Wednesday, January 1, 2014

New Year's Resolution

New Year's Resolution

One of my hopes for the New Year is to get more organized and have time to update this blog more often. On the other hand, I'd like to really focus my career on nourishing those who need it most. I think those may be at odds, but we'll see.

To work on the first resolution, I'll share the wonderful fun I had catering a party last night. Three friends had pitched in to win the party I offered at our church fund-raising auction.

Balancing their requests with my knowledge and healthful cooking style, I dove into cookbooks and Internet sites to come up with a menu.

For the table:
Spinach-Artichoke Dip (NOT a healthful choice despite the kale I added but sooo yummy)
Black Bean Salad (with blackeyed peas for New Year's luck, an old Southern tradition)
Mango Salsa
White Bean-Sundried Tomato Dip
Olive Tapenade
Stuffed Grape Leaves (after an epic failure at home, I opted for Costco's packaged version!).

Throughout the evening, I then prepared and served hot appetizers:
Mini-Quiche in Gluten-Free Crusts (bacon-caramelized onion and spinach-mushroom)
Polenta Crostini with Wild Mushrooms and Goat Cheese
Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms (with gluten-free crumbs and kale)
Walnut and Sun-Dried Tomato-Stuffed Mini-Peppers (a creation of Bauman classmate Lisa Patriacca)
Tiny Twice-Baked Potatoes with Smoked Salmon
Coconut Shrimp (with the above Mango Salsa)
Buffalo Turkey Sliders on Cauliflower Buns

The slider was a conglomeration of a recipe by Bauman classmate Andrea Foro and one I found on the web by Rachel Ray. The somewhat confusing name refers to the Buffalo style common to chicken wings, not the large nearly-extinct animal. It incorporates the carrot and celery often served with wings and the spicy sauce, thus the dollop of blue cheese-sour cream on top.

The super-simple cauliflower bun is a great choice for gluten-free diets as well as those who just want to incorporate more vegetables. You just grate the cauliflower to a rice-like texture (easily done with a few pulses of the food processor), add an egg, 1/4 cup almond flour and 2 Tablespoons coconut flour and a teaspoon of a preferred herb (I used rosemary) with a dash of salt and pepper. Form into patties and bake 10-15 minutes on each side.

Unfortunately, I served those last, when everyone was already pretty full. Still, the first round barely got out of the kitchen.

All in all, it was a great experience. Almost like cooking for friends, but for a good cause. Not being the young bucks we once were, we toasted the New Year on New York time (though a few of us managed to see our own Mountain time clocks hit 12:00!)  and shared our goals for 2014.With folks like that in my corner, I'm hopeful that my dreams will be realized in some fashion.

More on that later, if my resolution remains firm!