No matter what kind of party you're throwing � holiday event, bridal or baby shower � you can wow your guests with your culinary skills. You don't have to be a graduate of the C.I.A. to make these recipes. All you need is quality ingredients, a little planning ahead, and patience to present a gorgeous plate of food. Here are two delicious entrees and a dessert that will make your party or meal complete.
One fourth cup olive oil, plus 2 tablespoons
One half cup chorizo sliced into half-inch pieces
Half a large onion, diced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into chunks
One and a half cups Valencia rice
2 cups chicken broth
One half cup red wine
One half pound mussels
Salt to taste
Bijol powder (found in spice section)
One half pound medium raw shrimp, peeled and de-veined
One half pound clams (littlenecks or cherrystones)
One fourth pound scallops
Meat of 2 lobster tails, reserve shells for garnish
Half cup frozen green peas
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat olive oil in a large pan. Saut� chorizo sausage. onions, and garlic and saut� until wilted but not overcooked. Add chicken pieces and saut� for about 15 minutes until brown, but not fully cooked. Remove and set aside.
In a large pot combine the rice, broth, wine, and mussels. Add salt for flavor and Bijol for color. Stir. Turn on high and bring to boil and cover. Add chicken and chorizo. Cover and simmer on the stove for 30 minutes, until the rice is cooked. Saut� shrimp, clams, scallops, and lobster tails separately in the oil. Remove and keep warm. Fold seafood into the rice mixture. Transfer to a large, flat oven-safe platter to serve. Top with peas. Place in oven for about 5 minutes to heat through. Garnish with lobster shells.
Coq au Vin
1 bottle of red wine (not too sweet, not too dry � a Beaujolais or Pinot Noir works best)
1 cup chicken stock
6-8 boneless chicken thighs
1 cup frozen pearl onions
Half stick of butter
1 lb. fresh mushrooms (cremini, oyster, shitake variety)
6 strips of bacon, chopped
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
2 tbsp. flour or cornstarch
Salt and pepper to taste
Several sprigs of fresh thyme
One medium spaghetti squash
In a large Dutch oven pot, melt 2 tablespoons of butter and cook frozen pearl onions and mushrooms until they're tender. Set aside. In the same pot, add chopped bacon pieces and cook down until all fat is rendered and the bacon is crisp, but not burned. Strain bacon out onto paper towel to drain.
Using remaining bacon fat, brown the chicken thighs for about ten minutes on both sides until golden brown on the outside. Salt and pepper as it's cooking. Add chicken stock, red wine, and thyme and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and let it cook for 30-45 minutes or until chicken is extremely tender.
In a preheated 425 degree oven, place halved and seeded spaghetti squash skin side up on a baking sheet and roast for 20-30 minutes. Remove and let it cool. Then, with a fork, rake out the squash into a bowl. It will resemble thick spaghetti.
Remove one cup of cooking liquid to separate bowl. Combine flour and two tablespoons of butter together and then whisk into the cooking liquid to form a thick sauce. Pour back into larger pot and stir well to thicken the rest of the sauce. Let it simmer an additional 10-15 minutes. Then add the onions and mushrooms back in and finally the bacon. Serve mixture over a bed of the spaghetti squash.
Nova Scotia Blueberry Buckle
One fourth cup butter
Half cup sugar
1 cup flour
Half tsp. baking powder
One third cup milk
2 cups fresh or frozen (thawed) blueberries
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream together sugar and butter and then add egg and mix well. Sift flour, baking powder and salt and then add alternatively with milk and the first mixture. Then, add everything together and stir. Pour into a well-greased square pan. Spread blueberries evenly over the top.
In an a separate bowl, add half a cup sugar, one third cup flour, one half teaspoon cinnamon, and one fourth cup butter. Cut all ingredients together with a fork and then scatter the topping over the blueberries. Bake for 45 minutes to an hour. Serve with gourmet vanilla bean ice cream.
Criss White is a professional writer that writes about food and other party planning topics like baby shower recipes and other baby shower ideas. Criss enjoys hosting parties and cooking when not writing.
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