This weekend I made some appetizer’s for a party at Char & Phil’s (happy bday Phil). My first real experience catering a cocktail party– i learned many valuable lessons. The first is, whatever you make- and however much you buy- people will eat it all. The second is, try to make things easier on yourself. One way to do this– is to make dips. They are fast, easy and you can make them ahead of time. On this plate we have a Moroccan Carrot Dip and a Spicy Whipped Feta. Those are paired w. some halved sun dried tomatoes (the jarred in oil kind) and mascarpone w. honey. Also, buy a lot of crackers etc– i bought 1 baguette, 2 bags of pita chips and 1 box of crackers for 20 people, and we ran out surprisingly quickly. Better to have an extra box of crackers leftover then a bunch of dip… with no vehicle for the dipping.
Moroccan Carrot Dip from Char & Phil’s CSA website
1 lb carrots, peeled and chopped into large pieces
1 clove garlic, peeled and left whole
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 pinch cayenne pepper
sea salt, to taste
1 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
3 Tbsp virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp seedless green olives (whole or chopped) [optional]
2 Tbsp fresh cilantro leaves [optional]
1. Cook the chopped carrot and garlic in simmering, salted water, for about 20 minutes or until soft. Drain well, then return them to the hot, dry pan for a minute or two, over medium heat, to dry them out further. (this part is dumb, the carrots just stuck to the pan)
2. Place carrots and garlic in a food processor and process until smooth. Add the cumin, paprika, ginger, cinnamon, cayenne, sea salt, honey and lemon juice and process again. With the machine still running, add the olive oil gradually. Allow to cool.
3. Spoon into a serving bowl, drizzle with a little extra olive oil, scatter with olives and cilantro leaves (if using), and serve with lightly warmed flat bread or pita (or pita chips, crackers etc).
Spicy Whipped Feta
From America’s Test Kitchen (makes about 2 cups… which is kinda a lot)
1 pound feta cheese, crumbled (about 4 cups) [Make sure to rinse feta before using, otherwise it will be too salty]
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for serving
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, plus extra for serving
1 tablespoon juice from 1 lemon
Process all of the ingredients together in a food processor until smooth, about 20 seconds. Transfer the mixture to a serving bowl, cover w. plastic wrap, and refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours or up to 2 days. Drizzle w. additional extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle w. additional cayenne before serving.
Spread can be made up to 4 days ahead of time.