Monday, August 9, 2010

ABC Baby Shower

This weekend I hosted a baby shower for my sister and her new baby, Zoe. I didn't want to do a typical frilly shower with pastel colors and teddy bears so I decided to do a bright, modern color scheme of tangerine, hot pink, and green and use ABCs. The invites had the alphabet on them and said "Z is for Zoe."

I was really pleased with all the food - most of them were new recipes. I'm one of "those" that tries a new recipe out on guests. In my defense, I tasted everything prior and would have trashed anything gross and just left it off the table. I did 3 different sandwiches, 2 salads, fruit, a bread, chips, and cake for dessert. Enough for lunch but not overly heavy.

I made watermelon limeade, peach tea, and ice water for drinks, plus coffee with cake. The peach tea was disappointing to me so I'm not including the recipe. The watermelon limeade was raved about; it was unique and several guests asked for the recipe. I put sliced lemons and limes in the water for color and added flavor. I also put lemon wedges and fresh mint out for anyone that wanted it.

The little signs each say "W is for Watermelon Limeade, P is for Peach Tea" etc.

W is for Watermelon Limeade
8 cups chopped seedless watermelon (about 6 pounds)
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (about 4 limes)
2 to 4 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup vodka (optional)
Ice cubes, for serving
Fresh mint leaves, for serving

Working in batches, puree watermelon in a blender or food processor* with lime juice until smooth. Add 2 tablespoons sugar, and blend to combine. Taste, adding more sugar if necessary. Transfer to a pitcher. Stir in vodka, if using. Cover and chill. Before serving, stir well, and serve over ice, garnished with mint.
*You could also use an immersion blender

Source: Martha Stewart

I rimmed each glass with pink sugar and filled them with (Sonic) ice right before guests arrived.

For the sandwiches, I made egg salad, smoked salmon, and pineapple nut. I thought they were all tasty. The egg salad had dill in it which is my favorite herb. The smoked salmon has a cilantro-lime butter with it that is just delicious, and the pineapple nut is sweet and crunchy. They seemed to be eaten equally so I don't know if there was a favorite.

E is for Egg Salad
8 hard-cooked eggs, diced
1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup dried onion flakes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon mustard powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon dill weed
8 slices white bread

In a bowl, gently mix the eggs, mayonnaise, onion flakes, salt, mustard powder, garlic powder, pepper, and dill. Cover, and refrigerate 8 hours, or overnight. To serve, spread equal amounts on 4 slices bread; top with remaining bread slices to make sandwiches.

Source: All Recipes

P is for Pineapple Nut Sandwiches
2 cups crushed pineapple, drained
1 cup sugar
1 cup chopped nuts
One 8-ounce package cream cheese
milk or mayonnaise (if needed)

In saucepan combine pineapple and sugar. Bring to boil. Cook until thick, stirring constantly. Cool. Stir in nuts. Soften and mash cream cheese - if needed - with enough milk or mayonnaise to make a good spreading consistency. Combine with pineapple mixture. Spread on thin bread, top as sandwich. Trim and cut into squares.

*This made a LOT of filling. I made all those sandwiches and ended up still not using some of it. Next time I'd half it.

Source: Epicurean

S is for Smoked Salmon Sandwiches
24 slices thin white bread
4 ounces Ginger-Cilantro Lime Butter, recipe follows
8 ounces thinly sliced smoked salmon

Spread all of the bread slices generously with the butter. Place slices of smoked salmon in an even layer on half of the bread slices. Top with remaining bread slices, trim, and cut into squares.

Ginger-Cilantro Lime Butter
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 ounces (1/4 cup) cream cheese, at room temperature
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon kosher salt

Place butter, cream cheese, ginger, lime juice, cilantro and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse just until ingredients are combined, about 30 seconds.

Transfer mixture to a sheet of parchment or waxed paper. Roll into a 1 1/2-inch wide log. Refrigerate until ready to use. Yield: 1 (7-ounce 10 by 1 1/2-inch) log

Source: Food Network

I wanted to make salads that weren't done all the time - so I made a rice salad and a pasta salad. I knew my sister loved Caprese, esp after a trip to Venice a few years ago, so I knew this would be perfect for her shower. I don't eat tomatoes but my mom tasted it and said it was delicious. The pasta did have a nice flavor to it (I picked around the tomatoes). This recipe made a TON. I have about that much left - it grew on the platter!
P is for Pasta Caprese
1/3 cup EVOO
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
1 shallot, minced
1 small clove garlic, minced
Salt and pepper
1 teaspoon sugar (optional)
2 pounds mixed heirloom tomatoes, cored seeded and cut into ½ inch pieces (I used hot house, couldn't find heirloom easily)
1 pound pasta, such as campanelle, penne, or fusilli
12 ounces fresh mozzarella, cut into ½ inch pieces
½ cup fresh basil
½ teaspoon grated lemon zest

Whisk EVOO, lemon juice, shallot and garlic in large bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Add sugar, if desired (depending upon sweetness of tomatoes). Add tomatoes and gently toss. Marinate at room temp, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring pot of salted water to boil and cook pasta. Drain and run until cold water.

Add pasta and mozzarella to the tomato mix and toss. Stir in basil, lemon zest, and season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate.

Source: Food Network

This is one of my favorite salad recipes. I made it a few weeks ago for a church function and thought it was missing something. I had a foodie at church taste it and he suggested mango chutney - that was it! I just added the chutney and tasted it along the way until it was right. Added the right level of sweet and tang to it.
C is for Curry Chicken Rice Salad
1 1/2 cups cooked, cooled rice
1 tablespoon curry powder
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon vinegar
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 cup shredded cooked chicken or one 12 oz. can chicken breast meat
1 cup diced celery
3/4 cup mayonnaise
Mango chutney

Mix together the rice, curry, oil, vinegar, & ginger. Place in the fridge to chill for about an half hour or longer. Once the curry mixture is thoroughly chilled, in a separate large bowl mix the remaining ingredients together. Fold the curry mixture into the chicken mixture until incorporated.

Return to the fridge to chill until you serve it.

Source: a friend

These were sooooooo good. And thankfully, my very best friend was there to make them because they would not have come out so perfectly had I done them! I just thought they tasted delicious.
P is for Parmesan Straws
1 large egg
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
All-purpose flour, for rolling
1 sheet frozen puff pastry (from a 17.3-ounce box), thawed

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a small bowl, whisk together egg and 1 tablespoon water; set egg wash aside. In another small bowl, combine Parmesan, mustard powder, salt, and cayenne; set aside.

On a lightly floured work surface, roll out dough (still folded in thirds) to a 16-by-12-inch rectangle. With short side facing you, cut in half crosswise; brush one side of both halves with egg wash. Sprinkle one egg-washed half with cheese mixture. Sandwich halves together, egg-washed sides facing in; press lightly to adhere. Run a rolling pin over dough to seal.

With short side facing you, cut dough crosswise into 24 strips, each 8 inches long and 1/2 inch wide. Place strips, 1 inch apart, onto two baking sheets; twist strips, pressing down on ends to adhere them to sheets. Bake until cheese straws are puffed and golden, 8 to 10 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through.

*We doubled the recipe
Source: Martha Stewart

These are just skewers of fruit with fruit dip. I thought they were more fun than a fruit salad. The dip is cool whip and cinnamon - so easy but really tasty.   

I served salt and pepper kettle chips because I love them.
My amazingly talented best friend made this cake!


See the ABCs in the white frame?  

Alphabet books were scattered about.

The guest of honor, Zoe, with my mom. I bought her an outfit to coordinate with the shower colors... yeah, I'm that kind of aunt.

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