Girls' Night Treats
Am planning a girls' night out on friday. I've invited the ladies over for a few drinks before we head out, and I'd like to have something sweet for the gals to nibble on.
Here's the catch: I'll only have about an hour to prepare everything - so it's gotta be quick (but more importantly delicious!). I'll have some time the night before though not much (facing a busy busy week...this girls' night will be much deserved!).
Sweet and spicy nuts: toast some nuts in a non-stick pan with some butter, add some brown sugar, salt and balsamic, melt, cool and break apart. They're totally addictive. Even add some cayenne if you're brave.
Great with soft cheeses or in a salad, too.
Drink with martinis and/or champagne.
Can be made days ahead of time.
Thank you all for your wonderful suggestions!
I'm thinking of taking a little inspiration from several posts and doing a selection of crostini:
- Goat cheese, proscuitto, sliced figs (maybe a balsamic reduction drizzle? arugula? should I sautee the figs? maybe sautee them with a little balsamic?)
- Hummus, roasted red peppers? (I need a little help with this one - I'm not sure I'll have time to make my own roasted peppers, and I'm not crazy about the jarred kind)
If I'm feeling ambitious I might attempt a pan of brownies as well.
for a shortcut (instead of jarred), I buy the roasted peppers from the "olive & pepper bar" at many food stores. Also nice are the little red round ones (called peppadews) and fill them with proscuitto & sharp provolone or mozzarella - they have them on the bar at Whole Foods.
Also, if you go for the brownies, mint flavored (like the Andes candy type) would be a nice taste before heading out.
Personally I'd try to keep the goat cheese/ prosciutto/ figs crostini without the arugula, since there are enough interesting flavors mixing together already (just my opinion). Sauteed figs tend to work better with those ingredients because it makes them a tiny bit sweeter, and paired with the goat cheese...mmm. Haven't tried them with balsamic - that sounds good though! If you try this, please update on how it turns out :)
Re: brownies - mint is great, very refreshing. I once had a brownie made with a bit of Kahlua in the mix, which was also very good...
Great menu! :) You got some luck Girlfriends! :)
Roasting your own red peppers takes no time at all. Just split them in half and place them in your broiler for a minute or two. The place them in a plastic bag and let them 'steam' for another 5 minutes. I actually perfer this to the grill because it allows for more of the sweetness to remain instead of being too smokey...
I have Sara Moulton's newest cookbook, and she has a recipe where she fills hollowed-out strawberries with chocolate, and warms them up in the oven a little bit. Then she tops them with whipped cream. This would be very easy and seems very girly! I can look at the temp. and time when I get home tonight, if you would like.
Also, I've posted this recipe before, but I think it's really good and refreshing:
Fruit Salsa with Cinnamon Chips
4 (7-inch) flour tortillas
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 med Granny Smith apples
1 cup strawberries -- sliced
1 kiwi fruit -- peeled and chopped
1 small orange
2 tbsp packed brown sugar
2 tbsp apple jelly
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. For cinnamon chips, lightly spray tortillas with water. Combine sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle over tortillas. Cut each tortilla into 8 wedges; place in single layer on baking sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned and crisp. Cool completely.
For salsa, peel, core, and slice apples. Cut apples into quarters and dice into small pieces (I usually use the food processor for all the fruits.) Dice strawberries and chop kiwi. Place fruit in 1 quart bowl. Zest orange and juice. Add orange zest, orange juice, brown sugar and apple jelly to fruit mixture, mix gently. Serve with cinnamon chips.
Here's a recipe for Raspberry Almond Bars that is really good as well: http://www.therecipebox.com/members/b...
Bruchetta: If you have a grill use it to toast bias cut baguette brushed with olive oil and garlic. Top with Chopped tomato and fresh basil. Maybe leave out the garlic, you -are- going out after all.
Melon wrapped with Prosciutto. If you need a recipe I can't help you, mine's secret.
Goat cheese topped with a little jarred pesto sauce on the same toasts as the bruchetta.
It is summer, so get a bottle of Prosecco and a can of peach nectar. Cheap and tasty!
If you've never had Campari grab a bottle serve with soda water and a lime. Its a love hate thing (I hate it, but friends swear by it)
CRAP you said SWEET.... ummm... errr......
Ah! Chocolate fondue!! Whats more fun than that! A block of GOOD chocolate, mix with (heavy or light) cream about 2 parts chocolate to 1 part cream, in a double boiler. Melt. Xfer to fondue pot, or just serve in a nice crock. Serve with Pineapple cubes, dried apricots, marshmallows, angel food cake, bananas.
Could be a little messy but mmmmm good.
rather than dessert sweet, something that's always nice to nibble on with drinks are party mixes. there are so many varieties of the salty/sweet. Of course the standard mixed nuts with m&m's, or chocolate/yogurt covered pretzels,raisins, nuts.
here's a fun one that I used to make often for the girls!
sounds odd, but really good, and quick to prepare.
preheat oven to 375 degreesF. In a large bowl mix 5 cups honey grahams cereal, 3 cups teddy grahams, 2 cups ramen noodles-crushed (NO flavor packet), 3/4 cups sliced almonds, and 1 cup golden raisins. In a small saucepan, over low heat, melt 1/3 cup butter, then mix in 1/3 cup honey and 1 tsp orange juice.
Pour the mix over the dry mix & toss well to coat. Spread onto large baking sheet & bake for about 10 minutes. Pour into large bowl when cool enough. serve room temp, then store the rest in an airtight container, if any!
Here are some favorites:
Saute some french baguette slices in olive oil, spread on mayonnaise, add slices of perfectly ripe avocado and an anchovy filet (not the kind that comes in salt - a marinated filet). You could probably get away with making the toasts in the morning.
Stuff prunes d'Agen with a walnut half, wrap in prosciutto or jamon bayonne.
Make trout salad (see my post today) ahead of time - spread on bread/toasts. For this purpose, I use the food processor to make a spread rather than a salad.
Fried sage leaves - maybe a bit fussy for your time frame, but lovely with chunks of provolone or fontina.
Deviled eggs - I love them with chives - could definitely make the night before. Also tasty with some smoked Spanish paprika.
Hummus, with sauteed ground lamb and pine nuts - buy the hummus, sautee the lamb and toast the pine nuts the night before, put together that evening.
Hope this helps!