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I need a light dessert for my mezes dinner

Hey all,

It's been so long since I've hosted a dinner party, I'm having trouble with my menu! Let me know if any of these dishes can be spruced up with a few extra herbs or ingredients, and help me think of a light and delicious dessert. It's spring, it's warm in LA, and we want to celebrate!

-white beans in tomato/garlic/olive oil

-blanched, chilled asparagus marinated in lemon/olive oil dressing and wrapped in a slice of chuck

-steamed (or seared) snapper filets smothered in a puree of olives, sun dried tomatoes, and capers

-thyme marinated button mushrooms (slightly seared and chilled)

-grilled shrimp (lemon, garlic, and onion marinade)

-bread crumb coated seared scallops.

-bread with a few spreads (hummus, tabouli)

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    1. re: Den

      "Mezze" are what they call appetizers (or perhaps better described as small plates/tapas) in Medeterranean/Middle Eastern cuisine.

    2. Figs or prunes stuffed with mascarpone and drizzled with honey. It has the same meditteranean feel as your menu. And it's easy, elegant, and you can make ahead.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Megiac

        In a similar vein, take really good sheep's milk feta and drizzle it with lavendar honey. Serve with crostini. The sweetness of the honey compliments the feta really well.

      2. Mmmmm...sounds good.

        What about a simple mixture of fruit (berries, peaches) macerated in amaretto and served with either creme anglaise or chantilly cream?
        Or as an alternative, mix your fruit with a bit of champagne and some chopped fresh mint. Also serve with either of the above options.

        Oh and I think your snapper would be great seared, as opposed to steamed.
        Maybe add a touch of curry powder to your bread crumb scallops?

        1. What about Honey Cinnamon Oranges

          2 oranges (navals are good)
          2 tablespoons honey
          2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
          fresh mint leaves, torn (for garnish)

          1. Peel the oranges and slice into 1/4-inch thick slices.
          2. Place on a serving platter.
          3. Mix honey and cinnamon in a small bowl.
          4. Drizzle the honey mixture over oranges and garnish with mint leaves. Enjoy

          2 Replies
          1. re: Lightsuprooms

            I do much the same up to stage 2 but drizzle with a sugar syrup made with some of the same orange juice. (I also flavour it with grand marnier) and sprinkle sliced almonds over the top. It's really good with almond and orange biscuits. (Quite dense almond paste and icing sugar mixed with orange zest, made in to balls, dipped in egg white, smothered in icing sugar then baked until crispy on the outside and soft in the middle. These are also really good with vanilla ice cream.) (Sorry, off on a tangent again!)

            Oh, and I can't have meze without some variation of grilled or fried haloumi...

            1. re: ali patts

              Hm, I do have some blood oranges, so I think I'll do a variation on oranges and honey and see if anyone wants to bring me a pint of good ice cream. Thanks, all!

          2. panna cotta w/ fresh berries

            This is really good and light, too, and you can use mascarpone instead of cream cheese:


            Use fresh ricotta or it turns out grainy.

            1. Sorbet in tuile cups. It's warm in No. Cal, too, so I'm thinking of making this to go with a DIY veggie pizza lunch.

              1. I love the idea of Panna Cotta (one of my favorite desserts, however, I think some greek yogurt with honey and glazed walnuts would work great as well.

                1. I'd serve any of the fruit ideas mentioned and include a plate of of very high quality dark chocolate or maybe chocolate-covered espresso beans.

                  1. This looks like a great dinner, including the blood orange dessert you've decided to do. I'm looking forward to seeing photos on your blog!

                    1. It all sounds delicious!

                      I'd probably add a bit of oregano to the white beans (but I can't say why, other than when I read what you'd written I immediately thought "oregano" and there you have it *grinning*).

                      For the bread are you using "bread" bread or thinking about pitas? I'd go with lightly toasted (cut into triangles/wedges, first, and brushed with a small amount of olive oil) pitas, myself.

                      And for dessert, I like the fruit options suggested - but if you've the time, make a run to Sarkis on Washington in Altadena and get a pound or two of the mixed baklava as an accompaniment.

                      1. That snapper sounds great. Anything else I need to know in order to make it?

                        How about fruit platter (pinapple spears or mango) and really great yogurt (possibly drained a bit to thicken it up, and flavoured somehow) to dip it in.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: waver

                          I've cut the snapper into large pieces (about palm-sized) and salted/peppered it. It's sitting in the fridge. I plan to take it out half an hour before cooking to let it come up to room temperature a little.

                          Meanwhile, I've blended a a handful of sun-dried tomatoes, a tablespoon of rinsed capers, and six kalamata olives in the food processor. I'm going to drizzle in enouth olive oil to make a thick sauce later, while the fish is searing, so it'll be ready as the fish finishes off.

                          I'll see how things go and report back. Thanks for the little tips, everyone. Sadly, my blood oranges were horrible. They're going back to the store tomorrow, and a friend's bringing dessert.

                          1. re: Pei

                            Sorry your oranges didn't work out. If it's any consolation, I've gotten loads of lousy oranges this winter.

                            A simple favorite of mine these days are the boozy dried fruits from Zuni. There are dried figs in red wine (great with parmagiano reggiano) and brandied raisins (great with strained yogurt) in my fridge at all times now. More here: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/35599...

                        2. I would suggest Eton Mess. Mmm yummy & light.

                          Cut1/2 pound of strawberries into bite size pieces and put in a bowl. Sprinkle granulated white sugar over the strawberries and stir to combine.
                          Break about 10 meringues into bite size pieces (use more if desired).
                          Whip whipping cream until stiff peaks form (sweetened with a little sugar if desired). Then fold in the cut up strawberries and meringue cookies.
                          Serve in dessert bowls or long stemmed glasses with strawberry puree (if desired) drizzled over the top.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: flipkeat

                            Brewats, maybe? Or a desert bisteeya? Morrocan, rather than Greek, but anything with filo and nuts is a good start. Come to think of it, one of the Greek festivals in St. Louis serves baklava sundaes, basically baklava crumbs over vanilla ice cream. Over pistachio, probably even better.