“Dining partners, regardless of gender, social standing, or the years they've lived, should be chosen for their ability to eat - and drink! - with the right mixture of abandon and restraint. They should enjoy food, and look upon its preparation and its degustation as one of the human arts.”― M.F.K. Fisher, Serve It Forth
I end the Colorado series with our last meal together. I offered to cook dinner for a few of Kelsey's roommates and friends. I decided to make it a tapas/potluck style dinner as I love to eat meals that are little bits of many different tastes. It was an ambitious menu for one person, in a short amount of time, but I had some awesome Sous Chefs to help me out. Although cooking a large meal for a group of people can seem a little scary and overwhelming, when you are in the kitchen with your friends and guests and they are all part of the process of creating the meal, cooking can be just as enjoyable as consuming the meal.
Prosciutto and Green Olives
Calamari and Cod Ceviche
Shrimp and Spanish Chorizo Bites
Sherry Mushroom Bruschetta with Pine Nuts
Chili Lime Sticky Wings
I always like to start a meal with a few easy, simple, light finger foods to get every one's pallets ready. An amuse bouche if you will. Nothing that will fill you up, just a few salty bits while you sip your first cocktail that wet every one's appetite for the meal to come. Olives are my go to, light and briny. Prosciutto is just tasty, but whatever you see in the grab and go section that looks good to you, you are already making a meal, let the store help you out!
Sherry Mushrooms with Pine Nuts
This is a wonderful appetizer, and a different take on the usual tomato bruschetta. The savory mushrooms are a perfect canvas for the aromatic ingredients (especially the sherry) which makes this dish melt in your mouth.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
• 3 tablespoons olive oil + more for drizzling
• 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
• 1 (8 ounce) container cleaned and sliced Button mushrooms
• 2 (8 ounce) containers cleaned and sliced Cremini (baby bella) mushrooms
• 1/3 cup dry sherry
• 1/2 cup pine nuts
• 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
• 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
• salt and pepper to taste
• 1 large french baguette, cut into 1/4 inch slices, and drizzled with olive oil
In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high. Add garlic and cook for 2 minutes or until beginning to brown.
Stir in mushrooms, sherry, and pine nuts; continue cooking until mushroom juices have almost evaporated, about 10 minutes. Add lemon juice and season generous with salt and pepper. Stir in parsley. Let sit for 5 minutes to allow the flavors to meld.
While mushrooms are sitting, place baguette slices on a baking sheet under the broiler for a few minutes (watching carefully that they don’t burn.) Spoon some of the mushroom mixture over each slice and serve immediately.
Source: Very Culinary
A stunning and elegant dish, and so quick and easy!
makes about 30 bites
1/2 pound medium shrimp (about 30 shrimp), peeled and deveined if necessary
1 (7.9 ounce) package of Spanish chorizo, sliced into 1/4-inch rounds
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 Tablespoon dry Sherry
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for the pan
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
In a medium bowl, combine the shrimp, garlic, oregano, vinegar, Sherry, and 1/4 cup of the olive oil; toss to coat. Marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Skewer one shrimp and one round of chorizo onto wooden toothpicks or skewers. Repeat with the remaining shrimp and chorizo.(I skipped this step)
If you skewered: Working in batches, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Place a few skewers into the pan and sear on both sides until the shrimp are cooked through and the chorizo is lightly browned, about 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer the skewers to a serving platter and garnish with the parsley.
If you didn't: Heat skillet over medium heat. Use the oil and sherry marinade the shrimp was in, as your oil for cooking. After the oil marinade mixture has come to temperature add chorizo and shrimp. Cook mixture until shrimp just turns pink. Serve the entire mixture (including oil and sauteed garlic) in a shallow dish. Garnish with parsley. I like to serve it this way with crusty bread, the oil becomes flavored with the spicy chorizo and the sauteed garlic, perfect to dip the bead in. Enjoy!
