We had a lovely house party last Sunday and although I don't usually blog about things like food, there were several people who requested specific recipes for a couple of the dishes. Because we had invited our guests to drop-in anytime during a 6-hour afternoon/early evening, we wanted the feeling to be sort of 'Casual Afternoon Picnic in Italy' and we also wanted to be able to enjoy our guests rather than spending time in the kitchen. So we decided on a simple menu:
Giant olives stuffed with sharp cheddar and hard salami, garlic and lemon marinated olives wrapped in proscuitto, pepperdews stuffed with cheddar cheese, hard salmi and prosciutto
Fresh fruits: red and green grapes, blackberries, blueberries, strawberries and raspberries
French breads stuffed with pesto and cheese
Sugared mixed nuts, dark chocolate covered almonds and cashews
Wine, Cava, Craft Beer, Italian Fruit Sodas, Sparkling Water and Coffee
It turned out to be a perfect menu; plentiful light fare and easy for the hosts to keep the table replenished and fresh through the long afternoon. I know the guests loved it because everyone ate lots and there were many requests for recipes for the bread and vegetables. So here they are.
Find Your Cool Launch Party Recipes
French Bread or Italian Bread (we used French)
Pesto (red or green, fresh or jarred)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Grated or crumbled cheese
- Mix pesto with olive oil; approximately 3/4 cup pesto with 2-3 tbsp. olive oil
- 'Butterfly' the loaves: slice loaves through the middle leaving one side intact.
- Hold loaves open and use a basting brush to brush pesto/oil mix generously on the inside of both halves.
- Sprinkle crumbled or grated cheese generously inside loaves and close them.
- Brush olive oil on top of the loaf.
- Slice loaf with serrated knife at 1-1/2" intervals.
- Wrap tightly with foil.
- Place in the oven and warm through.
We used green pesto with gorgonzola cheese in one loaf and red pesto with romano cheese in the other. Both were delicious! You can also experiment with other combinations and let us know how they come out.
For the party, we prepared the loaves two nights before, wrapped well to make sure they wouldn't dry out and refrigerated them. The day of the party we piled the loaves, wrapped in foil, in the oven and turned it on to 200 degrees so they would warm and then removed loaves one-at-a-time and placed the bread on serving platters. After everything was very warm, we turned the oven down to 170 degrees so nothing would over cook. We had warm bread all day with no fuss!
Small Multi-colored Potatoes, washed and sliced in half
Radishes, fresh, stems removed, trimmed, sliced in half
Large White Mushrooms, washed, stems trimmed, quartered
Small White Boiling Onions, peeled and trimmed
Grape Tomatoes and Small Multi-Colored Tomatoes, washed and drained
Coarse Sea Salt
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
- In large shallow roasting pan put 1/4-1/2 cup olive oil and 1/4 cup butter. Sprinkle a couple teaspoons of coarse sea salt.
- Place roasting pan in oven and heat until butter is melted.
- Stir oil, butter and salt with a spatula.
- Add vegetables: You can roast all vegetables in the same pan if you are roasting a small amount or you can roast them separately. It is important for the vegetables to be in a single layer in the roasting pan in order to get a nice caramelized finish. When roasting together you may want to add more olive oil and butter so all vegetables get a nice coating.
- Sprinkle Adobo on potatoes, onions and radishes when added to the pan.
- Sprinkle basil on the mushrooms.
- Sprinkle a little sea salt on the tomatoes.
- Stir vegetables with a spatula to coat them with oil. Return pan to the oven. Stir every 5-10 minutes until finished.
- Potatoes take longest; should be turning gold and tender.
- Radishes and onions will cook at about the same rate; both should be tender but not falling apart.
- Mushrooms will be turning dark and all liquids cooked off.
- Tomatoes should be cooked until just hot and swelling so they keep their shape.
- If cooked separately, mix all vegetables together for serving. You can serve immediately or save.
After roasting, we mixed all vegetables and allowed them to cool then placed them, covered, in the refrigerator for two days. We think the two days probably allowed the flavors to blend nicely. On the morning of the party, we divided them into 3 covered casserole dishes and placed them in the oven at 200 degrees. Once everything was warm we turned the oven down to 170 degrees so nothing would overcook. During the party we just removed one casserole dish at a time so there were warm vegetables throughout the day.
....and thank you again for being a part of our celebration!