We invited our friends Carol and Mike over for dinner Saturday night. The Nuggets were scheduled to start play-off at 6:30, so my dinner menu needed to be mostly prepared in advance with minimal cooking after guests arrived at 5:00. I decided on a Rick Bayless short rib recipe, L.A. Potato Salad that was in the refrigerator by noon and ready to go, and my most favorite Berry and spinach salad.
Carol, (hereinafter referred to as the Flan-ista) impressively prepared Pat Argall’s famous Cream Cheese Flan. Carol also brought some amazing Marcona Almonds. The Marcona Almond recipe is adapted from an original recipe from Ubuntu Restaurant in the San Francisico Bay area
For my table setting, I used my favorite periwinkle square plates and my collection of green leaf plates to compliment. I must say, the table looked nice.
For appetizers, a simple cheese and cracker plate. I chose a Cambazola cheese, with water crackers, a side of red grapes and an assortment of olives from Whole Foods olive bar. The olives are always a crowd pleaser.
Flan-ista’s amazing almonds:
Marcona Almonds with Sea Salt and Lavender Sugar
• 2 cups Marcona almonds
• 1 tsp. dried lavender
• 1 tbsp. sugar
• 1 tbsp. sea salt
• 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1. Preheat the oven to 300°F. Roast the almonds on a baking sheet until fragrant, 10 to 12 minutes.
2. Grind the lavender very fine in a coffee grinder, or with a mortar and pestle.
3. In a bowl, toss the almonds with the lavender, sugar, salt and olive oil to coat. Serves 6.
In the oven were sizzling Sizzle Shrimp. A favorite recipe I adapted from another favorite shrimp recipe.
Carol will get back to me on the origins of this recipe.
One of my favorite appetizers to serve is a recipe I adapted from my friend Kathy. Here’s my version;
L.A.’s Sizzle Shrimp
12 jumbo shrimp – deveined, peeled, tails left on
12 slices candied jalapeno
6 slices bacon
Sweet Zing mustard for dipping
Preheat oven to broil. Cut bacon slices in half. Place a slice of jalapeno in the crook of shrimp. Wrap a piece of bacon around that part of the stuffed shrimp and secure with a toothpick. Place all shrimp on a cookie sheet. Baste shrimp with with vinegar and broil for about 3 minutes. Turn shrimp over, baste again and cook another three minutes. Transfer to the snappy serving bowl of your choice and use the mustard for dipping. DEElicious. The Sweet Zing mustard is a condiment that I found at Whole Foods. Please visit their website; www.gourmetfinefoods.net
Moving to the dinner table we started with my favorite spring salad; Spinach and Strawberry Salad. I LOVE serving this salad for guests. Not only is it healthy and delicious, it’s a beautiful presentation. If you never take anything else from my blog, take this salad recipe and run.
- 5 medium (1 pound) fresh poblano chiles
- 2 tablespoon lard
- 2 pounds bone-in short ribs, trimmed of excess fat
- 1 large yellow onion, sliced
- 4 clove garlic
- 1½ pounds fresh tomatoes or 2 15½ ounce cans chopped, not drained
- 3 springs fresh thyme and 2 springs fresh marjoram
- Roast the poblanos directly over a gas flame or on a baking sheet 4 inches from broiler. Turning regularly until all sides are blistered and blackened. Cover with a kitchen towel for 5 minutes and then remove most of the skin with your hands. Do not rinse away the flavor with tap water. Tear the chiles open and remove the seeds. Slice into ¼ inch strips.
- Heat oven to 325 degrees. In a medium large Dutch oven, heat the lard on medium high. Lay in the short ribs in a single uncrowded layer, working in batches if necessary. When richly brown on one side, about 5 minutes, turn them over and brown the other side 3 - 5 minutes.Remove to a plate and tip off all but a generous coating of oil on the bottom of the pot.
- Set the pot back on the stove and reduce heat to medium. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until golden. About 7 minutes. Add the garlic and stir for one minute. Add the tomatoes and cook until soft, about 3 minutes.
- Nestle the short ribs into the tomato mixture. Spoon some of the mixture over the ribs, cover and bake 1½ - 2 hours or until meat is fork tender.
- Using a large spoon, remove the meat to a warm serving plate. Tip the Dutch oven to remove the fat from the tomato mixture. Take the sauce and season with additional salt and the fresh herbs. Stir well.
- To serve, spoon a rib into a serving of Mexican Yellow Rice (or mashed potatoes) Spoon some of the tomato sauce around the ribs.
For the grand finale, the flan. This is ohmygosh good!
I’m still waiting for permission to post the recipe for this. Keep your finger’s crossed.