Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Farewell Party

Soon, we are going to move to a new city. The last few weeks, I have been preparing party foods. It was such a success. I will show you what I did. Also, I would like to share two recipes that my friends really liked:



  • 1 medium Butternut Squash (about two and a half pounds), peeled, seeds removed,  cut into 1 inch chunks
  • 2 medium yellow onions cut into 8 wedges
  • Salt, Pepper, Herbs de Provence
  • Olive oil
  • Balsamic Vinegar Salad Vinaigrette


  1. Preheat oven to 425 F.
  2. Brush some oil on a baking sheet to prevent sticking.
  3. In a large bowl, mix squash and onions, together with olive oil (about 1 tablespoon), salt (about 1 teaspoon), pepper, and Herbs de Provence (about 1 teaspoon). Place on the sheet.
  4.  Bake for 25 minutes, stirring every 10-15 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.
  5.  Cool and store in refrigerator.
  6.  On the day you want to eat it, mix it with 2-3 teaspoons of balsamic vinaigrette, and serve at room temperature.
  7. You can eat the vegetables by themselves or mix them with some rice or cooked fettuccine for a vegetarian meal.
Roasted Butternut Squash with Herbs de Provence


  • 1 large egglplant, cut into thin slices
  • 2 summer squash zucchini, cut into thin slices
  • 2 zucchini, cut into thin slices
  • 2 red bell peppers, cut in half, membranes and seeds removed
  • Olive oil
  • Salt, pepper, and Herbs de Provence*
  • Balsamic Vinegar Salad Dressing
  • Fresh Basil (optional)


  1. Preheat the oven to 430 F. Coat two baking sheets with oil to prevent sticking.  Arrange the eggplants, squash, and zucchini on a single layer on sheets. Brush them with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and Herbs de Provence. Bake for 25 minutes or until vegetables are tender and slightly browned. Cool and store in containers in refrigerator.
  2. Preheat the broiler of your oven. Place aluminum foil on top of small baking sheet. Arrange bell pepper halves, cut side down. Broil 15-20 minutes, or until skin is blackened. Put them in a paper or Ziploc bag (or wrap them in the same foil) for 10-15 minutes, so they can steam. Peel the skin and cut them into strips. Cool and store in refrigerator.
  3. For my balsamic vinegar salad dressing, I mix equal parts of olive oil and white balsamic vinegar, a little salt, pepper, a small teaspoon of Dijon mustard, and a touch of honey with a whisk.
  4. On the day you want to serve it, take a platter and arrange eggplants, squash and zucchini slices in a circle. Top them with slices of roasted red bell peppers and some fresh basil.
  5. Drizzle everything with 2-3 teaspoons of dressing and serve alone or with some goat cheese.
  6. *Herbs de Provence is a mixture of dried herbs, such as oregano, basil, rosemary, lavender, thyme, etc. You can mix your own or buy it from World Market.
  7. Enjoy!

Eggplant, Summer Squash, Red Bell Pepper Antipasto Platter

This salad is not good for a big party, because it can not be prepared in advance. But if you are having few guests, it is such a refreshing and sweet treat! Toss arugula with your favorite vinaigrette. Add sliced ripe pears and top it all with roasted salted pistachios. Delightful!!!

Arugula salad with pears and pistachios
This is an amuse-bouche, which I tasted on a week night for the day of our party. It is a homemade feta biscuit, filled with house mayonnaise, mini chicken meatball, and served on top of baby arugula. This is beach-friendly burger or the next gastro pub menu item!!!

Mini feta-biscuit filled with chicken meatball and house mayo, served on bed of arugula

This is my favorite pizza for a busy week night. Since, I was getting ready for a huge cocktail party, I made my life simpler, by cooking super-fast, but delicious suppers. This mini-pizza is topped with goat cheese, nectarines, prosciutto di Parma, and arugula. The balsamic reduction add some elegance and luxury!

Creamy goat cheese, fresh nectarine, prosciutto di Parma, and arugula pizza
What is more refreshing than a Melon-Arugula Salad topped with the best prosciutto ever! The sweetness of the fruit is perfectly paired by the saltiness of the prosciutto di Parma. The arugula adds some tartness and the balsamic vinaigrette binds everything together.

Melon-Arugula and Prosciutto di Parma Salad
This is a light dessert, which I often prepare when I have ripe and aromatic pears. I made a buttery crust, topped it with pastry cream, and then placed beautifully roasted slices of pears. Each pie slice is bruleed for a special experience.

Roasted Pear, Pastry Cream Tart
I learned how to make a delicious sun-dried tomato and kalamatas tapenade. It is delicious on a slice of ciabatta or challah bread. Eat it just like this or top it with goat cheese to make it even more yummy. 

Sun-dried tomato and kalamatas tapenade over ciabatta slice
I created a very nice and nutritious side dish: Roasted Butternut Squash with Onions and Herbs de Provence. I served it together with my chicken-sun dried tomatoes-goat cheese burgers. The avocado aioli is so creamy and interesting. It is just the perfect contrast to the nutty butternut squash!!!

Roasted Butternut Squash and Avocado Chicken Burger
Besides de avocado-yogurt aioli, the chicken-sun dried tomato-goat cheese burger has caramelized onions. This is my secret ingredient: it keeps the sandwich moist and sweet. It is just like putting ketchup, but for grown-ups.

Avocado Spread, Chicken-Sun Dried Tomato-Goat Cheese Burger, Caramelized Onions

One of my new inventions: pesto, butternut squash, cheese, and prosciutto. The sweetness of the squash is complemented by the saltiness of the prosciutto. The pesto is a classic addition, but you can not believe how different it tastes when paired with sweet winter squash. DELI-DELI.

Pesto, butternut squash, prosciutto, and cheese pizza

Dinner with friends from Salt Lake City

My new napkins are all different colors, so elegant :)

I prepared a 6-course tasting menu and I even wrote the menu for everybody!!!

We celebrated my friend's graduation!

The cheese course: Bulgarian apricot jam, my own ciabatta, goat cheese-pine nut balls

Eggplant-chicken burger, squash, and mini-chicken broth for lunch

Double chocolate cupcakes

Chocolate Ganache Cake

Mini-meatballs over feta biscuit, homemade mayonnaise, roasted pepper

Chicken-Sun Dried Tomato-Goat Cheeseburger with Avocado Aioli, Caramelized Onions

Sun-dried tomato tapenade and goat cheese crostini

Parmesan Muffin with Homemade Pork Chorizo

Chicken, Sage, and Cheese Tartines

Peanut Butter, Banana-Oatmeal, and Cocoa Fudge cookies

Hazelnut Scones filled with Bulgarian apricot jam

Farewell Party Table. Everything was outstanding!

I folded the napkins, so they can hold a fork :)

I placed a napkin for each of my 17 guests!

Roasted Eggplant-Burger, House Mayonnaise, Caramelized Onions, and House Buns

My black slates are perfect for displaying party food

Cheese and pepper stuffed foccacia and Chicken-Pepper-Onion calzones. Delicious!!!

I cooked two months for this party and it was amazing :)

Pesto, chicken, red grapes, cheese, and arugula pizza. Yummy!!!

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