Chili Lime Sticky Wings
- About a dozen large chicken wings
- Season each wing evenly with kosher salt, ground black pepper, chili powder, and a little cayenne pepper, garlic powder (the amount for each is totally up to you)
- For garnish, chopped cilantro and freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1 tbsp oil or non-stick cooking spray for the baking sheet
- 1/4 cup honey (or more)
- 1 to 2 tsp lime juice
- 5 tbsp butter
- hot sauce to taste (Cholula or Tapatio or your favorite)
- Season the glaze with cayenne pepper, black pepper, a pinch of salt, onion powder, granulated garlic, cumin, and chili powder (taste as you go and adjust seasoning)
- Kosher salt to sprinkle on top (optional)
For the chicken:
For the glaze:
Preheat oven to 450. Line a large baking sheet with foil and spray evenly with non-stick cooking spray or brush 1 tablespoon of oil all over the bottom of the foil lined baking sheet.
For the glaze...
Combine all of the ingredients except the lime juice, into a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a soft, controlled simmer and allow to reduce for about 5 to 8 minutes, stirring frequently. Taste as you go, adjusting the seasoning as you see fit. Add the lime juice at the very end, and stir. Remove from heat, cover loosely, and set aside to keep warm while the chicken cooks. As the glaze sits, it will thicken and become stickier by the minute -- just a heads up.
For the chicken...
Rinse the chicken wings under cold water quickly, then pat each wing completely dry with paper towels. Season each chicken wing all over with all of the seasonings listed. Arrange each wing flatter side up (see photo for reference) on top of the scallions, leaving at least 1-inch of space between each wing. If you arrange the wings too closely together, they will steam rather than crisp up.
Place the chicken wings on the middle-lower oven rack and roast for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and brush 1 to 2 coats of the glaze over each wing. Place the chicken wings back into the 450 degree oven for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, I glaze the wings throughout the cooking process flipping them every time, in about 5-7 minute intervals. Keep an eye on these last 10 minutes, because depending on your oven, it can caramelize faster than you'd expect and burn. If wings are not crisping, you can turn over to broil and keep a sharp eye on them so they do not burn. Allow the wings to rest and cool for 5-8 minutes. Sprinkle just a tiny pinch of kosher salt over each glazed wing to help bring out the flavors.
Serve with a garnish of chopped fresh cilantro.
Recipe adapted from: Carnal Dish
Calamari and Cod Ceviche
This is one of my go to dishes! It’s perfect on a hot day, and very addicting. This is a crowed-pleaser!
5 Calamari Bodies (Cleaned)
1 fillet of Cod or any white Fish
1Bell Pepper (whatever color you prefer)
2-3 Cloves Garlic
Red Pepper Flake
First slice the calamari into rings. Cube fish into small bite size pieces(look out for bones). Next juice limes over fish. I start with 2-3 and then increase after fish has marinated and "cooked" from the acid by taste. I season with salt and pepper (and other seasonings above) little by little as I go. Adding more seasoning as I add each ingredient. I always taste after every step. I start with garlic(minced), then the onion(diced), then the Jalapeno(diced), then the red pepper(diced), finally the avocado(small bite size pieces). After I add the avocado, I juice about half a lime directly on top of it, before I stir it in to the rest of the mix, to prevent discoloration. And finally the cilantro. A final taste for seasoning. And then I place it in the fridge to marinate for at least 15-20 minutes, or until the fish is cooked through by the acid. Serve with a drizzle of EVOO and garnish with cilantro and tortilla chips.
Just that...whatever salad ingredients you have, lettuces, veggies, fruit? Cheese, nuts, croutons.... and whatever salad dressing you prefer in your fridge. Have Fun!
Needless to say it was a wonderful meal, and I am not solely referencing the food. The company was exquisite and welcoming. There is something about sitting down and dining with people that puts everyone at ease and allows everyone to relax and get to know each other.
It could also be the vino
But this is the art of dining, telling stories, laughing with or at one another and making new friends and memories. It’s how we make, experience and enjoy our culture.
We ate and drank "with the right mixture of abandon and restraint", and I can't wait to reunite with these old and new friends to do it all over again.
Until next time, Bon Appetit Colorado!