced me to this new take on the classic cranberry sauce.  It’s now a staple at our holiday meals.

1 bag (12 oz) cranberries
Juice of one orange
1 cup sugar

Simply blend all ingredients in a blender or food processor until finely chopped.